Russians vote for (new) president on Friday

Henry

Russians will go to the polls on Friday to vote for the candidate they believe should lead Russia for the next six years. However, world leaders are not hopeful that the next Russian president will be elected in a truly democratic manner.

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday urged Russians to vote for him to serve a third term as president, as the country is experiencing a “difficult time”.

“You must realize what a difficult time our country is going through and what challenges we are facing. In order to respond with dignity and successfully to these challenges, we must continue to unite and act with confidence,” he said, hours before polls opened.

Putin faces three candidates who are believed to have been approved by the Kremlin, from political parties loyal to him and his policies.

The European Union and NATO have already indicated that they do not believe that an election in Russia can be free and fair, as the Kremlin has already trampled all opposition.

“Given the way votes have been prepared and organized in the past in Russia, under the Kremlin’s administration, we already know what the results will look like tomorrow,” said Peter Stano, spokesperson for the EU.

General Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, agrees. “We already know that opposition politicians are in prison, some have been killed and others are living in exile. There is also no free and independent media in Russia.”

Russia will also try to organize a voting process in those parts of Ukraine that are occupied by Russia. However, Stano says that these votes will not be recognized by the EU.