Russian opposition denounces vote extending Putin’s rule

MOSCOW (AP) — A vote that has cleared the way for President Vladimir Putin to rule Russia until 2036 is being denounced by his political opponents as a “Pyrrhic victory” that will only further erode his support and legitimacy. Election officials said nearly 78% of voters approved amendments to the constitution that will allow Putin to serve two more terms once his current one expires in 2024. Kremlin critics argued the reported numbers were falsified and didn’t reflect the dwindling enthusiasm for the once-popular leader. In a video clip, Putin thanked voters for their “support and trust.” Election officials said turnout for the seven days of voting across Russia reached nearly 68%.