Putin Proclaims Presidential Victory in Russia

Putin Proclaims Presidential Victory in Russia

By IndraStra Global News Team

Putin Proclaims Presidential Victory in Russia

Image Attribute: Russian President Vladimir Putin announcing his victory in a recently conducted presidential election.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday proclaimed his victory in the recently conducted presidential election. According to Russia's Central Election Commission (CEC), Putin obtained more than 75.01% of the votes, after counting 50% of the votes cast.

Putin, 65, thanked millions of Russian citizens who voted for him and allowed him to be re-elected for another six-year term. The constitution limits the president to two successive terms, obliging him to step down at the end of his new mandate -- as he did in 2008 after serving two four-year terms. The presidential term was extended from four to six years, starting in 2012. 

In an exit poll by pollster VTsIOM showed Putin, who has already dominated the political landscape for the last 18 years, had won 73.9 percent of the vote. Backed by state TV, the ruling party, and credited with an approval rating around 80 percent, his victory was never in doubt. Putin loyalists said the result was a vindication of his tough stance towards the West.

Putin interpreted these results as "recognition of all that has been accomplished during the past few years in very difficult conditions" and "of trust and hope" in the future.

According to the CEC, the Communist candidate, the millionaire Pavel Grudinin acquired 13.39% of the total vote and was ahead of the ultranationalist leader Vladimir Khirinovski, who came in the third position with 6.34%.

At the fourth place is acquired by the only female candidate, journalist Ksenia Sobchak, at 1.42%, while the other four candidates did not get even 1%

Anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, an outspoken critic of Putin who was considered his strongest potential rival was barred from Sunday's vote following his conviction on fraud charges that are widely viewed as politically motivated.

Support for Putin was even greater in places like the Crimea, the peninsula which was annexed exactly four years ago, its inhabitants participated for the first time in Russian presidential elections and with 21% of the calculation completed, Putin would have received 91.69% of the votes. The 1.5 million  Crimean voters would have given only 2.23% of the votes to Grudinin.

Putin also obtained stratospheric voting figures in Chechnya - 93%  and Tatarstan - more than 97%, according to the CEC.

CEC recognized that there were some irregularities, but were likely to dismiss wider criticism and declare the overall result legitimate.

Prior to this election, Putin's state-of-the-nation speech on March 1, was closer to the March 18 election day, which gave him a key platform to lay out priorities for his next presidential term, according to three officials familiar with the plans. During that speech, he unveiled new nuclear weapons and delivery systems, saying they could hit almost any point in the world and evade a U.S.-built missile shield.

Allies laud the former KGB agent as a father-of-the-nation figure who has restored Russia's national pride and expanded Moscow’s global clout with interventions in Syria and Ukraine.

However, critics accuse him of overseeing a corrupt, authoritarian system and of illegally annexing Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014, a move that isolated Russia internationally.

Asked after his re-election if he would run for yet another term in office, Putin laughed off the idea.

"Let’s count. What, do you think I will sit (in power) until I’m 100 years old," he said, calling the question "funny."

With the reporting by The Moscow Times, NPR, and Reuters