Putin wins the Russian election by a landslide, with no opposition.Putin wins the Russian election by a landslide, with no opposition.

• Exit poll shows Putin capturing 88% of the vote
• Putin’s new term extends his power by six more years
• The shadow of war looms over the election
• Ukraine launches drone and rocket strikes against Russia
• Thousands participate in the ‘Noon Against Putin’ protest
In Moscow on March 17th, President Vladimir Putin secured an unprecedented post-Soviet landslide victory in Russia’s Sunday election, further solidifying his firm hold on authority. Putin declared the outcome vindication of Moscow’s resistance against the West and its military intervention in Ukraine. As a former KGB lieutenant colonel who ascended to power in 1999, Putin emphasized that the election outcome underscores the enduring strength of Russia, sending a clear message to Western leaders that they must contend with a resolute Russia, both in times of conflict and diplomacy, for the foreseeable future
The election outcome ensures that, at 71 years old, Putin is poised to commence another six-year term, surpassing Josef Stalin and becoming Russia’s longest-serving leader in over two centuries should he fulfill it. Putin’s victory with 87.8% of the vote marks the highest recorded result in Russia’s post-Soviet era, as indicated by an exit poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM). The Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM) similarly placed Putin’s support at 87%, with initial official results corroborating the accuracy of the polls. However, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and other nations have criticized the election, citing concerns over the lack of political freedom, imprisonment of opponents, and censorship, collectively labeling the process as neither free nor fair.
According to partial results, Communist candidate Nikolai Kharitonov secured second place with just under 4% of the vote, followed by newcomer Vladislav Davankov in third, and ultra-nationalist Leonid Slutsky in fourth.
In his victory speech delivered to supporters in Moscow, Putin pledged to prioritize resolving challenges related to what he referred to as Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine and affirmed plans to bolster the country’s military strength.
“We have numerous tasks ahead of us. However, when we stand united, no matter who seeks to intimidate or suppress us, history has shown that no one has succeeded in the past, they are not succeeding now, and they will not succeed in the future,” Putin asserted.
As Putin took the stage, his supporters erupted into chants of “Putin, Putin, Putin,” followed by fervent cries of “Russia, Russia, Russia” after he concluded his acceptance speech.
In response to the tragic death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who passed away in an Arctic prison the previous month, thousands of protesters, inspired by Navalny’s legacy, demonstrated against Putin at polling stations across Russia and overseas.
Addressing reporters, Putin affirmed his belief in the democratic nature of Russia’s election and dismissed the impact of the Navalny-inspired protests on the election’s outcome. Regarding Navalny’s demise, Putin expressed condolences, describing it as a “sad event,” and acknowledged his willingness to engage in a prisoner exchange involving the opposition figure.
Responding to a question from NBC, a U.S. television network, about the democratic legitimacy of his re-election, Putin criticized the political and judicial systems of the United States, characterizing them as a “disaster” rather than a democracy. He raised concerns about the use of administrative resources to target presidential candidates, alluding to ongoing legal proceedings against Republican candidate Donald Trump.
The Russian election occurs just over two years after Putin’s order to invade Ukraine, triggering one of the deadliest conflicts in Europe since World War Two.
Throughout the three-day election, the specter of war loomed large: Ukraine launched multiple attacks on oil refineries within Russia, shelled Russian territories, and attempted incursions into Russian borders through proxy forces—an action Putin vowed would not go unanswered. Putin suggested the possibility of establishing a buffer zone within Ukraine to deter such assaults in the future.
While Putin’s re-election was all but assured given his tight grip on power and the absence of genuine contenders, the former KGB operative aimed to demonstrate overwhelming support from the Russian populace. The nationwide turnout reached 74.22% by 1800 GMT when polls closed, surpassing the 2018 levels of 67.5%, according to election officials. However, there was no independent tally of opposition participation amid heightened security measures involving tens of thousands of police and security personnel.
Reports from Reuter’s journalists observed a surge in voter activity, particularly among younger demographics, around noon at polling stations in Moscow, St Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg, with queues stretching several hundred to thousands of people. While some claimed they were protesting, there were few discernible signs distinguishing them from regular voters.
On Sunday, at least 74 individuals were detained across Russia, as reported by OVD-Info, an organization monitoring dissent crackdowns. In the preceding days, sporadic protests occurred, including incidents of vandalized voting booths and ballot boxes tainted with green dye or adorned with slogans insulting Putin. However, Navalny’s demise has left the opposition without its most prominent leader, with other key figures either abroad, incarcerated, or deceased.
Perceptions of Putin in the West vary widely, with many portraying him as an autocrat and murderer. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy deemed Putin’s desire for perpetual rule and the election’s legitimacy as questionable.
Putin frames the ongoing conflict as part of a historical struggle against a waning West, which he alleges humiliated Russia post-Cold War by encroaching on its sphere of influence. Western intelligence agencies view Russia’s election as pivotal amidst the Ukraine crisis and broader geopolitical tensions.
Support for Ukraine is entangled in U.S. domestic politics, particularly ahead of the November presidential election. Despite Kyiv’s territorial gains following the 2022 invasion, Russian forces have made headway after a failed Ukrainian counteroffensive last year.


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