Protesters in Paris against the managed election of Vladimir Putin, with signs such as “Putin is a murderer”, March 17, 2024 (Sarah Meyssonnier/Reuters)

EA on Times Radio: Week in Review — Ukraine-Russia, UK Politics, Tik-Tok Turmoil in US, Tucker Carlson Pranked, and Rugby in Ireland

Sunday’s Coverage: Zelensky Hails “A True Long-Range Capability” as Another Russian Oil Refinery On Fire

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Irina Scherbakova, the co-founder of the Nobel Prize-winning Russian human rights organisation Memorial, had said that Russia’s Presidential election had “nothing to do with reality”.

Instead, the declared 87.3% share for Vladimir Putin was a “very threatening symbol” of “the rise of this dictatorship” and of “hard times” ahead for domestic opposition.

Scherbakova summarized, “We have to expect that violence and repression will be used and that Putin will want revenge.”

The activist found hope in the protests over the vote, confirming “many people who are not afraid to actually express their opinion”.

Memorial, the foremost organization established after the fall of the Soviet Union to document repression, was banned by the Kremlin in 2021.


The European Council has confirmed a €5 billion ($5.44 billion) fund for military aid to Ukraine.

Council staff established the arrangement through the European Peace Facility earlier this month.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell posted:


The independent Russian vote monitoring group Golos assesses that Russia’s Presidential election was the most fraudulent and corrupt in the country’s history.

The campaign took place in a situation where the fundamental articles of the Russian Constitution, guaranteeing political rights and freedoms, were essentially not in effect.

Never before have we seen a Presidential campaign that fell so far short of Constitutional standards.

Russian Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Gorovoy says 61 criminal cases have been launched, and 150 administrative offense acts issued.

There are 23 cases for announcing a deliberately false act of terrorism and 21 for obstructing voters in exercising their rights.

Gorovoy claimed “1,400 statements and reports of violations and possible crimes”, with 547 hoax bomb threats during the three-day election period.


The pro-Ukraine Russian militia Siberian Battalion claims it has entered Gorkovsky in Russia’s Belgorod region on the border.

“Units of the Russian liberation forces, together with volunteers from the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, entered the settlement of Gorkovsky in the Russian Federation and captured the building of the local administration,” the militia posted on Telegram.

The Battalion, the Freedom of Russia Legion, and the Russian Volunteer Corps launched cross-border raids into the Belgorod and Kursk regions last Tuesday.

See also Ukraine War, Day 749: Raids Inside Russia; Refineries on Fire


Ukraine’s air defenses downed 17 of 22 Iran-type “kamikaze” drones fired by Russia overnight.

The Russians also launched five S-300 missiles into the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine and two Kh-59 missiles into the Sumy region in the north.


In his nightly address to the nation, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy commented on Russia’s managed Presidential election.

Everyone in the world understands that this person, like many others throughout history, has become sick with power and will stop at nothing to rule forever. There is no evil he would not do to maintain his personal power. And no one in the world would have been safeguarded from this….

This imitation of “elections” has no legitimacy and cannot have any. This person must end up on the dock in The Hague. This is what we must ensure.


A man was killed and at least eight people, including a girl, wounded in a Russian missile strike on the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine on Sunday.

Houses and infrastructure were damaged and cars were burnt out.

Russian attacks also damaged agricultural enterprises and destroyed several industrial buildings in neighboring Odesa.

In the Sumy region in the north, one person was killed and another injured by Russian bombing of the border town of Velyka Pysarivka.

Fifteen homes, a multi-story residential building, a shop, a cultural center, a library, a hospital, and a kindergarten were damaged.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Tens of thousands of Russians at home and abroad have protested Vladimir Putin’s “win” in stage-managed Presidential elections.

Putin was declared the victor with 87.5% of the vote after any legitimate challengers were barred by the Central Election Commission. Authorities proclaimed that the turnout was more than 70%, close to that recorded in 2018.

Thousands of Russians defied arrest and retribution to demonstrate at polling stations in Moscow, St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and other cities. They gathered at “Noon Against Putin” rallies on Sunday, in a campaign proposed by St Petersburg politician Maxim Reznik and backed by supporters of the late opposition politician Alexei Navalny, and spoiled their ballots.

In Moscow, Alexei said, “Tears of pride and joy welled up that people still came out. Everyone looked around: how many of us there were.”

Vita said at a rally in the region, “I met wonderful people and felt unity and hope. Love is stronger than fear.”

In Yaroslavl, northeast of Moscow, said simply, “I love and am proud.”

In the capital, Sophia summarized:

It was fun. This action breathed life [into me].

I’m so tired of looking around: God forbid I say the wrong thing; shaking during rallies with anger and fear, mixed with self-contempt for not being able to participate in the rally because of fear for my life.

One day, these people and I will meet again at the polling station, but this time to vote for different candidates, not knowing who will win.

Security forces arrested at least 74 people, with several dozen cases of vandalism reported.

“Showing That There Are Many of Us”

Other Russian nationals rallied outside Moscow’s embassies around the world, with queues of more than a kilometer.

In Armenia, where up to 100,000 Russians have moved during Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, all those in the line around the large embassy complex spoke of their opposition to the Kremlin and its policies.

Kirill, who declined to give his last name for personal security, said:

It’s clear that the President will be elected without us.

I came personally to show that I disagree and to show that there are many of us. It seems to me that if the authorities see that there are many of us who disagree, then at least life in Russia may be a little easier for people and maybe some changes will occur.

In Latvia’s capital Riga, about 100 protestors gathered in front of the polling station at the Russian embassy. Vladimir said he would cast a blank ballot: “I don’t want war, I don’t want things like in Ukraine.”

There were long queues in Almaty in Kazakhstan, the home of tens of thousands of Russians who have fled the invasion; on Istanbul’s Istikali Street; in Phuket in Thailand; and in European cities.

Navalny’s widow Yulia Navalnaya and other members of Navalny’s camp joined thousands in a queue of more than a mile in central Berlin, from the Brandenburg Gate to the Holocaust Memorial.

Navalnaya told the crowd, “There are many people around you who are anti-Putin and anti-war, and if we come at the same time, our anti-Putin voice will be much louder.”

“I See How Many People Are Against Putin”

In London, the queue outside the Russian Embassy stretched for more than half a mile along Kensington Gardens, with signs such as “These ‘elections’ are fake”; “My President is Alexei Navalny”; and “Vladimir Putin, go fuck yourself”.

Maria Dorofeyeva, stood with her sign, “Against Putin, against the war! For freedom, peace and fair elections!” She said:

I expected there to be a lot of people, but not this many. I didn’t know there were so many Russians in London. It gives me some hope to see how many people are not happy with the dictatorship, the war, with what’s happening in Russia. And we want to stop it.

Aleksandra Kallenberg said she spoiled her ballot by ticking three candidates besides Putin.

It is important, because I see my people, I see my nation, I see how many people are actually against the regime, against Putin, because our propaganda really tries to show that no one is actually against [him]….

I see how many people are actually here today and that’s very inspiring.

And Dmitrii Moskovskii explained:

Many, many people inside Russia and outside of it have been saying to me that after Navalny’s death, they’ve really realized that this regime is crossing the line, that this regime is no more legitimate and cannot, do not, have a right to exist anymore.

Gennady, a pensioner, held his fist in the air:

I am happy to see so many thinking, smart people. These people have come here to be counted.

I think it’s a clever action and it’s probably all that can be done today. You see the way that protest is put down in Russia.

But it can’t last this way for ever.