Published On: Fri, Mar 15th, 2024

Russian elections LIVE: Putin runs for new term as president cracks down on opponents | World | News

The Russian elections have got underway today, as voters have headed to the polls in what is widely understood to be a sham affair. The election unfolds amid a harsh crackdown on dissent, with independent media and rights groups stifled, consolidating Vladimir Putin’s grip on power.

This comes as Russia‘s conflict in Ukraine enters its third year, with Moscow holding the upper hand on the battlefield despite facing challenges such as long-range drone attacks and high-tech assaults on its Black Sea fleet.

Spanning 11 time zones, voters across Russia and even in illegally annexed regions of Ukraine are casting their ballots until Sunday, with online voting introduced for the first time, drawing over 200,000 voters in Moscow alone.

With Putin, 71, seeking his fifth term and facing minimal opposition due to political opponents jailed or exiled, the election lacks suspense. The ballot features low-profile candidates from token opposition parties aligned with the Kremlin.

Independent observers express scepticism about the fairness of the election, citing limited choices for voters and constrained monitoring opportunities.

Only registered candidates or state-affiliated groups can assign observers to polling stations, impeding independent oversight across nearly 100,000 locations nationwide.


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