Five graphics that show Putin's dominance in the Russian election

Vladimir Putin visits the Almazov National Medical Centre in St Petersburg

Vladimir Putin visits the Almazov National Medical Centre in St Petersburg

Russian President Vladimir Putin struck a softer tone towards the West yesterday after winning his biggest election victory.

Russian Federation has no desire for a new arms race and will do everything it can to resolve differences with other countries, while defending its national interests, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.

"From our side, we will do all we can so that the disputes with our (international) partners be resolved by political and diplomatic means", he said during a meeting with the seven other candidates he resoundingly defeated on Sunday.

But employees of state and private companies and students reported coming under pressure to vote.

His comments, which are likely to be heard with some scepticism in the West following years of confrontation, mark a change in tone after a bellicose election campaign during which Putin unveiled new nuclear weapons he said could strike nearly any point in the world.

Most of the voters AFP spoke to said they voted for Putin despite a litany of problems like poverty and poor healthcare, praising his foreign policies.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Russian Federation could announce retaliatory measures against Britain in a diplomatic row over the poisoning of former double agent at "any minute".

"We can only congratulate him because we don't meddle in the affairs of other states", Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said during a press conference in Camarines Sur.

Navalny's movement and the non-governmental election monitor Golos reported ballot stuffing, repeat voting and Putin supporters being bussed into polling stations en masse.

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The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which observed the polls, said the election was conducted "in an orderly manner" but criticised irregularities related to vote secrecy and insufficient transparency in counting ballots.

Western leaders were slow to publicly acknowledge Putin's landslide win.

Among liberal Russians the mood was grim. "This really is the ideal moment", remarked Stanislav Kucher, a journalist for Kommersant FM radio.

According to central election commission data with 90 per cent of ballots counted, Mr Putin took 76.4 per cent of the vote, well ahead of his nearest competitor Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin who was on 12 per cent.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters Merkel would congratulate Putin but would also broach "challenges" in their relations.

But British Prime Minister Theresa May said yesterday Russian Federation was to blame for the poisoning.

Ultra-nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky took around 5.66 percent, former reality TV presenter Ksenia Sobchak was on 1.67 percent, while veteran liberal politician Grigory Yavlinsky received just over 1 percent of the vote.

Among the few leaders to congratulate Putin so far was Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has just been handed a second term himself and has gained a path to indefinite rule after presidential term limits were lifted last week.

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