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Russia Votes For President

Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin, center, greets his supporters at his election headquarters in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Monday, March 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Putin's campaign conditions prompt investigation appeal.

Earlier this month, the people of Russia turned out in great numbers to cast their ballots in a Presidential election. According to the Central Electoral Commission, former Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won 63.75 percent of the vote.

“The United States congratulates the Russian people on the completion of the Presidential elections, and looks forward to working with the President-elect,” said State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Monday, March 5, 2012.

“The United States endorses the preliminary report of the observer mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and welcomes the many other assessments of the Russian presidential election by Russian election monitors,” she said.

“We also note, however, the OSCE’s concerns about the conditions under which the campaign was conducted, the partisan use of government resources, and procedural irregularities on election day, among other issues. We urge the Russian Government to conduct an independent, credible investigation of all reported electoral violations,” said Victoria Nuland.

“At the same time, the United States is encouraged to see so many Russian citizens voting, monitoring voting in their local precincts, exercising their constitutional right to free assembly, and expressing their views peacefully about the political and electoral processes,” Nuland said.

“The number of Russian election observers who monitored this vote is unprecedented and a sign that Russian society seeks to participate in the improvement of Russia’s democratic institutions.”

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, repeated these concerns in a statement on Wednesday, March 7, saying: “Well, I think as the OSCE made clear, there were a number of concerns about this latest electoral process that should be investigated and addressed. And we also remain concerned about the arrests of peaceful protesters, which occurred again on Monday. But the election had a clear winner and we are ready to work with President-elect Putin as he is sworn in and assumes the responsibilities of the presidency.”