Vladimir Putin announced this week that he would be running for re-election as Russia’s president in 2024.
In seeking a fifth term as the head of the country, he is reportedly trying to eliminate all political opposition, according to recent media reports.
While it’s almost assured that Putin will succeed in March’s election, he’s still working hard to make sure there are no obstacles as he attempts to remain in power.
Last week, the Central Election Commission in Russia rejected the application of Yekaterina Duntsova to be a presidential candidate. The CEC cited paperwork errors for why the former journalist’s application was denied.
Duntsova, who describes herself as pro-democracy and pro-peace, has said that she would be appealing the CEC’s decision through Russia’s court system.
As her campaign posted on the social media site Telegram:
“The CEC’s refusal is directed against the representation of millions of citizens who advocate for a peaceful and democratic future of Russia. With this political decision, we are deprived of the opportunity to have our own representative and express views that differ from the official aggressive discourse.”
This all comes not long after Alexei Navalny, a well-known opposition leader in Russia, re-emerged in a High North penal colony in Russia. His lawyers have said that they lost contact with him for as much as three weeks.
His lawyers have consistently posted messages from him on social media during his imprisonment, which many say is unjust. Following his relocation to the new prison in the Arctic, Navalny projected a tone that was optimistic.
In a message that was posted on the social media platform X, he promised to continue opposing the Putin regime and thanked all of his supporters for working to raise concern across the globe. He wrote:
“I am your new Santa Claus … But I am a special-regime Santa Claus, so only those who have behaved very badly get presents.”
He accompanied that message with a winking emoji.
Should he be re-elected as president in March as is widely expected, Putin will become the country’s longest-serving president since Joseph Stalin. The dictator of the Soviet era oversaw a political regime where millions of people were killed.
Putin’s first term as president came in 2000, after Boris Yeltsin surprisingly resigned from the post. Yeltsin backed Putin for the position, which ultimately catapulted him to victory at the polls.
He won re-election in 2004, and then was appointed as Russia’s prime minister following that term. In 2012, Putin wanted to return as president, winning election again in 2012.
There was a lot of public criticism over that win, though, as many people believe there was widespread vote-rigging and fraud.
Following another re-election victory in 2018, Russia made changes to its constitution – which Putin oversaw – that will allow him to run for two more six-year terms. That allowed him to run for president again in 2024 and then possibly again in 2030.
Bill Browder, a vocal opponent of Putin’s, commented to the Times Radio in the UK last week:
“What Putin has done in Russia is basically create a dictatorship. Any person who wants to run against him ends up either in exile, in jail or dead.”