“ Russia is doomed to success, we must maintain unity ,” the president told several thousand people gathered in Manezh Square, in front of the Kremlin, in Moscow, where he thanked the support received in elections in which he could not participate. main rival, the opposition leader Alexei Navalni, disqualified by the judicial authorities .
“You are our common team, I am a member of your team and all those who have voted this Sunday are our great national team,” Putin continued to say to the people who cheered and shouted “Russia, Russia”, despite the fact that the thermometer marked a temperature of 12 degrees below zero.
When his new six-year term ends in 2024 , Putin, 65, will have been running the helm of the world’s largest country uninterruptedly for almost a quarter of a century , except for the four years he was prime minister.
Although Putin’s victory was completely taken for granted, the support received is the highest in its history and much higher than the 63.60% it obtained in the last elections of 2012. It would also surpass its best result so far, 71.31 % obtained in the 2004 presidential elections.
Putin’s popularity, far from being resented in recent years by economic and social problems and Western sanctions, has been fueled by the annexation of Crimea and the clash with the United States and the European Union around crises such as those in Ukraine , Syria or the alleged Russian interference in electoral processes.
Espionage in United Kingdom
The last two weeks, the mysterious poisoning with a chemical weapon of the double spy Serguei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in the United Kingdom, which London blames on Moscow, has only reinforced the patriotic feeling before what is seen as a new manifestation of Russophobia.
“I see (in these results) at least the recognition of what has been done in recent years under very difficult conditions, I see the confidence and hope of our people that we will work with the same responsibility and even better results”.
According to these partial results released by the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), in the second place was the communist candidate, the millionaire Pavel Grudinin , with 12.05%, a percentage that did not predict any previous poll, which was only given in around 8%.
It is followed by the ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovski , who with 5.85% of the votes after attending the presidential elections for the sixth time seems to have already exhausted his time and amortized his eccentricities.
The journalist Ksenia Sobchak , the only woman and the youngest candidate, with 36 years, would have achieved 1.59%, while the other four candidates would have irrelevant percentages lower than 1%.
“It is an incredible victory, I have the feeling that this long and difficult work has not been in vain,” said Putin’s electoral spokesman Andrei Kondrashev.
Support throughout the country
Support for the Russian leader is even greater in places like Crimea , where with 21% counted, it would have received 91.69% of the vote.
In the peninsula annexed exactly four years ago, its inhabitants participated for the first time in a presidential election this Sunday and the million and a half voters would have given just 2.23% of the votes to the communist candidate, Pavel Grudinin.
Putin also obtained supportive stratospheric figures in the Caucasian republic of Chechnya, 93% , and in Tatarstan, more than 97% , according to the CEC.
In Moscow and in St. Petersburg , the two main cities of the country and barons of the extraparliamentary opposition, Putin achieved a much wider than expected support of over 70%.
The president of the CEC, Ella Panfilova, assured that “these have been a” transparent elections “and the defender of the town, Tatiana Moskalkova, rejected that there had been denunciations of massive irregularities.
However, the opponent Alexei Navalni , who has been prevented from running for election, denounced some irregularities on election day.
For his part, the candidate Grudinin described these elections as “the dirtiest that have been held in the post-Soviet space.