Putin wins Russia's presidential election

Putin wins Russia's presidential election

Putin wins Russia's presidential election

Mr Putin - who was first appointed president in December 1999 - announced weeks before the election that Russian Federation has developed advanced nuclear weapons capable of evading missile defences. A doctor at a hospital in the Ural mountains city told the AP that 2 p.m. was the deadline for health officials to report to their superiors that they had voted. "Now, I would be more circumspect", Khodorkovsky said. He said his bosses haven't asked for proof of voting but he fears they will.

There has been a particular focus on the youth vote, with prizes offered for the best selfies taken at polling stations and a sexually charged online campaign that brands the election as "for adults only".

But employees of state and private companies reported coming under pressure to vote, while students were threatened with problems in their exams or even expulsion if they did not take part, according to the opposition-leaning Novaya Gazeta newspaper.

Some examples: ballot boxes being stuffed with extra ballots in multiple regions; an election official assaulting an observer; CCTV cameras obscured by flags or nets from watching ballot boxes; discrepancies in ballot numbers; last-minute voter registration changes likely created to boost turnout and a huge pro-Putin board inside one polling station.

Election officials moved quickly to respond to some of the violations.

On Russia's eastern edge, in the Pacific coast city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, polling stations opened at 2000 hrs GMT, and voting across the vast country will run until polls close at the westernmost point, the Kaliningrad region, 22 hours later. But Putin's popularity remained strong, apparently buttressed by nationalist pride.

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Ahead of the vote, a new crisis broke out with the West as Britain implicated Putin in the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal with a Soviet-designed nerve agent.

Speaking from a stage just off Moscow's Red Square in front of a cheering audience, the President said the election result was a recognition of what had been achieved in the past few years, despite hard conditions.

The election took place on the fourth anniversary of Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, which led to an array of U.S. and European sanctions.

That insulted the Ukrainian government, which refused to let ordinary Russians vote, drawing angry protests from Russian officials.

Ukrainian leaders are also angry over Russian support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, where fighting has killed at least 10,000 people since 2014. Polls show that most Russians continue to see the takeover of that Black Sea peninsula as a major achievement despite subsequent Western sanctions.

"Who am I voting for?" "The others, it's a circus". Putin has promised to use his new term to beef up Russia's defences against the West and to raise living standards.

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During the campaign, Putin traveled across Russian Federation pledging to raise wages, spend more on the country's crumbling health care and education and modernize Russia's dilapidated infrastructure. Ksenia Sobchak, the socialite and former reality TV star, received less than 1.5%.

"Another six years of slavery", said a piece of paper made up to look like a ballot which was spotted on a Moscow street - in an apparent reference to Putin's next term.

Critics think Sobchak has the tacit support of the Kremlin so the election appears more democratic, which she denies.

There had been no doubt that Putin would win in his fourth electoral contest; he faced seven minor candidates and his most prominent foe was blocked from the ballot.

The election came with Russian Federation facing increasing isolation on the world stage over a spy poisoning in Britain and a fresh round of U.S. sanctions.

And sure enough, the Central Election Commission claimed Sunday it had been the target of a hacking attempt.

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