Russia’s elections: Why bother?

Russian presidential elections are held on March 15-17, 2024. In the 25 years that have passed since President Boris Yeltsin appointed Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister, Putin has ensured sure his grip on power remains unchallenged. These 2024 elections are no different.

On the contrary, following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine the public space for dissent has gone from cramped to practically non-existent. The anti-war candidate Boris Nadezhdin was recently denied entry to this year’s “race” for the Kremlin.

How does Putin view the elections, and how does Russian society view the elections? How should we, as outside observers of Russia’s ongoing tragedy, view them? Is there any point in watching elections rigged on this scale? Why care, when national Russian media is gagged, when the outcome is pre-determined and would-be opposition candidates such as Vladimir Kara-Murza languish in a Siberian prison, or Aleksey Navalny who was recently killed in prison?

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee invites you to a discussion on these questions – and more – featuring leading experts from Russia and Ukraine. Our panel includes political scientist Ekaterina Schulmann; mathematician and politician Mikhail Lobanov; journalist and editor Maxim Kurnikov (Ekho); and Ph.d candidate and activist Sasha Talaver; as well as NHC Secretary General Berit Lindeman.

Ekaterina Schulmann is a Nonresident Scholar at the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center in Berlin and an Associate Professor at KAZGUU University in Astana, Kazakhstan. Photo: Valerie Kalinichenko
Mikhail Sergeyevich Lobanov is a Russian mathematician, left-wing politician, trade union activist, and former associate professor at Moscow State University. Photo: Private
Maksim Kurnikov, managing director of Ekho, leading editor of Bild. Photo: Stanislav Akimkin
Sasha Talaver is a Ph.D. candidate (Gender Studies, CEU, Vienna) and an activist of the Feminist Anti-war Resistance (Russia). Photo: Private

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