Russian President Vladimir Putin urged his countrymen to vote in Sunday's presidential election to secure Russia's future, in a new attempt to ensure a high turnout in a poll criticised as one-sided by foreign observers.
Russian President Vladimir Putin urged citizens Friday to vote in this weekend's presidential polls, describing them as a "decisive step" in the renewal of the top leadership.
Putin urged voters in a television address to consider who would continue Russia's "forward movement" and said that "complex and large tasks" lay ahead.
The result of Sunday's vote is seen as a foregone conclusion, with opinion polls and analysts pointing to victory by Putin's favourite, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
"What is the best way to achieve these goals? Who will bring to the post of head of state real value for millions of people, for all the citizens of our great homeland?" Putin asked in Friday's message.
"Everyone has the chance to answer these questions for themselves and at the Russian presidential elections to make their own conscious choice," he said.
"The opinion of each of you is important. I ask you to come to the election on Sunday and vote for our and your future, for Russia's future," he said.
Most Western observer groups have boycotted the polls.
One group of 25 observers is to attend from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, but has already voiced concern that "the real choice of alternatives is limited at best."
Date created : 2008-02-29