Russia will hold elections for its highest office on Sunday, March 18.
Eight candidates are on the ballot in a contest that incumbent Vladimir Putin is expected to win overwhelmingly to secure an unprecedented fourth term in office. Russia’s Central Election Commission barred leading opposition figure Aleksei Navalny from running in December, citing a suspended prison sentence that he says is politically motivated.
The elections are scheduled to coincide with the 4th anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, and come at during a period of continued economic slowdown, immense domestic challenges and increasing international isolation for Russia.
RFE/RL and the Current Time digital and TV network will be covering the elections with over 15 hours of live programming in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Kazan, Siberia, Kaliningrad, Riga, Minsk, Kyiv, and Crimea with reports from polling stations, interviews, social media reactions and more on digital, radio, and TV.
RFE/RL journalists are available for comment before, during and after the polls:
Andrey Shary, Director, Russian Service (Prague)
Maryana Drach, Director, Ukrainian Service (incl. Crimea.Realities - Prague)
Kirill Sukhotski, Executive Editor for News, Current Time TV (Prague)
Irina Lagunina, Senior Correspondent, Russian Service (Prague)
Mikhail Sokolov, Senior Correspondent, Russian Service (Moscow)