Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Russian citizens to go to the polls on March 14, 2004, the day of Russia's presidential elections. "Direct elections are one of the main achievements of democracy, and the results of these elections will have a direct impact on the development of Russia," Putin said in a televised address today. "Only the support of the citizens will enable the authorities to determine the course of the country for years to come and allow them to take responsible steps to develop the economy and improve the quality of life," he said. According to the incumbent President, public support "will add confidence to the future President of Russia".
"Participation in elections is a unique right to influence the course of events in one's home country," Putin stated. He stressed that participation in the elections was extremely important "for all citizens, for the future of Russia".