The mainstream media (MSM) is in rage as Vladimir Putin has de-facto secured a new presidential term with 76.66% of votes [voter turnout is currently 67.98%] after 99.84% of ballots have been processed.
The Washington Post (source):
Vladimir Putin cruised to victory Sunday for another six-year presidential term after an election that was long on spectacle and short on suspense.
From the Arctic to the International Space Station, Russia rolled out an elaborate election-day display designed to show the breadth of Putin’s public support as he extended his tenure for a fourth term to 2024.
The New York Times (source):
State employees, pensioners and residents of rural areas, all of whom depend heavily on the government, tend to vote for Mr. Putin out of a combination of enthusiasm, habit and blackmail.
There were scattered reports of the usual election irregularities, with a few observers harassed or beaten and video cameras catching some ballot-box stuffing.
Mr. Putin, a former Soviet intelligence officer, barely bothered to campaign, except to stress his constant theme that Russia was a besieged fortress and that he was the only man to keep it safe by rebuilding its arsenal and projecting power beyond its borders, especially in challenging the United States.
CNN, in an article entitled “Voting underway in Russia as Putin seeks tighter grip“, writes:
Opposition activists as well as the non-governmental election monitoring group Golos were reporting voting irregularities on Sunday afternoon.
By early evening, Golos had counted 2,000 incidents, including observers prevented from carrying out their work.
A wave of anti-government protests in the past year suggests growing fatigue with corruption scandals seeping through the Kremlin and Putin’s inner circle of oligarchs.
Nonetheless, Putin is genuinely a popular figure among many Russians, who see him as a strongman who lifted the country out of post-Soviet chaos to stability.
Russian President Vladimir Putin basked in his biggest ever election victory on Monday, 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.
Putin’s victory will take his political dominance of Russia to nearly a quarter of a century, until 2024, making him the longest ruler since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Putin, who will be 71 at the end of his term, has promised to beef up Russia’s defenses against the West and raise living standards.