Vladimir Putin Wins Another 6 Six Years As Russian President

Erika Holt
March 20, 2018

At home, Putin will be faced with how to groom a successor or devise a strategy to circumvent term limits, how to drive diversification in an economy still highly dependent on oil and gas and how to improve medical care and social services in Russian regions far removed from the cosmopolitan glitter of Moscow. While officials have reported strong turnout, monitoring groups have reported electoral violations.

Vladimir Putin today faced another six years in power after a record win in Russia's presidential election, but congratulations from overseas were largely muted after opponents accused him of rigging the vote and Moscow's relations with the West worsened.

Mr Putin on Sunday evening addressed supporters in the Manezh Square outside the Kremlin, telling them was he part of "their team". The runner up was Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin with 12.7 percent. The chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation on Sunday evening tweeted a picture of a ballot with the former deputy prime minister's name scrawled across it.

Addressing a rally in Moscow, Mr Putin said voters had "recognised the achievements of the last few years". The issues included several ballot boxes hidden from view of observation cameras and last-minute changes to voter registration lists.

The Ukrainian government, insulted by Russia's holding the election on the anniversary of Crimea's annexation, refused to let ordinary Russians vote.

The Central Elections Commission said Putin had won about 73 per cent of the vote, based on a count of 30 percent of the country's precincts.

"After he brought Crimea back, he became a hero to me".

"Challenging borders by force is contrary to worldwide law, including commitments made by the Russian Federation", said the French foreign ministry, adding that it was "concerned by the militarization" in the region as well as human rights abuses.

Crimea and Russia's subsequent support of separatists in eastern Ukraine led to an array of United States and European sanctions that, along with falling oil prices, damaged the Russian economy and slashed the ruble's value by half.

Members of a local election commission prepare a polling station ahead of Russia's presidential election in Simferopol, Crimea.

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However, he was allowed to film at another voting center, just five minutes away.

Critics alleged that officials had compelled people to come to the polls to ensure that boredom with the one-sided contest did not lead to low participation.

"Observers noted a variety of measures, some involving inappropriate pressure on voters, aimed at increasing turnout", it said. "The second objective is to strengthen allegiance towards the authorities".

Putin told the youth forum that "the country wants each of you to make it, and your personal success stories will make Russian Federation successful".

"But, if the decision is avoided, then this key, defining choice will be made without your opinion being taken into account", he added.

In the run-up to the polls, Putin pledged to raise wages, inject more funding into healthcare and education and to modernize dilapidated infrastructure.

Across the country in the city of Yekaterinburg, a Russian doctor also said she was being coerced to vote.

Putin's most serious foe, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race.

Navalny said he had boycotted the presidential election and urged other Russians to do the same.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was one of the first heads of State to congratulate Putin on election results.

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