Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office is concerned that Russia’s upcoming presidential election won’t meet voter turnout expectations, according to a Monday report.

Meduza, an independent Russian outlet, wrote that the Kremlin has been pushing for a high turnout to counter widespread accusations that elections in Russia are rigged.

Putin has served as Russia’s president from 2000 to 2008 and since 2012, with a stint as prime minister in between being the executive head of state. Opinion polls show Putin remains popular among the Russian public, even if support for his war in Ukraine has reportedly waned, and he is widely expected to win his sixth term in March’s election.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think tank wrote that the primary reason the Kremlin has continued efforts to deliver a high voter turnout is “to present the guise of legitimacy and widespread popular support” among Putin’s electorate.

Vladimir Putin speaks in Solnechnodolsk
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an event on March 5, 2024, in Solnechnodolsk, Russia. A new report says Putin is concerned that voter turnout in March’s presidential elections might not meet expectations.

Photo by Getty Images

However, the fact that Putin will almost certainly win in a landslide—either legitimately or due to rigged results—could be the reason why many voters might stay at home during the election.

ISW wrote that there is already “a widespread sentiment in Russia that the election has already been decided and that Russians have generally accepted that Putin has already won again.”

Newsweek reached out to the Kremlin via email on Tuesday night for comment.

According to Meduza, the Kremlin intends to hit a 70 to 80 percent voter turnout mark when polls are open from March 15 to 17. In order to reach this target, the Kremlin is reportedly looking to mobilize citizens with ties to the government, including public sector employees and people who work for state corporations, as well as their relatives and friends.

An example cited by the outlet was employees of the United Russia political party. These employees are reportedly required to bring at least 10 people with them to polling stations. However, some large corporations with ties to the Kremlin are said to only require employees to bring two people with them to the polls.

Meduza noted that there are no actual rules for how to enforce these requirements. The online publication also said the Kremlin is reportedly looking into other methods to drive up turnout by making voting more convenient. This includes giving voters the option of electronic voting methods and QR codes.

The ISW added that it “has long assessed that the Kremlin’s election preparations are intended to cast the election as completely legitimate and widely popular with strong voter turnout.”