The start of elections in Russia was disrupted in several polling stations this Friday, March 15, 2024. At least thirteen people have already been arrested for various acts of damage. Vladimir Putin promises to respond to “these enemy strikes”.

Several excesses took place on the sidelines of the elections in Russia this Friday, March 15. According to the Ria Novosti news agency, a woman set fire to a voting booth in a Moscow polling station. “The Moscow election commission told Ria Novosti that work resumed normally after the incident,” according to the agency. On social networks, we can see, in a video, the arrest of the suspect. Images which show that these elections are taking place in a tense climate, in the midst of war with Ukraine, and a month after the death of Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny.

The electoral commission also announced that a polling station had been targeted by a second Molotov cocktail attack in St. Petersburg. “A 20-year-old woman tried to throw a Molotov cocktail at the sign of a polling station” located in a school, explains an official of the electoral commission on Telegram. No casualties were reported.

On the other hand, at least 13 people were arrested this Friday due to damage to polling stations. Five of them were “placed in detention” in Moscow and in the regions of Voronezh, Rostov and Karachay-Cherkessia after having sprayed ballots cast in the ballot boxes with a “coloring liquid,” local law enforcement reports. in several press releases.

The incidents did not stop there this Friday. Eleven polling stations were evacuated in Lugansk for “threats of attack”. In the occupied Kherson region of Ukraine, a bomb exploded outside a polling station. An improvised explosive device was also placed in a trash can outside the Skadovsk polling station. An explosion was heard but there were no casualties, indicates the regional electoral commission linked to the Russian occupation on Telegram.

Vladimir Putin, who voted online, denounces Ukrainian attacks. They are, according to him, an attempt to “disrupt” the Russian presidential election. The head of state also promises a response. “These enemy strikes do not and will not remain unpunished (…) I am sure that our people, the Russian people, will react with even more unity,” he said in a televised meeting of the security Council.

At present, it is impossible to say that these actions were carried out as part of a possible challenge to the re-election of Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. According to the Russian Interior Ministry, an investigation was opened for “obstruction of the exercise of electoral rights or the work of electoral commissions.” A crime punishable by “5 years in prison” according to the authorities. For her part, the president of the Electoral Commission, Ella Pamfilova, believes that the individuals arrested this Friday admitted to acting “for money” reports Le Parisien. Russians are called to go to the polls until Sunday March 17, 2024.