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Vladimir Putin has confidence of winning Sunday Russia presidential election

 Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin addresses Russian citizens in Moscow, Friday, March 2, 2012. Prime Minister Vladimir...

Russia Putin

Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin addresses Russian citizens in Moscow, Friday, March 2, 2012. Prime Minister Vladimir...

Moscow Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has voiced confidence that he will win Sunday's presidential election in Russia, while bluntly dismissing opposition demands and maintaining his strong criticism of the United States.

Putin, who is all but certain to regain the presidency, sought to put a positive spin on massive protests that have been held against his 12-year rule, saying they were a "good experience for Russia".

"That situation has helped make government structures more capable, has raised the need for them to think, search for solutions and communicate with the society," Putin said during a meeting with editors of top Western newspapers in remarks broadcast by state television and released by his office yesterday.

He promised to engage in dialogue with the protesters, but rejected the opposition's main demand to hold a rerun of December's parliamentary election during which Putin's party held onto its majority through what was believed to be widespread official fraud.

The evidence of vote-rigging fuelled protests in Moscow that drew tens of thousands of people in the largest show of discontent since the Soviet collapse two decades ago. The opposition is gearing up for another massive protest against what it fears will be manipulations in tomorrow's vote.

Putin insisted yesterday that he is favoured by a majority of Russians, but admitted he enjoys less support in Moscow and other big cities. "Yes, there is a smaller number of my supporters there, but they are still a majority," he said.


Updated : 2021-05-14 00:58 GMT+08:00