PUBLISHED: 07:15, Wed, Nov 18, 2020 | UPDATED: 07:15, Wed, Nov 18, 2020
The new law has just passed the lower house of Russia’s parliament on its first reading. It was supported by Putin’s United Russia party but opposed by 37 communist parliamentarians.
It was also approved in a national referendum this summer, though independent observers questioned whether this was free and fair.
The referendum also approved a measure allowing Putin to run for president again in 2024 when his current term expires.
Currently ex-presidents only have immunity from prosecution for crimes committed during their time in office.
Parliamentarian Pavel Krasheninnikov, one of those who wrote the proposed law, told the RIA news agency it won’t apply to Mikhail Gorbachev.
The new law would give ex-Russian presidents immunity from prosecution (Image: GETTY)
"Why does Putin need an immunity law now?" (Image: GETTY)
This is because Mr Gorbachev led the Soviet Union, not the Russian federation, until it was dissolved in 1991.
As a result the law would only be immediately applicable to Dmitry Medvedev, a close Putin ally who was president between 2008 and 2012.
During this period Putin was Russia’s prime minister though many observers argued he de facto continued to run the Government behind the scenes.
For the new legislation to become law it must first pass two more readings in Russia’s state duma, the lower tier of Parliament.
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