President Vladimir Putin has received a record number of votes to win a triumphant re-election amid an opposition boycott at home and muted reaction abroad.
With 99.84 per cent of ballots counted, Mr Putin had received more than 76 per cent of the vote, the central electoral commission said on Monday.
A record 56.2 million Russians voted for the current president on Sunday, almost four million more than voted for all parties in the 2016 parliamentary election, it said.
While dozens of egregious examples of ballot-stuffing and other irregularities were caught on camera, the electoral commission claimed there were fewer confirmed violations than in 2012. The results of seven polling stations would be annulled due to violations, it said.
It was previously reported that the results at a polling station in the Moscow region where a woman was filmed stuffing ballots would be voided.
Opposition leader Alexei Navalny accused the authorities of falsifying votes, noting that his 33,000 electoral observers had recorded a turnout of 55 per cent, 12 per cent lower than the official figure.
Monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe criticised Sunday's election for lacking “real choice,” saying many Russians had been pressured to vote and media had failed to cover the race critically.
Electoral commission head Yelena Pamfilova hinted that British accusations that the Russian government was behind the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury had helped mobilise voters.
Russian election results 2018
Putin hit a record vote in this year's election
Turnout of 67% would be average for Russia
“Our people always unite in difficult moments, so a big thank-you to certain leaders of Western countries, I won't name them, who also made their own positive contribution by facilitating the consolidation and unification of our people,” Ms Pamfilova said.
The United States, which has also raised suspicions Russia was behind Mr Skripal's poisoning, adopted new sanctions last week against Russians implicated in cyber attacks and trolling during the US election.
Ms Pamfilova's comments mirrored what voters told The Telegraph in Odintsovo, a city in the Moscow region.
"Why would we do it? Why would we need this right before the election?" Sergei Matveyev, a pensioner who had just voted for Mr Putin, said of the Skripal poisoning. "Those for whom sanctions are advantageous, they did it."
The leaders of Serbia, Belarus, Iran, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba praised his victory.
Chinese president Xi Jinping sent a message saying he was ready to take China-Russia relations “to a higher level”. Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro said the Russian president's win “solidifies his leadership,” while Evo Morales in Bolivia said Mr Putin “guarantees the geopolitical equilibrium against the charge of imperialism”.
But Western leaders were less forthcoming with their congratulations to Sunday's victor.
“We can't talk about a fair political competition in all respects as we would understand it,” German foreign minister Heiko Maas said of the Russian election, speaking to counterparts from other European Union countries on Monday. “Russia will remain a difficult partner. But Russia will also be needed for solutions to the big international conflicts and so we want to remain in dialogue.”
Meanwhile, German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier became the first Western leader to congratulate Mr Putin on his win and praised "close cooperation" between their countries. A new gas pipeline between Russia and Germany is expected to open next year despite opposition from European leaders.
In a telegram, Angela Merkel congratulated and wished Mr Putin “success in the tasks ahead” and said they should “continue the dialogue with one another and to foster relations between our states and peoples”.
Emmanuel Macron called Mr Putin on Monday, but rather than congratulate him, he raised concerns about Russia's role in Syria, Ukraine and Salisbury.
“The president of the [French] republic restated his conviction that, on a clarified basis, cooperation between Europe and Russia, essential for the security of the European continent, was in the interests of our countries," Mr Macron's office said in a statement.
Swedish FM Margot Wallström said the Russian poll was "in many ways a rigged election and a foregone conclusion".
At a meeting on Monday with the candidates he had easily defeated the day before, Mr Putin said “no one is planning to accelerate some kind of arms race” and called for developing “constructive” relations with other countries.
The comments were a turnaround from his bellicose rhetoric during a state-of-the-nation speech earlier this month, when he claimed that Russia was developing a bevy of nuclear weapons invulnerable to US missile defence.
Foreign minister Boris Johnson has said it is “overwhelmingly likely” that Mr Putin ordered the nerve agent attack on Mr Skripal, and last week the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats suspected of spying
In response, Russia kicked out 23 British diplomatic staff and shut down the UK's St Petersburg consulate and the British Council cultural group.
Mr Putin denied links to the Skripal poisoning on Sunday evening.
“Any reasonable person understands that it would be total rubbish, ravings and nonsense for anyone in Russia to allow themselves such antics ahead of the election and the World Cup,” he told journalists.
Putin vote share map
Putin gained votes in most regions
With Mr Putin's win a foregone conclusion, all eyes had been on the turnout. Mr Navalny, who was barred from running due to a politically tinged embezzlement conviction, called a boycott of the vote while mobilising 26,000 volunteer electoral observers.
In several regions, these observers counted up to 25 per cent fewer votes than were reported by election authorities.
Vedomosti newspaper pointed out that the number of registered voters had mysteriously increased by 1.5 million overnight on Sunday, according to electoral commission statements.
In a YouTube livestream on Sunday evening, Mr Navalny refused to join a new party being formed by presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, a liberal journalist and former reality TV star who garnered less than 2 per cent of the vote, accusing her of being a Kremlin stooge.
“The task of all the 'opposition' candidates is for us all to languish in horror and melancholy, thinking that there are very few of us,” Mr Navalny wrote on Twitter on Monday. “No one supports the opposition, etc. Don't even think of thinking this way.”
Ilya Yashin, who heads a rare opposition majority on a district council in central Moscow, criticised Ms Sobchak's statements yesterday that the elections were “transparent” with “few violations” and said her candidacy was meant to legitimise the president's victory after Mr Navalny was banned.
“Remember, when the real independent opposition is able to participate in elections, the results look completely different from yesterday's,” he said, citing the victories in his and other Moscow districts last fall and the 2013 election of independent mayor Yevgeny Roizman in Yekaterinburg.