Vladimir Putin who contested in the election alongside seven other candidates, though opposition leader Alexei Navalny was barred from running, had been predicted to win the election.
With the recent win, Putin claims the mantle of the vast country’s longest-serving ruler other than Joseph Stalin. Speaking to a crowd who attended a pop concert near the Kremlin marking his victory, Putin hailed those who voted for him as a “big national team,” adding that “we are bound for success.” He said that the nation needed unity to move forward and urged the audience to “think about the future of our great motherland.” He then led the enthusiastic crowd to chant “Russia!”
The last time Putin faced voters was in 2012, when he was up against a serious opposition movement. But since then he has boosted his popularity thanks to Russian actions in Ukraine and Syria.
Yevgeny Roizman, the mayor of Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, says local officials and state employees have all received orders “from higher up” to make sure the presidential vote turnout is more than 60 percent.
“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.
Reuters reported Russia’s Central Election Commission recognized there were some irregularities, but not enough to make the overall results illegitimate. Putin loyalists said the result was a vindication of his tough stance towards the West.
“I think that in the United States and Britain they’ve understood they cannot influence our elections,” Igor Morozov, a member of the upper house of parliament,” said on state television. “Our citizens understand what sort of situation Russian finds itself in today.”