Presidential election voting underway
Voting in the Russian Federation presidential election began last night UK time (GMT) at 8 p.m. in the Pacific coast regions of Russia and will travel through nine time zones before ending at 5 p.m. GMT in the far west of Russia in Kaliningrad.
The outcome is already known – it will be a win for current prime minister and twice former president Vladimir Putin. The Levada Centre opinion polling suggests that he will take 66% of the vote in the first round despite massive protests against vote rigging since the December 2011 state Duma elections.
Whatever the result Russia now has a protest movement which refuses to be silent and will gradually grow in strength and will continue to question government actions.
Meanwhile 109 million Russians will be entitled to vote for one of five candidates across 94,000 polling centres.
The candidates are:
Sergey Mironov, A Just Russia (CP or SR)
Mikhail Prokhorov, Independent
Vladimir Putin, United Russia
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR)
Gennady Zyuganov, Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF).