Russia's 2018 Presidential Election, in Photos

Daniel Fowler
March 20, 2018

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%.

The Russian strongman ran against seven other candidates, but his most vocal critic Alexei Navalny was barred from the ballot for legal reasons and the final outcome was never in doubt.

But Putin has convinced Russian voters that drastic change is risky, and that protecting the country from threats takes precedence over improving daily life. He now claims that the turnout figures have been inflated by as much as 18% in certain regions.

Earlier Sunday, Russian Ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov suggested Porton Down, the UK's chemical weapons research facility, might be behind the March 4 attack, although he said he has no evidence of that.

Reuters reported that the result was a vindication of his tough stance towards the West, Putin loyalists said.

"We do not recognise these elections", he said, claiming turnout was being rigged.

Mr Putin will take his victory as a mandate to continue his current course, one defined in large part by confrontation with the West.

"People were indignant at first, said: "They're violating our rights" ... but what can you do?" she said at a cafe Saturday. "People came together. No other country in the world has such open and transparent elections".

Navalny's team and non-government election monitor Golos reported ballot stuffing and multiple voting, with voters also being bussed to polling booths against the law. A senior opposition politician has warned they could descend into street clashes if police crack down too hard on demonstrators.

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Among the retail giants to sign the letter were Walmart, Costco, Target and Dollar Tree. The footwear companies argued that shoes already are subject to hefty tariffs.

In his first public comments on the poisoning, Putin on Sunday referred to the allegations against Russian Federation as "nonsense". The last time Putin faced voters in 2012, he faced serious opposition, but since then has boosted his popularity thanks to Russian actions in Ukraine and Syria.

The 65-year-old former KGB agent appeared confident after casting his vote in Moscow.

Those who vote in the Russian capital but are not registered there had to apply until March 12 to any local election commission, multi-service centre or online state services portal, in order to be allowed to vote at a place of residence.

The election came amid escalating Cold War-like tensions, with accusations that Moscow was behind the nerve-agent poisoning this month of a former Russian double agent in Britain and that its internet trolls had waged an extensive campaign to undermine the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Officials and analysts say there is little agreement among Putin's top policymakers on an economic strategy for his new term. Read the latest Power Vertical blog post - Putin's Brezhnev Moment - to find out. In the absence of any established opposition or a strong presence of independent observers, the president is set to take another six-year term in the Kremlin.

In Latin America, the presidents of the leftist regimes in Venezuela and Bolivia both effusively congratulated Putin on his "overwhelming" victory. On Russia's Porton Down suggestion, Johnson said, "It was not the the response of a country that really believes it's innocent, that really wants to engage in getting to the bottom of this matter".

His domestic opponents are largely resigned to another six years in the shadows.

The result would extend the leader's total time in office to almost a quarter of a century, by which time he will be 71.

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