Russians went to the polls Wednesday to forged ballots in a nationwide referendum on constitutional amendments. The vote paves the best way for Putin, who has dominated for 20 years, to stay president till 2036.
Campaign literature made little point out of the true function of the referendum, framing it as a return to old style household values, designed to enchantment to conservative voters.
“Our country, our constitution, our decision” was the slogan on the knowledge bulletin explaining the constitutional reform to voters. The brochure spelled out a spread of amendments, together with a provision that defines marriage strictly as a “union of a man and a woman.”
But the brochure glosses over one key level: The modifications to the structure successfully reset the clock on Putin’s time period limits, permitting him to hunt two extra six-year phrases when his presidency ends in 2024.
The preliminary outcomes made that clear. Russia’s Central Election Commission on Wednesday evening launched a tally after processing 50% of ballots, saying 76.24% of the residents who voted supported the amendments.
Earlier, in a departure from observe in presidential elections, the CEC launched preliminary outcomes on Twitter at round 3:00 pm Moscow time (eight a.m ET), 5 hours earlier than polls closed within the capital. The assertion gave no specifics about the place these votes had been counted; polls at that time had already closed in Russia’s Far East.
In a press release Wednesday, CEC head Ella Pamfilova defended the method, saying, “For the entire voting period, serious violations that would have required Central Election Commission proceedings were not found.”
“They fought so that we could live in peace, work, love, create value and feel proud of Russia, a country with a unique civilization and a great culture that unites the destinies, hopes and aspirations of many generations of our forefathers,” he stated.
“We are going to vote for the country where we want to live, with cutting-edge education and healthcare, a reliable system of social protection and an effective government accountable to the people. We are going to vote for a country to the benefit of which we have been working and which we would like to pass on to our children and grandchildren.”
Those could also be pleasing sentiments, to make certain. But that does not imply the referendum sits effectively with all Russians, a lot of whom are bored with Putin’s rule.
Russian opposition determine and distinguished Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny dismissed the official outcomes of the vote on constitutional amendments as “fake” and “a huge lie.”
“Right now a huge number of people is frustrated by the result. I voted ‘no,’ everyone around voted ‘no’, and the result is a solid ‘yes,” Navalny wrote in a blogpost. “This has nothing to do with the opinion of Russian citizens.”
“Putin lost this “vote” before it began. After all, he refused to hold a real referendum in accordance with all the rules and with observers present. Because he understood: if there are rules — he will lose. He can only win where he draws numbers,” Navalny added.
Independent organizations have forged doubt on the numbers and the referendum drew criticism from monitoring teams for lack of regulation.
A gaggle of activists laid down in Red Square within the type of the numbers 2036, the impartial Russian information channel TV Rain reported. Video posted by TV Rain correspondent Maria Borzunova confirmed the protesters mendacity down on the cobblestones in entrance of Lenin’s Tomb.
TV Rain reported that the activists included Moscow municipal deputy Lucy Shteyn. The web site OVD-Info, which displays detentions, cited legal professionals as saying these concerned within the protest have been detained and subsequently launched with out cost.
According to the group, 14 folks have been detained in Moscow, 4 in St. Petersburg, two in Nizhny Novgorod and one every within the cities of Novosibirsk, Blagoveshchensk, Khanty-Mansiysk and Penza.
Other Russians posted pictures on social media from polling stations of ballots checked NYET (no). Just a few hundred folks gathered for a small demonstration at Pushkin Square in central Moscow, a favourite rallying level for opposition protests. One demonstrator there held an indication that learn: “Putin Forever?”
In a submit on Instagram, Lola Nordic, a DJ and feminist activist from St. Petersburg, was blunt.
“Today I am voting against Putin’s constitutional amendments which he created to be able to reign here for another 16 years,” she wrote. “I am soooo f**king tired of this sh*t.”
For now, Putin’s presidency seems prone to finish in 2036, when he’ll flip 84.