Vladimir Putin Re-elected With 87.2% Of Votes, US Cries Foul.

Photo: Defense.gov. Vladimir Putin has been re-elected in Russia with the customary large majority.
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President Vladimir Putin said Russia would not be “intimidated” as he claimed yet another  election victory that makes it possible for him to become the longest-serving Russian leader in more than 200 years, so long as his health hold up.
All of the 71-year-old’s major opponents are dead, in prison or exiled, and he has overseen an unrelenting crackdown on anybody who publicly opposes his rule or his military offensive on Ukraine.
“I want to thank all of you and all citizens of the country for your support and this trust,” Putin said early on Monday morning at his Moscow campaign headquarters, hours after polls closed.
“No matter who or how much they want to intimidate us, no matter who or how much they want to suppress us, our will, our consciousness — no one has ever succeeded in anything like this in history.
“It has not worked now and will not work in the future. Never,” he added.
With more than 80 per cent of voting stations having submitted results, Putin had secured 87.2 per cent of all votes cast, official election data showed — a record victory in a presidential election where he faced no genuine competition.
So what does the win mean for the war in Ukraine, international politics and an increasingly “dysfunctional” Russia?
The Kremlin had cast the election as a moment for Russians to throw their weight behind the full-scale military operation in Ukraine.
Having secured victory, Putin will double down on his efforts to win the war in Ukraine, said William Partlett, an associate professor at Melbourne Law School.
“We are likely to see a lot more of the same in terms of continued aggression in Ukraine,” he said.
“If any change, we’re going to see more activity and really trying to push for a victory, whatever that means, in Ukraine.”
Putin singled out Russian troops fighting in Ukraine for special thanks in his post-election speech in Moscow.
He repeatedly claimed his forces had a major advantage on the battlefield, despite a week of significant Ukrainian aerial attacks on Russia and pro-Ukrainian militias launching armed raids on Russian border villages.
“The initiative belongs entirely to the Russian armed forces. In some areas, our guys are just mowing them, the enemy, down,” he said.
Partlett said Putin will consider using non-military levers of influence to win the war, such as attempting to influence the outcome of the US election.

Putin will also try to help Trump get re-elected, Partlett said.

“There will be a really strong attempt to interfere and help Donald Trump win … because Putin and the regime see a Trump win as almost decisive in Ukraine,” he said.
“It’s very likely that Trump would withdraw a lot of support for Ukraine and would force the Ukrainians to the table to make a deal.”
The US has said Russia’s elections were “obviously not free nor fair”. The UK has also criticised the voting process.
Source: SBS News.
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