The entire Russian government resigned this week after President Putin made proposals for huge constitutional changes. Should the Russian public approve the plans, it will enable the transfer of political power in Moscow from the president to the parliament. Mr Putin will be forced to step down from his role as Russian President in 2024, as the constitution currently dictates that a leader can see out a maximum of two consecutive terms.
But while he may relinquish the title of President, the move could see him hold on to his imperious influence in Moscow regardless.
The policy is reminiscent of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s own efforts to assert his power in Beijing.
Like Russia, China used to have a two term limit on presidency, until Xi Jinping’s Communist Party removed it in 2018.
Incredibly, only two delegates voted against the change and three abstained, out of 2,964 votes.
Xi secured his political authority as the party voted to enshrine his name and political ideology in the party’s constitution – elevating his status to the level of its founder, Chairman Mao.
Following the huge constitutional change, the BBC’s China correspondent claimed that Xi would be almost immune to any challenge from a domestic front.
Stephen McDonell said: “It is now hard to see Xi Jinping being challenged in any way whatsoever. He has amassed power the likes of which has not been seen since Chairman Mao Zedong.
“There has been no national debate as to whether a leader should be allowed to stay on for as long as they choose.
READ MORE: South China Sea: How Russia has defied China in the region
Even so, the move indicates the growing political proximity between China and Russia in recent years, with the US now battling with two superpowers for influence.
In the aftermath of Western sanctions on Russia and a US-China trade war, Moscow and Beijing became increasingly interdependent.
In June, Xi and Mr Putin signed huge deals to further integrate the Russian and Chinese economies, including an agreement for Huawei to develop 5G in Russia, a deal on research and technology development and agreements on natural gas.
China is also Russia’s biggest trade partner while Moscow is Beijing’s biggest weapon supplier.