Vladimir Putin has prevailed in the Russian presidential election, according to preliminary results from polling stations around the country, Bloomberg reports. The leader, now 59, has been in power for 12 years already, serving two terms as president and one as prime minister. Putin's victory came against three opponents whom he had defeated in previous elections, plus one newcomer: Mikhail D. Prokhorov, the billionaire industrialist who owns the New Jersey Nets. According to The New York Times, Prokhorov collected the two million signatures needed to qualify for a run, but has "no party to support him and no political experience."
Of course, this being a Russian election, the results are being disputed and scrutinized -- and well they should be, seeing as this is a country where voter turnouts can regularly exceed 146 percent. Another candidate, Communist leader Gennady A. Zyuganov, declared the vote rigged before any projections were released: “It was illegitimate, unfair and not transparent. I will not congratulate anyone.” Popular anti-fraud campaigner and blogger Alexei Navalny, meanwhile, predicted "huge" opposition to Putin at planned protests in Moscow's Pushkin Square on Monday, BBC reports. Some opposition leaders have called for actions "beyond those allowed by government permits," the Times reports, suggesting things could grow violent.