Putin Re-Elected: West Unhappy – OpEd


The West was up in arms to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin’s landslide reelection as unfair and undemocratic and extending the result extends his almost quarter-century rule to 2030 by a further six years. In power since the last day of 1999, he is now on course to become the longest-serving Russian leader in more than two centuries. 

The EU foreign ministers met in Brussels to approve new sanctions against30 individuals and organisationsin response to the death of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. All condemned the Russian election result as a sham:  

EU’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, told reporters ahead of the meeting that “This has not been a free and fair election.” EU and several European leaders have blasted Putin’s election victory in Russia. In a statement, the EU said it regretted that Russia had not invited international observers to monitor the vote. Russian voters had been denied an ”Impartial and Independent” assessment of the elections. 

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said at the start of the meeting “Russia’s election was an election without choice.” Olaf Scholz’s spokesperson: “Russia is a dictatorship and is ruled in an authoritarian manner by Vladimir Putin.” 

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said Paris had taken note of the “Special Election Operation” taking a dig at Russia’s ‘Special Military Operation.’ His ministry said that the conditions for a free, pluralistic, and democratic election were not met and the illegal organization of a so-called ‘Election’ in the Ukrainian territories temporarily occupied by Russia constitutes a further violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations,” vowing to never recognize “the holding of this so-called ‘election’ and its results.” 

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said the election outcome highlighted the “depth of repression” in Russia.”  Putin removes his political opponents, controls the media, and then crowns himself the winner. This is not democracy.”

Ukrainian President Zelenskiy said “Russia’s election had no legitimacy and it is clear to everyone in the world that this figure (Putin)… is simply sick for power and is doing everything to rule forever.” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to Kyiv’s allies to supply more air defences, saying Russia had launched 130 missiles, more than 320 attack drones and almost 900 guided bombs on the country so far this month. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Kyiv was working to secure “a strong and far-reaching step” towards membership of NATO at the military alliance’s Washington summit in July.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani condemned the vote as “Neither Free nor Fair”, adding: “We are continuing to work for a just peace that will bring Russia to put an end to the war of aggression against Ukraine.”

Norway, which shares a border with Russia, said the fact that the Kremlin had organised voting in parts of Ukraine “illegally occupied” by Moscow was “A Serious Violation of International Law”.

Moldova’s president, Maia Sandu, said: “We cannot talk about free and fair elections when the real opponents are removed from the race, some are sent to jail, others are expelled from the country; when reprisals are so great that people are afraid to speak out; when nothing remains of the free press. This is not the conscious and free choice of citizens.”

US White House spokesperson said Russia’s election was “obviously Not Free nor Fair” denounced the election as “Undemocratic” and said the US would not congratulate Putin. US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that Ukraine’s survival was in danger as he sought to convince allies at the monthly Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) that the US was committed to supporting Kyiv and that’s a matter of survival and sovereignty for Ukraine and it’s a matter of honor and security for America. Though Republicans continue to hold up a $60bn funding package.”

President Joe Biden is yet to comment but knowing his dislike for Putin the comments will be on similar lines to his earlier 2022 comment; “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden announced at the conclusion of a capstone address delivered in the cold outside the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The White House afterward downplayed the remark, and he was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.” US officials had said previously said removing Putin from power was not their goal. Last month Biden said at a San Francisco fundraiser; “We have a crazy SOB like that guy Putin, and others, and we always have to worry about nuclear conflict.” 

The 27-nation bloc said it would “Never Recognise” the result of polling staged in regions of Ukraine that it claims to have annexed during the war by Moscow. France, Britain, and others condemned the fact that Russia had also held its election in occupied regions of Ukraine. Foreign ministers gathered in Brussels warned that with another six years in power “Putin will Not Stop” but “He has to be stopped”.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Russians and Belarusians would not join the parade of athletes at the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympics in July. The athletes are competing as independents without their flags and anthems as a result of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Putin was congratulated on his victory by China, Venezuela, Iran, and India.  Russia’s policy of continuing and deepening relationship with China will be further enhanced with Putin’s visit to China in May. Russia’s relations with the West are further likely to deteriorate. Russia’s strong foreign policy defence relationship with India to supply its military equipment will also continue. Both China and India have also relied on a strong relationship with Moscow to advance its interests in Central Asia. The Russian Election result was a forgone conclusion that President Putin will be the declared victor ushering in another six years as Russia’s president. It will again be business as usual and the war in Ukraine may further accelerate as the focus of the US is shifted to Gaza at the moment.

Patial RC

Patial RC is a retired Infantry officer of the Indian Army and possesses unique experience of serving in active CI Ops across the country and in Sri Lanka. Patial RC is a regular writer on military and travel matters in military professional journals. The veteran is a keen mountaineer and a trekker.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *