Russians began voting in a presidential election on Sunday, and are set to give Vladimir Putin a commanding victory and a fourth term in office.
A day of voting across Russia’s 11 time zones began at 2000 GMT on Saturday on Russia’s eastern edge, in the Pacific coast city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Voting will run until polls close at the westernmost point of Russia, the Kaliningrad region on the Baltic Sea, at 1800 GMT on Sunday.
There are almost 109 million eligible voters inside Russia, with 94,500 polling stations across the country. An additional 1.8 million voters live abroad, and 369 polling stations are based overseas.
Official pollsters predict a turnout of around 65 percent in the ongoing presidential election.
“I really respect those policies that launched a democratic transformation in our country, and I think that it is important that these democratic transformations continue and that we become a modern and open society and become a stronger economy in the world,” said a 45-year-old voter, Stanislav Naumov.
The main opposition leader and Putin’s most vocal opponent, Alexei Navalny, was disqualified from the race due to a fraud conviction that he has claimed was politically motivated.