Vladimir Putin Wins Another 6-Year Term by a Landslide

ON 03/18/2024 AT 03 : 28 AM

The current President of the Russian Federation will stay in charge until at least 2030.
Vlad the Putin
Image: Donkey Hotey

In a result which could have been declared final a week ago because of the lack of any allowed viable competition, Vladimir Putin was declared the overwhelming victor by the nation’s Central Election Commission in this weekend’s presidential election.

The Commission said Putin had won 87% of the votes after 75% of those submitted had been counted. Voting began on March 15 and continued through March 17.

The voting was as uneventful as it was preordained.

Three other candidates were running against Putin for president. But they had been approved by the Kremlin to appear on the ballots because they mostly agreed with Putin on key positions, were little known across the country, and posed no real threat to Putin’s reelection.

Yekaterina Duntsova and Boris Nadezhdin, two candidates which might have carved out a few percentage points each because they had campaigned on platforms calling for an end to the war in Ukraine, were not allowed to run. They would not have won enough votes to make a difference but could have provided a basis for large nationwide protests within the country during the election period.

The only protests of note which happened during the election period were at queues lined up in multiple polling stations in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg. The protests were small, in the tens typically, and rapidly disbursed by local police.

As to if Putin had artificially pumped up his ballot count in his favor, some people noted the presence of Russian troops forcing some people to vote even if they did not want to, but so far, no evidence has appeared to back that up. Of more serious concern regarding the appearance of fairness in the votes was the availability of an online means of voting where people in 27 regions within Russia, plus two in occupied territories in eastern Ukraine. The computer-based systems may have added convenience but those who had seen it say there was no way to prove either that the people who allegedly voted on the digital ballots actually cast those votes, or even that their votes had been counted.

In the last weeks before the election, Kremlin officials spent an estimated over $1.3 billion on a multi-level propaganda blast promoting Putin for the win. They also ran an aggressive campaign convincing employees of the state to get out and vote for Putin.

While Putin does enjoy widespread support among Russians, the election was a fraudulent and entirely undemocratic affair. There is not enough of an opposition in Russia to effectively contest his continued power. Anyone who surfaces that could provide an alternative to Putin is always neutralized with imprisonment or assassination.

In his acceptance speech, Putin thanked his people for the “hope” and “trust” they had placed with him.

With a dig to the outside, dictator Putin then delivered a message for all nations which might choose to challenge his leadership.

“I think it has become clear to everyone, whoever and however someone wants to intimidate us, whoever and however someone wants to suppress our will, our consciousness, no one has…, as I have already said, [ever] succeeded … in history,” he said. “They have not succeeded now and will not in the future.”

To some, Putin seems to serve Mother Russia rather well. He brought the country out of the collapse of the Soviet Union and managed to retain his nation's independence in defiance of foreign enemies intent on gaining control of Russia's natural resource wealth. Russia not only survived the sanctions of the west but has thrived. He has managed to go toe-to-toe against NATO in the war in Ukraine and generally prevailed. He has formed strong alliances with numerous nations.

Many Russians admire Putin, his strength and statesmanship. 

To others, Putin has cheated Russia of the democracy and rule-of-law that was promised to them after the fall of communism. The nation's wealth has been looted by oligarchs and now the country may be on the brink of a nuclear war with NATO. Censorship, surveillance and government oppression is returning the country to the bad old days of totalitarianism.

Many Russians despise Putin for not granting them a prosperous western style democracy.

Because Russians have never really experienced democracy, the country is so vast and diverse with countless aspiring oligarchs and is a target of predatory western oligarchs, it may require a strong and skilled ruler who deeply understands Russian culture and the reality of foreign relations, to keep Russia whole.

Russia may need six more years of Putin before it can transition to democracy. The rest of the world may need a Putin to continue to defy the dark powers of the west and elevate BRICS and other international institutions not under U.S. control.