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Vladimir Putin largely re-elected president | War in Ukraine

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar17,2024

Vladimir Putin widely elected ;sident | War in Ukraine

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has been re-elected for a sixth term. (Archive photo)

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Vladimir Putin, 71, in power for almost a quarter of a century, was largely and unsurprisingly re-elected president of Russia, according to the first official results.

Despite symbolic demonstrations by a few thousand opponents at midday in front of some polling stations, the Russian president was re-elected with more than 87% of the vote, according to an exit poll carried out by the Russian Research Center public opinion (VCIOM).

Vladimir Putin thus obtains a new six-year mandate and should ultimately surpass Joseph Stalin in longevity in the Kremlin .

Turnout was officially estimated at 74.22% when polling stations closed, higher than the 67.5% in the previous election in 2018.

Voting took place over three days at polling stations across 11 time zones across the vast country. Voting began at 8 a.m. (local) on Friday in the Kamchatka Peninsula and Chukotka, two remote regions of Russia's Far East, and ended at 8 p.m. on Sunday in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave. border of the European Union.

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It also took place in illegally annexed regions of Ukraine, online and in some embassies around the world.

Despite strict controls, several dozen cases of vandalism in polling stations were reported during the election period.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The outcome of the vote was in little doubt in the absence of a credible rival among the three other candidates in the running, especially since the main opponent of the Russian president, Alexeï Navalny, died in detention on last month.

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An election premises in Sergiev Posad, north of Moscow.

Alexeï Navalny's supporters had called the Russians to a noon against Putin by all going to the polling stations in the middle of the day.

Youlia Navalnaïa, his widow, took part in a demonstration in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin, Germany, where she voted.

I wrote [on the ballot] the name "Navalny" because it is not possible […] that a month before the elections, Putin's main opponent, already imprisoned, was killed, she explained to the press after voting.

< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Explanations from our special correspondent in Germany, Marie-Eve Bédard.

It was impossible to independently estimate the scale of participation in this protest since tens of thousands of police and members of the security forces exercised strict control over the conduct of the vote.

Shortly after the counting of the first polling stations, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev welcomed Vladimir Putin's resounding victory on Sunday.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Dmitry Medvedev is now number 2 on the Russian Security Council. He held the presidency from 2008 to 2012, with Putin as prime minister, as the latter was affected by term limits.

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Dmitry Medvedev, former President of Russia and Deputy Chairman of the Security Council, votes during the Russian presidential election in Moscow region, March 15, 2024.

Russia has made its choice, welcomed the head of the Electoral Commission, Ella Pamfilova. State television, for its part, highlighted the colossal support enjoyed by the master of the Kremlin.

For its part, Alexeï Navalny's team denounced the score on Sunday, a few minutes after the announcement of the counting of votes from a quarter of the polling stations.

The percentages invented for Putin obviously have no relation to reality. It's not worth talking about it, reacted on Twitter Leonid Volkov, the deceased's former right-hand man in exile.

Independent Russian media published images of invalid ballot papers posted by voters, which read killer and thief on one and we are waiting for you in The Hague on the other, in reference to an arrest warrant issued against Putin on war crimes charges related to his alleged responsibility for child kidnappings in Ukraine.

Still, some people told The Associated Press they were happy to vote for Putin. Dmitry Sergienko, who voted in Moscow, said: I am happy with everything and I want everything to continue as it is now.

This election took place against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, ordered in February 2022 by Vladimir Putin with the launch of ;a special military operation in this country.

In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky was quick to react to the first results which declared Putin the clear winner. These days, the Russian dictator is still faking an election. It is obvious to everyone in the world that this character, as has often happened throughout history, is drunk with power and does everything to rule eternally, he wrote on the social network X.

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Ukraine's Western allies also denounced elections that were neither free nor fair.

The White House National Security Council spokesperson argued that Putin had imprisoned his political opponents and prevented others from running against him, while the German Foreign Ministry claimed that Putin's regime is authoritarian [and that] it is based on censorship, repression and violence.

In a message broadcast on the X network, the leader of British diplomacy, David Cameron, for his part denounced the illegal organization of elections on Ukrainian territory, the lack of choice for voters and the absence of independent control of the #x27;Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe [OSCE].

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A man votes in the Russian presidential election at a polling station in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine, March 16, 2024 .

Overall, the mobilization of the opposition took place calmly, but the NGO OVD-Info, specialized in monitoring repression, reported at least 77 arrests in Russia for various forms of electoral protest actions.

The spokesperson for Russian diplomacy affirmed that the voters who gathered en masse at Russian embassies, such as in Paris, London and Berlin, were not supporters of the opposition .

They came to vote, seizing the opportunity that their country, Russia, offered them despite all the threats of the situation. West, wrote Maria Zakharova on Telegram.

With information from Agence France-Presse, Reuters and Associated Press

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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