Vladimir Putin was set to return to the Kremlin last night, with early results giving him more than 60 per cent of the vote in a presidential election that was marred by allegations of fraud.
The first results, with 15 per cent of ballots counted, gave Mr Putin nearly 62 per cent of the votes and Gennady Zyuganov, a veteran Communist, a distant second with about 18 per cent.
The result was never in doubt: preparations had been under way all day for a victory rally in Manezhnaya Square, outside the Kremlin. Thousands of supporters, many bussed in from the provinces, gathered to wave flags in sub-zero temperatures – a display intended to show that Mr Putin still has real support among ordinary Russians.
Full article: Critics cry fraud as poll gives Putin third term in Kremlin (The Independent)