Russia reclassifies Apple’s iPad as a computer, avoiding 5% import tax

By Sam Oliver

Russia’s national customs agency has decided to reclassify Apple’s iPad as a personal computer, a change that will allow customers to avoid a 5 percent import tax that was previously applied to sales.

Russia’s Federal Customs Service has nixed the 5 percent fee by nixing the “navigator” classification that was previously applied to the iPad, according to Vedomosti (via Google Translate). The iPad 2 has been available in Russia since May of 2011.

The iPad was previously considered a navigation device because it can include a GPS radio for positioning data. However, only the 3G-equipped iPad model includes GPS, while the Wi-Fi-only model does not.

Tuesday’s report did not state whether the Russian Federal Customs Service drew a distinction between an iPad with GPS versus without. It did, however, say that “other” tablets with GPS would still be classified as navigation devices and would be subject to the 5 percent tax.

The subject of whether to classify the iPad as a personal computer or something else entirely has been a matter of debate since Apple first launched the device in 2010. For its part, Apple has positioned the iPad as a “post-PC” device.

iPad 2

Companies that track PC and device sales have been divided as to whether to include the iPad when analyzing the PC market. One study released in February by NPD DisplaySearch found that combined iPad and MacBook sales gave Apple a 27 percent share of all mobile PC shipments, nearly tripling the 9.9 percent share held by second-place Hewlett-Packard.

In terms of total PC sales, including desktops, Canalys reported in January that sales of the iPad pushed Apple ahead of HP in the December quarter. But excluding the tablet’s sales numbers, the market analysis firm said, would see the sector instead post a net loss for the three-month frame.

US, EU, Russia and China agree to resume nuclear talks with Iran

WASHINGTON — The United States, the European Union, China and Russia have agreed to resume long-stalled negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program, the European Union said on Tuesday.

The announcement comes amidst rising tensions fueled by tightening sanctions designed to compel Iran to suspend a uranium enrichment effort that the United States, other powers and Israel charge is a cover for a secret nuclear weapons development program. Iran insists that its program is for peaceful purposes.

In an apparent goodwill gesture, Iran announced Tuesday that it would grant International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to a military complex near Tehran from which they were barred during visits to the Islamic republic in January and February.

The semi-official Mehr news agency, quoting a report from the Iranian mission to the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, said U.N. inspectors would be admitted to the Parchin site after the sides agree on guidelines.

Parchin is suspected of housing a massive vessel in which Iranian experts tested conventional high explosives used to trigger the cores of nuclear weapons. Recent news reports have raised the possibility that Iranian technicians may have been sanitizing the facility, eliminating traces of the high explosive tests, in preparation for an IAEA inspection.

The decision to resume talks with Iran represents a political gamble for President Barack Obama, whose preference for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis over the use of military force has been criticized by the Republican candidates seeking their partys nomination to run against him in November.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, currently on a visit to Washington dominated by the issue, said on Monday night that time for diplomacy to work is running out, called a nuclear-armed Iran an existential threat to Israel, and reasserted Israels right to take unilateral military action against Irans nuclear facilities.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton released a letter to Iranian Foreign Minister Saeed Jalili in which she said that Britain, Germany, France, the United States, China and Russia — collectively known as the P5 Plus One — have agreed to resume the talks with Iran to resolve the international communitys long-standing concerns over Irans nuclear program.

She said the six powers hope that Iran will now enter into a sustained process of constructive dialogue which will deliver real progress toward alleviating those concerns.

The date and location of the talks must still be determined, but there has been speculation that they could take place in Turkey.

Concerns over Irans program have been fueled by a series of U.N. IAEA reports that have cited evidence that Iran researched building a nuclear warhead for an intermediate-range ballistic missile and has recently accelerated uranium enrichment, the process that produces low-enriched uranium for reactors and highly enriched uranium for bombs, depending on the duration.

Iran claims that it is producing 20 percent enriched uranium for fuel for a research reactor that produces radioactive isotopes for medicinal purposes. Experts, however, say that enriching uranium to that level will allow Iran to produce bomb fuel faster if it makes a decision to do so.

