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Putin’s Victory; What next?

Russian President Vladimir Putin wins election by clinching 87% votes, to continue his rule for another six years. Fresh win will extend his rule nearly to a quarter century. It is the longest tenure in power in Russia after Josef Stalin. According to amended Russian constitution, Putin has two more chances to run for the office of President. There was no real opposition for Putin to win this landslide victory. Election of Putin also mean a referendum to continuation of war against Ukraine.
Voting took place for three consecutive days between 15 and 17 March. In past elections were held on a single day.
It’s the first time multi-day voting has been used in a Russian presidential elections.
In the 2018 presidential vote, Putin got 76.7% vote. In 2024, Overall turnout has been above 70 %, raising another 10% popularity of Putin in Russia. The west may criticize the outcome of election but reality is Putin has taken Russia economically and militarily more stronger during his years in the most powerful office.
In a last ditch effort to disrupt Russian election,
Ukraine fired few missiles and also drone strikes and a series incursions into Russian territory. The Russian defence ministry reported 35 Ukrainian drone incursions, including four in the Moscow region and two in the neighbouring Kaluga and Yaroslavl regions. Massive protests at polling stations were also carried by anti-Putin groups but of no use. There have also been acts of protest including pouring dye into ballot boxes and arson attacks at polling stations. Russia’s governing party, United Russia, also admitted a form of cyberattack which paralyzed web traffic. Russia claimed to have traced some of IP addresses in Western Europe and North America behind this attack.
Russia alleged that, entire disruption in election was planned by west in collaboration with Kyiv to disrupt the election process. Russian officials say, Ukraine aims to attract more aid and weapons from the West by pleasing them through this disruption.
As Putin starts his new term in office, Russia faces many challenges. Global politics is already in awe in many regions of the world. But despite all odds Russian economy is thriving even in the face of stern Western sanctions. Key growth engine of Russia’s robust economy are huge energy reservoirs and military industries. Russia is key player for global energy. IMF has estimated that Russian economy is expected to grow 2.6% this year, compared with the 0.9% expansion in Europe. Inflation has a forecast at more than 7% but unemployment remains low. The successes in Ukraine, strong economy, huge energy resources and another term of Putin is nightmare for entire West.
Putin also aims to further his public support, by extending cheap mortgages subsidized by the government to help young families, particularly those with children. He has also promised to energize the booming construction sector.
He also pledged to pour more government funds into health care, education, science, culture and sports, while continuing efforts to eradicate poverty.
It is likely that Putin’s election victory will help cement existing alliances with China, India and countries of the Global South. In simple, Putin’s victory is indicative of more stress in geo-politics and no let up in Ukraine.
Dr Atique Ur Rehman