March 18, 2018 / 3:41 PM / 8 months ago

Russia's 'Generation Putin' votes for first time

Youths walk along Red Square, with St. Basil's cathedral seen in the background, in central Moscow, Russia March 18, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A generation of Russians like 19-year-old Vladislava Isaikina have lived almost their whole lives under Vladimir Putin’s rule, and in Sunday’s presidential election, they were able to vote for the first time.

Putin first became president just over eighteen years ago, so Sunday’s vote was the first time someone born around the time he came to power is qualified to take part. The age limit for voting in nationwide elections in Russia is 18 years of age.

“I’m very happy I voted because I want to be a citizen of the Russian Federation with an active political position,” Isaikina said after casting her ballot in Elektrogorsk, near Moscow, accompanied by her grand-father, Nikolai Osipenko.

“We were given freedom, they gave us this opportunity to choose our representatives ... and I want to use this opportunity.”

Vladislava was born in the Moscow region on April 24, 1999. Later that year, on Dec. 31, Putin assumed the role of acting president of Russia and has gone on to dominate the Russian political landscape ever since. Opinion polls indicate he will win re-election by a wide margin.

Isaikina declined to say who she voted for. She did not even tell her grand-father. She said only that she chose someone who she believed could provide peace, stability, and a prosperous Russia.

“In such a difficult international situation, electing the president is a very serious question. Everybody must vote for the person whom they trust.”

Reporting by Gennady Novik; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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