Presidential Elections Begin in Russia

Two million voters have already cast early ballots, and 4.8 million eligible voters have registered to vote online

This morning, 94,000 polling stations across Russia opened for the presidential election, which will last three days, from Friday, March 15 to Sunday evening, March 17. Voting can be done both online and in person: about 4.8 million people have registered to vote remotely. According to the Central Election Commission, about two million people have already participated in early voting in the far north of the country, in other “hard-to-reach” territories, on ships, and in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, as well as in Zaporizhzhya and Kherson regions.

For Russian citizens living abroad – a total of 1,890,863 voters – 276 polling stations were organized in 114 countries at embassies and consulates general. Some countries, described by Russian authorities as “unfriendly,” including Germany and the three former Soviet Baltic republics, have limited the number of polling stations compared to elections in previous years. In Italy, Russian citizens will be able to vote with no problems at Russian diplomatic missions in Rome, Milan, Genoa, and Palermo.

The number of voters is more than 112.3 million. All citizens who have reached the age of 18 will be able to vote by appearing at the polling stations with a valid ID. The expected voter turnout is estimated at 71%.

There are four candidates running for the post of Russian president. According to opinion polls, incumbent head of state Vladimir Putin, who is positioning himself as an “independent candidate” but is backed by the country’s main political force, the United Russia party, should easily win the first round, garnering between 80% and 85% of the vote.

The other three candidates are Leonid Slutsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), Vladislav Davankov of the progressive New People party, and Nikolai Kharitonov of the Communist Party. Candidates Kharitonov and Davankov are expected to get 6% of the vote each, while less than 5% of voters will vote for Slutsky.

Preliminary voting results will be announced by the Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova on Monday morning, March 18. Final results, as required by Russian election law, must be made public by March 28. The inauguration ceremony of the Russian president-elect will be held in the Kremlin on May 7.