Russian President Vladamir Putin has secured his grip on power in the world’s largest nation for another six years. Exit polls run by the Russian state have suggested the 65-year-old secured 73.9% of the vote, a margin higher than his previous election victories.
He won his fourth term against weak opposition candidates after the main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race. He was charged with embezzlement, an allegation he claimed was manufactured by the Kremlin.
The pseudo-democracy that is the Russian electoral system requires candidates to be approved by the electoral commision which is controlled by the government. Pavel Grudinin is expected to take second place with just over 11% of the vote. The communist millionaire joined a line-up that included a former tv host and a long-term Russian nationalist.
The vote was the first in the annexed province of Crimea. The peninsula has been controlled by Russia since 2014. Russians living in Ukraine were barred from taking part in the vote as diplomatic relations between the two nations have not been restored since the violent altercations four years ago.
The election is marred on the world stage by allegations that the Russian state attempted to assassinate a former double agent in Salsbury. It is thought that the order came from the upper echelons of government and possibly Putin himself; the man who at the end of this newest term will have served as long as dictator Joseph Stalin.
Sunday’s election saw a turnout of just over 60%, another victory for the Putin camp who hoped a large turnout would secure them a large mandate. Some shops were offering heavy discounts and even free food in some cases in order to get people to the polls.
Recordings made at polling stations in a number of cities show irregularities such as officials stuffing ballot boxes.
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