Russians Look for Continuity in Medvedev

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CBNNews.com - Russia's President-elect Dmitry Medvedev won the election with more than 70 percent of the vote, according to nearly complete returns.

Since Vladimir Putin took office in 2000 there have been dramatic changes in Russia. Click play to watch CBN News Reporter Mark Martin's report and Pat Robertson's analysis afterwards.

His victory was in large part due to his promise to continue to pursue the polices of Vladimir Putin.

Russia's presidential campaign was dominated by Medvedev, the Kremlin's favorite, who refused to debate his rivals or formally campaign but received the bulk of the television coverage. In the end, no one was surprised by the result.

Central Elections Commission on Monday released results from 99.45 percent of precincts showing that the 42-year-old Medvedev had 70.2 percent of the vote. Official results are due Friday, and no further results will be released on Monday.

Former chess champion Garry Kasparov, head of the liberal opposition alliance, planned marches in cities around the country Monday.

The main outstanding question was who would be calling the shots in Russia once Medvedev takes over and, as is widely expected, names Putin prime minister.

Medvedev ran against three rivals apparently permitted on the ballot because of their loyalty to the Kremlin line. But Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyuganov and ultranationalist candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky still alleged violations after the voting ended.

Zyuganov, Medvedev's nearest challenger with almost 18 percent in the nearly complete results, said he would dispute the result. Zhirinovsky, with 9 percent, threatened to do so as well.

As a key implementer of Putin's polices, Medvedev is seen as unlikely to alter Putin's assertive stance with the West, reduce state control over Russia's mineral riches, or allow truly independent opposition candidates to compete in elections.

"Our candidate, Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, has taken a firm lead," Putin said late Sunday, appearing alongside his protege at a celebration at Red Square outside the Kremlin.

Medvedev thanked voters and vowed to pursue Putin's policies.

"We will increase stability, improve the quality of life and move forward on the path we have chosen," Medvedev said. "We will be able to preserve the course of President Putin."

Medvedev will be the first Russian leader to succeed his predecessor according to a constitutional timetable; Putin became acting president first after Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin, stepped down early, and only later won election.

Source: The Associated Press

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