Vladimir Putin wins presidential elections

Vladimir Putin wins presidential elections

With nearly all of the votes counted in Russia's presidential election, the state-run Russia Public Opinion Research Center published an exit poll that showed Vladimir Putin with 76.6% of the vote.

With Putin's main challenger Alexei Navalny barred from taking part in the poll for legal reasons, the result of the election is hugely predictable, with overall turnout remaining the only likely element of surprise.

Election monitors were reporting irregularities at voting stations across Russian Federation, even though election authorities were under orders to ensure that the voting was free and fair after violations marred Putin's last election in 2012.

"He (Putin) is our president".

Polls in the country's far east have already closed in an election involving 107.3 million voters eligible to cast ballots across the 11 time zones of the world's biggest country.

Voters were casting ballots across the world's largest country, from the Pacific coast to Siberia and Moscow.

With the vast country stretching across 11 time zones, polls opened in the Russian far east at 2000 GMT on Saturday and will close in Kaliningrad, the country's exclave on the European Union border, at 1800 GMT on Sunday.

And Golos, an independent watchdog group, said Sunday evening it has received over 2,700 reports of potential voting irregularities in Russia's presidential election.

However, there have been several complaints made of ballot stuffing and other measures created to boost turnout figures.

But online groups set up to record voting violations reported hundreds of problems Sunday that cast a shadow over the official turnout figures.

She has announced plans to form a new political party - something that could further sideline Navalny, who is the Russian opposition leader with the most nationwide support and who wants to tear down the Putin system.

Navalny, Putin's most serious rival, was barred from the race.

The Russian election is also to be briefly discussed under an agenda item entitled "foreign affairs", but a more substantial debate on EU-Russia relations will take place either at an EU summit later this week or at another foreign ministers' meeting in the coming months, the source said.


Yevgeny, a 43-year-old mechanic voting in central Moscow, said he briefly wondered whether it was worth voting. "Believe me, people are going to vote not because of the food", he said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he fears repercussions from his employers if he speaks publicly about the electoral pressure.

He won 53 percent of the vote in the 2000 presidential election, 71 percent in 2004 and 64 percent in 2012. "If there would be a low turnout, it would mean that people are not interested in politics".

"People were indignant at first, said: "They're violating our rights" ... but what can you do?" she said at a cafe Saturday.

Russian citizens living in Ukraine were unable to vote during day because Kiev banned use of Moscow's diplomatic headquarters as schools in retaliation for holding of elections in annexed territories of Crimea and Sebastopol.

As US authorities investigate alleged Russian hacking and other interference in President Donald Trump's 2016 election, Russian authorities claimed that foreign powers are seeking to interfere in Sunday's vote.

Turnout-boosting efforts have been the most visible feature of the campaign - and all come from taxpayers' pockets.

Since Putin's domestic popularity bumps whenever he stands up to the West, expect more tough talk from Putin the next time he faces threats at home, and bolder Russian vetoes at the U.N. Security Council of anything seen as threatening Moscow's interests. It will be sold to voters on polling day at a discount of between 10 and 30 percent compared to prices in local shops.

In the southern city of Tambov, the state-sponsored Youth Parliament backed an Instagram competition.

At polling station number 216 in Ust-Djeguta, Marina Kostina was supervising two teenage girls who were photographing voters.

According to Ella Pamfilova, the head of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC), some 110 million Russian citizens are eligible to vote, about 1.89 million of them live overseas.

"This more than anything inspired the events of 2014, when he made a decision to annex the Crimean Peninsula in response to a revolution in Ukraine that he believed to be part of a global anti-Russia conspiracy". As the daughter of Putin's onetime mentor, the late St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak, she is in the unique position of having a personal relationship with Putin even though she criticizes him publicly.

Putin, who has ruled Russian Federation for nearly two decades, stood against seven other candidates, but his most vocal critic Alexei Navalny was barred from the ballot for legal reasons and the final outcome was never in doubt.

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