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Presidential election: Putin tells Russians to vote and not “deviate from the path”

Vladimir Putin calledé Thursday the Russians à not to "turn from the path" that he fixed and &agrav; vote à the presidential election of March 15-17, a vote intended for &agrav; re-elected it triumphantly in the absence of any opposition and in the midst of an assault on Ukraine.

The Russian president, at the helm of the country for 24 years, considered it “critical not to deviate from the path” and to vote to express “a civil and patriotic position”.

“We must confirm our unity and determination to move forward,” added Mr. Putin, who will face three candidates without stature.

The latter oppose neither the Ukrainian offensive nor the repression which has eradicated all forms of opposition, culminating in the death in prison of detractor number one from the Kremlin at the end of February, Alexeï Navalny.

Mr. Putin, who presents the conflict he is waging in his neighbor as a war against the West in which Russia is at stake for its survival, spoke of the “difficult times” that the Russians are experiencing, without detailing them.

“To continue to respond to these challenges in a dignified manner and to successfully overcome difficulties, we must continue to remain united and confident in ourselves”, judged the leader of the Kremlin.

The Russian economy, under international sanctions, has certainly recovered but it is focused on the war effort and the military industry, the Moscow's offensive having entered its third year when the Kremlin thought it could subdue Ukraine in a few days or weeks.

Presidential election: Putin tells Russians to vote and not “deviate from the path”

A screen shows Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Saint Petersburg, Russia on March 13, 2024. © AFP – Olga MALTSEVA

As for the front, Mr. Putin presents recent conquests, in particular the capture of the town of Avdiïvka in February, as proof that his “special military operation”, the euphemism imposed by the Kremlin, is on the right track despite significant losses, the extent of which Russia does not reveal.

Russian forces are on the offensive and are progressing step by step, particularly due to the running out of Western aid. But at the same time, more and more Russian regions are being attacked by Ukrainian drones.

– Call from Navalnaïa –

The presidential vote, which extends over three days, begins with the opening of polling stations in the Far East at 8:00 a.m. local Friday (8:00 p.m. GMT Thursday) and ends with the closing of those in Kaliningrad on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. GMT.

Presidential election: Putin tells Russians to vote and not “deviate from the path”

Chairman of the Russian Election Commission Ella Pamfilova at the opening of the Commission's information center ahead of the presidential election, in Moscow on March 14, 2024 © AFP – STRINGER

In the Ukrainian territories annexed by Russia, early voting has been underway since the end of February.

The Kremlin's detractors will not be able to not be heard. The only real opponent to have tried to run, Boris Nadejdine, saw his candidacy rejected by the authorities.

Furthermore, the opposition has been decimated by the exiles and imprisonments of its figures but also of its grassroots activists. And it has just lost its support with the death in prison of Alexeï Navalny at the age of 47.

The authorities spoke of a natural death, while the opponent's supporters and his relatives denounced an assassination.

Presidential election: Putin tells Russians to vote and not “deviate from the path”

A mobile office for early voting in the presidential election in Mariupol, in an area controlled by Russian forces in Ukraine, March 13, 2024 © AFP – STRINGER

Youlia Navalnaïa, his widow in exile who swore to continue her fight, therefore called on Russians to protest on the occasion of the presidential election by going to vote at noon on voting days for any which candidate except Putin.

Wives of Russian soldiers mobilized in Ukraine and who are demanding their return have joined this call.

There is, however, no doubt about the election of Mr. Putin. The vote must keep him in power until 2030. Following a constitutional reform, he will be able to run again and remain in power until 2036, the year he turns 84.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116