The progress of voting in Russia’s elections
The voter turnout was 58,3% of the people on the electoral roll at 20 p.m. Moscow time.
As of 15.00 Moscow Time, the overall voter turnout amounted to 47.6%. At the same time in the 2008 presidential elections, the figure was at 42.83%.
In the Far East, the voting is over and counting is already in progress. The turnout there topped 70%, a marked improvement on the figures in the 2008 presidential and the 2011 Duma elections.
By 18.00 local time, the turnout in Siberia’s Yamal-Nenetz region had reached 85%. The figures in March 2008 and December 2011 were 80% and 68%, respectively.
By 15.00 local time, the turnout in Chechnya had reached almost 76%, and in Kabardino-Balkaria, more than 50%. In other parts of the Russian Caucasus, 100% turnouts have been reported – mostly in localities where the residents form closely-knit communities.
By 15.00 Moscow Time, the turnouts in St Petersburg and Moscow had topped one third.
By 15.00 local time, the turnout in Tatarstan on the Volga River had reached almost 60%. The figure in March 2008 was 56%.
Voting at Russian offices abroad has been rolling across the globe from New Zealand to the Americas. The stations in NZ closed at 15.00 Moscow Time. In California, the polls will open at 20.00 Moscow Time.
The Foreign Ministry says the explosions in Brazzaville have failed to disrupt voting at the Russian Embassy in the Congolese capital.
The Russian electorate numbers 110 million, including 2 million expats.
We have more from head of the Central Electoral Commission Vladimir Churov:
"In Russia, there are 95 thousand polling stations, and abroad, 400, scattered across 140 countries. The returning officers number 830 thousand. About one half of them represent registered political parties."
Each of Russia’s polling stations – with the exception of one very remote station in the region of Magadan – is equipped with web cameras streaming live video to a dedicated web portal. According to Telecommunications Minister Igor Shchegolev, not a single of them is without an Internet watcher of the voting process.
By 16.00 Moscow Time, watchful citizens had lodged about 1,200 complaints about electoral irregularities. Each complaint of this kind is immediately processed and sent back to its place of origin for being acted upon. So far, most of the complaints have proved to be unjustified.
Executive member of the United Russia party Andrei Vorobyov praises fairness in the elections:
"Web cameras and observers are at work. In Moscow, each station has 10 to 12 observers, compared with just 3 or 4 in 2008. Many of the observers represent powerful civil society groups. The organization of today’s voting has already won praise from the observer mission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe."
The voting will come to an end at 21.00 Moscow Time, with the closure of the polling stations in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad region. Almost immediately, the results of exit polls and preliminary counts will become available.
There are five candidates in the running – Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the Communist Gennady Ziuganov, the Liberal Democrat Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Just Russia party Sergei Mironov and billionaire businessman Mikhail Prokhorov.
All five cast their ballots before noon.