EDITORIAL: Russia’s sham elections make a mockery of democracy

Editorial
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Putin’s ‘victory’ comes just a few weeks after the murder of his fiercest political foe Alexei Navalny in an Arctic prison camp.
Putin’s ‘victory’ comes just a few weeks after the murder of his fiercest political foe Alexei Navalny in an Arctic prison camp. Credit: EPA

Shocker: Vladimir Putin has secured a further six years as Russian president in another landslide election victory.

According to the official tally, Putin, the nation’s longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, secured 87.2 per cent of the vote in Saturday’s poll.

It exceeded even his previous record of 77 per cent at the 2018 election.

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Remarkable. Except for the fact this is Russia, where any pretence of democracy was long ago abandoned in the service of one man’s maniacal ambition for total control.

Putin’s “victory” comes just a few weeks after the murder of his fiercest political foe Alexei Navalny in an Arctic prison camp.

Navalny’s demise is typical of how Putin deals with any genuine opposition — with brutality and criminality.

Only three other candidates from parties loyal to the Kremlin were allowed by Putin to stand in order to give the sham election some sort of veneer of authenticity, no matter how brazenly transparent.

The world has reacted to the self-styled strongman dictator rigging yet another election mostly with passive indifference.

There have been some noises of reproachment from Western nations.

A White House National Security Council spokesperson said: “The elections are obviously not free nor fair given how Mr. Putin has imprisoned political opponents and prevented others from running against him”.

On social media platform X, Germany’s foreign ministry said Russia’s “pseudo-election” was “neither free nor fair”.

“Putin’s rule is authoritarian, he relies on censorship, repression & violence. The ‘election’ in the occupied territories of Ukraine are null and void & another breach of international law,” the statement said.

David Cameron
UK Foreign Minister David Cameron criticised the lack of genuine opposition to independent election monitoring.  Credit: AP

UK Foreign Minister David Cameron criticised the lack of genuine opposition to independent election monitoring.

“This is not what free and fair elections look like,” he said.

Security experts believe Putin is settling in for a protracted conflict with the West.

European leaders have warned openly about the risks of a Russian attack on a NATO member state.

But with Putin’s bloody and illegal invasion of Ukraine now in its third year, the outrages he is committing there no longer appear to register with the same impact as they once did.

The world has become inured to the violence and the bloodshed.

Voters queue at a polling station in Moscow
Vladimir Putin's opponents have called on Russians to stage a symbolic protest at polling stations. Credit: AP

We’re more interested in a pint-sized princess’s disappearing sleeve than an atrocity unfolding in front of us.

That’s not a luxury that Ukrainian citizens have.

And Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has rightly warned that unless the world maintains its resolve to stand against Putin, the rest of us might lose it too.

Putin is “addicted to power and is doing everything he can to rule forever,” Zelensky said in a video address.

“There is no evil he will not commit to prolong his personal power. And there is no one in the world who is safe from this.”

Responsibility for the editorial comment is taken by The Nightly Editor-in-Chief Anthony De Ceglie.

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The front page of The Nightly for 21-05-2024

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