Russia Votes in Presidential Elections as Putin Leads Polls

Russia Votes in Presidential Elections as Putin Leads Polls

This win should be a Putin-led Russian Federation in anticipation of 2024, the post which he is constitutionally appreciative to stand down anyway.

Navalny, whose group also monitored the vote, dismissed Putin's challengers on the ballot as "puppets".

Election observer Golos reported 2,000 incidents election rigging by Sunday evening.

The Central Election Commission said Monday that communist Pavel Grudinin came in a distant second with 11.78 percent.

At home, the British government has been under pressure from lawmakers and media to show it was getting tough on Russian Federation, with some experts saying that despite the rhetoric the response did not go far enough to bother Putin.

The shock result casts doubt on the smooth running of World Cup 2018, for which Russian Federation is the host nation, in what has otherwise been a well-organised and uncontroversial road to the tournament.

Polls open in Ulyanovsk, 893 kilometers east of Moscow.

Casting his ballot in Moscow, Putin said he would be pleased with any result giving him the right to continue as president.

"They are using everything: schools, kindergartens, hospitals - the battle for the turnout is unprecedented", said Roizman, one of the rare opposition politicians to hold a significant elected office.

"The percentage that we have just seen speaks for itself".

Russian cities have been plastered with billboards touting Sunday's election - "Your country, our president, our choice!"

Cadets of the Nakhimov naval academy vote at a polling station during Russia's presidential election in Sevastopol, Crimea.

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Putin himself cast his ballot at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. A Russian on the International Space Station was reported to have voted while in orbit. The government allowed Sobchak to run and gave her television airtime, while Navalny was barred from the ballot and was kept off TV. His United Russia party helped parliament to move the date of the vote to the fourth anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Given the lack of competition, authorities are struggling against voter apathy - and have put many of Russia's 111 million voters under intense pressure to cast ballots.

Critics described the vote as a charade, and opposition activist Navalny has been urging his supporters to boycott the vote ever since he was barred from the ballot in December.

She had earlier said that anyone involved in violations would be caught.

"But the answer was easy ... if I want to keep working, I vote", he said.

"I will judge you by your actions", Navalny told Sobchak. "I do not see any point for me in going to the election". "I won't vote for Putin or for those whom Putin picked as his sparring partners".

Other examples from observers and social media included 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 sign in one polling station.

Election officials flew to far-flung regions to collect votes from indigenous herders, while cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov - the only Russian now aboard the International Space Station - cast his ballot by proxy.

With four-fifths of the ballots counted, Putin has been returned for a fourth six-year term with 74percent of the vote, the national electoral commission said. Other videos published Sunday showed ballot stuffing in Chechnya, Dagestan, and the Sakha Republic.

At the same time due to the vote may seem like a replicate of the Putin's rule since 2012 election, this one is mainly charged with the anti-Western sentiment. Outside the polling station, a 31-year-old who identified herself by her first name and patronymic, Anna Sergeyevna, said she voted for Putin.

In Dagestan, one election official said he was prevented from doing his job by a crowd of men who blocked the ballot box.

Election Day was even complete with allegations of foreign meddling.

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