Monday Briefing: Putin Extends His Rule

Voters lined up outside a polling station in Moscow at noon yesterday, part of a protest against Vladimir Putin.Credit…Nanna Heitmann for The New York Times

Putin extends his rule after a predetermined vote

President Vladimir Putin claimed another six-year term in a presidential contest in which he faced no real competition. He is expected to hold a Red Square rally to formally declare victory — and to portray the vote as a public endorsement of his invasion of Ukraine.

Here’s the latest.

Some Russians quietly registered their dissent yesterday. They turned the rubber-stamp election into a startling protest: Many formed long lines at polling stations to register their discontent with Putin as he prepared to take his fifth term as president.

Aleksei Navalny, the opposition leader who died in prison last month, had urged his supporters to vote at noon local time. Lines formed quickly at polling stations in major cities, and several people in Moscow told The Times that they had come to express their support for Navalny.

One woman, who gave her name as Dayana, 22, said she was heartened to stand among fellow Putin critics and feel “that I am not alone, that there are a lot of us.”

But there was no sign that the protest would deter Putin, who has ruled Russia since 1999. He extended his rule until 2030 and, if he serves until the end of his next term, will have the longest tenure of any Russian leader since Catherine the Great in the late 1700s.

A predetermined outcome: Even Putin’s spokesman said last year that the elections were “not really democracy,” but “costly bureaucracy.” In the occupied regions of Ukraine, armed soldiers watched people vote for president.

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