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Putin basks in re-election victory

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Putin basks in re-election victory

Putin basks in re-election victory
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Russian President Vladimir Putin basked in his biggest ever election win extending his rule for another six years.

China's president Xi Jinping was among the first to offer his congratulations to Putin alongside Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe who telephoned the Russian leader after his landslide victory.

Officials results from the election show Putin raced ahead with nearly 77 percent of the vote. Far beyond his nearest rival Pavel Grundinin who could only manage just over 11 percent.

The other candidates polled between five and 0.6 percent of the vote.

Turnout was just short of the 70 percent the Kremlin was aiming for.

Putin's critics said there had been widespread election fraud and that observers had seen people being bussed to polling stations by their own employers.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said there had been no real choice in Russia's presidential election and complained it had been marked by unfair pressure on critical voices.

Euronews correspondent in Russia Galina Polonskaya says more than 55 million Russians ticked the box next to Putin's name.

Despite calls by opposition politician Alexei Navalny, they did not boycott the elections.

And turnout was higher than during previous polls.