Russian election garners congratulations and condemnation

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Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with the media at his campaign headquarters in Moscow [Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP]

Allies of Russian president have been quick with applause but Western leaders denounce results as illegitimate.

Russia’s allies have been swift to congratulate President Vladimir Putin for his weekend election win, but Western leaders have denounced the “illegal” vote.

Results posted on Sunday showed that Putin won a record post-Soviet landslide in Russia’s presidential election, garnering 87.8 percent of the vote.

The outcome means Putin, 71, will embark now on his fifth presidential term, with a stint as prime minister in between. Should he complete his next six-year term, he will overtake Joseph Stalin to become Russia’s longest serving leader for more than 200 years.

Dmitry Medvedev, who stood in as president in 2008-12, and is now deputy chairman of the Security Council, responded long before the final results were due to be announced, saying on Telegram: “I congratulate Vladimir Putin on his splendid victory in the election.”

He was beaten only by the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, who cheered Putin’s big win just before the voting booths opened.

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

Here’s a round-up of the main reactions worldwide from those who waited for the result to be announced:

China

Beijing congratulated Putin, saying “China and Russia are each other’s largest neighbours and comprehensive strategic cooperative partners in the new era”.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said President Xi Jinping and Putin “will continue to maintain close exchanges, lead the two countries to continue to uphold longstanding good-neighbourly friendship, deepen comprehensive strategic coordination”.

Iran

President Ebrahim Raisi congratulated his Russian counterpart on his “decisive” win, state media reported.

“The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran in a message sincerely congratulated Vladimir Putin on his decisive victory and re-election as the President of the Russian Federation,” state news agency IRNA reported.

Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said: “Our older brother has triumphed, which bodes well for the world.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Pro-Russian President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik said: “The Serb people welcomed with joy the victory of President Putin for they see in him a great statesman and a friend on whom we can always count and who will watch over our people”.

United States

“The elections are obviously not free nor fair given how Mr. Putin has imprisoned political opponents and prevented others from running against him,” said a White House Security Council spokesman.

European Union

EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell insisted that the election had not been “free and fair” with neither genuine opposition crushed nor international observers present.

“This election has been based on repression and intimidation,” Borrell said.

Ukraine

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed the result as illegitimate. “Everyone in the world understands that this person, like many others throughout history, has become sick with power and will stop at nothing to rule forever,” he said.

“There is no evil he would not do to maintain his personal power. And no one in the world would have been safeguarded from this.”

Germany

“The pseudo-election in Russia is neither free nor fair, the result will surprise nobody. Putin’s rule is authoritarian, he relies on censorship, repression & violence. The “election” in the occupied territories of Ukraine are null and void and another breach of international law,” the German foreign ministry said in a social media post.

United Kingdom

Foreign secretary David Cameron said the “illegal” elections featured “a lack of choice for voters and no independent OSCE monitoring,” adding: “This is not what free and fair elections look like.”

Italy

Italy’s foreign minister Antonio Tajani said the “elections were neither free nor fair”.

“We are continuing to work for a just peace that will bring Russia to put an end to the war of aggression against Ukraine, in accordance with international law.”

Czech Republic

Czech foreign minister Jan Lipavsky called the election a “farce and parody”. He said: “This was the Russian presidential election that showed how this regime suppresses civil society, independent media, opposition.”

India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he looked forward to boosting ties with Moscow to develop their “special” relationship.

“Look forward to working together to further strengthen the time-tested Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia in the years to come,” Modi wrote on X.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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