Moscow has claimed that the results of this weekend’s presidential election demonstrate that, more than two years after the invasion of Ukraine, Russians have united behind Putin.

News Updates From Russian Politics : At a performance on Red Square on Monday, President Vladimir Putin celebrated the “return” to Russia of annexated Ukrainian areas, following his victory in an election that Western nations had denounced as fraudulent.
Over 87 percent of voters cast ballots in the three-day election, which took place in areas of Ukraine seized by Russian forces.
Moscow has claimed that the results of this weekend’s presidential election demonstrate that, more than two years after the invasion of Ukraine, Russians have united behind Putin.

It is widely anticipated that Putin’s win will strengthen his hold on power in Russia, where criticism is being met with relentlessly escalating persecution.
Having assumed office on December 31, 1999, he is currently on track to become the most tenured Russian president in over 200 years.
“With each other’s help, we’ll advance, which will only strengthen us. Russia, long live!” At a musical event celebrating ten years since Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, Putin addressed the audience.

Putin boasted that sections of Ukraine that Russian forces had taken had “declared their desire to return to their native family” and pointed to a newly constructed rail link in those areas.

He hosted the three opposition candidates at a meeting at the Kremlin, where they all congratulated him, and he later appeared at the performance with them.
Putin’s win, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, demonstrated that Russians were uniting “around his path,” calling it “an exceptionally perfect result.”
Voting took place a month after the death of Putin’s primary opponent, Alexei Navalny, in prison. All of the 71-year-old’s main opponents are either dead, in prison, or living in exile.

Out of a sense of patriotism, the authorities had urged Russians to vote.

“Vladimir Vladimirovich is the basis of our nation,” declared 23-year-old Viktoria, an IT employee at a state-run business, on her way to the Red Square performance.
The 64-year-old economist Elena stated that she did not find the outcome surprising “because I think that any citizen who respects our country voted for Putin”.

Spoilers for the ballot to be “dealt with”

Under Ukrainian bombing and with tainted votes, the three-day vote—which was also conducted in seized Ukraine—was botched.
Numerous individuals heeded the opposition’s appeal to boycott the election by assembling in lengthy lines at polling places, both within and beyond Russia.
In Berlin on Sunday, Yulia Navalnaya—who has promised to carry on her late husband Alexei’s work—formed a long line and declared that she had put his name on her ballot.

Moscow rejected the opposition on Monday and had cautioned Russians not to participate in the protests.

According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, “there are many people who… have completely broken away from the motherland.”
“Yulia Navalnaya, whom you mentioned, belongs to this group of people who lose their roots,” he continued.
Thousands of Russians left their country in the wake of the Ukraine offensive, and Moscow has consistently denounced them as traitors.

Green dye was also used to contaminate ballots, and there were multiple instances of voting booth fires.

Putin dismissed opposition rallies as having “no effect” on Sunday and issued a warning to Russians who spoiled their ballots, saying they “have to be dealt with”.

In addition, Putin mentioned Navalny’s name for the first time in public on Sunday, defying his long-standing custom of never calling his rival by name.
It was his first statement regarding Navalny’s death on February 16th while he was incarcerated.
Putin confirmed claims made by Navalny’s team, saying he had given the go-ahead for a prisoner exchange program that included Navalny for Russians detained in Western countries.

“I agreed on one condition: for us to exchange him and for him not to return,” Putin stated.
Days later, he said, Navalny passed away.

“However, this occurs. Regarding it, there is nothing you can do. That is existence.”
He did not explain Navalny’s death.
According to Navalny’s crew, he was slain the night before a prisoner swap.

Putin’s adversary Navalny is the most recent to pass away under suspicious circumstances.

 Following the vote, Putin allegedly spoke by phone with his former Soviet allies in Central Asia, Belarus, and Azerbaijan, according to the Kremlin.
According to Russian official media, he also received congratulations from China, North Korea, Venezuela, and Myanmar.
However, unlike the four elections Putin has won since 2000, the outcome elicited harsh reactions from Western leaders.

According to EU foreign minister Josep Borrell, “repression and intimidation have been the basis of this election.”

The UK denounced the vote as unjust as well.
“Putin eliminates his rivals in politics, seizes control of the media, and declares victory. In a statement, British Foreign Minister David Cameron remarked, “This is not democracy.”

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