Putin back in Kremlin
MOSCOW: By large margin Vladmir Putin is the winner of the Russian presidential election 2012. On Sunday evening he was met by 100 000 celebrating supporters on the Manezhnaya Square next to the Kremlin.
In a cold and windy weather, around 100 000 Putin supporters waited for their coming President for several hours on Sunday evening. With more then 60 per cent of the votes counted, there is no doubt to the fact that Putin can prepare himself for moving back into the Kremlin once more, four years after he left the historical power center of Russia.
However, it has been Putin´s hardest political battle ever, with criticism against his regime intensifying as election day approached. With the Tverskaya street and connecting streets of Moscow packed with celebrating supporters, it was easy to see the relief in Putin´s eyes as he entered the stage. On his side was the current President Dmitry Medvedev.
“We have won an open and fair struggle. This was a test for us all, for all our people. We have demonstrated that nobody can impose anything on us. We have achieved a clear victory, and we will work honestly and hard and we will have success,” said Putin to huge applause from his supporters.
A huge crowd of 100 000 Putin supporters met outside the Kremlin on Sunday evening. (Photo: Jonas Karlsbakk)
However, even if the supporters have a huge believe that Putin has won an open and fair election, there have been several thousand reports of election fraud. On the other hand most observers, both national and international, have commented that this year's election has been one of the most honest elections held in Russia in Putin's era. Due to the installation of web cameras in all polling stations all over Russia, it has also been the most expensive election ever held. The huge number of volunteer election observers has also been important in securing an open and fair election.
Lev Dorf supports the view that the election process has been performed according to Russian law. He is an election observer that BarentsObserver met at polling station 153 in the centre of Moscow. He is a supporter of presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov and had been following the activity at the station since the early morning.
“We have not registered any violations of the election regulations at this station,” says Dorf while monitoring the activity and counting each vote on his ipad.
Lev Dorf has volunteered as an election observer, representing Mikhail Prokhorov. (Photo: Jonas Karlsbakk)
Took the streets
Dorf is one out of many observers at polling station 153, where the activity was high as the station was about to be closed. At eight in the evening the polling stations closed in the Moscow area, and immediately thousands of people started to walk towards the podium, which was set up at Manezhnaya Square the night before election day.
Coming President Vladimir Putin together with current President Dmitry Medvedev, as they met the crowd at Manezhnaya Square in Moscow. (Photo: Jonas Karlsbakk)
"We are here to celebrate Russia and free elections," the people we met said while waving with their Russian flags.
With large security precautions and thousands of police and military in the streets, there were not reported any problems in connection with the celebrations. However, the opposition have plans to perform protests in Moscow in the days to come.