Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has signed a constitutional amendment extending presidential terms from four years to six years following its speedy approval by lawmakers.
The measure signed Tuesday does not apply to Mr. Medvedev's current term, which expires in 2012. But, critics said they are designed to help his predecessor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, return to the presidency.
The new law also extends the term of Russia's parliament from four to five years.
The Kremlin pushed the constitutional amendments through the Russian parliament and all of the country's 83 provincial legislatures in less than two months.
Russia's constitution barred Mr. Putin from seeking a third consecutive term as president in an election earlier this year. He chose his longtime ally, Mr. Medvedev, to succeed him. Mr. Medvedev won the March election in a landslide.
Mr. Putin is not barred from running for president again after a break.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.