Vladimir Putin retains grip on Russian Federation, exit polls show

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After the majority of the ballots were counted, Putin thanked voters for their support at a victory rally and said Russian Federation had a great future ahead of it provided its people stayed united.

"Sobchak is lying as well, that is why the people do not vote for her", he said, referring to Ksenia Sobchak, who was projected to win 2.5% of the vote.

So far, Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin got 13.39 percent of the vote, while head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky received 6.34 percent, the CEC data showed.

But local election officials said they had confirmed an incident of ballot box stuffing in the Moscow suburb of Lyubertsy after studying video camera recordings, the state news agency TASS reported. His victory comes as Moscow takes an increasingly combative stance toward the Western world.

Nazarbayev said Putin's convincing victory in the election shows people's trust in him, development of the country and promotion of its interests.

Putin on Sunday won fourth Kremlin term with 73.9 percent of the vote.

Russian authorities had sought to ensure a large turnout to bolster the image that Putin's so-called "managed democracy" is robust and offers Russians true choices.

With just hours to go before polls closed, election officials said turnout was high, at nearly 52%.

"They filled the entire station, blocked the ballot box in a line", Sepashvili, who sits on the station's election commission representing opposition candidate Grigory Yavlinsky, told AFP by phone.

Mr Putin's most well-known opponent, anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, was rejected as a candidate because he was convicted of fraud in a case widely regarded as politically motivated.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday laughed off a question about whether he would run for another term in office after 2024.

Britain and Russian Federation have each expelled 23 diplomats over the attack as relations between the two countries reach a post-Cold War low.

He urged Russian voters to boycott the election and vowed to continue defying the Kremlin with street protests.

Despite criticisms of the Kremlin's actions ahead of the election, Putin is a genuinely popular figure in Russian Federation, and confrontation with the West has boosted his approval ratings, past polling shows. Also this week, Washington hit Russian Federation with sanctions for trying to influence the 2016 U.S. election. But Putin's popularity remained strong, apparently buttressed by nationalist pride.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday greeted Mr Vladimir Putin for being re-elected as Russia's president for a second consecutive six-year term.

He announced weeks before the election that Russian Federation has developed advanced nuclear weapons capable of evading missile defences.

There also been criticism from the West of Russia's military support for Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad.

Putin cast his vote in Moscow on Sunday morning.

"Judging by the current state of public opinion, future changes are likely to include stricter political control, further nationalization of private property, further shutting down the economic space, and new processes that make economic transactions in the country less sophisticated and more inefficient", he said.

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