Vladimir Putin

Rap music a 'path to the degradation of the nation' - Putin

But Mr Putin said at a St Petersburg meeting with cultural advisers Saturday that attempts to ban artists from performing will have an adverse effect and bolster their popularity.

"If it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it properly. But how to do it, it depends on us."

Mr Putin noted that "rap is based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest". But he is particularly concerned with drug themes prevalent in rap, saying it was an "obvious… path to the degradation of the nation".

Vladimir Putin wins by big margin

With 50% of the vote counted he had received 75% of the vote, the central election commission said.

The main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race.

Addressing a rally in Moscow after the early results were declared, Mr Putin said voters had "recognised the achievements of the last few years".

The scale of victory - which had been widely predicted - appears to be a marked increase in his share of the vote from 2012, when he won 64%.

Putin on track for commanding win as Russians head to polls

Mr Putin, who has run the country since 1999 as either president or prime minister, is standing for another six-year term.

Seven other candidates are standing, including a millionaire communist and a former reality television host.

Russia's main opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, is prohibited from standing.

Opinion polls give Mr Putin about 70 percent support, nearly 10 times the backing of his nearest challenger.

On Russia's eastern edge, in the Pacific coast city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, polling stations have opened.

Trump and Putin held undisclosed talks

They spoke towards the end of a formal dinner but the White House has not revealed what was discussed.

President Trump has condemned media revelations of the talks as "sick".

The two leaders' relationship is under scrutiny amid allegations of Russian interference in the US election.

US intelligence agencies believe Moscow tried to tip the election in Mr Trump's favour, something denied by Russia. Mr Trump has rejected allegations of any collusion.

Putin warns against 'intimidating' North Korea after latest missile launch

Speaking in China, Putin called for a peaceful solution to the ongoing tensions on the Korean peninsula, Russia's Sputnik news agency reported.

"I would like to confirm that we are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear states, including through the Korean Peninsula," Putin told reporters. "We are against it and consider it counterproductive, damaging, dangerous," he said.

But in comments that appeared aimed at the US, he said that "intimidating (North Korea) is unacceptable."

Chechnya gay rights: Putin backs inquiry into hate crimes

He said he would personally ask the prosecutor general and the interior minister to check the reports.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week urged the Russian authorities to help protect gay rights.

Chechen officials have denied gay people even exist in the republic, amid reports of arrests and torture.

On Friday, Mr Putin said he would personally ask the prosecutor general and interior minister to help Kremlin rights ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova check the reported abuse.

Trump and Putin: Syria ceasefire heads leaders' agenda

The two spoke by telephone for the first time since the US launched air strikes against Syria nearly a month ago, straining relations.

White House and Kremlin statements suggested a productive conversation.

Other topics discussed included North Korea and the timing of a future face-to-face meeting.

Mr Trump ordered air strikes after a chemical weapons attack blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia's ally. The Russians which blamed Syrian rebels for the use of illegal nerve gas.

Chechnya gay rights: Merkel urges Putin to intervene

Activists say police in the republic have arrested and tortured dozens of people in an anti-gay crackdown.

Mrs Merkel raised the issue during her first visit to Russia since 2015, which saw her hold talks with Mr Putin at his summer residence in Sochi.

Relations between the two nations have been strained over Syria and Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

 

Syria war: Trump and Putin trade barbs as ministers meet

Donald Trump said Russia was backing "an animal" in Syria's Bashar al-Assad.

Vladimir Putin said the US had violated the law in bombing a Syrian airbase and that the level of trust with the US had worsened since Mr Trump took office.

However, Mr Putin did choose to meet Rex Tillerson after the US envoy had held talks with Sergei Lavrov.

The meeting between the president and the US secretary of state had been in doubt, but a spokeswoman for the US embassy in Moscow, citing Kremlin officials, confirmed it was taking place.

Putin deepens Middle East influence with Kremlin summits

Putin's interests hardly coincide with those of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- especially in Syria. But as the Trump Administration is yet to work out its Middle East policy, Russia has unprecedented leverage in the region.

Here's a very basic outline of each leader's priorities: