tirsdag 19. mars 2024

West decries Putin's landslide election win, China congratulates him

Western governments lined up on Monday to condemn Vladimir Putin's landslide election victory as unfair and undemocratic, but China and North Korea congratulated the veteran Russian leader on extending his rule by a further six years. The contrasting reactions underscored the geopolitical faultlines that have gaped wider since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago, triggering the deepest crisis in relations with the West since the end of the Cold War.

"The electoral process in Russia took place amid accrued repression against civil society and all forms of opposition to the regime, with even tougher restrictions to freedom of expression and the banning of independent media," France's foreign ministry said. "The conditions for a free, pluralistic and democratic election were not met."

British foreign minister David Cameron said the election outcome highlighted the "depth of repression" in Russia. "Putin removes his political opponents, controls the media, and then crowns himself the winner. This is not democracy," Cameron said. A German government spokesperson said Chancellor Olaf Scholz would not congratulate Putin on his re-election because "the result was predetermined".