Pussy Riot slams Putin re-election at Mexico show

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Russian President Vladimir Putin basked in a landslide re-election victory yesterday, 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.

Speaking to reporters Sunday, Putin gave his most detailed public comments on the case, saying, "It's complete nonsense to imagine that anyone in Russian Federation could resort to such tricks ahead of the presidential elections and World Cup".

A loose feminist collective, Pussy Riot came onto the scene in 2012, the same year as the last Russian presidential election.

Observer Sergei Krivonogov said voters were taking pictures of the pocket calendars or leaflets that poll workers distributed, seemingly as proof of voting. Controversy shrouds Mr Putin's "troll farms" and "fake news" armies deliberately causing and stoking the populist surge sweeping parts of the West.

It was "unacceptable" that the election also took place in Crimea, which Russian Federation annexed from Ukraine four years ago in breach of worldwide law, Maas said.

Ukraine is split between a volatile government in Kiev and a Russia-backed separatist region stuck in a frozen but still deadly conflict that serves Putin's interests.

His most vehement foe, anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, was rejected as a presidential candidate because he was convicted of fraud in a case widely regarded as politically motivated.

Putin secured 76.6% of the votes, which amounts to his highest score ever, according to officials.

Casting his ballot in Moscow, Putin said he would be pleased with any result giving him the right to continue as president. Several showed election officials stuffing boxes with ballot papers.

Putin also needs to make a key strategic decision: whether to groom a preferred successor or try to stay at Russia's helm beyond 2024, either by scrapping term limits like China just did or by shifting into a new position of power. Navalny, who was barred from running in the elections over a criminal conviction, had called for a boycott of the vote in an attempt to reduce the turn-out and thus reduce the legitimacy of Putin's expected victory.

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"We're not surprised by the outcome", he said of the Russian election.

Saying there would be no "arms race", he promised to cut defence spending.

However, the European Union said "violations and shortcomings" in the election flouted worldwide standards, pointing to one-sided media coverage and curbs on political freedoms.

Vladimir Putin has been re-elected as president of Russian Federation in what is being described as a landslide victory. Performances and sports competitions were held as entertainment at polling stations.

The final results released on Monday showed the Russian president had won a fourth term in office with a record voter support of 77 per cent.

She insisted that there were "at least two times fewer" violations than in the last presidential vote in 2012, which was marred by problems.

The Kremlin's longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin had 75.1 percent of the vote with more than half the ballots counted, putting him on track for a new six-year term.

They gathered widespread examples of apparent voting violations in Sunday's vote, but it's unlikely to seriously damage Putin given his widespread support.

Putin, who has ruled Russian Federation for nearly two decades, recorded his best ever election performance with 76.67 percent of the vote, but rejected the possibility of staying in power indefinitely.

Mr Putin's nearest rival, the Communist Party's Pavel Grudinin, won just under 12%. The only candidate to openly criticize Putin in the campaign, TV star Ksenia Sobchak, got less than 2 percent. Asked late Sunday if he intends to initiate changes in the constitution, he answered that he has no such plans "yet". "It's simply unthinkable", Putin thundered at a press conference after a victory rally in Moscow on Sunday.

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