Moscow: President-elect and machoman Vladimir Putin shed a tear, Femen activists from Ukraine took off their bras and tried to steal a ballot box at the polling station where Putin and his wife Lyudmila cast their vote, and the Opposition shed light on largescale rigging during the presidential elections.
Putin, whose new presidential mandate is for six years, will return to the Kremlin at a time of rapid social change in a Russia that is seeing an increasingly critical middle-class and an explosion in Internet use. But these concerns did not spoil Putin's mood on Monday night as he addressed over 100,000 supporters just outside the Kremlin and appeared to be wiping tears from his eyes, although he later claimed this was caused by the wind.
"We have won in an open and honest battle," Putin said, his voice hoarse with emotion, standing on the stage alongside current President Dmitry Medvedev on Manezhnaya Square. "I promised you we would win, we won. Glory to Russia!" Putin said.
He later visited his election headquarters and shook hands with, hugged and kissed supporters.
Though Putin claimed victory, the Opposition leaders alleged widespread fraud during voting. Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny said it was time to turn the protests from single-event affairs into rolling "Occupy the Kremlin" style tent cities.
The independent poll watchdog Golos said it had received numerous reports of "carousel" voting in which voters cast multiple ballots.
Amid the political upheaval, Moscow's Gagarinsky district court sentenced three topless Femen activists from Ukraine for trying to steal a ballot box. Irina Fomina, Anna Deda and Oksana Sachko burst into the polling station no. 2079 in the Russian Academy of Sciences, taking off their tops.
They were chanting slogans such as "Putin is a thief ", "I steal for Putin," "Kremlin rats", which they had emblazoned across their bare chests and backs. The girls were immediately overpowered and detained by the police.
"The three Ukrainian nationals were found guilty of petty hooliganism," a court spokesperson said.