Thousands of Russians gathered Monday for a massive rally to challenge Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s victory in Russia’s presidential election, chanting “Shame!” and “Russia without Putin!”Demonstrators are contesting the outcome of the vote, pointing to a campaign heavily slanted in Putin’s favor and to reports of widespread violations in Sunday’s ballot.
The Russian Central Elections Commission has canceled the results in a polling station in Dagestan after allegations of electoral violations. A webcam appeared to show several men standing feeding dozens of ballots into a ballot box. (March 5)
Putin’s Ascent in Russia: Since taking the office in 2000, Vladimir Putin has expanded the powers of Russia’s presidency, consolidating authority in the Kremlin and weakening other democratic institutions.
Putin won more than 63 percent of the vote according to the nearly complete official returns, but the opposition and independent observers say the election has been marred by massive fraud.