Russia Sets New Election Date for March 17th

( – On December 7 Russian lawmakers set the official date of the nation’s 2024 presidential election for Match 17. Political analysts believe it’s almost guaranteed that President Vladimir Putin will win the election, which would allow him to lead Russia for a fifth term.

In a unanimous vote, members of the Federation Council, which is the upper house of the Russian Parliament, approved a decree setting the official date for the elections. Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko said that the decision marks the beginning of the election campaign in the country.

While Putin hasn’t publicly announced his intention of running again, most media outlets believe he will do it over the next few days. Under the numerous constitutional reforms he orchestrated, Putin is legally eligible to seek two more presidential terms after his current one expires in 2024. The move will potentially allow him to remain in power until 2036, which would make Putin one of the longest-serving presidents in Russia’s history.

So far, it remains unclear who will challenge Putin on the ballot. However, imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny said in an online statement that Russians must vote for any candidate but Putin. He said that the Russian president views the 2024 election as a “referendum on approval” of his actions and the invasion of Ukraine, which Navalny believes must be “strongly rejected.”

Journalist Yekaterina Duntsova and former lawmaker Boris Nadezhdin have announced plans to run. Another political leader who expressed his presidential ambitions was Igor Strelkov, who is an ultra-nationalist who publicly accused Putin and the Kremlin of indecision and weakness in Ukraine. However, he was recently arrested after Russian authorities levied extremism charges against him.

Strelkov, who was the military officer who led Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014, was convicted of homicide in the Netherlands for his prominent role in the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane that same year. Regarding Russia’s difficulties in its invasion of Ukraine, Strelkov has said that Putin has shown a “cowardly mediocrity.”

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