Surprising no one, Vladimir Putin has won Russia’s presidential election after polling yesterday.
Official reports say that Putin took 76.67% of the vote, with turnout recorded at 67.4% at 6.52 Moscow time this morning.
This was a significant increase on the 63.6% Putin secured last time on 65% turnout.
This means that around 52% of all Russians who were eligible to vote endorsed Putin in this election, with more than 73 million votes cast.
The result secures Putin a fourth term in office, extending his rule until 2024. Putin has lead Russia – first as prime minister, then as president – since 1999.
Alexander Navalny, the main opposition leader, was banned from running. Of the seven rivals allowed to run, the most successful was Pavel Grudinin with 11%.
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Without any credible opposition, apathy was Putin’s biggest concern in this election. In the run up to the vote, the Kremlin reportedly told officials that they wanted a turnout of at least 70% to legitimise the ex-KGB agent’s power.
Shortly before this year’s vote, according to reports, the Kremlin was rumoured to have decided that 65% turnout would be acceptable. One way the Kremlin tried to encourage turnoute was by running competitions for photos taken at ballot boxes, with iPads or bicycles as prizes.
Exit polls last night put turnout at a lowered 63%, although that had risen by this morning. This morning there were also stories of fraud at polling stations. Golos, an independent watchdog, reported dozens of violations including ballot boxing stuffing (in view of CCTV cameras) and coercion, such as employers pressuring their workers to vote.
Speaking in Moscow after his win, Putin told the crowd: “Thank you for your support
“Everyone who voted today is part of our big, national team.”
Putin also denied that he would try and run again for President (currently forbidden by Russia’s constitution) when asked by a journalist.
“What you’re saying is just silly … what, am I going to sit here for 100 years?”, he said.
What was Putin’s share of the vote versus his rivals?