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Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a ceremony launching the construction of infrastructure objects via video link from a residence outside Moscow, Russia, March 14, 2024.

Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS

25 years on, is Putin unstoppable?

Surprising zero people, Vladimir Putin on Sunday "won" his fifth term as Russia’s president.

The result was not close: Russia's electoral authorities say Putin took 87% of the vote with 77% turnout. A landslide was never in question, as Putin has systematically eliminated any opposition to his rule.

Putin has now ruled Russia for 25 years. When he first became president, no one had ever heard of "YouTube,” Italy’s economy was still bigger than China’s, and Britney Spears ruled the Billboard with “One More Time.” But now, a quarter of a century later, is Putin more powerful than ever?

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Russian President Vladimir Putin tours an exhibition as part of the Strong Ideas for a New Time forum held by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, an autonomous non-profit organization in Moscow, on Feb. 20, 2024.

Sputnik/Alexander Kazakov/Pool via REUTERS

Viewpoint: Russian authorities seek strong election showing for Putin

Amid tight control of dissent, a crackdown on the opposition, and a big pressure campaign to get voters to the polls, there is little doubt President Vladimir Putin will win another term in office in elections being heldon March 15-17. Still,the Kremlin is working hard to ensure a strong showing for the 71-year-old leader who has ruled the country for 25 years. Displays of public support are important for his legitimacy.

Eurasia Group expert Alex Brideau says one important watchpoint will be whether the followers of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who recently died in a Russian prison, can organize a symbolic protest vote. We sat down with Alex to learn more about what to expect in the election and the strength of the Putin regime.

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A man casts his ballot at a polling station during the Slovenian parliamentary elections in Lobnica.

Milos Vujinovic / SOPA Images

Hard Numbers: Slovenia votes, global defense spending soars, gridiron culture war at SCOTUS, guess who flouted the Russian arms embargo?

11: Marine Le Pen wasn’t the only rightwing Euroskeptic who took an L on Sunday — Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša’s SDS Party lost by 11 points to the Freedom Movement, an upstart green party, which won 34% of the vote. Janša, like Le Pen, noted that his party still got more votes than ever before.

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What is Putin so worried about?

There is little intrigue about the outcome of Russia's elections to the Duma (the lower house of parliament) on 17-19 September. The pro-Kremlin United Russia party has won every national election in Russia under President Vladimir Putin, dating back to 2003, and this time will be no exception.

Still, in recent months, the Kremlin has dialled up various forms of political repression against opposition figures, those connected to them and independent media.

We asked Eurasia Group Russia analyst Jason Bush what this escalating repression tells us about Putin's hold over public opinion, and what questions it raises about Russia's long-term future.

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