How long has Putin been president? What's next after Russia elections elect leader to 5th term

Putin Secures 5th Term as President: A Look at His Long Tenure and What Lies Ahead for Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has won a fifth term in a controversial national vote.

The three-day presidential election in Russia wasn’t really about following democratic norms. It was more about the Kremlin securing a dominant victory in the first round to legitimize Putin’s leadership and to clearly demonstrate that his military actions in Ukraine are supported by the Russian populace.

On the night before the vote, Putin made a speech to the nation. He called on the citizens to vote as a sign of national solidarity.

He expressed his belief that the citizens are aware of the tough times the country is facing and the challenges that lie in almost every area. Putin emphasized the need for unity and confidence to face these challenges with dignity and to overcome them successfully.

Putin declared that the people of Russia are like one big family.

After the voting ended, Putin, surrounded by young campaign supporters wearing “Putin Russia Victory” shirts, reiterated his message. He stated that all Russians who participated in the voting process are part of one team.

However, Putin hinted at the numerous challenges that lie ahead following his re-election.

Before the vote, Putin remained vague about his plans if he won a fifth term.

In an interview with government spokesperson Dmitry Kiselyov, Putin avoided discussing potential government changes post-election.

When asked whether Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s government would remain after the election, Putin said that such discussions should wait until after the vote count. He suggested that the government was performing satisfactorily for now.

Now, the question arises: What’s next for Russia?

There’s speculation about whether there will be changes in the Russian government and what Putin’s priorities will be now that he’s been re-elected.

Some believe the election was a referendum on Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, questioning whether the outcome gives Putin more freedom to continue as he wishes.

Putin seems confident about the military situation, especially after the capture of certain Ukrainian towns. He also mentioned the hesitation in the West to continue supporting Ukraine, which he believes strengthens his position.

In his pre-election talk with Kiselyov, Putin dismissed the idea of negotiating due to a shortage of ammunition, showing confidence in Russia’s military position.

Despite Russia’s incremental gains in eastern Ukraine, these have come at a significant human cost. There’s speculation that Putin might need to call up more troops.

After initial setbacks in Ukraine, Putin announced a partial mobilization in September 2022. However, Russia is still engaged in a prolonged conflict, leading some to believe another large-scale mobilization might be necessary after the election.

Another issue likely on Putin’s agenda is the continued suppression of domestic opposition.

Following the election, Putin unexpectedly mentioned Alexey Navalny, the late Russian opposition leader, acknowledging his death but deflecting questions about election fairness.

Putin’s mention of Navalny and his comparison to prison deaths in the United States suggest a defensive stance rather than confidence.

Predicting Putin’s next moves is challenging. He has managed to shield Russia’s economy from sanctions in the short term and maintain a monopoly on political power.

However, the unpredictability of war and Russia’s long-term challenges, such as demographic decline, the cost of war and sanctions, and the vulnerabilities of autocratic rule, remain significant issues as Putin potentially looks towards a sixth term.