Vladimir Putin's fifth term begins and he will remain in power until at least 2030

On the road to totalitarianism: another six years of Putin's rule in Russia

Vladimir Putin - PHOTO/FILE
Vladimir Putin - PHOTO/FILE

Three consecutive days to vote, a silenced opposition and total control of the elections; with this formula, Putin has won the election. 

Vladimir Putin swept the Russian presidential election and remains in absolute power in Russia.  

  1. Record year
  2. Putin: growing stronger 
  3. The president's priorities 
  4. What is expected from the fifth term? 
  5. Towards a Third World War? 
  6. Noon against Putin 
  7. Targeting Moldova 
  8. What is Putin's history in power? 

Record year

The Kremlin was looking for a turnout of over 70% and a minimum of 75% support. It succeeded.  

The turnout was 74.22%, the highest ever. 

Moreover, 2024 is also the year in which the Russian president has garnered more support than ever before. He received 87% of the vote, which translates into 10 points more than in the last election, held in 2018.  

The vote does not seem to have been affected by the suspicious death of Alexei Navalni or by the armed confrontation still taking place in the Ukrainian country led by Zelensky. 

The government has undoubtedly achieved its goal: a sufficient turnout to disguise the result as 'legitimate' and an endorsement for Putin interpreted as the Russian people's acquiescence to the war in Ukraine.  

Putin: growing stronger 

During his years at the helm of Russia, Putin has become a leader of substance. Moreover, the fact that there are now no strong opposition voices, that the sanctions imposed from the West have not had a serious impact on the national economy, and that the latter is growing even faster than the G7 economies, have been key factors in his rise to power. 

El presidente ruso, Vladimir Putin, asiste a una reunión con miembros del servicio en el Kremlin en Moscú, Rusia, el 27 de junio de 2023 - SPUTNIK/MIKHAIL TERESHCHENKO
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with service members at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 27 June 2023 - SPUTNIK/MIKHAIL TERESHCHENKO

His popularity also rises as Russia's ranks on the battlefield or as support for Kiev weakens from countries such as the US. 

The president's priorities 

Once his triumph was known, Putin gave a press conference, as always, with no emotion on his face.  

He began by thanking all those who had elected him and went on to outline his plans for action, a sort of road map for the next six years.  

His main objective will be to consolidate Moscow as a geopolitical power. He is convinced that, in the not too distant future, he will make his nation stronger and more consolidated. "No one will suppress Russia when we are consolidated," he said.  

As far as the war in Ukraine is concerned, he is also open to sitting down to negotiate a ceasefire, albeit a temporary one. This is in view of the upcoming Olympic Games. In the event of a ceasefire, the talks would be mediated by France.  

Puente sobre el río Dónetsk a su paso por el sur de Járkiv, totalmente destruido durante los primeros meses de la invasión rusa de Ucrania - PHOTO/MARÍA SENOVILLA
Bridge over the Donetsk River in southern Kharkiv, completely destroyed during the first months of the Russian invasion of Ukraine - PHOTO/MARÍA SENOVILLA

In any case, Russians from poorer regions are still enlisting in the ranks to fight Zelensky. Thus, for the time being, Putin has the resources to keep the conflict going.  Moscow is talking about a permanent war and trying to make Russian society aware of the need to organise itself for national defence.  

In this context, to which it must be added that Vladimir Putin is confident in his country's power and aspires to strengthen it, it does not seem that Russia's leaders can conceive of an end that does not involve Ukrainian surrender.   

What is expected from the fifth term? 

"Putin has often postponed unpopular measures until after the elections". These were the words of Bryn Rosenfeld, Professor of Post-Communist Politics at Cornell University, to The Associated Press.  

Everything points to the president being tied to fewer restrictions in the coming years. He has already demonstrated that he is not concerned about adhering to the rule of law. He rules with carte blanche to do and undo as he pleases.  

And the danger of this is not only domestic. It should be remembered that Putin remains in power after an election. This means that he has been elected by the people (regardless of the fact that the vote was most likely fraudulent).  

Los resultados preliminares de la votación en las elecciones presidenciales rusas se muestran en una pantalla de la Comisión Electoral Central en Moscú el 17 de marzo de 2024 - Foto de STRINGER / AFP
Preliminary results of the Russian presidential election vote are displayed on a screen at the Central Election Commission in Moscow on 17 March 2024 -STRINGER / AFP

The legitimacy that comes with social support may inspire the promotion of authoritarian policies in other parts of the world.  

