Russia’s Vladimir Putin wins fresh six-year term
Russian President Vladimir Putin won a new six-year term in a presidential election Sunday, according to a state-run exit poll, extending two decades in power that have brought confrontation with the West, military entanglements in the Middle East and economic growth followed by stagnation at home.
Mr. Putin won 73.9% of the vote, according to state-run pollster VTsIOM. His nearest challenger, the Communist Party’s Pavel Grudinin, won 11.2%, the poll said.
The poll puts Mr. Putin on target to eclipse the 63.6% he scored at the last election in 2012.
The result was in little doubt, given that the Kremlin has steadily tightened its grip over the main levers of power in Russia, including the country’s most-watched television channels.
At the same time, Mr. Putin—who enjoys an approval rating of roughly 80%—faced weak opposition composed largely of little-known figures and candidates who had never held elected office. His most prominent rival, Alexei Navalny, was barred from running.
As a result, the main question ahead of the vote was the size of the turnout, with the Kremlin seeking to surpass a rate of 65% in the 2012 election to legitimize what Mr. Putin’s critics say was an uncompetitive vote.
Mr. Putin will now face a raft of challenges, from a stagnant economy to managing foreign entanglements in Syria and Ukraine. And he will have to deal with a problem that eventually confronts many longtime leaders: What to do when he reaches the end of what, according to the constitution, should be his last term in power.