Russians began voting in a presidential election on Sunday, and are set to give Vladimir Putin a commanding victory that could only be blemished if large numbers do not bother taking part because the result is so predictable.
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.
Opinion polls give Putin, the incumbent, support of around 70 percent, or nearly 10 times the backing of his nearest challenger. Another term will take him to nearly a quarter century in power — a longevity among Kremlin leaders second only to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
Putin's opponents alleged officials were trying to inflate the turnout.
Many voters credit Putin, a 65-year-old former KGB spy, with standing up for Russia's interests in a hostile outside world, even though the cost is confrontation with the West.
The majority of voters see no viable alternative to Putin: He has total dominance of the political scene and the state-run television, where most people get their news, gives lavish coverage of Putin and little airtime to his rivals.
Galina Zhukova, a pensioner, came to polling station number 1512 in Zelenodolsk, about 800 km (500 miles) east of Moscow, with her husband, Alexei. They arrived soon after the doors opened.
"We voted for Putin. Things are all right for us," said Alexei. "And there's no one else to vote for," Galina said.
"He (Putin) is our president. We take pride in him," said Marianna Shanina, a resident of the Crimea region. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine four years ago, earning Putin admiration from many Russians and condemnation from the West.
"We wish him victory at the election. Our whole family will vote for Putin. Putin! Good health to you, beloved president!," Shanina said at a Putin election rally.