Fifth Term of Presidency: Vladimir Putin claims landslide victory at 2024 Russian Presidential Election

Putin wins 2024 Russian presidential election, longest-serving leader since Joseph Stalin, amid election fixation claims and controversial amendments. Kremlin approves moderate opposition candidates, subject to EU sanctions.

Fifth Term of Presidency: Vladimir Putin claims landslide victory at 2024 Russian Presidential Election
Source: Max Mishin. Pexels 2024.

12-04-2024

Innocenti Chiara

Human Rights and Europe Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defence.

In Moscow on March 21st, Vladimir Putin won the 2024 Russian presidential elections, securing the title of the longest serving leader since the Soviet Union dictator Joseph Stalin. After three days of tension and uncertainty among the international community, the outcome of the counting performed by the National Election Commission showed a landslide win by the same runner, giving rise to claims that the election was fixed, as well as to general misgivings over the lawfulness of the procedure.

 

According to many analysts, the result was already a lost cause during the run-up to the elections, and for others, since the very first call. The President, except for a four-year term which started in 2008 (spent in the doubtful role of Prime Minister following what looked more like a prearranged role swapping with the Russian politician Dmitry Medvedev), has been ruling the country since 2000. This time, however, he claims to secure the presidential post after receiving 87.28 percent of the votes and a turnout of 77.49 percent. Nonetheless, this “landslide victory” needs much more clarification and a more accurate contextualisation.

 

Running against him was a candidate accounting for moderate “systemic opposition” that, therefore, was supportive of and condoned by the system. The Kremlin had approved the candidacy of Vladislav Davankoy from the New People Party, Leonid Slutsky from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and Nikolay Kharitonov from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). In other words, all candidates who are subjected to the EU sanctions since the outset of the Ukraine-Russia war. On the flip side, those who opposed or did not explicitly express approval for the invasion were barred from standing. This was the case for Yekaterina Duntsova, a journalist who ran on an anti-war campaign and was therefore excluded at the first stage of the registration process due to “irregularities”. Similarly, Boris Nadezhdin, the nominee of the Civic Initiative party, publicly condemned the special military operation, and then, despite passing the first phase of the registration, was disqualified by the Commission for invalidation in the number of signatures.

 

It has been a while since the Kremlin started preparing this year’s ballot. From 2018 to 2023, there were eleven sweeping constitutional amendments, with the most controversial ratified in 2020. This amendment aimed to extend the duration of the presidential term from four years to six years and introduce a term-limit waiver that would allow Putin to remain in his presidency for two additional terms. This is a move that the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe dismissed in 2001 for being in contradiction with both domestic law and the international principles of the separation of powers, and that the Assembly of the Council of Europe designated as a proper shift marking the start of a “de facto dictatorship” within the Federation. At this point, with Moscow raging full-scale war in Ukraine and with a seasoned tsar on the podium that, for most analysts, will stay until 2036, several civil societies urge the international community as a whole not to recognise the elections as legitimate.

 

Bibliography

Caprile, A. (2024, March 15). Russia’s 2024 presidential election: what is at stake and what is not. European Parliament. Retrieved April 8, 2024, from

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2024/760358/EPRS_BRI(2024)760358_EN.pdf.

 

Edwards, C. (2024, March 18). Putin extends one-man rule in Russia after stage-managed election devoid of credible opposition. The CNN. Retrieved April 9, 2024, from https://edition.cnn.com/2024/03/17/europe/putin-wins-russia-presidential-election-intl/index.html.

 

Lyubarev, A. E., Andreychuk, S. (2024, January 17). Key Changes in Russian Presidential Election Law: 2018 vs. 2024. Golos. Retrieved April 9, 2024, from

 https://golosinfo.org/en/articles/146722.