Friday Briefing

Moving voting machines in Moscow this week. Credit…Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

Why Russia’s election matters

Russians will begin voting for president today, but there is no suspense about the result: Vladimir Putin, 71, is certain to claim an overwhelming victory.

The election, which will take place over three days, is being held as the war in Ukraine rages on and the Russian opposition tries to turn grief over the death of their movement’s leader, Aleksei Navalny, into momentum against Putin. The three other candidates on the ballot do not pose a challenge.

Since he was first appointed in 2000, Putin has consolidated power and changed the Constitution to extend his rule. If Putin lasts two more terms, until 2036, he would surpass the 29-year rule of Joseph Stalin.

“This election is a ritual,” Anton Troianovski, our Moscow bureau chief, told my colleague Amelia Nierenberg. “It’s a very important ritual to the functioning of Putin’s state and system of power. But you also shouldn’t expect it to change all that much.”

Here’s more from her conversation with Anton.

What is Russia trying to accomplish with this election?

Anton: The goal is to bestow a new degree of public legitimacy on Putin for his fifth term — and, very importantly, to portray Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as having overwhelming public support.

Related Articles

Back to top button