Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with the media at his campaign headquarters in Moscow on March 18, 2024.

Putin Secures Victory in Russian Presidential Election, According to Central Election Commission

Vladimir Putin has secured his fifth term as the president of Russia, achieving a historic victory, according to the Central Election Commission of Russia. This victory comes after an election where Putin faced no significant competition and where there was a noticeable suppression of free speech.

The final tally shows that Putin won 87.29% of the vote, as announced by Ella Pamfilova, the head of the Central Election Commission. This result marks Putin’s highest ever vote count, with nearly 76 million people supporting him.

Putin celebrated these results as a testament to the Russian people’s trust and hope in his leadership. Despite this, critics argue that the election’s outcome was predetermined. They point to the criminalization of dissent against Putin or his actions in Ukraine, the shutdown of independent media, and the death of Putin’s main political adversary, Alexei Navalny, in an Arctic prison last month. Many of Putin’s critics find themselves either imprisoned or in exile.

Germany and the United States have criticized the election, with Germany labeling it a “pseudo-election” and the U.S. stating it was “neither free nor fair.” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described Putin as being “sick with power,” and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron expressed on social media that the election did not reflect a free and fair process.

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s top foreign policy official, highlighted the shrinking political space in Russia. He noted an alarming rise in violations of civil and political rights, preventing many candidates from running. This, according to Borrell, deprived Russian voters of a genuine choice and limited their access to accurate information.

Despite the international criticism, Putin received congratulations from allies, including leaders from Cuba, North Korea, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

In a recent press conference, Putin reaffirmed his commitment to continue the invasion of Ukraine. He also claimed that Russia’s democracy was more legitimate than that of the U.S., where he alleged votes could be bought.

Callum Fraser, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute in London, suggested that a significant portion of Russian society is dissatisfied with Putin and the country’s current state. He estimated that Putin’s actual support within Russia might be around 55%. Fraser also noted that while there were some protests during the election, the most significant demonstrations against Putin’s rule occurred outside Russia, due to the severe crackdowns within the country.