Nearly 109 million Russians registered voters are eligible to cast their ballot in close to 97,000 polling stations across the 85 regions and republics of the Russian Federation. An estimated 2 million Russian citizens around the world will also be able to cast their ballots in 145 countries.
Eight candidates are vying to run for office of President of Russia while Putin might be on track to become Russia’s longest-serving leader since Joseph Stalin. If Putin wins, he will lead Russia until 2024, after which he is constitutionally obliged to stand down.
Today March 18, 2018, people from Russia’s 11 time zones, including Kamchatka and Chukotka in the East to the westernmost enclave of Kaliningrad, are heading to the polls to vote in a presidential election. The voting will last until 20:00 local time.
“I am sure of the correctness of the course that I propose for the country,” Putin said in Moscow on Sunday morning, according to state news agency RIA-Novosti.
The Russian’s election monitoring group, Golos, said it received dozens of complaints, reporting electoral irregularities and violations across the country. The complaints included several ballot boxes hidden from view of observation cameras and last-minute changes to voter registration lists.
In 2012, Russia’s last presidential elections saw protests across the country against Putin’s return as head of state. The vote was marred by allegations of fraud.
The primary results of the election will be announced on Monday and will determine who will serve as Russia’s president for the next six years.