Putin poised to win Russian presidential election by a landslide | Vladimir Putin News

Early results show Putin winning some 87 percent of the vote, the highest-ever result in Russia’s post-Soviet history.

President Vladimir Putin is set to win a record post-Soviet landslide victory in Russia’s election, cementing his grip on power, despite a large number of opponents staging a noon protest at polling stations.

Shortly after the last polls closed on Sunday, early returns pointed to the conclusion everyone expected: that Putin would extend his nearly quarter-century rule for six more years.

According to Russia’s Central Election Commission, he had some 87 percent of the vote with about 60 percent of precincts counted. The result means Putin, 71, will overtake Josef Stalin and become Russia’s longest-serving leader in more than 200 years.

Communist candidate Nikolai Kharitonov came second with just under 4 percent, newcomer Vladislav Davankov third and ultra-nationalist Leonid Slutsky fourth, early results suggested.

Nationwide turnout was 74.22 percent when polls closed, election officials said, surpassing 2018 levels of 67.5 percent.

For Putin, a former KGB lieutenant colonel who first rose to power in 1999, the result is intended to underscore to the West that its leaders will have to reckon with an emboldened Russia, whether in war or in peace, for many more years to come.

The United States said the vote was neither free nor fair.

“The elections are obviously not free nor fair given how Mr. Putin has imprisoned political opponents and prevented others from running against him,” said the White House’s National Security Council spokesperson.

In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “this election fraud has no legitimacy and cannot have any”.

The election came more than two years after Putin’s February 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Europe’s deadliest conflict since World War II.

On Sunday, thousands of Putin’s opponents staged a protest against him, although there was no independent tally of how many of Russia’s 114 million voters took part in the demonstrations.

Supporters of Putin’s most prominent opponent, Alexey Navalny, who died in an Arctic prison last month, had called on Russians to come out to a “Noon against Putin” protest.

Putin was first nominated as acting president when former Russian President Boris Yeltsin resigned. He then won his first presidential election in March 2000 and a second term in 2004.

After two stints as president, Putin switched back to being prime minister in 2008 to circumvent a constitutional ban on holding more than two consecutive terms as head of state.

But he returned to the presidency in 2012 and won a fourth term in 2018.

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