Russian President Vladimir Putin described Sunday's parliamentary elections and the victory of the United Russia party that he leads as a demonstration of confidence.
"I want to thank Russian citizens, all voters, for a high turnout...Special thanks to those who voted for United Russia, whose election list I headed, this is an indication of trust," news agencies quoted him as saying.
The large turnout reflected the country's growing economic and political strength, Putin said, adding that the vote showed that "Russians will never allow the nation to take a destructive path like what has happened in some other nations in the ex-Soviet space."
"It's a good example and a good indication of Russia's internal political stability," he added.
Preliminary results showed that United Russia had attracted 64.1 percent of the vote and secured 315 seats, an overwhelming constitutional majority, in the 450-seat State Duma, the lower house of parliament. But the election has been criticized by international monitors, foreign governments and some opposition parties, who claim there was biased media coverage in the run-up to the poll and that observers were obstructed by officials.
Prior to the elections, Putin made a television address asking eligible voters to cast ballots for United Russia to stick to the development path on which he has set the nation.
Some 63 percent of the 108 million eligible voters took part inthe elections, hitting a new high for election turnout.