In a tweet fired off from his official Twitter account this Tuesday, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) slammed President Trump over his call with Russian president Vladimir Putin, in which Trump congratulated him for being recently reelected.
“An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” McCain tweeted. “And 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.”
McCain was referencing Trump’s earlier comments where he said he “had a very good call” with Putin in the wake of his reelection. Trump also announced an upcoming meeting between the two in the “not-too-distant future.”
According to Russian observers, Putin’s overwhelming victory was made possible by “large-scale violations” in the country’s election process, which included alleged ballot-stuffing that was captured on state-controlled cameras.
Golos, an election-monitoring organization, said it registered more than 1,500 violations in regions across Russia. Several cases of people stuffing ballot boxes at polling stations, including near Moscow, were recorded on cameras set up by the authorities to ensure a transparent vote.
Opposition leader Alexey Navalny said data compiled by his observers at polling stations showed that the official turnout of 67.5 percent was inflated by 10 percentage points. Navalny was barred from contesting the election and had called for a boycott of Sunday’s vote in protest. There was “widespread fraud,” according to Open Russia, an opposition organization founded by former oil tycoon and Kremlin opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Putin’s victory will extend his 18-year rule to 2024. His capture of 77 percent of the vote marks the highest percentage ever in a Russian election.
Featured image via Flickr