Vladimir Putin won for the fourth consecutive time the Russian presidential elections, ensuring a fourth term. He received nearly 77 pct of the vote, the highest percentage ever, demonstrating that he has the support of his people and the green light to pursue his nationalist policies for at least another 6 years.
On Monday, with 99,8 pct of the votes tallied, the results were released showing Putin’s seven opponents trailing far behind and thus posing no threat. It is noteworthy, that the second candidate, communist Pavel Grudinin, received only 11,8 pct. Putin’s most serious rival, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race.
According to an official statement by the electorate commission turnout reached 67 pct, but the figure was immediately put into question due to the images circulating on the internet showing ballot staffing and rumours that workers were being coerced to cast their vote.
The election renewed Putin’s confidence to stand up to the West, amid escalating Cold War-like tensions, with accusations that Moscow was behind the nerve-agent poisoning this month of a former Russian double agent in Britain and that its internet trolls had waged an extensive campaign to undermine the 2016 US presidential election.
In the end, these accusations strengthened Putin’s image as the defender against a hostile outside world, painting him to be the embodiment of Russia’s resurgent power on the world stage.
Putin’s electoral power has centered on stability, a quality cherished by Russians after the chaotic breakup of the Soviet Union. But that stability has been bolstered by a suppression of dissent, the withering of independent media and the top-down control of politics called “managed democracy”.
Over the next six years, Putin is expected to re-assert Russia’s power ever more broadly, especially following his announcement that Russia has developed advanced nuclear weapons capable of evading missile defenses.