Vladimir Putin: “We have won. Glory to Russia”
At a rally in front of the Kremlin an emotional Putin, with tears running down his face and flanked by the outgoing president, Dmitry Medvedev, said: “I promised you we would win. We have won. Glory to Russia.”
Putin congratulated his supporters for preventing unidentified outside forces from determining the country’s fate, angrily reiterating his charge that the unprecedented protests against his rule that have rocked the country since a contested parliamentary vote in December have been curated by the west.
“We showed that no one can direct us in anything!” Putin said. “We were able to save ourselves from political provocations, which have one goal: to destroy Russian sovereignty and usurp power.”
The central election commission gave Putin 63% with 22% of votes counted. The state-run VTsIOM polling agency said its exit polls predicted that Putin would take 58.3% of the vote.
But as with the December vote, independent election monitors and opposition activists presented evidence of widespread falsifications, including ballot stuffing and “carousel voting” – packing vans with voters and bussing them to several polling sites to cast numerous votes.
The Kremlin set up webcams in polling sites to combat fraud. One camera caught a man stuffing voting papers into a ballot box in Dagestan.
Putin’s supporters rejected claims of voting irregularities. “This is the cleanest election in Russia’s entire history,” said his campaign chief, Stanislav Govorukhin. “The violations our rivals and the opponents of our president will now speak of are laughable.”
Some in Moscow said their support for Putin was a vote for stability. “I voted for Putin because there are no other candidates,” said Elena, a 50-year-old teacher voting at a school in western Moscow.
Many opposition activists had hoped to force Putin into a second round and questioned his landslide victory. “Putin has named himself the emperor of Russia for the next 12 years,” said the protest leader Alexey Navalny. “We announced earlier that we will not recognise these elections. The powers here are illegitimate – this is their only way to remain in power.”
Putin’s official opponents lagged far behind. The Communist leader, Gennady Zyuganov, came in second with early results showing he took 17.37% of the vote. The billionaire latecomer Mikhail Prokhorov took nearly 8%, while the far-right nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky took nearly 7.5%. Sergei Mironov, who abstained from throwing his support behind Putin, unlike in previous elections, came in last with 3.67%.
no surprise..hes got it..crap performance from the oligarch and soros choice prokhorov..am i bit weird for actually thinking putin might be a good guy?..take a contrary view..if the west hates him so much he must be doing something right?