2024 Russian Presidential Elections

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Since Friday, Russians have been called upon to vote for Putin in the presidential elections. However, although the final result of the second round is scheduled for 7 May 2024, there was little doubt that Vladimir Putin will emerge victorious and remain in power for another 6 years.  

Around 110 million Russians were expected to go to the polls this weekend, with an estimated turnout of around 74%, 6.5 percentage points higher than in the 2018 elections.  

Also, for the first time in a presidential election, an online voting system has been introduced, although it has been criticised for its lack of transparency. Moreover, the Kremlin set up voting facilities in the occupied territories of Ukraine, encouraging votes with armed men.  

 

This “election” is also obviously being criticised for the absence of any resemblance to democracy and consequently, for the lack of opposition to the outgoing president, as the main critics of Putin have either been arrested or are in exile outside the country. The 3 other candidates all belong to political parties close to the Kremlin.  

The latter are : 

  • Nikolai Kharitonov, 75, official candidate of the Communist Party (Russia’s second most popular party), won 13% of the vote in the 2004 presidential election. He is in favour of the war in Ukraine. 
  • Vladislav Davankov, 40, is the Deputy Chairman of the State Duma. Considers himself a liberal person, concerning the war in Ukraine says “Peace and talks. But on our terms and with no roll-back”.  
  • Leonid Slutsky, 56, is the leader of the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. He also supports the war in Ukraine and shows himself very anti-western on Russian state TV.  

Consequences

 

It was not a spoiler to declare Putin the winner of this “election” in advance, having emerged triumphant in 2000, 2004, 2012, and 2018 with 77% of the vote in the last. Today, estimates are approaching 88% for these elections, a victory that would put him in charge of the country for three full decades since 2000, whether as President or Prime Minister.  

We might therefore ask what the repercussions of this election might be on the political and international scene.  

 

According to Bryn Rosenfeld, professor at Cornell University “Russia’s presidential election is not so important as what will come after. Putin has often postponed unpopular moves until after elections”, citing for example the unpopular pension reform announced by the Kremlin 3 months after the 2018 election.  

 

Today, we can expect a new wave of mobilisation. A measure that is hugely unpopular with the population, still shocked by the wave of September 2022 that resulted in numerous demonstrations and fleeing the country to avoid conscription. 

This measure could therefore reduce public support for the war in Ukraine, so it would make sense to wait until re-election before implementing anything. 

 

There are other concerns about the situation in Moldova because, since the start of the invasion, the country has been in the grip of several crises, particularly with the separatist region of Transnistria, where many Russian soldiers are now stationed for “diplomatic” protection. According to Christain Cantir, a Moldovan professor of international relations, these current conditions potentially give “a lot of room for escalation”. Therefore, Russia will have a strong interest in getting involved in this region, not only because of the country’s instability but also because of Transnistria’s geographical proximity to Odesa, a port city of vital importance to Ukraine.  

REFERENCES : 

Butler, A. and Gregory , A. (2024). Russia elections: Everything to know about polls that will hand Putin fifth term. [online] The Independent. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russian-elections-2024-voting-candidates-putin-b2513681.html

Gozzi, L. and Scarr, F. (2024). What Russians are being told about Putin’s re-election. www.bbc.com. [online] 15 Mar. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-68505228

Heintz, J. (2024). The drama in Russia’s election is all about what Putin will do with another 6 years in power. [online] AP News. Available at: https://apnews.com/article/putin-russia-election-ukraine-war-crackdown-f7ad48f31c83a5241526b0f62425405d

Shevchenko, V. (2024). Occupied Ukraine encouraged to vote in Russian election by armed men. www.bbc.com. [online] 13 Mar. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-68535301

Arno Beaume
WRITTEN BY

Arno Beaume

I have a keen interest in the areas of international relations and the foreign policies of great powers, with a particular emphasis concerning international diplomatic negotiations and conflict resolution. I also have a daily habit of keeping up with world news for the past few years, making it a natural choice for me to delve into writing about these global events.

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