Vladimir Putin looks set to be Russia's president for six more years as an exit poll and early returns suggest he has easily won a fourth term.
Though President Donald Trump has recently admitted that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 USA election, his administration has been far more hard and direct with the nation than the commander in chief.
Authorities, however, are seeking a high turnout to add greater legitimacy to a new term for Putin, who is already Russia's second-longest serving leader since Joseph Stalin. "The program that I propose for the country is the right one", he said.
Central Election Commission of Russian Federation is using latest system to keep journalists updated about results and data is updated after every three minutes.
Selfie competitions, giveaways, food festivals and children's entertainers were laid on at polling booths in a bid to create a festive atmosphere around the election.
The independent Golos election-monitoring group broadcast a video from the city of Krasnodar that it said showed people being forced to vote by their employers.
Russian opposition presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak cast her ballot and urged Vladimir Putin's critics to vote instead of boycotting. Britain and Russian Federation last week announced expulsions of diplomats over the spy case and the US issued new sanctions.
"The pressure to go and vote was disgusting", Suslina, a student who works part-time at a state research and manufacturing company, said.
Putin has sought to emphasise Russia's role as a major world power, recently boasting of its "invincible" new weapons and doubling down on Moscow's support for the Syrian regime in a bloody civil war.
Putin has been holding the Presidential office of Russian Federation since 2012 after winning three Presidential elections consecutively.
Election authorities said turnout nationwide Sunday was about 52 percent at 5 p.m. Moscow time.
The growing diplomatic scandal over the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain will not disrupt Russia's presidential campaign, Vladimir Putin's spokesman has said.
Since he took the helm in Russia on New Year's Eve 1999 after Boris Yeltsin's surprise resignation, Putin's electoral power has centred on stability, a quality cherished by Russians after the chaotic breakup of the Soviet Union and the "wild capitalism" of the Yeltsin years.
A tit-for-tat reaction is expected to the British Prime Minister's decision to kick out 23 diplomats who she said were undeclared intelligence officers.
"After he brought Crimea back, he became a hero to me". Also this week, Washington hit Russian Federation with sanctions for trying to influence the 2016 USA election.
Election officials moved quickly to respond to some of the violations.
Unlike the last time Putin faced voters, this time he faces no serious opposition movement, and has strengthened his domestic support through his actions in Ukraine and Syria. She said the ballot box was sealed and the man was arrested.
Election officials flew to far-flung regions to collect votes from indigenous herders, while cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov - the only Russian now aboard the International Space Station - cast his ballot by proxy.
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