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As Russia prepares for its upcoming presidential election, world leaders, and international organizations are issuing a resounding call to reject the legitimacy of Vladimir Putin’s presidency.

With a history of undemocratic practices and human rights abuses, Putin’s regime faces mounting condemnation on the global stage.

“The world must stand firm against the charade of Putin’s election,” asserts Angela Merkel, former Chancellor of Germany. “To recognize such a farce would be a betrayal of democratic principles.”

The election, slated for next month, is already marred by controversy. Following the recent death of prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny concerns over political repression and lack of transparency loom large. Navalny’s demise adds to a grim tally of opposition voices silenced through imprisonment, poisoning, or exile.

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Critics point to Russia’s descent into autocracy, citing Putin’s unchecked power and a system that stifles dissent. The European Parliament, in a resolution passed in 2021, deemed Putin’s attempt to extend his term limits as “illegally enacted,” signaling growing international skepticism towards his leadership.

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Moreover, the election’s legitimacy is further undermined by its planned conduct in occupied Ukrainian territories. The annexation of Crimea in 2014 and subsequent elections held in these regions have drawn condemnation but little substantive action from the international community.

The parallels drawn with other authoritarian regimes underscore the urgency of the situation. Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela—all faced international isolation and sanctions following their disputed mandates.

“Putin’s actions in Ukraine and beyond are tantamount to war crimes,” states Samantha Power, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations. “To recognize him as a legitimate leader would be a grave injustice.”

Calls for action are gaining momentum, with the Council of Europe leading the way. In a landmark resolution, member states are urged to reject Putin’s legitimacy post-election and sever non-essential contacts with his regime.

The resolution serves as a rallying cry for Western democracies to take a decisive stance. By refusing to legitimize Putin’s rule, the hope is to apply pressure and bring about meaningful change.

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“In the face of tyranny, silence is complicity,” warns Justin Trudeau, former Prime Minister of Canada. “It is incumbent upon us to stand firm in defense of democracy.”

As the world watches, the outcome of Russia’s election hangs in the balance. But one thing remains clear: the global chorus calling for the rejection of Putin’s illegitimate presidency grows louder by the day.

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