Vladimir Putin set to lead Russian Federation for another six years


Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to win his fourth term in the Kremlin, according to opinion polls.

FOX Business senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.) reacts to Russian President Vladimir Putin's claims to have developed a nuclear missile that threatens the U.S.

"Right now the turnout numbers are higher than we expected". Asked by a Reuters reporter why they voted, one said: "To be honest, we were forced to".

"It's not something you can argue about", she said at a cafe Saturday.

Across the country in the city of Yekaterinburg, a doctor also said she was being coerced to vote. "Why go and vote?" she said.

Apart from Putin, the other seven contenders in the fray are: Sergei Baburin from the All-People's Union party; Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin; Civil Initiative party candidate Ksenia Sobchak; Communists of Russia party chairman Maxim Suraykin; Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs' Rights Boris Titov; co-founder of the Yabloko party Grigory Yavlinsky; and head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

More than 1,500 worldwide observers are joining thousands of Russian observers to watch the vote.

Since first being elected as president in 2000, Putin has stamped his total authority on Russian Federation muzzling opposition and reasserting Moscow's lost might overseas.

"They're herding the whole country to the polling stations", Roizman, a rare example of an elected official opposed to the Kremlin, said in a video blog.

"There is no question that Mr. Putin in particular is an active threat to USA national security interests, as well as those of our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies", he said.

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Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region, alleged Kremlin meddling in the USA presidential election, and Moscow's bombing campaign in Syria, have been condemned in the West.

Turnout-boosting efforts have been the most visible feature of the campaign - and all come from taxpayers' pockets.

An elderly woman visits a polling station during the presidential election in Moscow. For older voters, Moscow health authorities will be offering free cancer screenings at selected polling stations.

Others said they witnessed people arriving at polling stations on private hire buses.

Ella Pamfilova, chairwoman of the Central Election Commission who was appointed to clean up Russia's electoral system, vowed to respond to complaints about being coerced to vote.

Putin, who has ruled Russian Federation for nearly two decades, stood against seven other candidates, but his most vocal critic Alexei Navalny was barred from the ballot for legal reasons and the final outcome was never in doubt.

Some 145,000 observers are monitoring the voting in the world's largest country, including 1,500 foreigners and representatives from opposition leader Alexei Navalny's political movement. Polls show that most Russians see the takeover of that Black Sea peninsula as a major achievement despite subsequent Western sanctions.

Ukraine is protesting voting in Crimea, annexed by Russian Federation from Ukraine four years ago.

During the campaign, Putin travelled across Russian Federation pledging to raise wages, spend more on the country's crumbling health care and education and modernize Russia's dilapidated infrastructure. Navalny and his supporters had called for an election boycott but the extent of its success could not immediately be gauged.