Final presidential candidates vote on last day of Russian election

On the final day of Russia’s presidential election, candidates Nikolay Kharitonov and Vladislav Davankov cast their ballots, expressing hopes for success.

The final day of Russia’s presidential election, which took place over three days, saw Nikolay Kharitonov, the nominee from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), and Vladislav Davankov, the candidate from the New People party, cast their ballots. Kharitonov visited a polling station in a western district of Moscow to vote. Kharitonov expressed his expectation of achieving “a decent result” in the election. Additionally, Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the CPRF, was also anticipated to exercise his right to vote in Moscow later on Sunday.
Vladislav Davankov, the New People party’s nominee, cast his vote at a polling station in Smolensk, a city in western Russia where he is originally from. He encouraged voters “to come and vote for Russia’s future.”

In addition to Kharitonov from the Communist Party and Davankov, two other candidates are contesting the Russian presidential election held from March 15-17, 2024. These are the incumbent President Vladimir Putin, who self-nominated, and Leonid Slutsky, the nominee from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR).

Putin exercised his vote electronically on the first day of the election, which was Friday. Slutsky visited a polling station to cast his ballot on Saturday.

Before the election, Putin portrayed his war in Ukraine, now in its third year, as a crucial battle against the West trying to break up Russia.

Putin boasted about recent gains in Ukraine, where Russian troops have made slow advances using their greater firepower. In response, Ukraine has intensified its counter-attacks by shelling and conducting raids across the border into Russia, as well as deploying drones for strikes far inside Russian territory.

This escalation in hostilities triggered multiple air raid alerts on Saturday in the Russian city of Belgorod, located near the Ukraine border, where two civilians lost their lives due to Ukrainian shelling. Russia said it stopped attempts by “Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance groups” to enter after anti-Kremlin Russian groups claimed an armed incursion into the Belgorod and Kursk regions last week.

Western leaders criticized the election as undemocratic. Voters had limited choices, and independent monitoring was very restricted. Only Kremlin-approved candidates or state bodies could assign observers to polling stations, reducing the likelihood of independent watchdogs.