Towards a Third World War? 

In his victory speech, he also addressed a number of issues, among which NATO attracted particular attention.  

In particular, he denounced the involvement of NATO soldiers on the front lines in Ukraine. "Soldiers from NATO countries are there. We know that," he warned. "It's not good, mainly for them, because they die." "And they do so in large numbers," he added. 

But what is really worrying about NATO is Putin's willingness to start a confrontation. "In today's world, anything is possible". Vladimir Putin does not mince words; he threatens directly. He is making it clear that, if he deems it necessary, he will start a new conflict.  

It is worth noting that the Russian president's words come days after both Emmanuel Macron, President of France, and Radek Sikorski, Poland's Foreign Minister, said they do not rule out sending troops to Ukraine. "Everyone understands that this will put us one step away from a full-scale World War III. I don't think anyone would be interested in this," Putin said, not ruling out war with NATO countries.  

He also mentioned Alexei Navalny, saying that he had approved his swap days before his "sudden" death in prison, which he described as a "sad event". According to Putin, he had approved the prisoner exchange on the premise that Navalni would never return to Russian territory.  

Noon against Putin 

Through social media, Navalni's widow, Yulia Navalnaya, launched an appeal for 17 March. The video was widely distributed. In it, she encouraged all voters to go to the polling stations on the last day and at the same time, in order to collapse the ballot boxes. 

This was the Kremlin's first challenge... 

Electores forman una fila para votar en las elecciones presidenciales rusas en un colegio electoral en Moscú, Rusia, el 17 de marzo de 2024 - The Yomiuri Shimbun. Foto de Junya Hashimoto / Yomiuri / The Yomiuri Shimbun vía AFP
Voters line up to vote in the Russian presidential election at a polling station in Moscow, Russia, 17 March 2024 - The Yomiuri Shimbun. Foto de Junya Hashimoto / Yomiuri / The Yomiuri Shimbun vía AFP

Yulia's voice was heard and thousands of people took part in the protest. At 12 noon, the polling stations were demonstrating the feeling of revulsion.  

What was the result? Around 80 people were arrested in 17 different cities, including the capital.  

Targeting Moldova 

It is true that Moldova is not a NATO member, but even so, pressure from Russia has unleashed fear in the territory. 

It is one of the countries bordering Ukraine, so it is not surprising that concerns are now growing in Chisinau that they are next in line for Russia's expansionist aspirations.  

What is Putin's history in power? 

It has been almost half a century since Putin came to power.  

In August 1999 he came to power as the incumbent head of government. That same year, by the end of December, he was already acting President of the Russian Federation... 

Thus began the Putin era.  

El presidente ruso y candidato presidencial Vladimir Putin se reúne con los medios de comunicación en su sede de campaña en Moscú el 18 de marzo de 2024 - Fotografía de NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / POOL / AFP
Russian President and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin meets the media at his campaign headquarters in Moscow on 18 March 2024 -  NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / POOL / AFP

It was in 2000 that Vladimir Putin's name first appeared as the winner of a Russian election. Thus began his first term in office, in which he focused on building a strong central power and unifying legislation.  

After this four-year term, he was re-elected in 2004. His second term was dominated by the National Priority Projects, promoted in 2005 with the intention of boosting Russian health, education, housing and agriculture.  

Until then, the constitution stipulated that Russia's president could only serve two consecutive terms.  

In the 2008 elections, Dmitry Medvedev was the winner. Putin was then Prime Minister. He did not formally run the state, but he pulled the strings behind the scenes. 

The 2012 elections came and Putin was again elected. This was a significant year, as the constitution was reformed so that, for the first time, the term of office would last six years instead of four.  

Moreover, this legislature is important for understanding the Russia-Ukraine war, as it was during this period that the fuse of the conflict was lit. The reason was the referendum by which the Russians annexed Crimea. The vote was illegitimate and accused of fraud by the international community.  

El presidente ruso Vladimir Putin - AFP/GAVRIIL GRIGOROV
Russian President Vladimir Putin - AFP/GAVRIIL GRIGOROV

The perennial Russian winner has emerged victorious in every election since then.  

He was re-elected in 2018 and the term of office has just ended.  

Now a new six-year term begins with Putin at the helm.  

If he remains at the helm of the country until 2036 (everything points to this being the case), he will surpass Stalin in the number of years at the head of the government.