Russian President Vladimir Putin stormed to victory in presidential election, giving him another six years in power. Putin, who has ruled Russia for almost two decades, won more than 75 per cent of the vote according to preliminary results.
He is well ahead of his nearest rival Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin at 13.2 per cent. But opposition cried foul alleging ballot stuffing and other cases of fraud. The Kremlin pushed for the high turnout to give greater legitimacy to Putin’s historic fourth term.
About 107 million Russians were eligible to cast ballots and turnout was 60 per cent before polls closed in Moscow. The Russian strongman ran against seven other candidates, but his most vocal critic Alexei Navalny was barred from the ballot for legal reasons.
The election came with Russia facing increasing isolation on the world stage over a spy poisoning in Britain and a fresh round of US sanctions.