Russia Disputes Election Observer Report

Moscow disputes some of the points contained in international observer reports on Sunday’s presidential elections, which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won in a landslide, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Tuesday.

“We see the preliminary report of the OSCE and PACE election monitoring mission in Russia generally balanced but think it contains biased and disputable assessments on a number of issues that we cannot agree with,” Lukashevich said.

He said all remarks in the report will be considered by the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC).

While observers from former Soviet states hailed the vote as “transparent” and “fair,” their colleagues from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) pointed to mass procedural violations and a clear bias in favor of Putin.

The 59-year-old premier won the Sunday polls with almost 64 percent of the vote, leaving four other candidates far behind and securing himself a third non-consecutive term. His closest rival, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, gathered just over 17 percent, while the rest were even less successful.

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) and PACE said in their joint report that “although all contestants were able to campaign unhindered, the conditions for the campaign were clearly skewed in favor of one candidate.”

“Also, overly restrictive candidate registration requirements limited genuine competition. While all candidates had access to media, one candidate, the current prime minister, was given clear advantage in the coverage,” the report, entitled the Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, said.

“On election day, voting was assessed positively overall; however, procedural irregularities were observed,” it said. “The process deteriorated during the count which was assessed negatively in nearly one-third of polling stations observed due to procedural irregularities.”

Putin, who will be inaugurated on May 7, admitted on Tuesday that irregularities had taken place at March 4 polls and called for a probe. Russia’s election chief, Vladimir Churov, said the March 4 polls were the “most honest, open and transparent” in the world.

The polls triggered protest rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg on Monday that ended with scores of arrests.

Putin was Russia’s president between 2000 and 2008, when he was forced to stand down due to the Constitutional limit of no more than two consecutive terms. He became prime minister after the inauguration of his hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev.

Medvedev’s announcement last autumn that he would not seek a second term and would stand down in favor of Putin triggered resentment among Russia’s nascent middle class, which felt it was being denied active participation in the way the country is run.

Discontent spilled out into the streets after parliamentary polls in December which saw widespread allegations of vote fraud in favor of Putin’s United Russia party.

Leonid Slutsky, deputy chairman of the lower house’s international committee, said he hoped PACE would not hold special debates dedicated to the Russian presidential elections at its April session.

Earlier, Tiny Kox, the head of the PACE observer mission, did not rule out that the elections could be discussed in the form of a special debate.

Russia Votes Chuck Norris, Supercat

The number of ballots spoiled at the Russian presidential elections last weekend decreased by 200,000 from the parliamentary vote in December, but ironic creativity bloomed, with Chuck Norris and a Supercat being among the write-ins.

Less than 800,000 ballots, or about 1 percent of the total count, were declared spoiled at the elections on Sunday, head of the Central Elections Commission, Vladimir Churov said at a press conference.

The figure was 1.03 million in December elections, which were carried by United Russia, the party of the new president-elect Vladimir Putin, Churov said on Monday.

Russian legislation does not allow write-ins, and the “against everyone” option was removed from the ballots after starting to rise fast in popularity in the 2000s.

But that does not stop some voters displeased with the political menu from venting their frustration through oddball inscriptions on the ballots.

In separate instances in Moscow and Udmurtia, voters named martial arts and film star Chuck Norris as their preferred candidate. In Moscow, however, the vote went to Putin because the inscription, which read “Chuck Norris is a cool guy,” was placed next to Putin’s name, writer Leonid Kaganov, who worked as a vote monitor, said on his blog.

A voter in western Moscow glued a photo of kung-fu fighter and actor Jackie Chan to the ballot with the inscription, “my president,” RBC Daily news website reported.

Elsewhere in the capital, a ballot was discarded for being adorned with a picture of a cat in a Superman’s costume with the letter “K” on its chest instead of “S,” the report said.

The majority of spoiled ballots just had boxes for all five candidates ticked. In many cases, the spoiling was done through scribbling profanity on the ballots.

The prank is not as harmless as it may seem: in December, two senior editors of the prominent Kommersant publishing house lost their jobs after running a photo of the ballot for the parliamentary vote adorned with a slur aimed at Putin.

Some inscriptions at the Sunday vote, however, were within the realm of decent, if not less emotional for that.

