Millions of Russians are voting in regional and municipal elections, providing a mid-term test of President Medvedev’s promise to loosen the Kremlin’s grip on power.
In all 32-million of Russia’s 110-million registered electorate are eligible to vote.
One voter said: “We want stability in life and prosperity for every family. We want our children to get education and to find a good job afterwards. We want a better, calmer life for pensioners, and that they have enough money to live on.”
A young father at his polling station said: “We want a better life, more kindergartens, a better salary for school teachers, so they will teach our children better. We just want a better life.”
The opposition are crying foul. In some cities, campaign posters for the dominant party United Russia have remained on display, even though by law they should have been taken down 24 hours before polling day.
The voting across the country is being seen as a gauge of the ruling United Russia party, with rising prices and unemployment the cause of grassroots anger after 10 years of explosive economic growth.