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Putin Likely to Stay in Power After Controlled Russian Election

Putin Set To Extend His Rule In Russia After Tightly Controlled Election

Midday on Sunday marked the closing stretch of Russia’s presidential election, with crowds gathering outside polling stations in response to an opposition call to voice dissent against President Vladimir Putin. The election, offering scant alternatives, is set to prolong Putin’s reign for another six years, following a relentless crackdown on opposition voices.

As early returns trickled in, Putin appeared to command an overwhelming 88% of the vote, with a quarter of precincts reporting, according to Russia’s Central Election Commission.

The tightly controlled polling environment, overshadowed by attacks within Russia by Ukrainian missiles and drones, left little room for genuine competition or public criticism of Putin or his policies, particularly concerning the conflict in Ukraine.


Putin (Credits: ABC News)

The recent death of Putin’s prominent critic, Alexei Navalny, and the imprisonment or exile of other dissenting voices, further underscored the limited scope for political opposition. Against this backdrop, Navalny’s associates called for a protest at polling stations around noon on Sunday, prompting visible queues at various locations both within Russia and at its embassies abroad.

Among those joining the protest was Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Alexei Navalny, who stood in line at the Russian Embassy in Berlin, drawing applause and chants of support from the crowd. Despite spending over five hours waiting, Navalnaya remained resolute, emphasizing her vote as a tribute to her late husband.

While some voters expressed hope for change and dissatisfaction with the status quo, acknowledging the futility of their individual ballots, others openly voiced support for Putin. Instances of protest were observed, with voters creatively expressing their discontent through spoiled ballots bearing messages critical of Putin’s leadership and his involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.

However, not all voters were in opposition; Dmitry Sergienko, for instance, expressed contentment with the current state of affairs, echoing a sentiment of stability and satisfaction with Putin’s leadership.


Putin (Credits: NBC News)

As the election unfolded, Ukraine’s continued attacks on Russian territory served as a stark reminder of the challenges confronting the Kremlin. Despite stringent controls, incidents of vandalism and attempted disruptions at polling stations were reported, prompting calls for harsher penalties for offenders.

Amidst these developments, Ivan Zhdanov of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation hailed the protest as a success, highlighting the presence of an alternative voice in Russia.

The protest extended beyond Russian borders, with significant turnouts observed at diplomatic missions in various cities worldwide, indicating widespread engagement among the Russian diaspora. Despite efforts to spin the lines as a show of strong turnout, dissenting voices persisted, with individuals like Boris Nadezhdin emphasizing the significance of alternative votes as a means to express dissatisfaction.

The day was not without consequences, as reports of arrests across Russia underscored the authorities’ intolerance for dissent, further reinforcing the challenges faced by those opposing Putin’s regime.

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