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Politics | Mar 23rd 2024 Edition

Tens of thousands of Russians used a federal election to protest against Vladimir Putin, bravely displaying anti-war banners in queues for polling stations and silently marking their ballots with the name of Alexei Navalny, the opposition leader who died in an Arctic penal colony last month. No serious opponents to Mr Putin were allowed to stand in the tightly managed election. The president decided to allot 87% of the vote to himself, ten percentage points more than in the previous sham poll in 2018.

America, Britain and the EU condemned the Russian authorities for suppressing opposition to Mr Putin’s regime. The election was also held in the regions of Ukraine that Russia has invaded, including Crimea, which Lord Cameron, the British foreign secretary, described as “abhorrent”. China, India, Iran and North Korea congratulated Mr Putin.


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