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Final Day of Russia’s Presidential Vote Begins

Final Day of Russia's Presidential Vote Begins

On Sunday, Russia commenced the final day of its presidential voting amidst accusations from Moscow, alleging Ukraine’s involvement in air attacks aimed at disrupting the election. These elections are widely anticipated to secure another six-year term for President Vladimir Putin. Official reports indicate that over half of Russian voters have already cast their ballots over the first two days of the three-day election period. The culmination of this voting cycle will serve as a test of the opposition’s strength, with calls for supporters to converge and vote simultaneously at noon under the banner of “Noon Against Putin.”


While sporadic protests have emerged during the election process, recent escalations in the conflict with Ukraine have cast a more significant shadow over the proceedings. Putin accused Kyiv of attempting to sabotage the election through intensified drone and missile attacks within Russian territories and on territories held by Moscow in Ukraine. He pledged retaliation against Ukraine in response to these alleged provocations. Reports from local Russian officials on Sunday indicated continued strikes by Kyiv’s forces on regions bordering Ukraine.

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In his nightly video address on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy did not directly reference the reported attacks but commended his military and intelligence for advancements in Ukrainian long-range capabilities. Kyiv views the election occurring in territories controlled by Russia as illegal and void. Military analysts interpret Kyiv’s ongoing assaults, primarily targeting energy and critical infrastructure, as an attempt to destabilize Russian sentiment and undermine Moscow’s war efforts.

The conflict in Ukraine has resulted in the deadliest violence in Europe since World War Two. However, none of the other three candidates on the ballot pose a credible challenge to the dominance of Putin, 71, in Russia’s political landscape. Supporters of Putin’s prominent opponent, the late Alexei Navalny, who died under suspicious circumstances in February, have called for nationwide participation in voting at noon on Sunday across all 11 time zones of the country.

The “Noon Against Putin” initiative, endorsed by Navalny’s widow Yulia Navalnaya, aims to provide a platform for expressing opposition within the legal framework of voting to mitigate the risk of arrest. Despite Kremlin warnings against participating in unauthorized gatherings, the initiative emphasizes civic responsibility and empowerment.

With over 114 million eligible voters, including in what Russia terms its “new territories” in four regions of Ukraine, where its forces maintain partial control, voter turnout has already exceeded 63 million by Saturday evening, according to the Russian Central Election Committee.