US says Putin seeking to stay in power for lifeA top US official said Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was seeking to stay in power for life ahead of a controversial constitutional referendum. Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun said both Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping "seem intent on putting themselves into office for life, or at least until they otherwise choose on their own initiative to leave." "In the Russian system, which has at least the trappings of a democratic system, President Putin will go to a referendum in just a couple of days which many consider to have a foregone conclusion," Biegun, whose academic background is in Russia, told a forum of the German Marshall Fund.