In a unanimous vote, Russia's Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, has scheduled the country's next presidential election for March 17, 2024. This decision, passed with 162 votes, marks the commencement of the election campaign, as announced by the head of the Federation Council, Valentina Matviyenko.
First-time Inclusion of Ukrainian Regions
In a novel move, the impending election will include voters from the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya, and Kherson, areas annexed by Russia. This will be the first instance of residents from these regions participating in a Russian presidential election. Matviyenko underscored the significance of this inclusion, asserting that by electing the head of state together, the inhabitants will partake in the shared responsibility and destiny of the Russian nation.
Implications for Russia's Future
The upcoming election is slated to determine the leadership of Russia for the next six years, and it's anticipated to have a significant influence on the nation's future. Given the extended term, the elected leader could potentially surpass the tenure of historical figures like Josef Stalin and become the longest-serving leader since Empress Catherine the Great in the 18th century.
Meanwhile, in the United States, disagreements between Senate Republicans and Democrats over border policy continue to jeopardize the dispatch of much-needed foreign aid to key U.S. allies, including Ukraine. Senate negotiators are persisting in their efforts to strike a deal after Republicans stalled the foreign aid progress on Wednesday evening, protesting the package's lack of revisions to border and immigration policy.