Russia's election commission declares Putin victor of presidential election

Erika Holt
March 20, 2018

Let's look at her portrayal of electoral democracy in Russian Federation as "dishonest, non-competitive, unfree elections", by starting with a historical analysis of politics under President Vladimir Putin.

Putin is so certain of winning that authorities are investing instead in massive get-out-the-vote efforts to produce a turnout that would embolden the Russian leader both domestically and internationally.

Putin's victory will take his political dominance of Russian Federation to almost a quarter of a century, until 2024, by which time he will be 71.

Putin urged Russians on Friday to "use their right to choose the future for the great Russia that we all love".

Retired four-star Army general Barry McCaffrey issued a dire warning Friday, saying he has reached the conclusion that Trump poses a "serious threat to U.S. national security".

Ella Pamfilova, chairwoman of the Central Election Commission who was appointed to clean up Russia's electoral system, vowed to respond to complaints about being coerced to vote.

Some 145,000 observers were monitoring the voting in the world's largest country, including 1,500 foreigners and representatives from opposition leader Alexei Navalny's movement, and they and ordinary Russians reported hundreds of voting problems. Navalny himself is barred from running.

In a short speech to a throng of thousands of supporters near Red Square late Sunday, Putin hailed those who voted for him as a "big national team", adding that "we are bound for success".

Critics accuse him of overseeing a corrupt, authoritarian system and of illegally annexing Ukraine's Crimea in 2014, a move that isolated Russian Federation internationally. He also said if the British claim that they were poisoned by a Soviet-designed nerve agent were true, the victims would have died instantly.

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Putin is certain to win in Sunday's election, so voter apathy is widespread.

Navalny says in a video posted on YouTube that "on election day, one should usually want to say 'I voted, ' but in fact I'm here to say that I didn't go to vote".

Candidates are barred from campaigning on Saturday.

More than 1,500 global observers including the domestic observers are monitoring the election process closely to ensure free and fair elections as there was complains of ballot stuffing and fraud in the last presidential election in 2012.

When she hadn't voted by midday, "The chief of my unit called me and said I was the only one who hadn't voted", said the doctor, Yekaterina, who spoke on condition her last name not be used because she fears repercussions. Polls show that most Russians continue to see the takeover of that Black Sea peninsula as a major achievement despite subsequent Western sanctions.

And despite her criticism of President Putin and his government, Sobchak has come under criticism for allegedly working with the Kremlin to encourage a younger generation of voters to participate.

Putin's most notable opponent was 36-year-old TV star Ksenia Sobchak, who was the only candidate to openly criticise the president.

As US authorities investigate alleged Russian hacking and other interference in President Donald Trump's 2016 election, Russian authorities claimed that foreign powers are seeking to interfere in Sunday's vote.

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