Russian President Vladimir Putin has extended his rule over the world’s largest country for another six years, with a landslide re-election victory.

Putin’s victory will take his political dominance of Russia to nearly a quarter of a century, until 2024, by which time he will be 71.

He has promised to use his new term to beef up Russia’s defenses against the West and to raise living standards.

In a widely expected outcome, the Central Election Commission, with just over 70 per cent of the votes counted, announced that Putin, who has dominated the political landscape for the last 18 years, had won seventy five point nine per cent of the vote.

His nearest challenger, Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, got around thirteen per cent, according to partial results, while nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky got around six per cent.

None of the seven candidates who ran against Putin posed a threat, and opposition leader Alexei Navalny was barred from running.

In a victory speech near Red Square, Putin told a cheering crowd that he interpreted the win as a vote of confidence in what he had achieved in tough conditions.

He told a meeting of supporters afterwards that difficult times were ahead, but that Russia had a chance to make “a breakthrough.”


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