Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is an “absolute leader” who has no rivals on the national political arena, the Kremlin said a day after anti-election rallies were held throughout Russia.
Rallies in support of Alexei Navalny’s call to boycott presidential elections in March were organized in more than a hundred cities in Russia on Sunday. The opposition politician called for the boycott after being barred from running as a presidential candidate over a past conviction.
“The level of Vladimir Putin’s popularity extends far beyond Russia,” the state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as telling reporters on Monday.
“It’s doubtful that anyone could question the fact that Putin is the absolute leader in public opinion and the absolute leader of political Olympus, so to say, with whom hardly anyone can seriously compete,” Peskov said.
“Putin has repeatedly affirmed his incontestable leadership and continues to do so,” he added.
State-run surveys indicate the Kremlin is on track towards fulfilling its strategy of ensuring a 70-percent turnout with 70 percent of votes for Putin in March.
Peskov added in Monday’s conference call that Navalny does not pose a political threat to Putin, whose anticipated re-election will extend his rule into 2024.
“Some say [the Navalny rallies] were barely attended,” Peskov was cited as saying by RIA.