By Aishwarya Rai, International News Editor
On Sunday, March 18, Vladimir Putin won Russia’s presidential election with a projected 73.9% of the vote. He has gained another six years in this fourth term as president. Alexei Navalny, an opposition leader considered to be Putin’s “fiercest opponent” was barred from the race on December 30 by the Russian Central Election Commission since he was serving a suspended prison sentence. He was arrested after calling thousands to rally against Russia’s election system claiming that the people should not “recognize elections without competition.”
Putin addressed thousands of people at Moscow’s Manezhnaya Square near the Kremlin. He has been in Russian politics for 18 years and has been the country’s longest-serving leader since Joseph Stalin. When his term ends in 2024, he will be 71 years old and therefore obligated to step down. However, as opposed to expectations, he hasn’t shown a potential successor, quite like China’s President Xi Jinping who recently altered China’s constitution to make his term indefinite.
This has been the first presidential vote on the Crimean peninsula since it was annexed in 2014 from Ukraine. Putin has been criticized for making the politics in Russia extremely un-competitive. Critics include the Kremlin’s control over the media, quieting the opposition, and restricting electoral devices as reasons for the elections being unfair.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 20th print edition.
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