Russian State Exit Polls Show 76 Percent so Far Back Reforms That Could Extend Putin Rule

June 29, 2020 Updated: June 29, 2020

MOSCOW—Russian state opinion pollster VTsIOM said on June 29 that its exit polls showed that 76 percent of Russians had so far voted to support reforms that could allow President Vladimir Putin to extend his rule until 2036.

The nationwide vote on constitutional reforms began on June 25 and is being held over seven days as a precaution against the CCP virus pandemic.

If approved, the changes would allow Putin to run twice for president again after his current term expires in 2024.

Russia-vote
A voter wearing a face mask and protective gloves to protect against coronavirus walks to cast her ballot at a polling station in St.Petersburg, Russia, on June 25, 2020. (Dmitri Lovetsky/AP Photo)

The pollster said 76 percent of those who had so far voted had backed the reforms and that 23.6 percent of people who agreed to be polled after voting said they had voted against.

It said it had polled 163,124 voters at 800 polling stations in 25 Russian regions.

The results are roughly in line with projections ahead of the vote based on previous polls by VTsIOM.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he saw no problem making preliminary results public before July 1.

“This is not competitive voting, not elections,” he told reporters when asked whether such disclosure could be considered as pressure on Russians who have yet to make their decision. Putin will vote in person, Peskov said but declined to say when.

The Kremlin’s critics say the vote is a sham and they fear it will be rigged.

By Tom Balmforth

Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.