Vladimir Putin has won Russia’s presidential election, according to exit polls.
Putin tallied 59% of today’s vote, according to a nationwide exit poll conducted by the VTsIOM polling agency for Channel one television.
Another exit poll done by the FOM polling agency for Rossiya TV showed Putin received 58% of the ballot.
Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyuganov polled 18% of the vote, according to the survey, and the others – nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, socialist Sergei Mironov and billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov – were in single digits.
The opposition and independent observers claim voting has been marred by widespread violations.
If confirmed, claims of violations could undermine the legitimacy of Putin’s victory and help fuel opposition protests.