Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

ID Card Proves Putin Is President

The day Boris Yeltsin received his pension card and pledged "to serve Russia as a pensioner," the Central Election Commission on Wednesday presented the design of the card that his successor will carry to prove to any doubters that he is now the president.

When Vladimir Putin is inaugurated May 7, CEC chairman Alexander Veshnyakov will hand him a wine-colored leather-bound identification card with the golden words "President of the Russian Federation" on the cover.

The presidential ?§?????*?*_®* is to be 7 centimeters by 10 centimeters, which is bigger than those that every other official is supposed to carry. Inside it will have Putin's picture (the standard 4 centimeters by 6 centimeters), an image of his Kremlin residence and the words: "Putin Vladimir Vladimirovich is the elected president of the Russian Federation, 2000 to 2004." Putin's photo and Veshnyakov's signature will be verified by round seals with holograms.

The CEC's counterpart in the United States said it does not know if the U.S. president has an ID card, but in any case it doesn't issue him one.

"I don't think that's necessary. I'd find that highly unusual," Federal Election Commission spokesman Ian Stirton said by telephone from Washington. "It's all well recorded in history."

Also at Wednesday's CEC meeting, which was open to the press, the commission approved the official results of the March 26 election, brushing aside complaints from the Communist Party of widespread violations.

All 15 members of the commission voted for and signed the protocol declaring the election valid and saying that Putin, who received 39,740,434 votes, or 52.94 percent of all ballots cast, was officially elected president.

The chief of Putin's campaign staff and deputy head of the presidential administration, Dmitry Medvedev, thanked the people on Putin's behalf for putting their trust in him.

"In our opinion, these were absolutely clean elections," Medvedev said. "What's more, they bear witness to the triumph of democracy in Russia."

The fairness of the election was questioned by Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov's staff, who said they counted 1,869 violations during the campaign and 1,855 on the day of voting.

But CEC secretary Olga Zastrozhnaya said the complaints filed by the Communist Party cited few documented violations and did not contain sufficient evidence to call into question the election results.

"There is an impression that this is a planned action based on the wrong perception that certain regions should vote for Communists and, if they don't, it means that there are violations there," Zastrozhnaya said.

Zyuganov's representative, Sergei Potapov, named Dagestan, Mordovia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and the Saratov and Kaliningrad regions as areas where the most falsifications were registered by Communist observers.

He said the observers cited ballot-box stuffing and changes being made in the protocols, the documents in which the results are recorded. They complained of cases when they were not allowed into the polling stations and of voters being barred if they said they planned to vote for Zyuganov.

In some districts, the number of votes cast for Putin recorded in the official reports was as much as three times higher than the number on the protocols collected by Communist observers, Potapov said. He said the party planned to file suit.

Veshnyakov pledged that all complaints would be looked into, but he too said that many of the accusations were unfounded. "Those guilty have to be punished, including those who issue unsubstantiated accusations against election commissions," Veshnyakov said.

Under election law, candidates who do not get at least 3 percent of the vote - which includes all eight candidates other than Putin, Zyuganov and Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky - will have to return the 400,000 rubles (about $14,000) in state campaign funds and pay greater sums for the free use of state television and radio.

Veshnyakov warned that those who fail to return the money will not be able to run in the future. Putin, who did not use television spots, whether free or paid, voluntarily returned his 400,000 rubles to the budget.

The two candidates who were present Wednesday - Umar Dzhabrailov and Ella Pamfilova - both promised to return the money.

"It is not a problem for me," controversial Moscow businessman Dzhabrailov joked. "I only need to open the ???°??™† [night-table drawer] and take it from there. It's waiting."

Dzhabrailov was alluding to an old Russian joke in which a Jew is asked by the tax inspector where he gets his money. "From the night-table drawer," the man responds. "And who puts it there?" - "My wife does." - "And where does she get the money?" - "I give it to her." - "And where do you get it?" - "I have already told you, from the night-table drawer!"

In a separate low-key ceremony Wednesday, Yeltsin received his pension card and a "veteran of labor" card in recognition of his more than 25 years of work. Pension Fund head Mikhail Zurabov delivered the documents straight to Yeltsin's presidential Gorki-9 residence outside of Moscow.

"I think we will no longer be ashamed by any delays in paying pensions, as took place before," Zurabov told Yeltsin in the televised ceremony. "We will be confidently paying pensions to all pensioners, you included."

Dressed in a casual sweater and open-neck shirt, Yeltsin pledged "even in this post of a pensioner" to serve Russia "with as much strength as I've got."

ORT television reported that Yeltsin's pension - established by Putin's decree at 75 percent of the president's salary - will exceed 12,000 rubles, or about $420, which is much higher than other state pensions, which rarely exceed 500 rubles.

Just like Putin's presidential ?§?????*?*_®*, Yeltsin's pension ?§?????*?*_®* is unlikely to be used frequently. Most retirees use their pension cards and "veteran of labor" cards to ride public transportation for free and to get discounts on utility payments and in special stores that sell cheap basic goods.


Final results of presidential polls

A total of 75,070,776 voters cast ballots, a turnout of 68.74 percent.

Percent of vote Number of votes

Vladimir Putin 52.94 39,740,434

Gennady Zyuganov 29.21 21,928,471

Grigory Yavlinsky 5.80 4,351,452

Aman Tuleyev 2.95 2,217,361

Vladimir Zhirinovsky 2.70 2,026,513

Konstantin Titov 1.47 1,107,269

Ella Pamfilova 1.01 758,966

Stanislav Govorukhin 0.44 328,723

Yury Skuratov 0.43 319,263

Alexei Podberyozkin 0.13 98,175

Umar Dzhabrailov 0.10 78,498

Against All 1.88 1,414,648

The outcome, with Putin securing more than 50 percent of the vote, ensured his victory in the first round. He is to be inaugurated on May 7.

Source: Central Election Commission