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Michel mockingly congratulates Putin on ‘landslide victory’ as Russian presidential elections begin

by Chris York March 15, 2024 12:27 PM 2 min read
European Council President Charles Michel speaks with the Kyiv Independent in Kyiv, on Nov. 21, 2023. (Anna Yakutenko/Kyiv Independent)
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The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, mocked Vladimir Putin on the first day of the Russian pseudo-democratic presidential elections that are expected to grant him six more years in power.

Michel “congratulated” Putin on his “landslide victory” ahead of the results in the elections that will run for the next three days.

“Would like to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his landslide victory in the elections starting today,” Michel wrote on X on March 15. “No opposition. No freedom. No choice.”

Putin is up against three other contenders who all stand no realistic chance of winning.

Any credible political rivals such as Boris Nadezhdin have been prevented from standing or, in the case of Alexei Navalny, imprisoned before dying while in detention.

Russia held a rigged vote in 2020 to approve constitutional amendments allowing Putin to run for two more presidential terms after his current one expires in 2024.

The vote effectively made Putin, who has been in power since 1999, a dictator for life.

Freedom House, a nonprofit advocating for international democracy, gave Russia a 0 out of 4 score in its 2023 report card on political freedoms in the country.

“Russia has never experienced a democratic transfer of power between rival groups,” said Freedom House.

Although unlikely enough to derail his chances of election, the ongoing raids by multiple pro-Ukrainian military units from Ukrainian territory into Russian border regions, have caused a headache for the Kremlin as voting gets underway.

In response to the raids, Putin and his defense chiefs may have to choose between paying a cost in resources or in reputation, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) assessed in its daily report on March 14.

Navalny’s death preceded by long list of Putin critics’ murders
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s death in jail on Feb. 16 follows a long list of murders and suspicious deaths of opponents of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Since he came to power in 1999, more than 20 Putin critics have been killed or died mysteriously. Many other enemies of the
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