Russia: Sham Elections for a Dictator

Washington

As Russia prepares for presidential elections on Sunday, with Vladimir Putin virtually guaranteed another term, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“Russians know the outcome of the presidential election even before casting their votes,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “Vladimir Putin will win by an overwhelming margin thanks to regime-controlled media that glorifies the leader and demonizes his critics, the regime’s monopoly of all sources of economic power and wealth, and the removal of all serious opposition candidates through fraudulent legal maneuvers or by assassination.” 

“Russia’s fake elections are now a model for autocrats in other countries, from Egypt to Venezuela—authoritarians who mimic Putin in deploying new strategies of repression," Abramowitz added. “Putin looks to elections to confer legitimacy, but Russia’s economy is stagnant, the country’s freedoms destroyed, and the regime isolated. His claim of having restored his country’s greatness rests on the invasion of small, vulnerable neighbors, menacing threats about new weapons, and scarcely credible denials of Russian wrong-doing abroad, from election meddling in the United States to the use of nerve gas in the United Kingdom.”

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2018, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2017, Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2017, and receives a democracy score of 6.57, on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2017.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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