Russian President Vladimir Putin retains the option of not conducting the presidential elections next year as his victory is certain, according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, reported Moscow Times.
The possibility of Vladimir Putin pursuing a sixth presidential term aligns with the constitutional changes that allow him to remain in office until 2036.
“Although elections are a requirement of democracy and Putin himself has decided to hold them, theoretically it’s possible not to hold them,” Peskov told Russian media group RBC.
“Because it’s already obvious that Putin will be elected,” Peskov said, adding that the statement is “absolutely [my] personal opinion.”
Peskov spoke with RBC after the New York Times quoted him forecasting a 90% victory for the 70-year-old President in next year’s presidential election.
“Our presidential election is not really a democracy, it is costly bureaucracy… Putin will be re-elected next year with more than 90% of the vote,” Peskov told NYT.
According to Moscow Times, Peskov later claimed to have been misquoted but the publication, but stressed to RBC that his projection for Putin’s wide margin of victory is “based on the level of consolidation of society around the Russian leader.”
Presidential elections in Russia are scheduled to take place on March 17, 2024, as authorities in the country have been snubbing criticism of the Russia-Ukraine war.
“Mass anti-war protests are effectively outlawed under legislation passed in the wake of the Russian special military operation last year, and most prominent opposition activists have fled abroad in fear of being jailed,” the newspaper reported
Elections, this year, will be held in September in Russia with 18 regional heads, members of 16 regional parliaments, and 12 town councils, as well as the mayor of Khabarovsk in the Far East, being elected by direct vote.
Russia is also likely to hold polls in the four Ukrainian territories it claimed to have controlled last fall.