Mar. 4 - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin thanks supporters at a rally near the Kremlin, as vote counts begin to confirm his victory in the presidential poll. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin claims victory in the presidential election Sunday. Tens of thousands of his supporters showed up for a victory rally in central Moscow. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "Thank you everybody who said 'Yes' to a great Russia. I once asked you if we will win. We have won!" (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING : "We have won in honest and fair combat. But those were not only the elections of Russia's president. That was a very important test for all of us, for all our people." While his opponents say there was widespread fraud in Sunday's election, the former KGB spy was triumphant. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "Did I promise you that we will win? We have won! Glory to Russia!" Exit polls and partial results suggest Putin will win about 60 percent of the vote and return to the Kremlin after four years as prime minister. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters