BREAKING: Vladimir Putin Wins a Fifth Term As Russia's President

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Surprising no one, Russia’s incumbent president Vladimir Putin cinched reelection for a fifth term Sunday. The “exit polls” show Putin winning 87 percent of the vote compared to 76.69 percent in his last election. Nationwide turnout was 74.22 percent when polls closed, election officials said, surpassing 2018 levels of 67.5 percent.

In a post-election news conference, Putin thanked the voters for their “support and trust.” He said the top priority during his next term will be strengthening Russia’s defenses and pursuing the Special Military Operation. He commented on Alexei Navalny for the first time ever.

While taking reporters’ questions following his victory speech, Putin claimed a deal to release imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny, prior to his death, had been proposed.

“A few days before Navalny passed away, I was told that there was an idea to exchange him for people in prison in Western countries,” Putin said.

The Russian President said he agreed, with one condition — “so that he does not return,” he said.

Reflecting on the incident, Putin said, “Unfortunately, what happened had happened.”

To believe that, you have to believe that Navalny died of natural causes and that the Kremlin did not sanction his death. Neither are positions that anyone with an IQ in the top six standard deviations could hold.

Putin inherits a mess that he worked hard to create. Russia’s GDP is growing only because of government spending on the military and defense. The civilian economy is a barking shambles. Russia’s closest allies are China, Iran, and North Korea. The war in Ukraine shows no signs of abating, and the success he has had in suborning Hungary’s Orban and Slovakia’s Fico has been more than offset by increasing NATO by two member nations, pushing Poland and the Baltic States into a heightened state of readiness and belligerence, and isolating Germany’s Scholz.

Good times lie ahead.

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