Monday Briefing

President Vladimir Putin said the election results reflected “internal consolidation” that would allow Russia to “act effectively at the front line” in Ukraine.Credit…Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Putin won a rubber-stamp election

President Vladimir Putin yesterday extended his rule over Russia until 2030, using a heavily stage-managed election with no real opposition to claim overwhelming public support for his domestic dominance and his invasion of Ukraine.

Western governments condemned the election, and some Russians tried to turn the vote into a protest by forming long lines at polling stations at noon. Ukraine sought to cast its own vote of sorts, firing a volley of exploding drones at Moscow and other targets.

But the Kremlin brushed those challenges aside and released results claiming that Putin had won 87 percent of the vote, an even higher number than in the four previous elections in which he ran.

In a news conference after the voting, Putin commented for the first time on the death of the imprisoned opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, calling it an “unfortunate incident.” (Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, waited in line for hours to vote in Berlin.)

The extent of the public’s true support for Putin was hard to judge, with opposition candidates barred from running — the three other candidates on the ballot didn’t criticize Mr. Putin — and the work of independent poll observers reduced to its lowest level since the days of the Soviet Union.

Putin is set to use his new six-year term to further cement his control of Russian politics and to press on with the war in Ukraine. If he finishes the term, he will become the longest-serving Russian leader since Catherine the Great in the 1700s.

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