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Putin wins Russia election with no competition


President Vladimir Putin secured an overwhelming victory in Russia's recent election, solidifying his already strong hold on power. Putin claimed that this win demonstrated Russia's justified defiance against the West and its military intervention in Ukraine.


Putin, a former KGB lieutenant colonel who came to power in 1999, emphasized that the outcome should serve as a solid signal to the West. He asserted that Western leaders will need to confront a more assertive Russia in times of conflict and peace for the foreseeable future.


With the outcome of the election, Putin, aged 71, is poised to begin another six-year term, surpassing Josef Stalin and becoming Russia's longest-serving leader in over two centuries, provided he completes the full term.


According to an exit poll by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM), Putin secured 87.8% of the vote, marking the highest result in Russia's post-Soviet history. According to the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM), Putin's approval rating stands at an impressive 87%. The initial official results confirmed the accuracy of the polls. Several countries, including the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom, have criticized the recent vote, citing concerns over the imprisonment of political opponents and censorship. They argue that these factors undermine the fairness and freedom of the electoral process.


According to partial results, Nikolai Kharitonov, the Communist candidate, secured second place with less than 4% of the votes. Vladislav Davankov, a newcomer to the political scene, came in third, while Leonid Slutsky, an ultra-nationalist, finished fourth.


In a victory speech in Moscow, Putin addressed his supporters, emphasizing his commitment to resolving the challenges related to Russia's involvement in Ukraine. He also expressed his intention to bolster the Russian military.


"There are numerous tasks that lie ahead." "No matter the attempts to intimidate or suppress us, throughout history, no one has ever succeeded, and they will continue to fail," Putin confidently stated.


As he took the stage, a chorus of supporters erupted in chants of "Putin, Putin, Putin." And once he concluded his acceptance speech, the crowd resounded with fervent cries of "Russia, Russia, Russia."


Following the tragic death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in an Arctic prison last month, a significant number of protestors gathered at polling stations both within Russia and abroad to voice their opposition against President Putin.


In a press conference, Putin expressed his belief that Russia's election was democratic. He confidently stated that the protest, which Navalny inspired, had no impact on the election outcome.


During his initial remarks regarding the death, he expressed his sorrow over Navalny's passing and acknowledged his willingness to engage in a prisoner exchange involving the prominent opposition figure.


In response to a question from NBC, a prominent U.S. television network, President Putin expressed his criticism of the American political and judicial systems regarding the democratic nature of his re-election.


"There is widespread amusement at the current events unfolding in the United States," he remarked. "The situation can only be described as a complete disaster, devoid of any semblance of democracy."


"Is it fair and democratic to employ administrative resources and the judiciary to target a presidential candidate in the United States?" He inquired, seemingly alluding to four criminal cases involving Republican candidate Donald Trump.


The upcoming Russian election follows just over two years since Putin's decision to order the invasion of Ukraine, which sparked the deadliest European conflict since World War Two.


The three-day election has been overshadowed by the on-going conflict, with Ukraine launching multiple attacks on oil refineries in Russia, shelling Russian regions, and attempting to breach Russian borders using proxy forces. Russian President Putin has clarified that these actions will not go unanswered.


In a recent statement, Putin suggested that Russia may have to establish a buffer zone within Ukraine to prevent similar attacks from occurring again in the future.


Although there was little doubt about Putin's re-election due to his firm grip on Russia and the lack of viable opponents, the former KGB spy aimed to demonstrate his widespread backing from the Russian people.


Election officials reported a nationwide turnout of 74.22% at 1800 GMT, exceeding the levels seen in 2018, which stood at 67.5%.


There is no official record of the number of participants in the opposition demonstrations in Russia, as the government implemented strict security measures with the presence of tens of thousands of police and security officials.


Reporters from Reuters observed a surge in voter turnout, particularly among the younger demographic, around midday at polling stations in Moscow, St Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg. There were Long lines of hundreds and even thousands of people.


According to some individuals, they claimed to be protesting, although there were minimal visible indicators that set them apart from regular voters.


According to OVD-Info, a group that monitors crackdowns on dissent, a total of 74 individuals were apprehended in Russia on Sunday.


In the past two days, there have been several instances of protest in Russia, with some individuals resorting to setting fire to voting booths or pouring green dye into ballot boxes. Opponents have shared several images of ballots defaced with derogatory slogans targeting Putin.


Navalny's untimely demise has dealt a severe blow to the opposition, leaving them without their most decisive leader. Furthermore, other prominent opposition figures find themselves either in exile, behind bars, or tragically deceased.


Putin is often portrayed in the West as an autocrat and a killer. In a statement on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy expressed his belief that Putin intended to maintain an indefinite grip on power while also questioning the legitimacy of the recent vote.


According to Putin, the war continues a long-standing conflict with a weakening West. He argues that Russia was humiliated by the Cold War era's encroachment, which infringed on Moscow's sphere of influence.


Western spy chiefs see the upcoming election in Russia as a critical moment for the on-going Ukraine war and its implications for the wider Western world.


The issue of supporting Ukraine has become entangled in the complex web of U.S. domestic politics as the November presidential election approaches.


Following the invasion in 2022, Kyiv managed to retake some territory. However, Russian forces have recently made significant gains, taking advantage of a failed Ukrainian counter-offensive from the previous year.



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