The 2024 Russian Presidential "Election": A Gangster's Seizure of Power

Vladimir Putin submitting documents to Central Election Commission in December 2023. Photo: Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation


The three-day electoral exercise – [the 2024 Russian presidential ‘election’, that was held from 15 to 17 March] - is over. And this article will cover why it was illigimate from the very beginning to the very end.

Let's remember about the legal framework of what was going on in Russia in 2020 - the constitutional changes were taking place. The constitution of the Russian Federation was changed - the word 'consecutive' in: limit to 2 consecutive terms’, - was destroyed. The amendment allowed Putin to run for the presidency in 2024 again by nullifying his terms. Preservation of power is the main purpose and raison d'être of any autocracy.

With 99.8% of ballots counted, president Vladimir Putin securing an enormous majority (of over 87% of the vote - a margin that defies plausibility in any genuine electoral process) despite the reports of the suppression of dissenting voices. The Central Election Commission's preliminary results underscored a disturbing lack of transparency and fairness, casting doubt on the credibility of the electoral process.

For the first time in the presidential election the 3-day voting is being used, a practice borrowed from the Covid era in 2019. A 3-day voting provides great opportunities for falsification because ballot papers spend two nights in the election commission.

The another unusual feature of this electoral venture is that it is the shortest list of candidates in the entire post-Soviet history of Russia. Never have so few people been given the opportunity to run for president.  The presidential race included: Vladimir Putin, Vladislav Davankov, Leonid Slutsky, and Nikolay Kharitonov. The competition features four candidates: Vladislav Davankov from the New People party, incumbent President Vladimir Putin as a self-nominated candidate, Leonid Slutsky representing the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and Nikolay Kharitonov nominated by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF).

Additionally,  for the first time in the presidential election, remote electronic voting (REV). In 2020, Vladimir Putin, signed amendments to the election law allowing the use of remote electronic voting (REV) in government elections and referendums. The online voting succeeded in increasing the number of voters. REV was used in 29 federal regions where ver 3,5 million russian citizens could use it and not just could use it, but were actively forced to do so. The provider of this system is the FSB. Thousands of messages and screenshots of all sorts of conversations in chat rooms about how employees of enterprises, teachers of universities, students are forced to register and were told that their vote online will be open for FSB.   

On March 17th 2024, the Russian embassies across Europe opened their doors to Russian citizens to make their vote. Despite the pervasive atmosphere of repression, acts of defiance emerged during the election. Inspired by Alexei Navalny's call for opposition to express discontent with Putin's regime - The "Noon Against Putin" demonstrations witnessed queues at polling stations and protests outside Russian embassies.  Navalny, the most prominent opposition leader, his suspicious death/ murder in russian custody further underscored the erosion of political freedoms in Russia. Navalny's widow, Yulia Navalnaya, has vowed to continue his work, rallying support both within Russia and internationally. Her appeals to the European Parliament underscore the importance of European scrutiny of Russian electoral processes.

  • About 500 people showed up at the Russian embassy in Brussels, Belgium - Russian Embasy, Brussels, Belgium, - ph. by SUFE’s correspondent



The ballot paper from election day provided voluntarily by one of the voters; the handwritting - ‘Russia will be free – Stop war’,  -  Russian Embassy in Brussels




handwritting - ‘rapist’, ‘fascist’, -  Russian Embassy in Brussels, - ph. by the correspondent

handwritting – ‘against everyone’ -  Russian Embassy in Brussels - ph. by the correspondent


The US, EU, and Ukraine condemned the elections held in occupied Ukrainian territories as illegitimate, highlighting their disregard for sovereignty and democratic principles. In the 2018 year, Crimea voted in the Russian presidential election, which was not ratified by the international community, as Crimea was not recognised as a constituent entity of the Russian Federation. In 2024 the early voting procedures in particularly in Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine, were characterized by intimidation and manipulation. The voting was conducted in various regions, including those annexed by Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in 2022. In these areas, such as parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts, a campaign called InformUIK was initiated to encourage participation, marked by door-to-door visits escorted by armed individuals to compile voter lists and collect ballots. The arrests of at least 27 Ukrainians for refusal to participate in ‘elections’ in certain regions were recorded. Despite Russian electoral regulations stipulating that only individuals with Russian passports could vote, occupants in Ukrainian territories were allowed to use any valid identification, including Ukrainian documents. In areas like Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, armed soldiers sealed off apartments visited by mobile polling teams, demonstrating the coercive nature of the electoral process. Cases of armed presence during polling visits, such as in Melitopol and near Mariupol.

President of Ukraine Zelenskiy’s reaction on russian ‘elections’ on occupied territories: "the Russian dictator is simulating another election," and that Putin was "sick for power and is doing everything to rule forever". Efforts to promote turnout, including incentives and pressure tactics, reflected the regime's desperation to legitimize Putin's rule.


Putin's victory in the 2024 election extends his rule until at least 2030, marking a 3rd decade in power. Constitutional changes removing presidential term limits paved the way for an indefinite reign, raising concerns about the consolidation of authoritarianism. The European Union and Western allies have condemned the elections as illegitimate, signaling ongoing tensions between Russia and Europe. The outcome of the Russian elections carries significant implications for Europe and global geopolitics. Internationally, European leaders and Western democracies have denounced the elections as a farce. Putin's continued power seizure reinforces Russia's agressive foreign policy, which could have implications for regional stability and European security.




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