GP Short Notes

GP Short Notes # 848, 19 March 2024

Post elections, Putin warns of
Padmashree Anandhan

On a direct confrontation with NATO, Putin warns of "a full-scale World War III”
On 18 March, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President emerged as winner of the held presidential elections with 87.28 per cent vote. The turnout was observed record high with participate rate of 77 per cent and the competitors had secured only between 4.6 and three per cents according to the election commission. In a conference after the presidential election win, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president warned over the impossibility of avoiding a direct conflict with NATO.

According to RT, Putin made the following statements:

  • On the possibility of conflict with NATO, he said: "Anything is possible in the modern world” and hinted that it “would be one step shy of a full-scale World War III.”
  • On domestic security, he said: "I dreamed of a strong, independent, sovereign Russia."
  • Criticising the west he said: "No matter who and how they would try to intimidate and suppress us, our will, our consciousness… Nobody in our history has ever succeeded, won’t succeed now or in the future. Never."
  • On the Ukrainian paramilitary group intrusion into Russian border, he said: "And those who crawled into our territory were destroyed almost 100%... If the enemy likes a ‘meat grinder’ – we even benefit from it."
  • On Ukraine's arsenal status, he said: "The adversary has run out of ammunition.” 

A brief on election and turnout
According to the report in RT, more than 112.3 million voters (74 per cent) had cast their ballot during 15 and 17 March, a highest record since 1991 elections. This also includes voting in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, and Kherson and Zaporozhye oblasts (No vote was held in Ukraine occupied areas). In the occupied territories the turnout was projected to range from 83 to 88 per cent. During the elections, disruptive attempts were reported but was controlled through detainment and imposing of penalties. According to the election commission, Ukrainian attacks were also observed targeting polling station and resulting in evacuation.

Putin’s victory speech
Following the victory, in a press conference, Putin highlighted on the future challenges, increasing border attacks, and possibilities of talks and conflict with the NATO. According to him, a development agenda was in place to strengthen Russia and stated that the election result was the guarantee to achieve the tasks. On the border incursions, he stated the multiple drone attacks of Ukraine and its paramilitary groups efforts to break Russian border and now Russia is forced to establish a buffer zone to protect the people. He assured on setting a “security zone” to make it difficult for Ukraine to counter. Putin also mentioned on the shortage of ammunition of Ukraine and Russia would be interested in peace talks if aligned with its interest. He also warned over a direct confrontation with the NATO over direct deployment of troops inside Ukraine. He said: “…here is nothing good in this, first of all for them.”

Global reactions to Putin’s win
Xi Jingping, China’s President sent a congratulatory note indicating the win to be reflecting the support of Russian people. Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s President stated it as a decisive victory and Kim Jong Un similarly sent a congratulatory letter. Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s President and Milorad Dodik, Bosnian Serb welcomed the victory and called Putin as “great statesman.” Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister said: “Look forward to working together to further strengthen the time-tested Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia in the years to come.”

On the contrast, the US, the UK and Germany rejected the elections calling it as “repression and intimidation.” Whereas the EU condemned the votes held in occupied areas in Ukraine: “…does not and will never recognize either the holding of these so-called 'elections' in the territories of Ukraine or their results.” In a statement released by the White House: “The elections are obviously not free nor fair given how Mr. Putin has imprisoned political opponents and prevented others from running against him.”

Russian presidential elections 2024: New voting options, record turnout,” RT, 17 March 2024
Putin’s dream, Russian unity, conflict with NATO: Key takeaways from victory speech,” RT, 18 March 2024
Putin's reelection hailed by allies, decried by West,” Deutsche Welle, 18 March 2024

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