Here’s an absolute shocker coming out of Russia this morning: Vladimir Putin has successfully won the Russian Presidential election.
We repeat: Shocker.
With over 70% of the vote counted across the vast expanses of the country, Putin has secured a fourth term as Russian President with a landslide margin of 75.9% of the vote.
That percentage is larger than his previous election margin-of-victory in 2012, where Putin scored a comparatively paltry 63.6% of the vote.
Putin’s re-election for another six-year term means he will have served as President of the country for 24 years by the time another election rolls around in 2024, by which time he will be 71-years-old.
It also means that, by then, Putin will have been the second longest-serving leader of the country, behind only Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
The only whiff of a challenge from competitors came from Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, who garnered a smidge over 11% of the vote.
None of the candidates who stood in this election were considered serious threats to Putin’s leadership, and opposition leader Alexei Navalny was barred from running against Putin. Normal stuff.
Despite this, those loyal to Big Boi Vlad have remarkably hailed the election as a vital success for Putin in his continued strong-armed stance against Western political rivals, and even went so far as to claim the election was evidence that the Russian people cannot be influenced by anyone.
Putin ally and Upper House speaker Valentina Matviyenko dropped this absolute barnburner of a quote in the wake of Putin’s re-election.
Our elections have proved once again… that it’s not possible to manipulate our people.
People came together. No other country in the world has such open and transparent elections.
No other country has such open and transparent elections. Of course.
It might absolutely floor you to hear that anti-Kremlin activists attending various balloting regions have reported extremely low voter turnouts – some as low as 29% – in regions that ordinarily report near-total voter attendance.
Anti-Kremlin activists – who have gone there in person – are reporting low turnouts in Grozny, Chechnya…where often the official turnouts are recorded at 99% https://t.co/0JpbJZPYlk
— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) March 18, 2018
Journalists and witnesses at multiple ballot stations have also reported and posted evidence of what appears to be quite obvious ballot stuffing, with voters either producing concealed stacks of ballots, or election officials handing ballots to people to lodge in ballot boxes.
УИК № 626 (г. Новокузнецк, ул. 40 лет ВЛКСМ, 112, СОШ №79, корпус 1)
— Штаб Навального в Новокузнецке (@teamnavalnynvkz) March 18, 2018
There’s also been widespread allegations of election officials and “goons” physically assaulting and intimidating people outside polling stations.
Russia’s Central Election Commission has stated it will investigate the claims of voter fraud, but you’d expect that to go about as smoothly as any appearance of a Fiat Uno in a Russian Dash Cams compilation video.