Talk of fraud has already tarnished Vladimir Putin's victory in the Russian presidential election; now an international watchdog group says his win, with 63% of the vote, was "clearly skewed," the BBC reports. "The point of elections is that the outcome should be uncertain," says a rep for the Organization for Security and Co-operation. But in Russia, "there was no real competition and abuse of government resources ensured that the ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt."
Despite efforts to monitor voting, there were "procedural irregularities" in "almost one-third of polling stations observed," the watchdog says, calling on Russia to investigate. Moscow may have a more immediate concern, however: The city is getting ready for giant protests over the election this evening, with 12,000 police and troops set to form a "ring of steel" against what could be tens of thousands of demonstrators planning to descend on Pushkin Square, the Telegraph notes. Opposition activists say they've tracked some 4,000 fraudulent vote-related incidents.