“There are no worthy candidates! Vote chaos!” wrote the Perm-based blogger identified as Paperdaemon Chaognostic, who posted the photo of the ballot on his blog.

However, not everyone was in a belligerent mood. “Lisena for you,” one voter, apparently a female, wrote on the ballot next to the name of Mikhail Prokhorov, a suave 46-year-old tycoon who was the only single man among the five candidates, reported.

Sadly for Lisena, she did not tick the box for Prokhorov, and her vote was added to the discard pile.

Gangster Who ‘Crossed Putin’s Allies’ Jailed

A businessman and alleged high-profile gangster who crossed the Russian government, according to Wikileaks, was jailed for 15 years in an extortion case in Moscow on Tuesday.

Vladimir Barsukov, 56, also known as Kumarin, was convicted of running a protection racket that saw a St. Petersburg-based company pay him 21 million rubles ($700,000) in monthly installments in mid-2000s.

Barsukov, whom witnesses at the trial called the head of the so-called Tambov criminal gang, threatened to seize real estate owned by the company through corporate raiding if it does not pay, the judge said.

The businessman, who was already given in 2009 an 11 1/2-year sentence for unrelated corporate raiding, pleaded not guilty, the same as in the previous case, and promised to appeal. His alleged lawyer accomplice was jailed for 10 years at the same trial on Tuesday.

Barsukov figured in a recent Wikileaks expose, where the whistleblowing site released numerous documents from Stratfor private investigation firm, including alleged mail exchanges between Stratfor operatives and Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika.

Barsukov’s downfall was due to his attempt to take control of oil industry in St. Petersburg, which is tightly controlled by the government, said one email ascribed to Chaika.

This was something no mafia group attempted before, and prompted the ire of senior officials in the inner circle of then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, including Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, added the letter, whose authenticity was never verified.

Criminal groups wielded huge influence over Russia’s economy in the first decade after the Soviet Union’s demise, but lost much of it after the “turbulent 1990s,” when Putin’s rise to power reinforced the law enforcement agencies, many of which are themselves accused by anti-corruption activists of running extortion rackets or illegally controlling businesses.

France Urges Russia to Work Together on Syria

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Tuesday Russia should work together with France to resolve the Syrian crisis.

He thanked his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for the offer of assistance in the evacuation of French journalists from Syria.

In a telephone conversation initiated by the French side, Fillon congratulated Putin on his election as Russia’s next president, Putin’s aide Dmitry Peskov said.

Putin was elected for a third term at Sunday’s elections with just under 64 percent of the vote. His nearest rival, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, took just under 18 percent.

Analysts Await Investment Climate Pick-up after Putin Win

Russian entrepreneurs hope president-elect Vladimir Putin will take steps to improve the country’s investment climate, but see difficulties on the way, the Moscow News daily newspaper reported on Tuesday, quoting analysts.

“We are positive about the election results. The winning candidate gave several promises many of which were worked out as orders of the prime minister,” Anton Danilov-Daniliyan, the expert council chairman in Business Russia association in charge for mid-sized businesses, told the paper adding that Putin had promised to improve the tax climate and conditions for entrepreneurs.

Vladlen Maksimov, a member of Opora Russia organization for small businesses, said his hopes for changes were intertwined with concerns that they might not take place.

“I have an unclear attitude [to the elections]. A victory with such results may mean that the new authorities will have the current attitude to the businessmen. i.e. to divide the entrepreneurs into friendly ones and the others at all government levels, to raise taxes and so on,” Maksimov told Moscow News.

Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs’ head Alexander Shokhin considers the newly-elected president will have to solve difficult business tasks as some local companies may reregister to other states of the Customs Union such as Belarus and Kazakhstan because conditions for business activities in these two countries seem to be better than in Russia.

Alfa-Bank analyst Angelika Genkel thinks that Dmitry Medvedev’s possible appointment as a prime minister of the new government “reduces the likelihood of economic reforms in the short term automatically and means that current business rules for both Russian and Western capitals will be maintained.”

Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin also fears for the future of the Russian economy.

