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Face the Facts

Mary ManleyThe Kremlin rejected Washington’s criticisms on Monday and said that Putin’s win was a sign that Russian people have consolidated around him.Russian President Vladimir Putin will serve for another term as president after winning 87% of the vote in an election with over 77% turnout. While the results should suggest a strong support for Putin among the Russian public, Western media has lambasted the results with doubts over the legitimacy of the election.On Monday, Western governments came forward to condemn Putin’s landslide victory as unfair and undemocratic, while non-Western countries, including Belarus, China, India, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Libya, the Republic of the Congo, Turkiye, Kuwait, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, the Republic of Cuba, Myanmar, Honduras and many others, congratulated the seasoned leader. The condemnation by the West marks the worst divide between the West and Russia since the Cold War.A White House spokesperson on Sunday said the Russian election was “obviously not free nor fair”.But later on Monday, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre acknowledged that Putin is the legitimate leader of Russia.The US has had a long history of casting doubt on foreign elections that produce results contrary to their own foreign policy aims. In 1984, the US opposed Nicaragua’s first democratic elections in more than 50 years, because it did not align with their economic or security interests.At the same time, the US supported elections in neighboring Central American countries considered to be far more repressive. The US then backed violent Contra death squads in the country, fueling a bloody civil war until Nicaraguans were compelled to vote for US-backed forces to quell the conflict.AnalysisWestern Coverage of Russian Elections Awash in Disinformation19 March, 00:37 GMT

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