Vladimir Putin won Russia’s presidential election with almost 74 per cent of the vote. His fourth term as the president will extend until 2024, making him the first Kremlin leader to serve two decades in power since Josef Stalin.
“It’s very important to maintain this unity. We will think about the future of our great Motherland,” said Putin, before leading the crowd in repeated chants of “Russia!” He told a meeting of supporters afterward that difficult times were ahead, but that Russia had a chance to make “a breakthrough.”
A day after this landslide victory he pledged to reduce military spending in 2018 and 2019 as the country will mainly focus on solving domestic problems. At a meeting in the Kremlin with other candidates of the presidential election on Monday, Putin said the reduction will not undermine Russia’s defense capabilities because it invested in creating new weapon systems in previous years, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
“We will do everything to ensure that all disputes with our partners are settled through political and diplomatic means… We will not engage in arms race,” he said, according to an official transcript of the meeting.
Putin said the government will focus economic growth, innovation, health, education, science, infrastructure and the well-being of people. According to preliminary data from the Central Election Commission, Putin won a fourth presidential term on Sunday, garnering more than 76 per cent of ballots. He will lead Russia through 2024.
Chinese President Xi Jinping greeted Vladimir Putin for being re-elected as Russia’s president. “Over recent years, the Russian people have united as one in firmly advancing on the path of strengthening the nation, realizing rejuvenation and development, achieving remarkable success in economic and social development, and playing an important constructive role in international affairs,” Chinese news agency quoted him as saying.
In a message, Xi expressed the belief that Russia will definitely be able to keep creating new glories in national development.