Russian President Vladimir Putin won a landslide re-election victory on Sunday (March 18), extending his rule over the world’s largest country for another six years at a time when his ties with the West are on a hostile trajectory.
According to the official preliminary results after nearly 30 percent of the votes had been counted, Putin got 73.1 percent of votes.
The country’s Central Election Commission said vote counting was proceeding more quickly than in the parliamentary elections to the State Duma.
Critics alleged that officials had compelled people to come to the polls to ensure that voter boredom at the one-sided contest did not lead to a low turnout.
The election commission recognised that there were some irregularities, but was likely to dismiss wider criticism and declare the overall result legitimate.
Putin’s thumping victory will extend his total time in office to nearly a quarter of a century, until 2024, by which time he will be 71. Putin has promised to use his new term to beef up Russia’s defences against the West and to raise living standards.