Putin claims landslide victory in Russian presidential election despite worldwide protests



Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed a landslide victory in this weekend’s presidential election, the country’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has announced.

According to CEC data, Putin gained 87.29% of the vote in his highest-ever result, with the reported turnout of 77.44% also representing the highest ever for a Russian presidential election.

None of the politicians standing against Putin, widely regarded as Kremlin-approved “systemic opposition” candidates, gained more than 5% of the vote. The Communist Party’s Nikolay Kharitonov claimed second place with 4.30%, followed by Vladislav Davankov of the centre-right New People party in third with 3.84% and the far-right Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia’s Leonid Slutsky in fourth with 3.21%.

Putin’s widely expected victory now gives him a mandate to rule for a fifth term in office until 2030, which would see him overtake Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin as the longest-serving Kremlin ruler.

In a press conference at his campaign headquarters on Sunday evening, Putin brushed off Western criticism of the election as “expected” and claimed its results would help him build a “strong, independent Russia”.

He also spoke the name of the late opposition leader Alexey Navalny for the first time, saying that Navalny’s death was a “sad event” but that it was not the only case of an individual passing away in prison. Putin claimed that he had agreed to a prisoner swap involving Navalny shortly before his death “on one condition: we exchange him and he doesn’t come back [to Russia]”.

Human rights group OVD-Info reported that 87 people had been arrested in relation to the election in 22 Russian cities on Sunday. Long queues of voters formed at polling stations across Russia and worldwide from midday on Sunday onwards as thousands of Russians expressed their opposition to the regime in the Navalny-inspired Noon Against Putin protest.

Editor in chief — Kirill Martynov. Terms of use. Privacy policy.