With nearly 74 percent of the vote, Vladimir Putin successfully won another six year term, his fourth as Russia’s leader, making him the country’s longest serving ruler aside from Joseph Stalin.
According to the Associated Press, the race which included eight candidates, was easily decided when the final polls closed in the country’s most western region of Kaliningrad at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.
Prior to the election, citizens were inundated with pro-Kremlin media reports and advertisements touting Russia’s strength and power.
Putin asked voters to “choose the future for the great Russia that we all love.”
The turnout for voters was expected to be much higher than in years past, possibly record-setting. Officials reported they were instructed to utilize resources necessary to ensure a 60% or higher participation rate.
Employers pressured workers to go vote and government agents registered names of those who promised to cast ballots and were encourage to pursued at least two other individuals to do the same.
Stories of Russian citizens, who wished to remain anonymous, said that they and others would not have bothered to vote at all had they not be pressured. Those same interviewees said that they already knew what the election outcome would be, so they didn’t feel their votes were impactful.
Voting “incentives” have been at the forefront of this year’s political campaigning. For instance, in Moscow, citizens voting for the first time were awarded free concert tickets for some of Russia’s most popular Putin-campaigning artists.
For more seasoned voters, health authorities offered free cancer screenings at selected polling stations. Some elementary schools hosted election day performances in hopes of coaxing voting parents to the polling stations.
Returning leader Vladimir Putin has pledged to increase wages, reboot the country’s failing health care and education systems and address and rebuild infrastructure.