Eli Ridder | The Avro Post
Russian President Vladimir Putin secured the leadership on Sunday evening for another six years after an expected win in the presidential elections.
With some 50 per cent of the ballots counted, Mr. Putin had 75 per cent support, an increase of about 10 per cent from the year before, according to the elections commission.
Addressing a rally in Moscow after the early results were declared, Mr Putin said voters had “recognised the achievements of the last few years” and spoke on the “national team” of Russia that him and his supporters create.
Main opposition leader Alexei Navalny was barred from the race beforehand due to an embezzlement conviction he says was manufactured by the Kremlin to halt his presidential ambitions.
Many governments and pundits view the Russian elections as a mere formality and not truly democratic.
Video recordings from polling stations showed irregularities in a number of towns and cities across Russia and election officials stuffing boxes with ballot papers, reported BBC News.
Independent election monitoring group Golos reported hundreds of irregularities, including voting papers found in ballots previous to polls opening, international observers barred from some election stations, suspected forced voting and polling booth cameras being covered.
Even videos from the election commission’s live stream show staffers stuffing ballot boxes.
Several other counts of meddling were reported by international media.
However, Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Electoral Commission, said no serious violations had been registered yet during a commission meeting, reported BBC News.
“We have analysed and monitored everything we could, everything that has arrived. Thank goodness, it’s all rather modest so far,” Ms. Pamfilova said.
The election also lands on the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine by Russia, and Putin spoke at a rally celebrating the illegal move by Moscow to assimilate the region into Russia four years ago.
Russians living in Ukraine were unable to take part in Sunday’s vote because access to Russian diplomatic missions were blocked by the Kiev government.
Much of the developed world considers the Russian invasion of Crimea illegal, and also condemns the allegedly Russian-backed rebellion on the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.
More details to follow. Image of Vladimir Putin from Foreign Policy.