Nothing free and fair about Russian elections, says former Ukraine president

Ukraine's former President Viktor Yushchenko. REUTERS/Remo Casilli (ITALY)

Ukraine's former President Viktor Yushchenko. REUTERS/Remo Casilli (ITALY)

Published Mar 19, 2024


Ukraine's former President Viktor Yushchenko has discredited the recently held Russian elections which declared Vladimir Putin as the winner with a majority of 87.3% of the vote on a record turnout of 77.5%.

He described Russian President Putin as a warmonger who wants to use the resources of Ukraine including its grain, arts and culture to build a quasi empire at the expense of the Ukrainian people.

Speaking during a media session with journalists on the sidelines of the Free the Children Conference at the Nirox Sculpture Park in Krugersdorp on Tuesday, he said Putin wants to be the leader of Russia until he dies.

The results announced this weekend revealed that Putin will rule Russia for another six-year term until at least 2030, when he will be 77.

“Who were his opponents? There were no elections there. I saw the announcement of the election results, but there were no elections there. Even his three opponents support Putin. So he will rule until he dies,” Yushchenko said.

Yushchenko said with most opposition candidates either dead, jailed, exiled or barred from running – and with dissent effectively outlawed in Russia since it launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 – Putin faced no credible challenge to his rule.

“There were no elections that took place in Russia. How can there be elections when all the opposition political party leaders are either in jail or are in prison. Putin is a coward and not a real leader who cannot bring Russia any healthy ideas. All he does is to consolidate the KGB and uses it to consolidate power on himself.

“It is a shameful thing what he has done because he represses the opposition. What kind of leader does that in this day and age,“ the former Ukrainian leader said.

He said even if Ukraine were to surrender, that will not bring peace as the people of the country would not be free from Putin who still has annexed 18% of the Ukrainian territories.

“We could surrender now, and Putin stops the war in six minutes, but that will not be freedom. He still has 18% of our land in his hand. We as the Ukrainian people are optimistic about one thing and that is victory. I know you want us to say peace, but what kind of peace would this be when Putin has 18% of our land. He will stop the war in three or six minutes because he has declared victory but he is able to keep 18% of our land and territory. He has already won,” he said.

The former statesman accused Putin of creating instability and participating in wars across the globe saying all the wars currently going on, Russia is involved.

“Take a look at all the wars that are currently going on across the globe, Russia is involved in all of them. No other nation in the world has as much interests in creating instability and corruption as Russia does,” he said.

Attempts to get comment from the Russian embassy in South Africa were still unsuccessful at the time of going to print, with an official identified as Bodhan Dianchenko saying he would revert to us. “Thank you for your enquiry, we will return to you in no time,” he said.

The Star