Presidential elections in Russia today amid Ukraine war
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Presidential elections in Russia today amid Ukraine war

Presidential elections have started in Russia from today. This is the first time that elections will be held in Russia for three days instead of one day. Any Russian citizen above 18 years of age who is not serving a prison sentence in any criminal case can vote. The election results may be released by the night of March 17, Moscow time.

According to the New York Times, even before the elections, Putin is considered certain to become President again. Actually, Putin has been in power in Russia for the last 24 years. Most of Putin’s opponents are currently either in jail or the Election Commission has declared them ineligible for elections.

Putin can remain the President of Russia till 2036

Apart from this, Putin had made a law in the year 2021 under which he can remain the President of Russia till 2036. In fact, till the 2018 elections, no President in Russia could remain President for more than two consecutive terms. For this reason, after being the President from 2000 to 2008, Putin did not contest the presidential election in 2008.

After this, he again returned to power in Russia in 2012. However, Putin was the Prime Minister of Russia from 2008–12. According to the new law, Putin can contest elections even after completing two consecutive presidential terms.

Online voting will happen for the first time in Russia

According to the Election Commission of Russia, there are 11.23 crore voters in the country. These also include those who are citizens of Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory. Apart from this, about 19 lakh voters live outside the country. This time there will also be facility of online voting in Russia. This facility will be in 27 regions of Russia and Crimea. Crimea is the same region of Ukraine which was captured by Russia in 2014.

Apart from Russia, voting is taking place in Ukraine’s areas like Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson. These are the same places which were occupied by Russia after the beginning of the war against Ukraine in 2022. However, according to media reports, these areas are not completely under Russia’s control. Ukraine and Western countries have condemned holding the vote here. Early voting has already started in some areas.

Apart from Putin, there are 3 more candidates in the election

According to the documents of the Election Commission of Russia, Putin is contesting as an independent candidate. Apart from them, the names of Communist Party’s Nikolai Kharitonov, Liberal Democratic Party’s Leonid Slutsky and New People’s Party’s Vladislav Davankov are on the ballot paper.

All three political parties are considered Kremlin-backed parties. They are supporters of Putin’s policies and the war against Ukraine. Leonid is anti-American and has been accused of sexual exploitation. Whereas Vladislav has formed his party only in 2020, and this is his first election. In the 2018 elections, Putin got 76.7% votes, while the Communist Party got 11.8% votes.

Suspicious death of Putin’s biggest opponent Navalny 1 month before the elections
Alexei Navalny, considered Putin’s biggest opponent and rival in Russia, died in jail under suspicious circumstances on 16 February. Before the elections, he was continuously giving statements against Putin from jail. Navalny was sentenced to 19 years in prison in 2021. The special thing is that despite continuous pressure from Western countries, the reason for Navalny’s death has not been clarified yet.

Some of Russia’s largest opposition rallies in 2011–12 took place after parliamentary and presidential elections. During this period, allegations of rigging were made in the elections. After this, the Kremlin took major action against Russia’s opposition leaders. This time Russia is also conducting elections in those areas of Ukraine where it has occupied. In such a situation, the possibility of protests against the elections has increased.

Apart from this, Ukraine is constantly trying to free its areas from Russian occupation. After the elections, Putin’s hold on these areas may strengthen at the political level also. According to media reports, in such a situation, Ukraine can attack these areas to create obstacles in the elections.

Why are Russian elections important for Putin?

According to the New York Times, for Putin, these elections will strengthen his hold on Russian politics. Apart from this, the elections will also confirm that Russian citizens still trust Putin in terms of the country’s security and stability.

According to experts, the aim of the Ukraine war was to topple the government in Kiev as soon as possible. However, Russia could not do so and the Russian attack turned into a conflict. During this period, hundreds of people suffered the consequences. While on one hand Russia lost its soldiers during the Ukraine war, on the other hand the people of Russia also had to face problems due to the sanctions of western countries.

According to Russian political expert Nikolai Petrov, with the beginning of the third year of the war, the Kremlin’s aim is to show that public confidence in Putin has strengthened after the war.

How is the political system of Russia?

The Parliament of Russia, which is called the Federal Assembly, also has two parts like India. The upper house is called the Council of Federation and the lower house is called the State Duma. The post of President is the most powerful in Russia.

The role of the Prime Minister in India is with the President in Russia. The second most powerful person in the name of power is the Prime Minister, the third most powerful person is the Chairman of the Federal Council (Upper House).

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