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Russia’s State Duma elections to conclude


Russia’s State Duma elections to conclude

Photo: Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images

Today marks the last day in Russia’s three-day state duma election that began on Friday.

President Vladimir Putin’s current presidential term is set to expire in 2024. July 2020’s constitutional reforms allow him to run for re-election, possibly solidifying his presidency until 2036, with a strong chance of re-election if his United Russia Party retains a super-majority in parliament. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has also decided to cancel its election monitoring team due to COVID-related restrictions imposed by Russia. The OSCE responded, stating that vote rigging would more easily occur, especially during three days of elections.

President Putin seeks to frame July’s constitutional reforms as legitimate by pointing to citizen participation in the state duma elections, despite the likelihood of rigged voting in the absence of OSCE election monitors during a three-day election. As such, expect EU condemnation, and possibly the consideration of sanctions if evidence of electoral fraud arises. The United Russia party will likely remain a super-majority in parliament, making Putin’s re-election more politically feasible in the likely event that he runs for president in 2024. Subsequently, in the medium-term, expect an intensifying crackdown against political opposition as the 2024 presidential election approaches.

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