Chronology of Russia’s presidential elections

By Xinhua

Moscow : Russians went to the polls Sunday to elect a new president from among four candidates, the fifth presidential election since the presidential system was established in the country in 1991.

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Russia’s first presidential election was held June 12, 1991, under the Soviet election law, when the then 60-year-old Boris Yeltsin was elected with 57.3 percent of the vote.

The Russian Federation became the successor of the Soviet Union after the latter collapsed at the end of 1991.

In the first round of the second presidential elections held June 16, 1996, Yeltsin won only 35.2 percent of the vote, a narrow lead of three percent over his communist rival Gennady Zyuganov.

He defeated Zyuganov and won re-election in the runoff in July by forging a union with retired General Alexander Lebed, who gathered 14.7 percent of the vote to rank third in the first round.

On Dec 31, 1999, six months before the expiry of his term, Yeltsin decided to step down and appointed the then Prime Minister Putin as the acting head of state.

Putin, thanks to his bold military actions against Chechen rebels, his no-nonsense incorruptible image and his promise to rejuvenate the Russian nation, won the third presidential election held March 26, 2000, with 52.52 percent of the voters supporting him.

In the following years, the stable political situation at home, steady economic growth and the improvement of Russians’ standard of living all helped boost Putin’s prestige.

On March 14, 2004, he was successfully re-elected in the presidential election by obtaining 71.31 percent of the votes.