On Sunday 18 March, amid restrictions on opposition parties and allegations of electoral fraud and ballot stuffing, Vladimir Putin won a fourth term as President with 76.6% of vote with 67% turnout in a result the ALDE Party President has labelled as “yet another façade election."
Commenting on the result, ALDE Party President Hans van Baalen MEP said: “The result is not at all surprising, nobody suspected anything else. This is the latest in a series of ‘elections’ in Russia in which the democratic opposition forces are prevented from participating fairly, face restrictions and measures during their campaigns, or even prevented from running at all as we saw with Alexei Navalny. In a country that claims to be democratic, this is another façade election that delivers yet another disservice to the Russian people.”
“European liberals have long condemned and lamented the deconstruction of Russian democracy under the reign of Vladimir Putin, the eradication of the multi-party system and the reprisals against the opposition forces include our ALDE Party member parties. We remain fervently opposed to the continued illegal occupation of the Crimean Peninsula and the ongoing destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine.”
“European liberals will remain steadfast and committed to support civil society and the development of genuine democracy in Russia. Russian citizens deserve better.”
“I would like to pay special tribute to Grigory Yavlinsky of our ALDE member party Yabloko, who despite challenging political conditions, conducted a defiant, spirited and positive campaign but won just 1.01% of the vote.”
Candidate Grigory Yavlinsky stated: "We knew very well that this procedure was little like real elections - disproportionate media coverage, spoilers, administrative pressure. But we participated in it because it was the only way to demand change. We participated in this campaign to make Putin change politics - eradicate poverty, end war and stop isolating Russia."
"We regret that while we offered an alternative and tried to discuss the country's problems and solutions, other candidates staged scandals and cheap shows. We thank all Russian voters who voted for the truth and for change. These are the people who, despite the propaganda and farce, understand the position of the country and want to change it and know how to do it."
"We had a beautiful campaign - I saw thousands of young people who believed in a different future. I am truly glad I was able to communicate face to face with many of them as well as with those who collected signatures and campaigned for us. A million people said that the archaic political system, where every day is hopelessly similar to the previous one, must remain in the past. We represent the voice of these people in politics. Together with a million Russians, we demand change. We do not lower our hands, we will continue to fight for a decent future and for a change in the country. And I am sure we will win sooner or later."