Putin Claims Presidential Victory; Opposition Vows Protest

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By Ivana Kvesic , Christian Post Reporter
March 5, 2012|9:53 am

A teary-eyed Vladimir Putin claimed victory in Russia's presidential elections on Sunday. In what appears to be a landslide victory, the former KGB officer and two-time president captured well over the 50 percent of Sunday's presidential vote, allowing him to avoid facing a runoff.

"I promised you we would win. We have won. Glory to Russia," Putin declared. "We have won an open and honest fight."

The presidential win comes a week after Russian state television announced that Putin was the target of a foiled assassination plot uncovered by Russian and Ukrainian secret service agents.

Many speculated that the timing of the announcement signaled an attempt to rally Russians behind the hardline leader and boost his ratings prior to the election.

Opposition groups have alleged fraud in the election and plan on hitting the streets of Moscow on Monday to protest Putin's win.

International observers have also held that the Russian election was rigged; rife with ballot stuffing and irregularities. The independent watchdog agency Golos has said that it received over 3,000 complaints of irregularities.

"The point of an election is that the outcome should be uncertain. This was not the case in Russia," said vote monitor Tonino Picula of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). "According to our assessment, these elections were unfair."

Putin's return to the presidency for a third term will not likely have much of an impact on Russia politically, as the former KGB officer maintained his strong grip on Russian politics during his post as prime minister under President Dmitry Medvedev.

Putin's return to the presidential seat will likely "affect the style of Russian politics and foreign policy, but less the substance," Russia expert and Associate Director of International Security Studies at Yale University Jeffery Mankoff told The Christian Post.

"The change of presidents shouldn't have that much direct effect on how the country is governed," Mankoff said.

Russia Today
Vladimir Putin gives victory speech after winning Russia's presidential elections.

 

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