Finally, Trump Has Something Bad to Say About Russia

Danny Woods
March 19, 2018

Exit polls suggest Vladimir Putin will remain as Russia's president for another six years after easily winning a fourth term in the country's elections.

About 107 million Russians are eligible to cast ballots and turnout was almost 60 percent an hour before polls closed in Moscow at 1700 GMT, according to figures displayed in the central electoral commission information centre.

Putin's main challenger Alexei Navalny has been barred from taking part in the poll for legal reasons, and the result of the election is in little doubt.

The victory will put the Russian leader on track to become the nation's longest-serving ruler since Josef Stalin.

About 107 million Russians are eligible to cast ballots, but some analysts say that after 18 years of Putin's leadership - both as president and prime minister - fatigue may be setting in.

With Russian President Vladimir Putin guaranteed to win another term, authorities are conducting get-out-the-vote efforts to ensure a good turnout.

One teacher from southern Russian Federation knew exactly why she voted for Putin.

Civic Chamber's website observing the election at one time was down and commission's website was also attacked soon after voting began.

Since first being elected as president in 2000, Putin has stamped his total authority on Russian Federation muzzling opposition and reasserting Moscow's lost might overseas.

More than 1,500 worldwide observers are joining thousands of Russian observers to watch the vote.

Russia's Central Election Commission recognized that there were some irregularities, but was likely to dismiss wider criticism and declare the overall result legitimate.

Russians had a choice of eight candidates, including the Communist Pavel Grudinin, whose title to a former state fruit farm has made him a millionaire, and Ksenia Sobchak, the daughter of Putin's political mentor, who presented a liberal programme.

More news: Russians have been stockpiling deadly nerve agent

"Our quarrel is with Putin's Kremlin, and with his decision, and we think it is overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the United Kingdom, on the streets of Europe, for the first time since the second World War", Johnson told reporters in the British capital. He is calling for a boycott of the election, saying it is an undemocratic farce. He said his bosses haven't asked for proof of voting but he fears they will.

"I voted for Putin", said Lyubov Kachan, a teacher in the settlement of Ust-Djeguta, in southern Russian Federation.

One of the more memorable moments from the campaign came during a debate when Sobchak threw a glass of water over the ranting ultra-nationalist candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky, prompting him to call her a "prostitute" and a "mad fool".

"But the answer was easy. if I want to keep working, I vote", he said.

By early evening Sunday, the non-governmental election monitoring group Golos had counted 2,000 incidents of voting irregularities, including observers being prevented from carrying out monitoring.

Russian Federation insists it had no motive to target Skripal with what Britain says was a highly-potent nerve agent called Novichok, in the first such attack in Europe since World War II.

"Of course I'm for Putin, he's a leader", said Olga Matyunina, a 65-year-old retired economist.

Trump tried to play coy with Putin during the campaign, hinting that the two could have a good relationship if he won the White House.

Voters appeared to be turning in out in larger numbers Sunday than in Russia's last presidential election in 2012, when Putin faced a serious opposition movement and electoral violations like multiple voting, ballot stuffing and coercion marred the voting.

"People were indignant at first, said: "They're violating our rights". but what can you do?" she said at a cafe Saturday.

His previous Kremlin term has been marked by a crackdown on the opposition after huge protests, the annexation of Crimea, support for an insurgency in east Ukraine, a military intervention in Syria and the introduction of Western sanctions that contributed to a fall in living standards.

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