Today Russia votes for the future President. Polling stations open at 8:00, the voting will last till 20:00 (7:00 – 19:00 Kyiv time). The voting time differs due to the fact that Russia is located in several time zones. The voting in Ukraine will last from 8:00 to 21:00 Kyiv time.
The election date, March 18, was not approved right away. First, elections were planned to be held on March 11. However, with the amendments to Russian law, the government decided to hold elections on the fourth anniversary of Crimea annexation – March 18, 2018. That’s the day when the Agreement on Crimea’s and Sevastopol’s joining of Russian Federations was signed. Two days later the peninsula conducted an illegal referendum concerning “joining Russian Federation”.
Despite Putin, there are seven more candidates: Sergey Baburin (Russian All-People’s Union), Pavel Grudinin (Communist Party), Vladimir Zhirinovsky (Liberal Democratic Party), Grigoriy Yavlinski (Apple), Kseniya Sobchak.(Civic Initiative’s), Maxim Suraykin (Communists of Russia), Boris Titov (Party of Growth).For the record, Putin is an independent candidate.
Earlier, Russian Central Electoral Commission did not let Alexei Navalny, Russian opposition leader, to elections due to his outstanding convictions.
The name of current Russia’s President is “highlighted” in the ballot. (the information on each candidate in the ballot is quite broad, whereas there is a tiny piece of information next to Putin’s name, -ed.).
Russian Central Electoral Commission is to announce the results no later than March 29, it has to be made public till April 3. If one of the candidates do not get more than 50% of votes, the second round will be held (April 8).
As to the surveys, conducted in Russia, Putin is highly likely to win the elections with 74% of votes.
European Parliament observers will not be involved in the elections as they rejected to monitor it. Same story happened with elections in Azerbaijan.
Polling stations in Ukraine are set in four cities – Kyiv (Russian Embassy), Kharkiv, Odesa and Lviv.(Russian Consulates).
Russian intends to hold elections in annexed Crimea as well. Due to this Ukraine initiates imposing of new anti-Russia sanctions, several states declared elections on peninsula illegal. Crimea’s Prosecutor’s Office located in Kyiv threatened all the organizations involved in the elections in Crimea with criminal liability. Verkhovna Rada called the international community for not acknowledging the elections, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry expressed its traditional “protest”.
Earlier, Ukrainian nationalists promised to block Russian presidential elections in Ukraine on March 18, 2018. This is said in the joint statement of Ukrainian political parties Svoboda, Right Sector and National Corps. Political parties intend to block polling stations and form “corridor of shame” for voters – Russian citizens.
Ukrainian law enforcement agencies intensely protect the polling stations today due to the disorder danger. Russia’s Foreign Ministry requested Ukraine to provide safety got all of the voters and people involved in the process.
Previously, Russians were choosing the President on March 4, 2012. This election became the first one, when the president was chosen for a six-year term, instead of a four-year term. Putin won with 63,6%, Gennady Zyuganov was second with 17,1%.