Russian President Vladimir Putin does not have any rivals for the presidency ahead of the coming election, the Kremlin claims.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news outlets Tuesday that there is no competition against Putin ahead of the next presidential election next year.
“We have repeatedly said that President Putin is undoubtedly the number-one politician and statesman in our country,” said Peskov, according to translations from the Moscow Times.
Peskov, in his role as government spokesman, has been an aggressive advocate for Putin’s continued leadership of the country.
“In my personal opinion […] he has no rivals at the moment and cannot have any in the Russian Federation,” the spokesman said Tuesday.
Peskov has previously dismissed concerns about democratic integrity in the country’s elections.
“Our presidential election is not really democracy, it is costly bureaucracy,” Peskov told the New York Times in an article published Aug. 6. “Mr. Putin will be re-elected next year with more than 90 percent of the vote.”
Peskov expanded on this comment in a subsequent interview with Russian state media outlet RBK.
“Elections are what a democracy demands and Putin himself decided to hold them, but theoretically, they don’t even have to be held,” Peskov told state media outlet RBK.
He added, “Because it’s clear that Putin will be elected. That’s completely my personal opinion.”
Putin is infamous for his use of strong-arm tactics and political violence against critics and dissenters.
The Russian government has arranged the intimidation, arrest, and assassination of journalists and political opponents.