By now you know that Vladimir Putin has overwhelmingly won another term as President of Russia, with about 63 percent of the vote, setting the stage for what could be an anxiety-filled post-election clash with an opposition movement that’s been protesting against a third term for the controversial ruler since December.
“We have gained a clean victory!” Putin cried out at a rally in Moscow to celebrate his win. “Glory to Russia!” If you looked closely, you might have even seen tears rolling down his face.
But not everyone believes it to have been “clean.” Allegations of ballot tampering were widely reported. Citizen journalists caught on video what is said to be deliberate ballot stuffing and falsification, while others reported of carousel voting, where people cast multiple ballots at different polling stations.
TIME Magazine correspondent Simon Shuster, while at the rally for Putin in Moscow, reported complaints from people who were promised to be paid for attending, tweeting, “Paid demonstrators say 300 rubles to attend the proPutin rally. Got all on tape, utterly fucked up. Again Kitai Gorod, near Nogin bust”
But all this was to be expected. After all, what’s a Russian election without voter fraud and broken promises?
Really, the interesting thing to watch will be the country’s reaction to Putin’s win in the coming weeks. With the potential for protest high, the third-term president might be met with unprecedented resistance. The opposition movement has already planned a rally and protest for tonight (Monday). Meanwhile, dissident artwork, such as the Simpson’s inspired “12 Years of Putin” above, continues to circulate the web.
For more artwork, see RFE/RL’s “Russia’s New Viral Dissident Art.”