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Russia Voter Turnout Exceeds 74 Percent

By Vusala Abbasova March 17, 2024


The Russian constitution was amended in 2020, extending the presidential term from four to six years and nullifying Putin's prior mandates. / Olga Maltseva / AFP/Getty Images

The overall turnout in Russia's presidential elections exceeded 74%, with online voter turnout on the federal platform surged to a staggering 90 percent of voters registered on the platform, according to reports from the online vote monitoring portal.

Approximately 4.2 million eligible voters across 28 Russian regions had cast their votes through the online platform by 10:00 am (Moscow time) on March 17. The notable turnout translates to a robust 91 percent participation rate on the federal electronic voting platform. Notably, residents of Moscow had the option to vote on the city’s dedicated platform without prior registration.

The election spanned three days, beginning Friday, and sees incumbent President Vladimir Putin seeking a historic fifth term. The other three candidates included the New People Party’s Vladislav Davankov, the Liberal-Democrat Party of Russia’s Leonid Slutsky and the Communist Party’s Nikolai Kharitonov.

Critics have voiced concerns over the extended duration of the elections, suggesting it could potentially facilitate ballot manipulation and fraud. This marks the first time presidential elections are being held in parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, and Kherson regions of Ukraine annexed by Russia.

The election comes just over two years since President Putin launched what he called a “special military operation” in Ukraine in February 2022.

The initial day of voting saw a notable surge in activity, with a turnout of 36.12 percent, as reported by the Central Election Commission. However, the day was not without its challenges, with reports emerging of incidents where individuals attempted to set fire to polling station buildings. Authorities detained at least 65 individuals at polling stations across 16 Russian cities on Sunday alone.

The Russian constitution was amended in 2020, extending the presidential term from four to six years and nullifying Putin's prior mandates. This modification paved the way for Putin’s candidacy, positioning him to potentially become Russia's longest-serving leader in over two centuries.

The elections come amid international scrutiny, particularly following the recent death of Alexei Navalny, a prominent critic of the Kremlin. Navalny's supporters had called for protests against President Putin, echoing his longstanding advocacy for free and fair elections in Russia. His widow, Yulia Navalnaya, has accused Putin of ordering the killing, and many Western leaders have said they hold Putin responsible. However, the Kremlin rejects the allegations.