Tight security in lead-up to Russian presidential elections
( dpa )- Authorities in Russia were putting final security arrangements in place on the eve of Sunday's presidential elections expected to see an overwhelming victory for president Vladimir Putin's hand-picked successor Dmitry Medvedev.
Police with tracker dogs were searching all 96,000 polling stations for explosives before the election starts, the Moscow-based daily Kommersant reported, citing a spokesman for the authorities.
Many voters in large cities will have to enter the polling stations via metal detectors. A total of 450,000 soldiers and police were being deployed.
In Moscow alone, 23,000 security forces were being deployed in operations similar to those during earlier elections.
Latest opinion polls gave Medvedev 70 per cent of votes. Initial results were expected early Monday.
In some regions, people had complained that they were coming under intense state pressure to vote for Medvedev.
As in previous elections, raffles of household goods or tickets to football matches were being organized to lure people to the polling stations.
A total of 109 million people are eligible to vote, with the first already going to the polls in remote regions and among army ranks. Ballot boxes were flown to reindeer herders at the Arctic Circle.
Cosmonaut Yuri Malentshenko was due to transmit his vote from aboard the International Space Station Sunday in confidence to an associate at mission control near Moscow, Itar-Tass news agency said.