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Putin set for election coronation in vote with no opposition

Putin accepts invite to visit Vietnam: Hanoi
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Vladimir Putin is set to secure another six-year term as Russian leader this weekend in a vote the Kremlin says will show society is fully behind his assault on Ukraine.

In power as president or prime minister since the final day of 1999, Putin has quashed all forms of opposition and dissent, exerting a level of domestic control that ensures the result is in no doubt.

Victory in the March 15-17 contest will allow him to stay in the Kremlin until at least 2030, longer than any Russian leader since Catherine the Great in the eighteenth century.

The poll comes at a time of high confidence for the former KGB agent.

Russia’s troops in Ukraine have chalked up their first battlefield gains in months.

And Putin’s most strident critic, Alexei Navalny, died in an Arctic prison colony last month.

Though Putin is blasted as a pariah in the West, the Kremlin says the vote will show that Russians at home are unified behind him and his offensive.

“He has no rivals at the moment and cannot have any,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last year.

“Nobody can realistically compete with him,” he said.

Despite the ceremonial undertones, the Kremlin takes the electoral process seriously.

Moscow has poured resources into a campaign designed to whip up enthusiasm for Putin.

The president has toured the country and was filmed flying in the cockpit of a supersonic nuclear bomber, burnishing his tough-guy credentials.



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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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