Putin will once again run for the presidency of Russia in the 2024 elections

by time news

2023-12-08 17:29:19

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, announced this Friday that he will be a candidate for re-election in the presidential elections of March 2024 since, according to him, “there was no other option”, meaning he could remain in power at least until 2030.

Putin, 71, was first elected president of Russia in 2000 and has won four presidential elections. Between 2008 and 2012 he served as prime minister in a political system in which the opposition is almost non-existent, after years of repression.

The president made the announcement during a military awards ceremony in the Kremlin, which included combatants who participated in the offensive in Ukraine, which Putin launched in February 2022.

“I don’t hide it, I have had different positions at different times, but this is a moment in which a decision must be made,” he said on the sidelines of the ceremony.

“I will run for president,” Putin said. “Today there was no other option,” he added.

A participant in the ceremony, Artiom Zhoga, a fighter and member of the local Russian Parliament in Donetsk (an occupied city in eastern Ukraine), welcomed the news.

“We are very happy that the president has listened to our request and that it is presented,” Zhoga declared, quoted by the state news agency RIA Novosti. “Russia needs it.”

No opponents

In this race, Putin does not face any relevant opponent and, according to analysts, he is likely to seek to expand his power to hide internal differences over the offensive in Ukraine.

Five major parties have been authorized to present a candidate for the 2024 elections without collecting signatures, all of them supporters of the Kremlin and the operation in Ukraine.

Several human rights groups claim that previous elections were marred by irregularities and that independent observers will likely be prevented from working.

Putin’s new candidacy is possible thanks to a controversial constitutional reform processed in 2020.

Thanks to this amendment, Putin can run in 2024 and if he wins he can run for re-election in 2030, meaning he could remain in power until 2036, when he will be 84 years old.

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After a difficult 2022 marked by setbacks on the front and a string of Western sanctions, Russia is in a better situation due to the failure of Ukraine’s great counteroffensive in the summer, the erosion of US and European support for Kiev and the readjustment of the national economy.

Almost all high-profile opponents, including anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, have been jailed or forced into exile. Furthermore, any criticism of the operation against Ukraine is harshly punished in court.

“A parody”

Navalny is currently serving a 19-year prison sentence on charges his supporters claim are false.

In a statement issued by his team on Thursday, Navalny encouraged Russians to vote for “any other candidate” apart from Putin and called the election a “parody.”

Putin is a former Soviet KGB agent who entered politics as mayor of St. Petersburg. In 1999 he was appointed prime minister during the government of Boris Yeltsin, whom he then replaced as interim president until his first election in 2000.

He was in power for two terms until 2008 and then, since he was prohibited from running again, he took over as prime minister during the government of Dmitri Medvedev.

He then ran again for the head of state in 2012 and 2018 and in the decades he has been in power he has dismantled the democratic advances of the 1990s and defended nostalgia for the Soviet Union with a conservative twist.

Since coming to power, he has defended the search for greater geopolitical influence with the second Chechen war (1999-2009), the invasion of Georgia (2008), the intervention in Syria (2015) and the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. in 2014.

Russia’s offensive in Ukraine in 2022 made Putin a pariah among Western powers that imposed a wave of unprecedented sanctions aimed at cutting off funding for the military operation.

These restrictions fueled an exodus of Western companies and created disruption for the industry, but the economy showed resilience and Putin’s approval ratings have remained at high levels.

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