May 19, 2024

Russian President Vladimir Putin could receive 82% of the vote in the upcoming election, according to pollsters loyal to the Kremlin on Monday.

Russians are due to head to the polls for a presidential election that concludes on Sunday, with Putin seeking a further six-year term.

His election is seen as a foregone conclusion in the absence of any serious challenger, but the authorities are doing their utmost to present the poll as convincing.

Three rival candidates, who either openly support Putin or who follow the Kremlin’s line, are seen as having no chance, with between 5% and 6% of the vote each, according to the survey of eligible voters by opinion research institute VCIOM.

The central election commission did not authorize any opposing candidates to run in the election that is scheduled for Friday to Sunday.

Russia’s opinion polls are a key instrument for the government to assess the effectiveness of Kremlin propaganda, for example in state media.

Kremlin-controlled state television, mainly viewed by elderly Russians in rural areas, portrays Putin as having no alternative.

Putin, who has held power for almost a quarter of a century and who launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, claims the election is a vote on “Russia’s future.”

He frames the Ukraine war as a fight against Western hegemony, which resonates with many Russians.

If Putin receives more than 80% of the vote, it would be his best result in a presidential election, and could be interpreted as an indication of the confidence of the governing powers.

In the 2018 elections, he received 76.7% of the vote with a turnout of 67.5%.

The electoral commission puts the number of eligible voters in Russia at 112 million. A further 2 million Russians live abroad.

The team that worked for dissident Alexei Navalny, who died in prison last month, has called for a protest vote on Sunday. They have called on Putin’s opponents to turn up at polling stations exactly at noon to show that they are against the Russian president.

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