Russian President Vladimir Putin Re-Elected, Wins by a Landslide

Putin eyes fourth term in polls as opposition cries foul

Putin eyes fourth term in polls as opposition cries foul

Putin's comments, which are likely to be heard with some scepticism in the West following years of confrontation, mark a change in tone after a bellicose election campaign during which he unveiled new nuclear weapons he said could strike nearly any point in the world.

The nearest an opponent got was 11 percent of the votes in favor of Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin. Turnout was reported high at more than 60 percent.

In this respect, Putin's government appears to have succeeded, as Russia's official Central Election Commission reported more than 67 percent voter turnout.

Now that President Vladimir Putin has overwhelmingly won re-election for another six years, some are wondering whether he will try to stay in power in Russian Federation for life.

That will make him the longest-serving ruler since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, and has raised Western fears of spiralling confrontation - fears that he now seems to want to quell.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to supporters during a rally near the Kremlin in Moscow, Sunday, March 18, 2018.

Saying that Russian Federation had to further strengthen its defences, he added: "I would like to tell you straight away that no-one intends to unleash some kind of arms race".

The results represented record support for Putin, who barely campaigned before Sunday's vote and faced no real competition in an election that even some of his seven rival candidates described as a farce.

When his new term expires in 2024, Putin may find a malleable successor and create a new role for himself to keep running Russian Federation from behind the scenes.

Several videos authenticated by the Associated Press show some election violations, including ballot box stuffing.

Maas said: "The result of the election in Russian Federation surprised us just as little as the circumstances of this election - we certainly can't talk in every aspect about a fair political contest as we know it". Opposition leader and blogger Alexei Navalny, who has built a career around lambasting Putin and his political party United Russia as a gang of "crooks and thieves", was barred from running in this past weekend's election due to a 2017 re-conviction for embezzlement (a past conviction for the same crime had previously been overturned by Russia's Supreme Court).

But Putin's supporters said Western pressure on Putin including Britain's accusations in a spy row and the Olympic doping ban prompted Russians to close ranks behind their leader.

Since first being elected president in 2000, Putin has stamped his total authority on the world's biggest country, muzzling opposition, putting television under state control and reasserting Moscow's standing overseas.

And a parade of pro-Kremlin commentators, politicians, and officials claimed that Putin's victory represented nothing less than the unity and determination of a people under siege. He added it was "unacceptable" that the elections also took place in annexed Crimea.

He will be leading the country for another six years, until 2024.

Less than three minutes after he stepped on stage, Putin was gone, leaving the crowd to chant "Russia!" and wave their flags in the cold Moscow night without him.

At home, Putin must face how to groom a successor or devise a strategy to circumvent term limits, how to diversify an economy still dependent on oil and gas, and how to improve medical care and social services in regions far removed from the cosmopolitan glitter of Moscow.

Putin believed that the worldwide response to the uprising in Libya was "part of a global conspiracy in which Russian Federation would be the next target", and disapproved of Medvedev for not vetoing a U.N. Security Council vote on the operation.

"If Putin wants Russian Federation to build a modern economy, he can't do that in conflict with the West, ' ' said Antonenko".

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