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Putin Reacts to Criticism After Evidence of Russian Presidential Election Rigging Emerges

Putin gets re-elected for his fifth term
Transparent ballot boxes, coercion by armed soldiers, and more

Source: TASS

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, has secured his fifth term. In the three-day presidential election from the 15th to the 17th, he was elected with an overwhelming 87% vote. However, the West is claiming that it was a “rigged election.”

U.S. political news media “Politico” described this presidential election as a “rigged election” or “election fraud,” reporting that voters had no choice but to cast their votes.

Source: BBC

First of all, Russia used transparent ballot boxes. There was no guarantee of secret voting at all. The boxes varied in shape, produced at different times, with different sealing methods and lid shapes, and the degree of transparency of each box was slightly different, resulting in a “total mess.”

Also, voters marked ballots with a ballpoint pen, and any mark, whether a circle or an X, was counted as valid as long as it didn’t cross over another candidate’s space.

This election introduced online voting for the first time, but it is also easily manipulated.

Source: BBC

Public servants and state-owned company employees were also coerced into voting.

They were reportedly ordered to ‘verify’ the ballots on which they voted for Putin. Some soldiers didn’t even fold their ballots before placing them into the transparent ballot boxes.

Ukrainians living in Russian-occupied territories were forced to vote by armed soldiers.

Russia opened polling stations in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, Kherson, and Mariupol, which it has claimed as its “new territories” after invading Ukraine, where election workers allegedly went door-to-door with ballot boxes accompanied by armed soldiers to force people to vote.

Based on such instances, the West, including the US and the European Union, criticized Russia’s presidential election as unfair, stating that “the election was clearly neither free nor fair.”

Source: TASS

Despite this, Putin remained defiant.

On the 17th, Putin warned the West at his election campaign headquarters that a direct conflict between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) would lead to “an all-out World War III.”

He said, “We will realize that we are only one step away from an all-out World War III,” and “No one would want this scenario.”

The Kremlin also stated, “Everything in Russia is transparent,” and “The election system is transparent, and observers can check if they wish.” Rather, “the incredibly high level of support is the best evidence that there is no basis for speculation about illegal elections,” they emphasized.

Source: TASS

Meanwhile, movements were resisting Russia during the election period.

On the first day of the election, people poured green liquid into ballot boxes or attempted to set fire to polling stations.

Ukraine fired a drone-dropped shell at a polling station in the Zaporizhzhia region.

On the last day, supporters of Alexei Navalny, the opposition activist who died in jail last month, staged a “Noon against Putin” protest.

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