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The so-called presidential “election” held in Russia has ended without any surprises and with predictable outcomes. The individual responsible for starting the most destructive war in Europe since the end of World War II has been re-elected to the post of the President of Russia.

This so-called “election” has been neither free nor fair. Latvia regards the 2024 “election” of the Russian President as lacking any democratic legitimacy.

Since 2000, Vladimir Putin has served four presidencies for a total of more than 20 years.  The possibility for Vladimir Putin to run for a fifth term was opened up by the 2020 amendments to the Russian Constitution that zeroed out his previous presidency terms. Those amendments to the constitution have been strongly criticised by both the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and independent international experts as being contrary to the Constitution itself and to the principles of international law.

Russia’s presidential “election” of 2024 has been conducted under the conditions of independent media being fully suppressed in Russia, thereby further strengthening the influence of propaganda in Russia’s information space. The Russian political opposition has, for the most part, been eliminated or scattered abroad. Any at least somewhat feasible political candidate was barred from standing in the “election”. The so-called “election” was held in the absence of independent international observers, since Russia, contrary to its international obligations, refused to invite an OSCE election observation mission to attend.

We reiterate that Latvia does not recognise, and condemns in the strongest possible terms the illegal “election” and its results in the temporarily occupied and annexed territories of Ukraine and in the regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which also are under Russia’s temporary occupation, as well as in the Transnistria region of Moldova.