Shock! Putin wins barely-contested Russian presidential election with 88% of vote, says exit poll

17 March 2024, 18:47 | Updated: 17 March 2024, 21:26

Vladimir Putin has won Russia's rigged presidential election with 88 per cent of the vote, according to an official exit poll.
Vladimir Putin has won Russia's rigged presidential election with 88 per cent of the vote, according to an official exit poll. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Vladimir Putin has won Russia's rigged presidential election with 88 per cent of the vote, according to an exit poll.

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A Russian public opinion research centre has declared the autocrat the winner of the vote.

The recorded percentage would be the highest total 'victory' margin by far - and is likely to be used to justify further military action in Ukraine.

Read More: Putin vows revenge for Ukrainian strikes on Russia as voting continues in barely contested presidential election

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Legitimate opposition to Putin and the war have been stifled - with the only opposition candidates to the despot's party, United Russia, largely in line with his beliefs.

Opposition parties have been banned and candidates taken off the ballot then jailed in the eastern police state.

The election comes after opposition Alexei Navalny died in a Siberian prison - with many believing that he was killed by Russian security apparatus last month.

RUSSIA-POLITICS-VOTE
A Russian public opinion research centre has declared the dictator the winner of the barely contested vote. Picture: Getty

His widow, Yulia Navalnya, led protests in Moscow on Sunday by crowding polling places on the third and final day of voting.

Russian nationals living in the UK were also out protesting the tyrannical rule of the former KGB agent.

The Russian Democratic Society (RDS) - described as a community of Russian immigrants in the UK - organised a Noon Against Putin demonstration outside the Russian Embassy in London.

Thousands Vote In Russian Election At Berlin Embassy
Alexei Navalny's widow, Yulia Navalnya, led protests in Moscow on Sunday by crowding polling places on the third and final day of voting. Picture: Getty

On its Facebook event, the group said: "We at the RDS support a peaceful protest, calling on Russian citizens who do not support Vladimir Putin's policies to come to the polling stations en masse around noon local time.

"Protesters can express their protest by voting against Putin or by spoiling the ballot by checking two candidates, thus rendering it invalid but not subject to falsification."

The RDS also held a rally at the same venue to support free elections in Russia, with the Facebook event adding that the group "consider these elections illegitimate".

The election has been chaotic for Russia's national security.

Civilian targets in Russian territory were shelled by Ukraine during voting - with 2,500 troops also used to try and pierce Russian borders, according to state media.

Speaking to members of Russia's security council, which includes military and spy chiefs as well as the most powerful civilian leaders in the state, crazed despot Putin said such crimes would not be left unpunished.

"In order to disrupt the voting process and intimidate people, at least in the border areas, the Kyiv regime... is trying to carry out a number of criminal actions - striking at civilian settlements in Russia," Putin said.

"These enemy strikes shall not remain unpunished," a visibly angry Putin said.

Putin said 95% of the shells and missiles were shot down by Russian air defences but said some got through and that there were casualties among Russian civilians.

Putin said there had been four attacks on the Belgorod region and one attack on the Kursk region by armed Ukrainian proxies numbering about 2,500. He said they had 35 tanks and 40 armoured vehicles.

World leaders have been united in condemnation of the sham election.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said tonight that Putin wanted to rule forever and that Russia's presidential election was an illegitimate imitation.

He said in his nightly video address to his people that "the Russian dictator is simulating another election".

He added that Putin was "sick for power and is doing everything to rule forever".

"There is no legitimacy in this imitation of elections and there cannot be. This person should be on trial in The Hague. That's what we have to ensure."

A White House national security spokesperson said "the elections are obviously not free nor fair given how Mr Putin has imprisoned political opponents and prevented others from running against him".

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