Barack Obama called Vladimir Putin yesterday to congratulate him on winning the election as Russia's next president.
Obama and Putin spoke on Friday, five days after Putin won a return to the presidential post he held before his protegé Dmitry Medvedev's single term.
Official results showed Putin won more than 63 per cent of votes in the weekend election, but independent international monitors said the poll was skewed to favour the powerful prime minister, who had been president for eight years until 2008.
Opponents demoralised with the former KGB spy's dominance of Russia's political system have branded his victory an insult to the Russian people.
Although some White House officials downplayed the congratulatory aspect of Obama's call, a formal statement read: 'President Obama called Russian President-elect and Prime Minister Putin to congratulate him on his recent victory in the Russian Presidential election.' Read More