Global monitors slam Russian election as 'overly controlled'

Vladimir Putin's runaway victory in Sunday's elections was supported by more voters than any other candidate in the history of Russia's presidential elections, according to the latest results published Monday.

According to central election commission data with 90 percent of ballots counted, Putin took 76.4 percent of the vote, well ahead of his nearest competitor Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin who was on 12 percent.

President Putin stated his triumph to have been a result of a vote of confidence in his accomplishments. "We will think about the future of our great Motherland", said Putin, before leading the crowd in repeated chants of "Russia!" "They need a proper opposition", Navalny said Sunday.

"Our elections have proved once again ... that it's not possible to manipulate our people", she said.

The longer-term question is whether Putin will now soften his anti-Western rhetoric.

Putin has been in power as president or prime minister for almost two decades. Putin unveiled plans for new nuclear arsenal just before the election. At odds with the West over Syria, Ukraine, allegations of Russian election meddling and cyber attacks and the poisoning in Britain of a former Russian spy and his daughter, relations between Moscow and the West are at a post Cold War low.

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Runner-up Grudinin said the elections had been "dishonest" in comments carried by news agencies following early results.

Since first being elected president in 2000, Putin has stamped his total authority on the world's biggest country, muzzling opposition, putting television under state control and reasserting Moscow's standing overseas.

The ongoing probe into alleged Russian meddling in USA elections and the recent poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in London have made Mr. Putin a new target of Western criticism, with British Prime Minister Theresa May calling on all world leaders to stand up to and isolate Russia for alleged aggression.

According to the official results, Putin received more than 92 percent of votes in Crimea, which was annexed from Ukraine by Russian Federation four years ago, on March 18, 2014.

The constitution limits the president to two successive terms, obliging him to step down at the end of his new mandate.

"What, am I going to sit here until I am 100 years old? No".

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