Putin Claims Landslide Victory in Russian Election, Criticizes US Democracy

 Vladimir Putin secured his fifth term as president with an overwhelming victory, but the election faced criticism for lacking genuine competition and transparency.

Despite election officials declaring Putin's victory with over 87% of the vote, the absence of credible opposition candidates underscored the controlled nature of the process.

Protests organized by supporters of the late Putin critic Alexei Navalny, such as the "Noon against Putin" initiative, highlighted dissent but had little impact on the outcome.

Symbolic protests led to the arrest of at least 80 individuals, yet no significant disruptions occurred at polling stations compared to previous incidents.

International condemnation followed, with Germany condemning the "pseudo-election" under an authoritarian regime and the UK denouncing the holding of elections on Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine's President Zelensky labeled the election a simulation, echoing criticisms of Western leaders and Navalny's allies.

The official turnout exceeded 74%, aided by extended voting periods in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine.

State-controlled media portrayed Putin's victory as a resounding endorsement, emphasizing unity and defiance against Western criticism.

Putin defended the election process, citing Russia's advanced use of online voting compared to the US, while downplaying concerns over transparency and objectivity.

Despite independent watchdog Golos being barred from observing, reports of irregularities surfaced, including pressure on public sector employees to vote.

Putin acknowledged the opposition's role in boosting voter turnout but condemned those who spoiled their ballots.

He made a rare reference to Navalny, confirming discussions about a potential prisoner exchange with the West, but denied involvement in Navalny's death.

Navalny's widow and supporters participated in protest voting, queuing for hours to cast ballots, symbolizing solidarity and defiance.

The election showcased Putin's dominance amid a heavily controlled political landscape, where genuine challengers have been marginalized or silenced, leaving voters with limited alternatives.

Source : BBC

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