Insights on Russias Presidential Election: Putins Path to Power

Russia is currently in the midst of a highly controversial presidential election that is expected to solidify Vladimir Putin’s hold on power for potentially another two decades. The majority of votes will be cast from March 15-17, with early and postal voting already underway.

This election, seen as more of a constitutional exercise rather than a democratic process, has no real prospects of removing Putin from power. The only anti-war candidate and prominent opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has been barred from standing, raising questions about the fairness and legitimacy of the election.

Notably, voting is also taking place in occupied parts of Ukraine, further complicating the political landscape. Putin, who has been in power for much of the 21st century, could potentially remain in office until 2036.

Although the popular opinion of Putin in Russia is hard to gauge, his approval rating is reported to be over 80%. He is facing three nominal challengers in the election, all of whom are seen as pro-Kremlin and are unlikely to pose a serious threat to his reign.

The election is not considered free or fair by outsiders and independent bodies, who view it as a mere formality. Freedom House has noted numerous abuses of incumbency and irregularities during the vote count, further casting doubts on the legitimacy of the process.

The recent death of Navalny before the election has highlighted the control that Putin exerts over Russian politics. Navalny’s widow has urged the EU not to recognize the election, calling it fake. In response, Navalny’s supporters are planning protest actions during the election period, including writing Navalny’s name on ballots and standing at polling stations in defiance of the authorities.

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