“Several decisions made recently in the economic sector and expected staffing decisions, in my opinion, will lead to a weakening of the Russian economy and limit us in achieving necessary competitiveness,” Kudrin wrote in his blog late on Monday.

Fitch Ratings said on Monday it might cut Russia’s long-term ratings if the new authorities fail to tighten budget polices.

“Following the expected victory of Vladimir Putin in Sunday’s presidential elections, Fitch Ratings is closely monitoring how quickly the new government will act to reform the Russian economy and hasten fiscal consolidation,” the agency said in a statement.

Military Site Investigated over ‘Tetris Scandal’

A costly update for the Russian Defense Ministry website that endowed it with Tetris instead of state-of-the-art patriotic shooter games was likely a fraud, military prosecutors said on Tuesday.

The army shelled out 36 million rubles ($1.2 million) to have its online domain modernized, but the project was never completed, Military Prosecutor General’s Office said on its own website.

The project was overpriced to begin with, and military officials did not check whether the work done was worth the money when they footed the bill from the site maker in December, the report said.

Prosecutors identified no suspects, but said they have opened a case on charges of large-scale fraud, punishable with up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 1 million rubles.

The Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that the website was actually enhanced during the revamp, with multimedia features added and technical specs boosted. But it avoided denying the allegations outright, saying only that it was collaborating with prosecutors on the matter.

The story first hit the media spotlight in January. Reports focused at the time on the simple flash games, including Tetris, Minesweeper and Battleship, that the site offered instead of modern war-themed computer games that Russian military officials have been demanding since 2010.

The four games on the ministry’s website cost around 320,000 rubles ($11,000) to produce each, while even $1 million sufficed to create a state-of-the-art massive multiplayer online game, Izvestia daily said at the time.

The publication did not provide any estimate for the total cost of the ministry’s updated website, which has been endorsed with a “test version” tag ever since the revamp.

A spokesman for the developer, IT company Systematic, said it has done everything that its contract with the Defense Ministry required. He said the only problem was that the company missed the deadline, which resulted in a fine of 2.8 million rubles for the firm.

Up to 20 percent of all military spending is lost to embezzlement, Military Prosecutor General Sergei Fridinsky said last year.

Anti-Putin Protesters Plan New Moscow Rally

Russia’s anti-Putin protest movement is in talks with the authorities over a new rally in downtown Moscow on March 10, protest organizer Sergei Udaltsov said on Tuesday.

“We are holding negotiations on the location of the rally,” opposition Left Front leader Udaltsov told RIA Novosti. “If no permission is given, the protest committee will decide what to do next.”

Udaltsov was speaking after riot police detained scores of people at a demonstration in Moscow against Vladimir Putin’s landslide victory at Sunday’s presidential polls.

A number of protest leaders, including Udaltsov and famous blogger and opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny, were also briefly detained at Monday’s demonstration at Pushkin Square, a short walk from the Kremlin. Trouble began after some 2,000 protesters refused to leave the square at the end of the approved protest.

Russian investigators said on Tuesday they would open a probe into possible charges of inciting mass disorder during the rally. The charge carries a maximum jail sentence of two years.

“There were no calls for disorder,” Udaltsov countered. “I was at the square and controlled everything.”

Police said some 14,000 people attended the rally. Organizers gave a figure of 20,000.

Businessman tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, who took third place in Sunday’s polls and spoke at Monday’s rally, has called for an investigation into police actions.

“I am appalled by the use of force against people who had come to express their civic positions,” he said. “I insist on a probe into the events at Pushkin Square in an open court hearing.”

But Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, defended the police, saying they had shown “professionalism.”

And Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday the officers were “more humane” than police who broke up similar recent protests in the U.S. and Europe

“The police on Pushkin Square were much more humane than at the break-ups of the Occupy Wall St. protest and tent cities in Europe,” a comment in the ministry’s Twitter microblog said.

Sunday’s elections were marred by widespread allegations of electoral violations. The Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe said in a report that the election was “clearly skewed” in favor of Putin.

But Russia’s election chief, Vladimir Churov, said the March 4 polls were the “most honest, open and transparent” in the world.

Attendance at Monday’s rally was far lower than at previous demonstrations in December and February, which each saw crowds of at least 50,000.

