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

Putin’s Reign Continues: Elected for a 5th Term as President, 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. The Kremlin aimed for a decisive victory in the first round to legitimize Putin’s leadership and to clearly demonstrate that Putin’s actions in Ukraine are supported by the Russian populace.

On the night before the vote, Putin called on the voters to show their unity by participating in the election.

He expressed his belief that the citizens understand the tough times Russia is facing and the challenges in various areas. Putin emphasized the need for unity and confidence to tackle these challenges successfully.

Putin described the Russian people as “one big family.”

This sentiment was echoed after the voting ended. Surrounded by young campaign supporters wearing “Putin Russia Victory” shirts, Putin celebrated the unity of the Russian citizens who participated in the election.

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

Before the vote, Putin remained vague about his plans for his fifth term.

In a rather uneventful interview with Dmitry Kiselyov, a government propagandist, Putin avoided discussing potential government changes post-election.

When questioned about the future of Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s government, Putin suggested waiting until after the election results were in, stating that the government was performing satisfactorily for now.

The big question now is what Putin plans to do next.

There’s speculation about possible changes within the Russian government and the specific challenges Putin will tackle.

Observers are particularly interested in whether the election results will affect Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.

Putin appears to have some leeway to continue his military efforts in Ukraine, especially with the capture of certain Ukrainian towns and the ongoing debate in the West about aid to Ukraine.

In a pre-election interview, Putin confidently dismissed the idea of negotiating due to a shortage of ammunition, indicating confidence in Russia’s position.

However, Russia’s incremental gains in eastern Ukraine have been achieved at a great human cost. There’s speculation that a new round of mobilization might be necessary.

After initial setbacks in Ukraine, Putin announced a partial mobilization in September 2022. With the war continuing along a vast front, another large-scale mobilization might be considered after the election.

Besides military concerns, Putin is likely to continue suppressing domestic opposition.

In an unusual move, Putin mentioned the late opposition leader Alexey Navalny after the polls closed, calling his death a “sad event” but quickly shifting the conversation, a typical tactic of his.

Putin’s comparison of Navalny’s death to prison deaths in the United States suggests a defensive stance, despite appearing confident.

Predicting Putin’s next moves is difficult. He has made efforts to protect Russia’s economy from sanctions and to maintain his political dominance.

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