Why we must pay attention to Russia’s election

Vladimir Putin’s victory is certain, but the ‘menu of manipulation’ to ensure it will reveal much about the state of his regime, write Ben Noble and Nikolai Petrov.

The World Today Published 1 December 2023 Updated 30 November 2023 3 minute READ

Russia’s next presidential election will take place in March 2024. Although at the time of writing Vladimir Putin has not formally declared his candidacy, he is widely expected to run – and win by a wide margin.

The certainty of Putin’s re-election calls into question for many the very terminology of ‘elections’ – of ‘competition’, ‘running’ and ‘winning’. The Kremlin has made the playing field unlevel in so many ways over so many years that the language of a presidential ‘coronation’ might be more appropriate.

Indeed, Dmitry Peskov – Putin’s press secretary – admitted to the New York Times that the ‘presidential election is not really democracy, it is costly bureaucracy’, with Putin to be ‘re-elected next year with more than 90 per cent of the vote’. Russian society has, according to Peskov, consolidated itself so firmly around Putin that the outcome is beyond doubt, making the election itself theoretically obsolete, even though it will go ahead.

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