Putin signs law allowing him to remain Russia's president until 2036

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a change to the country's constitution that will allow him to run for two more six-year terms and a chance to remain in power until 2036.

Putin, 68, has already run the country for more than 20 years and with his recent crackdown on political opponents and civil society, he has made it clear that there's little room for dissent.

A copy of the new law was posted on the government's legal information website on Monday, confirming that the legislation and been finalised.

Prior to the new law, Putin would have been required to step down after his fourth and current term in 2024.

He is second only to Joseph Stalin in terms of how long he has held control of the Russian government. He has said he would decide later whether to run in 2024 once his current term expires.

Putin has argued that resetting the term count was necessary to keep his lieutenants focused on their work instead of "darting their eyes in search for possible successors."

The Russian dictator has in the past defended the conservative political regime he's ushered in by arguing that Russia has seen enough turbulence in the past, and his strong leadership has brought stability. He has also argued that the constitutional amendments, including giving him the chance to remain president, were necessary to ensure that stability continues.

In July last year, Russians were given the opportunity to vote on a raft of constitutional reforms, including the change to the limit on presidential terms. Other measures included a proposed ban on same-sex marriages, new language mentioning for the first time the importance of "faith in God," and measures meant to protect "traditional family values" and forbidding top officials from holding dual citizenship.

Opposition leader and Putin critic Alexei Navalny, who's currently on hunger strike as he serves a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence on charges he insists are politically motivated, criticised the vote last summer as a populist spectacle designed to give the Russian leader the right to be "president for life."

The 44-year-old was arrested in January after returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have denied the accusation.