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PUTIN.jpg

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks at an award presentation ceremony for achievements in culture in Moscow, Saturday, March 3, 2012. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Yana Lapikova, Government Press Service)

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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is expressing certainty that he will return to the presidency of his country after Sunday's election. Mass rallies held in support of his candidacy include some in the crowds who feel forced to attend. (Associated Press)

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Vladimir Zhirinovsky, an ultraright nationalist, is one of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's three main foes in Sunday's presidential election. (Associated Press)

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Posters with a picture of Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin, reading "Another 12 years? No, thank you!" lie on the pavement after an unsanctioned opposition rally Tuesday in downtown Moscow. Mr. Putin faces four rivals Sunday in a presidential election. (Associated Press)

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** FILE ** Vladimir Putin stalks the Tuva region of Siberia in this photo from August 2007. (Associated Press)

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Mikhail Prokhorov, a majority owner of the NBA's New Jersey Nets, is one of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's three main foes in Sunday's presidential election. (Associated Press)

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Gennedy Zyuganov, the Communist Party leader, is Vladimir Putin's closest rival in Sunday's presidential election. (Associated Press)

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin addresses a rally in his campaign for president at Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on Thursday. Tens of thousands marched along the Moscow River and then packed the stadium for the rally. Many appeared to be state employees who attended at the behest of their employers. (Associated Press)

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APTOPIX Russia Protes_Lea.jpg

Russian protesters hold hands as part of a 10-mile-long human chain along the Garden Ring in Moscow during a demonstration against President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks on Friday, Feb. 24, 2012, during a meeting with Canadian and Russian ice hockey stars and veterans at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow. (Associated Press)

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In this image taken by a citizen journalist and provided by the Local Coordination Committees in Syria, anti-Syrian-regime protesters hold a banner against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during a demonstration in Dael village in Syria's Daraa province on Friday, Feb. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Local Coordination Committees in Syria)

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Demonstrators in St. Petersburg on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, hold a poster depicting Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during a rally in support of Mr. Putin's candidacy for the presidency in the March 4 elections. The sign reads: "Will provide continuation of Russia's development!" (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is running for his former job as president, addresses a conference of the Union of Industrialists in Moscow on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets Feb. 1, 2012, with election monitors in Moscow. (Associated Press/RIA Novosti)

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A car decorated with white balloons is one of hundreds driving around Moscow's Garden Ring road during a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

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In anticipation of a new six-year term as president, Vladimir Putin has made forming a Eurasian Union by 2015 a foreign policy priority. (Associated Press)

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wishes Russians a happy New Year during an interview in his residence of Novo-Ogaryovo, outside Moscow, in Russia, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, pool)

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appears on a national call-in TV show in Moscow on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Pool)

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Mikhail Prokhorov, one of Russia's richest tycoons and the owner of the New Jersey Nets, announces his candidacy to run against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for Russia's presidency on Monday, Dec. 12, 2011, in Moscow. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

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A protester with the words "no vote" covering her lips is one of more than 10,000 people at a St. Petersburg, Russia, rally Saturday after parliamentary elections that the throng claims were rigged to favor Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's Russia United party. (Associated Press)