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Putin hails Medvedev's victory in presidential race
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Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed on Sunday night the victory of Dmitry Medvedev in the presidential race.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) meet journalists after speaking on stage during a concert in Moscow March 2, 2008. Medvedev won Sunday's presidential election by a landslide, according to official preliminary results and exit polls. [Agencies]

"This victory will be a guarantee of maintaining the course we have chosen together and been implementing together. The course will continue," Putin told a celebration of Medvedev's supporters at the Red Square.

Just a few minute past 11 P.M., Putin and Medvedev, both in black jackets, suddenly stepped on the stage upon the end of a show by a pop Russian band at the snowing chilly night.

"Are you freezing? Would you please give me just one minute?" Putin's pleas were replied with cheers and applauds from hundreds of supporters surrounding the celebration arena against the red brick wall of the Kremlin.

"Thank you all, thank you all citizens of Russia," Putin said, standing side by side with Medvedev, both with an excited look.

"The Russian civil society has been proved an efficient and responsible one" and all the elections, including the parliamentary and the presidential races, were carried out "in line with the constitution and laws," he said.

"Thanks everybody who voted for me, thanks everybody who voted for the other candidates as well," Medvedev said, showing his trademark grin.

Medvedev pledged to "maintain the course proposed by President Putin."

"Together we are moving forward, together we will win," his words were hoorayed by flying flags in white, blue, red – the colors of Russia's national flag.

Medvedev, first prime minister of Putin's cabinet, won Sunday's presidential election by a landslide, according to official preliminary results and exit polls.

(Xinhua News Agency March 3, 2008)

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