Putin claims landslide victory as Western leaders denounce Russian elections

Putin received congratulatory messages from leaders such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Venezuelan leader Nicholas Maduro.
Vladimir Putin, March 18, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed a landslide victory in Russia's elections, as he was congratulated by leaders from other pariah states and condemned by Western leaders.

An exit poll from state outlet TASS shows Putin won 87.8% of the vote, and it appears that he has won more than 80% in every region of Russia so far.

Leaders of other pariah states sent their congratulations to Putin on Monday.

"Your re-election fully reflects the support of the Russian people for you," Chinese President Xi Jinping said, as translated. "I believe that under your leadership, Russia will be able to achieve greater achievements in national development and construction."

Venezuelan leader Nicholas Maduro congratulated Putin and called the election an example of an "impeccable electoral process," in a post on X, formerly Twitter. 

Meanwhile, Western leaders criticized the election, including how it was held in portions of Ukraine that Russia claimed to have annexed. 

"We condemn in the strongest terms the Russian Federation’s illegitimate attempts to organize Russian presidential elections in temporarily occupied areas within the internationally recognized territory of Ukraine," the U.S. Mission to the United Nations said in a joint statement with dozens of Western nations.

"The electoral process in Russia took place in the context of increased repression against civil society and any form of opposition to the regime, ever-increasing restrictions on freedom of expression and ban on the operation of independent media," the French Foreign Ministry said, as translated. 

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