Vladimir Putin tearfully claimed victory in the Russian presidential election, giving him another six years in charge. But he'll have to face a fair number of fraud allegations and a growing protest movement that does not want to see a continued Putin presidency.
Protest leaders said Sunday's election was unfair not only because of vote rigging but also because bureaucratic hurdles kept genuine opposition parties off the ballot. They had encouraged their followers to vote for any of Mr. Putin's four Kremlin-approved rivals.
Putin has denied any fraud, and so far the Interior Ministry says they have not found voting irregularities that would suggest he had the election rigged. Overflowing with emotion, Putin proudly appeared before his public to celebrate the win.
We have won in an open and fair fight. We have shown that our people can easily tell apart the desire for novelty and renewal from political provocations that have only one goal in mind — to break up the Russian state and to usurp power.
Yeah, that's not going to cut it for the protesters, who have vowed to continue their movement with renewed vigor. Anticorruption blogger Alexei Navalnyi said, "Tomorrow we'll wake up in a country where a large chunk of the society doesn't see Mr. Putin as a legitimate president." But tonight Putin is openly weeping with joy — and you can't take that away from him.
[Image via AP]