Russia’s Presidential Elections Scheduled for March 18th

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Moscow Kremlin

The Kremlin, seat of the Russian Presidency/CC

It’s election season in Russia! The presidential elections will be held on March 18 next year. Russian President Vladimir Putin, favorite to win the ballot, is candidate for a fourth term.

The campaign was launched by the publication of a decree of the Council of the Federation in the official journal Rossiskaïa Gazeta.

This decree also confirmed the date of March 18 for the poll, in accordance with the decision taken Friday by the Council of the Federation.

March 18 will coincide with the fourth anniversary of the signing of Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula, two days after a referendum deemed illegal by Kiev and the West.

Vladimir Putin, who came to power in 2000, announced that he would run for a fourth term, which in case of victory would put him in charge of the country until 2024 and make him the longest-serving Russian leader after Joseph Stalin.

He said on Thursday that he was running as an “independent” candidate, not a candidate for the United Russia party and is counting on “broad support from his fellow citizens”.

According to a survey by the independent Levada institute released on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin, with no real competitor, is credited with 75% of voting intentions.

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His main opponent, Alexei Navalny, is unlikely to appear on the ballot because of convictions, including one for embezzlement, in cases he has denounced as fabricated.

According to the president of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova, 23 candidates have so far “expressed the wish to participate” in the presidential election.

We find among them the leaders of the Russian Communist Party and the far-right party LDPR, tolerated by the regime and sitting in Parliament where they represent only a factional opposition, or the liberal candidate Ksenia Sobchak, daughter of the former mentor of the Russian president turned opposition journalist.

None of them is credited with more than 10% of voting intentions, according to the Levada Center poll.

Andrei Santov

Andrei, a sociologist by profession, born in Russia but currently located in UK, covers mostly European and Russia-related news for The Talking Democrat.