Opposition to Vladimir Putin becoming Russia's president for a third time, and that too for the next six years, shows no sign of abating, with critics claiming that Sunday's presidential polls were rigged and far from honest.
The Independent quoted former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, who voted in Moscow, as saying: "Honest elections should be our constant motto for years to come. These are not honest elections. We must not relent."
Anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny has announced plans for a peaceful but forceful protest tonight, and added that he will be working towards ensuring new parliamentary elections within a year, and new presidential elections within two years.
According to the paper, ballot stuffing has been reported in Dagestan.
That the votes might have been rigged can be gleaned from the fact that only Communist leader Zyuganov made it into double figures in terms of votes cast. Nationalist candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky and oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov both polled about eight per cent of the vote, while Social Democrat Sergei Mironov earned less than four per cent of the vote.
"If we can continue to bring people out of the streets for the whole of March, there is a real chance we can have new elections, this time with all the opposition political parties registered," opposition leader Ilya Yashin was quoted, as saying.
The first results, with 15 per cent of ballots counted, have given Putin nearly 62 per cent of the votes and Gennady Zyuganov, a veteran Communist, a distant second with about 18 per cent.
Putin's supporters are reportedly preparing to hold a victory rally in Manezhnaya Square, outside the Kremlin.
If elected, Putin will be Russia's president till 2018, and he recently also said that he might consider running for a fourth term after that, if all parameters were in place. (ANI)