Russia's Putin Claims Election Victory
The win will return Putin to Russia's most powerful office for a third term. He served as president from 2000 to 2008, but Russian law prohibited him from seeking another consecutive four-year term. For the past four years he served as prime minister under President Dmitry Medvedev.
Exit polls and early results gave Putin about 60% of the vote, the BBC reported.
Putin made a brief public appearance following the election. "I promised you we would win, and we won ... Glory to Russia!" he was quoted saying by the BBC.
The public reaction was mixed.
Tens of thousands of Putin supporters gathered outside the Kremlin to celebrate the results, the BBC said.
But opposition groups are calling for mass protests in Russia's capital on Monday, the news organization added.
Election observers reported thousands of election violations, and Putin's closest rival in the polling, Gennady Zyuganov, described the elections as "unfair and unworthy," the BBC reported
Putin, however, characterized the election as "open and honest," the news organization added.
In December, tens of thousands of Russians turned out for mass demonstrations against Putin to protest alleged fraud in parliamentary elections held that month.