In what was always thought to be an obvious matter of fact, President of Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin has won the Presidential Election of 2018. The turnout reported by the Russian as well as neutral observers was 67%, and Putin managed to secure 74% of the casted votes. Both feats are better than the Presidential elections of 2012. The only significant opponent to contest the office against Putin was communist millionaire Pavel Grudinin, who received about 12% votes.
This victory means that Vladimir Putin has secured the presidency for another 6 years. He has been serving at the top executive positions of the country since 1999. The win marks his third term as the President, where he was elected with the nomination from United Russia, ruling political party, for his second term 2012-18. However, this time he won as a nonpartisan, repeating what he did in 2002 elections.
Fair Russian Elections?
Russian presidential elections, unlike United States, are decided by the popular vote. It is a two step process; if not a single one of the contestants manages to secure more than 50% of votes. In the second phase, the leading two candidates go through the process of voting once again, one who gets the simple majority wins this time. Though it might seem transparent with Central Election Commission of Russia broadcasting live video stream from the polling booths, the election are still seen with incredulity by the experts.
For instance, anti-corruption activist and main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny was barred from running by the CEC due to his conviction in a fraud case. During the electoral process, some videos surfaced on the twitter which depicted the organized efforts in pre-ballot rigging. But the final verdict of Central Election Commission of Russia has termed the elections to be fair with no evidence of “major irregularity or rigging”, confirming President-elect Vladimir Putin’s stay in the office till 2024.
Read more:Putin wins again
“With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility”
In 2017, CNN titled President Putin as “The Most Powerful Man in the World”, because of the supremacy it has to decide the course of Russian domestic and international politics. US president might be the head of the most powerful state in the world, but he is constrained by law of the country in many domains. Contrary to this, President Putin is “all in all” when it comes to authority. This might be his last term as he indicated by laughing off a question by a reporter that will he be running for the chair again after six years?
“What you are saying is a bit funny. Do you think that I will stay here until I’m 100 years old? No!” he said. It is important to keep in mind here that he believes the collapse of Soviet Union as the biggest tragedy of the 20th century. He has always held the notion of returning his country to the glory it possessed in the past and enjoyed astonishing approval ratings from his people subsequently.
Under his presidency, the crumbling Russian economy has done a better job but still there is a long way to go ahead. The poverty in the country is affecting more than 20 million people at the moment, which will surely be one of the biggest challenges ahead for the president-elect. After the collapse of Soviet Union followed by the corrupt and impotent regimes, Russia went partially dormant as far as the global affairs were concerned. For almost two decades, United States solely drove the statecraft all over the world till 2012 when under President Putin, Russia started to flex its muscles again.
And at the end of his second term, now in 2018, Russia has consolidated its influence in Syria by its military might and in Afghanistan and Korean Peninsula by its effective diplomacy. It is expected that President Putin is going to cash the massive approval numbers he got in the 2018 presidential elections into more audacious and extensive decisions. He has been effectively putting a question mark over unipolarity of the world order in last few years.
Russia is one of the top weapon suppliers in the world and with big guns, comes big influence. President Putin’s next 6 years in the office are not only going be significant for the Russia as country but also in the matter of share it will be asking in the issues relating to global and regional affairs.