In September 2011, Vladimir Putin was confirmed as the ruling United Russia party's candidate in the March 2012 presidential election, having served as prime minister since 2008.
Three months later the party successfully maintained a simple majority in the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, despite the drop in their share of votes at the parliamentary elections.
For the first time since the early 1990's, thousands turned out to protest corruption.
On March 4, 2012, Vladimir Putin won the presidential election in the first round with over 63% of votes, placing first over Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov (17%). Mr Putin will serve a newly-extended six-year term beginning in May.
Election observers claim that several violations, such as the use of absentee ballots, ballot stuffing, and carousel voting, have skewed the election results in Mr. Putin’s favor.
Since this controversial victory, protesters nation-wide have taken to the streets to call out the alleged election fraud, chanting "Russia without Putin," resulting in hundreds of arrests.