With New Six-Year Term, Putin Cements Hold on Russian Leadership

President Vladimir V. Putin on Sunday extended his rule over Russia until 2030, using a heavily stage-managed presidential election with no real competition to portray overwhelming public support for his domestic dominance and his invasion of Ukraine.

Some Russians tried to turn the undemocratic vote into a protest, forming long lines at polling stations at a predetermined time — noon — to register their discontent. At the same time, Ukraine sought to cast its own vote of sortsby firing a volley of exploding drones at Moscow and other targets.

But the Kremlin brushed those challenges aside and released results after the polls closed claiming that Mr. Putin had won 87 percent of the vote — an even higher number than in the four previous elections he participated in.

Afterward, Mr. Putin took a lengthy, televised victory lap, including a swaggering, after-midnight news conference at which he commented on the death of the imprisoned opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny for the first time, referring to it as an “unfortunate incident.”

Mr. Putin is now 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 sees the term through to its end, he will become the longest-serving Russian leader since Catherine the Great in the 1700s.

Western governments were quick to condemn the election as undemocratic. Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for President Biden’s National Security Council, said “the elections were obviously not free nor fair.”

Back to top button