But Udaltsov denied the protest was fading.

“The protest movement is growing,” he said. “Only time will tell by how much.”

Putin Admits Election Violations, Calls for Probe

Vladimir Putin admitted on Tuesday that irregularities had taken place at March 4 polls that secured his election as president and called for a probe.

“There were, of course, violations,” Putin said. “We need to identify them all, weed them out and make everything clear to everyone.”

Putin was elected for a third term at Sunday’s elections with just under 64 percent of the vote. His nearest rival, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, took just under 18 percent.

“I’m counting on maximum control and monitoring of the situation,” Putin told lawyers at a Moscow forum.

Zyuganov and leaders of ongoing anti-Putin protests refused to recognize the polls as legitimate, citing widespread allegations of ballot-stuffing and multiple voting.

The Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe said in a report that the election was “clearly skewed” in favor of Putin.

The polls also triggered protest rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg on Monday that ended with scores of arrests.

But Russia’s election chief, Vladimir Churov, said the March 4 polls were the “most honest, open and transparent” in the world.

He also accused international vote monitors of “unacceptable attempts to penetrate into border areas, to closed nuclear centre, to rocket centers and so on.”

Putin was Russia’s president between 2000 and 2008, when he was forced to stand down by the Constitution. He became prime minister after the inauguration of his hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev.

Medvedev’s announcement last autumn that he would not seek a second term and would stand down in favor of Putin triggered resentment among Russia’s nascent middle class, which felt it was being denied active participation in the way the country is run.

Discontent spilled out on to the streets after parliamentary polls in December which saw widespread allegations of vote fraud in favor of Putin’s United Russia party.

Putin and Medvedev both said after December’s polls that claims of electoral irregularities would be investigated. Medvedev also submitted a bill on electoral reform that was approved by the lower house of parliament in a first reading last month.

List of Russia’s top female sport stars revealed

Pole vault queen, Olympic champion Elena Isinbayeva has been named the most successful Russian female athlete.

The poll has been held anonymously by the RIA and R-Sport news agencies among the acting Russian sportsmen and officials, including Captain Russia Andrey “AK-47” Kirilenko, ice hockey stars Aleksey Yashin, Sergey Fedorov and Aleksandr Radulov and a dozen other distinguished names.

The respondents were first to decide on the list of 30 names, and then rated them according to their sympathies. What mattered most, of course apart from sporting achievements and sex appeal, was how each sportswoman promotes her discipline.

Biathlete Olga Zaitseva and tennis star Maria Sharapova have joint Elena Isinbayeva, who has recently renewed her indoor world record, to conclude the top three.

The top ten looks as follows:

Elena Isinbayeva (pole vault)
Olga Zaitseva (biathlon)
Maria Sharapova (tennis)
Evgenia Kanaeve (artistic gymnastics)
Ekaterina Gamova (volleyball)
Natalia Rogozina (boxing)
Natalia Ishchenko (synchronized swimming)
Olga Kaniskina (speed walking)
Ilona Korstin (basketball)
Vera Zvonareva (tennis)

Casting a glance at the full list of 30, it is evident that tennis and athletics boast the most representatives.

Putin urges election abuse probe

Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who won Sunday’s presidential poll, stresses that all reports of election violations must be thoroughly investigated.

On Tuesday, Putin visited the Elections 2012 situations center in Moscow. The head of government was shown how the March 4 voting process was monitored, and spoke with observers from the Corps for Fair Elections and with activists of the project Citizens for Fair Elections.

“There were violations, naturally. All of them must be revealed, cleaned up, and made clear to everyone,” Putin said. He added that every complaint should be investigated and addressed to a relevant agency for further examination.

“I trust the situation will be maximally controlled and monitored, so there is no mud,” Putin pointed out.

For their part, the center representatives – mainly young lawyers – told Putin that far from all reports on election fraud were confirmed. All in all, observers received about 4,500 complaints in the two months before the vote and on election day.

The monitors pointed out they were surprised at the number of statements about violations that were made by the Communists, whose leader Gennady Zyuganov took second place. His supporters, as well as representatives of other parties, were present at the center, “saying that everything is fair and clean,” Putin was told. However, once the election was over, the Communists began to complain about irregularities.

