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Image: AP Photo/ Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr

In pictures: Millions head to the polls in Russia

Vladimir Putin is expected to cruise to victory, but opponents have alleged vote fraud.
Mar 4th 2012, 11:54 AM 1,719 15

MILLIONS OF RUSSIANS will cast their vote today  in presidential elections expected to return Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin for a third term.

Opinion polls have shown Putin positioned to easily defeat four other candidates and return to the post he held in 2000-2008.

But opponents of Putin are already listing alleged  voting irregularities online and claiming that the ballot has been tainted by fraud, Reuters reports.

Webcams have been installed in polling stations in an effort to reassure observers that the process is transparent. But they have been dismissed by critics. “You can’t see how they count the votes on a web camera,” volunteer monitor Ilya Mishchenko told the Financial Times.

Protests appear inevitable after the ballot, with Putin’s United Russia party widely perceived as having rigged parliamentary elections in December.

The Interior Ministry called in 6,000 police reinforcements to the capital from other regions, the state news agency ITAR-Tass reported Friday.

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