MOSCOW (AP) — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has voiced confidence he will be victorious in Sunday's presidential election and bluntly dismissed opposition demands.
Putin, who is all but certain to regain the presidency, sought to put a positive spin on massive protests against his 12-year rule, saying they have been a "good experience for Russia."
Speaking during Friday's meeting with editors of top Western newspapers, he promised to engage in a dialogue with the protesters, but strongly rejected their main demand to hold a rerun of December's parliamentary election in which Putin's party held onto its majority through massive fraud.
The evidence of vote-rigging fueled protests that drew tens of thousands. The opposition is gearing up for another massive protest against what they fear will be manipulation in Sunday's vote.