“They are upset. Perhaps it’s because of the election result,” the president-elect commented.

The PM was also shown an interactive map that reflects the statistics and topics of all reports submitted to the center. According to the map, the majority of complaints in the section on the presidential candidates belong to Zyuganov.

The KPRF chairman said earlier that he did not recognize the results of the “illegitimate” poll. Zyuganov was the only candidate to ignore the meeting with the president-elect on Monday.

“I believe neither Putin and his team, nor the country in general should be congratulated on this kind of election. That’s because everyone loses,” the Communist leader told a media-conference. Putin’s refusal to take part in debates, “forcing of results,” and “enforced” rallies bring nothing but humiliation to citizens, he added.

Latvia threatened with retaliation after Russian historians refused entry

Russia’s ambassador to Latvia has blasted the country’s move to declare two Russian historians persona non grata after presenting an exhibition on war crimes committed by Nazis and their Latvian collaborators.

Blacklisting Russian historians Aleksandr Dyukov and Vladimir Simindey is a non-friendly step on Latvia’s side, Ambassador Aleksandr Veshnyakov has told the press. The official added that he learned about the incident from the media and promised to discuss the issue with Latvian Foreign Minister on Wednesday. The ambassador also noted that Russia reserved the right for retaliatory action, even though such steps would not assist with historical research in any way.

The Latvian Foreign Ministry declared Dyukov and Simindey personae non grata on March 2, banning them from entry in Latvia and other states of the Schengen zone. The Foreign Ministry spokesman explained the move by the fact that the historians’ actions “were harming Latvia and its citizens”. The move followed the opening of the “Stolen Childhood” exhibition dedicated to the inmates of Nazi concentration camps in Latvia.

However, Aleksandr Dyukov has told Russian media that the decision to blacklist him was made before Latvian authorities even became acquainted with the exhibition. The historian added that the real reason behind the move was Latvian officials’ attempt to silence the Nazi crimes and the facts of collaboration that were exposed in the exhibition and his other works.

Dyukov said he and his colleague were going to sue the Latvian authorities.

The scandal also caused a reaction from the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights.

“The ban does not match in any way the principles of civilized cultural exchange and yet another time it causes suspicions that the Latvian authorities are politically biased and approve of Nazi crimes. It helps neither the clarification of the historical truth nor the normalization of the Russian-Latvian relations,” the bureau’s official statement reads.

The Russian Human Rights organization said it would address the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Human Rights Watch group with a request to help stop the injustice.

The decision also caused negative reaction inside Latvia. A group of ethnic Russian historians published a statement in which they said that the ban on Dyukov and Simindey was testament to the fact that the Latvian authorities are being guided by totalitarian ideology and use all means to silence the historical facts that contradict the myths they are trying to present as historical truth, the statement reads.

‘Old players might soon be out of Russian politics’

The unexpected success of Mikhail Prokhorov in Sunday’s presidential election has played havoc with the veterans of Russian politics, United Russia says.

­Three parliamentary parties, the Lib Dems, Communists and Fair Russia will soon see a dramatic renewal of their leadership, believes United Russia MP Sergey Zheleznyak.

“It’s evident that during the next presidential election we won’t see candidates Zhirinovsky, Mironov or Zyuganov,” he told journalists on Tuesday. “It’s becoming more and more difficult for them to lead their campaigns because of increasing competition… In addition to that, I think that Mikhail Prokhorov’s performance has undermined them.”

In the March 4 presidential election Mikhail Prokhorov took 7.98 per cent of the vote, ranking third after Vladimir Putin (who took 63.6 per cent) and Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov (who won 17.18 per cent). Lib Dem leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Fair Russia leader Sergey Mironov received 6.22 per cent and 3.85 per cent respectively.

Of all the candidates, Zyuganov is the only one who has not yet recognized the results, blasting the poll as unfair and illegitimate.

“I think Zyuganov realizes that times have changed. His emotional reaction to the outcome of the election might come from this understanding,” the United Russia MP went on to say. “Because in fact for him nothing out of the ordinary happened, he got roughly the part of the electorate he had counted on.”