Russian Presidential Election: Putin Wins in First Round

Turnout exceeded 74 percent. After 71% of ballots counted, Vladimir Putin wins 87.17% of the vote

Vladimir Putin vota online

At 20:00 local time (Russia has 11 time zones), 94 thousand polling stations closed, and the procedure for counting ballots began. According to a preliminary estimate by the Central Election Commission, voter turnout, taking into account online voting, was more than 74%, higher than forecasts that suggested a maximum of 70-71 percent.

Around midnight, after 71% of ballots were counted, incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin won the election with 87.17% of the vote in the first round and will remain in power until 2030. According to a poll conducted by the independent Levada Center, Vladimir Putin’s rating in Russia has increased significantly since the start of the special military operation in Ukraine, rising from 60% at the end of 2021 to 82% in 2024.

Ella Pamfilova, chair of the election commission, said that the first results will be officially announced on Monday afternoon, March 18, but traditionally the first “unofficial information” will begin to leak out as early as Sunday night.

In addition to Putin, who went to the polls as an “independent candidate,” there are three other contenders: Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) leader Leonid Slutsky (after 71% of ballots were counted, he got 3.15%), representative of the progressive New People party Vladislav Davankov (4.08%), and CPRF member Nikolai Kharitonov (4.19%).

A victory for Putin, who has no real competition, seems obvious. The incumbent president will be in office for the fifth time until 2030. An exception was made for the four-year period 2008-2012 with Dmitry Medvedev as president and Putin as prime minister, but it would not be wrong to say that Putin has been running Russia since 1999.

Putin: “Kiev attacks to disrupt voting in presidential election”

There were no incidents on the third and final day of voting in Russia, as authorities and police learned lessons from the first day of elections, when dozens of completed ballots were spoiled at some polling stations in Moscow, Rostov-on-Don, and other Russian regions by green disinfectant (“zelyonka”) poured into ballot boxes.

Meanwhile, during the three days of voting, Ukraine stepped up strikes with missiles and explosive drones against the territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and even Moscow. The drone managed to reach Domodedovo airport, one of the largest airports in the Russian capital, which, along with Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo airports, remained closed for several hours.

Vladimir Putin condemned the attacks: “Kiev is attacking to disrupt voting in the presidential election. These enemy attacks will not go unpunished,” the president said, emphasizing that “no one will ever be able to intimidate the Russian people.”

Aleksej Paramonov

Over 127 thousand citizens of the Russian Federation took part in voting in person at 348 polling stations in 144 countries and territories of the world. In Tel Aviv, Israel, a long line has formed in front of the Russian embassy of people who have come from all corners of the Jewish state to participate in the Russian presidential election (video below, courtesy of RIA Novosti).

Many “unfriendly” countries tried to interfere with the will of Russian citizens. In the Moldovan capital of Chisinau, a man threw two Molotov cocktails at the Russian embassy where voting in the presidential election was taking place. “Two Molotov cocktails were thrown into the embassy courtyard, the attacker was immediately detained by police,” Anatoly Loshakov, a spokesman for the Russian diplomatic mission, told reporters.

Meanwhile, in Italy, Russia’s ambassador in Rome, Alexei Paramonov, praised the Italian authorities, who, according to him, “unlike many other Western leaders, from the very beginning did not hinder the organization of polling stations and the holding of the presidential election in Italy.” Russian citizens were able to vote in Rome, Milan, Genoa, and Palermo.

“Constructive engagement with authorities and law enforcement agencies was organized to prevent possible incidents or provocations, as well as to create a favorable and secure environment for voting,” the head of the diplomatic mission said after participating in the voting at the embassy headquarters.

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.