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Friday, June 21, 2024

Putin claims victory in rigged presidential election

Key Takeaways:

  • Vladimir Putin won the 2024 Russian presidential election with a claimed 87.68% of the vote, his largest margin of victory yet, in a rigged contest with no viable opposition candidates allowed to run.
  • The Russian state mobilized its resources to compel voter turnout and demonstrate loyalty to Putin, with government employees, students, and workers at state-owned companies pressured to vote.
  • Protesters now face up to five years in prison.

On Sunday, March 17, 2024, Vladimir Putin secured another six-year term as president of Russia in an election that was rigged to guarantee his victory. With 87.68% of the vote according to initial results, Putin claimed his largest margin of victory ever.

Political opponents barred from running

All viable challengers were barred from running well before votes were cast. Potential candidates like Yekaterina Duntsova and Boris Nadezhdin, who advocated for peace negotiations and ending the war in Ukraine, were not allowed on the ballot. Instead, Putin faced only opposition from candidates who refrained from criticizing him.

Over the three days of voting, the Russian state mobilized government employees, students, and workers at state-owned companies. They were pressured to vote, with managers tracking participation.

There were protests in Russia regarding the way voting was being handled. In around 20 regions, mostly elderly women set fire to voting booths or poured paint into ballot boxes in protest. They now face up to five years in prison, with authorities claiming they acted on foreign instructions.

Russian Protests

The most coordinated opposition effort was the “Noon Against Putin” protest, organized by supporters of the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny. People were encouraged to simultaneously cast protest votes at noon on Sunday for any candidate besides Putin. Large crowds gathered at polling stations across Russia and at embassies worldwide in a showing of dissent, despite state efforts to undermine the demonstration through false messages and voter intimidation.

Putin’s victory comes as the war he launched in Ukraine enters its third year with no end in sight. By securing another term, Putin aims to further his grip on power and continue the invasion, which he falsely portrays as a defensive operation against Western aggression. As Ukrainian forces prepare for anticipated Russian offensives this spring, Putin will likely double down on his goal of subjugating Ukraine entirely.

The election is yet another blow to the already bleak state of democracy in Russia under Putin’s rule. With his most prominent opponent Navalny dead and other opposition figures jailed, exiled, or cowed into silence, meaningful political competition and government accountability remains unknown. Instead, Putin is set to become Russia’s longest-serving ruler since Stalin.

Publisher and editor of LJLNews. I am a Stock Market enthusiast, with an interest for politics. I hope you enjoy reading the articles! Contact me at: Lazaruslucas@ljlnews.com

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