Putin Scores 6 More Years

(UnitedVoice.com)—Surprise! Vladimir Putin is still president of Russia after winning another election. Exit polls show it was a landslide victory in a race in which his government disqualified his only real competitor.

The presidential election took place from March 15-17 in Russia. Weeks before, the Central Election Commission disqualified Boris Nadezhdin from the race. He was an anti-war candidate who was seen as Putin’s only serious competition. As is the norm in Russia, when a serious candidate pops up, the government disqualifies, arrests, or allegedly kills them.

Nikolai Petrov, from the London think tank Chatham House, told POLITICO that the result of the latest election made Russia a “totally consolidated autocracy.”

With the serious competition out of the way, Putin allegedly won in a landslide. The Russian leader will now serve the country for another six years. According to reports, with 50% of the ballots counted, Putin had 87.3% of the vote. The turnout for the election was 73%.

The 71-year-old is the longest-serving Russian president since dictator Josef Stalin. He may beat that record. Stalin led the Soviet Union from 1924 until he died in 1953, a total of 29 years. Putin, born the year before Stalin’s death, served as president from 2000 to 2008 (8 years), and by the end of this term, he will have served another 18 years (2012-2030). If he wins one more election, he will beat Stalin’s record.

In a speech after learning the results, Putin stated that “nobody in history has ever” managed to suppress the will of the Russian people.

There were dozens of protesters at polling stations, where they reportedly poured paint into ballot boxes and set booths on fire. Many of the suspects were elderly women who were challenging Putin’s legitimacy. Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Alexei Navalny, Putin’s late opposition leader, joined the protests. She said she voted, but decided to write in her husband’s name.

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