Vladimir Putin will lead Russia for another six years, after securing an expected victory in Russia’s presidential election, with 76% of the people of voting age. It means more than 52 million people supported him, RIA Novosti reported. According to the Russian Channel One, the voter turnout in the city of Sevastopol and Crimea was particularly high. Addressing a rally in Moscow, on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia, Putin thanked his supporters. “I see in this at least a recognition of what has been done in recent years, in very difficult circumstances. I see in it trust and hope,” Russia’s old and new leader said. “I would like to tell both those who have gathered here in Moscow and our supporters across the entire country: thank you for this result,” he stressed. The voting results demonstrate people’s confidence and hope for further development of the country, the President noted, as quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency.
The pro-government Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported that, according to the Central Election Commission, Vladimir Putin is not just leading with a huge margin compared to his opponents, but he far surpassed the result he received in the last election. The Far East and Siberia, where the vote started, the turnout hit a record of above 60%. “This was an unprecedented campaign in terms of transparency and openness,” Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko commented. According to Izvestiia, the preliminary results indicate that Putin leads the presidential election in Moscow and St. Petersburg, with 70.97% and 64%, according to the preliminary results announced on Sunday. Izvestiia, among other news outlets, also reported that the National Public Monitoring website was a subject to a hacker attack from abroad, without specifying from where exactly.
From Soviet comparisons to accusations of authoritarianism, mainstream coverage of Russia’s presidential election has barely changed since 2004, though mentions of the UK spy poisoning scandal did add a fresh layer of insinuation, Russia Today reported in its roundup of “Western media.” “The vote was tainted by widespread reports of ballot-box stuffing and forced voting, but the complaints will likely do little to undermine Putin,” wrote AP’s lead report as quoted by RT. Sputnik provided an interview with Vladimir Golstein, an associate professor of Slavic Studies, on challenges facing Russia economically and politically. According to Golstein, most of Russians agree with Putin’s foreign policy but there are a lot of issues with domestic policy, particularly with corruption. “I think it’s very important, for the next election — and I’m not sure Putin will run — but domestic policy will decide everything,” the expert noted.
Speaking of the future, changes in the government should be carried out by the President after the inauguration, Vedomosti reported. According to Russian law, after the inauguration of the elected President of Russia, the incumbent Prime Minister is obliged to resign, and the President has to appoint a new head of government. The business-oriented outlet noted that after his win, Putin laughed off a question about running again in another six years. “What you are saying is a bit funny. Do you think that I will stay here until I’m 100 years old? No!” the old and new Russian President said.
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