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Photo Credit: Sputnik/Sergei Bobylev/Kremlin via REUTERS

Vladimir Putin sworn in as Russian President for a record fifth term: will Trump congratulate him again? (Op-Ed)

Vladimir Putin was sworn into office for his fifth term as Russia’s president after first taking office nearly a quarter of a century ago. With most opposition candidates either dead, jailed, exiled, or barred from running – and with dissent effectively outlawed in Russia since it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 – Putin faced no credible challenge to his rule. While Putin’s reelection is no surprise, one question remains: will Trump call Putin to congratulate him as he did in 2018?

Major world leaders consider Russian elections to be a sham, with forced voting, stuffed ballots, and false results. “We certainly did not consider that election free and fair, but he is the president of Russia and is going to continue in that capacity,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Monday. For twenty-four years, Putin has remained in power and has turned the Russian Federation into an aggressor state and a dictatorship. Perhaps Trump is taking notes from Putin’s playbook considering he is fighting to obtain presidential immunity. Trump has threatened political violence if he does not win in 2024; while election integrity services are intent on protecting voters, we may very well see fraud akin to Russian elections.

When Trump congratulated Putin in 2018, the American nation was shocked. “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” Senator John McCain said in a statement, “By doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country’s future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin’s regime.”

Trump’s relationship with Putin has been nothing short of bizarre, and I foresee Trump calling him any day now to congratulate him. There is nothing Trump would love more than to rule America with an iron fist and never transition power. I fear that if Trump wins, we will be living in a fascist dictatorship heralded by a criminal who fashions himself the leader of the “free.”


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