What the world is saying about Putin's re-election

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"Conveying his compliments on Putin's success, the Prime Minister expressed the hope that under Putin's leadership, the "Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership" between India and the Russian Federation will continue to grow from strength to strength", the ministry said in a release.

With nearly all districts reporting in and counted, Putin garnered about 76.7 percent of the total vote, the highest proportion in any presidential election since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Director of the Lenin State Farm Pavel Grudinin, nominated by the Communist Party of Russia, is second with 11.80% of the vote, while leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovsky is third with 5.66%.

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

Mr Putin's victory will take his political dominance of Russian Federation to almost a quarter of a century, until 2024, making his rule the longest since that of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Though the central election commission has not officially declared detailed results so far, Putin addressed his supporters Monday morning near Kremlin, the Presidential palace.

"It goes without saying that not everything depends on us - as with love, both sides have to be involved, otherwise there can be no love at all", he said.

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The election came amid escalating tensions with the West, with reports that Moscow was behind the nerve-agent poisoning this month of a former Russian double agent in Britain and that its internet trolls had waged an extensive campaign to undermine the 2016 USA presidential election.

According to the OSCE, who sent observers to monitor the election, it "took place in an overly controlled environment, marked by continued pressure on critical voices", despite being "efficiently administered" by the Central Election Commission.

Asked after his re-election if he would run for yet another term in the future, Mr Putin laughed off the idea. First, ballot stuffing was arguably the most blatant form of election manipulation, especially when polling stations were fitted with cameras. NBC quotes Putin gadfly Alexei Navalny, who was barred from running in the election, claiming that officials are overstating the turnout by as much as 18 percent.

Putin's critics called the election unfair, citing the Kremlin's silencing of the opposition.

In his first public comments on the poisoning, Putin on Sunday referred to the allegations against Russian Federation as "nonsense".

Selfie competitions, giveaways, food festivals and children's entertainers were laid on at polling stations in a bid to create a festive atmosphere around the election.

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"Our elections have proved once again ... that it's not possible to manipulate our people", said Valentina Matviyenko who is one of Putin's closest allies and the speaker of the upper house of parliament.

In his next six years in office, Mr Putin is likely to assert Russia's power overseas even more strongly.

The real question was not whether Putin would win, but how high the voter turnout would be. Although Western governments and media outlets have roundly criticized and attacked Putin as a tyrant and a warmonger ever since Russia's policy shift, these attacks have done little (if anything) to turn Russians against Putin, at least publicly.

In Sevastopol 90.2 percent of the voters chose Putin, while in the Republic of Crimea 92.2 percent voted for the incumbent.

'Demonization of Putin' Spokesman for Putin's campaign Andrei Kondrashov said that at more than 67 percent, turnout was 8 to 10 percentage points higher than expected.

Less than three minutes after he stepped on stage, Putin was gone, leaving the crowd to chant "Russia!" and wave their flags in the cold Moscow night without him.

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To Russians, Putin's biggest victory in 18 years in power was annexing Crimea and crushing Ukraine's ambitions to move closer to the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

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