Voting has begun in Russia’s parliamentary elections.
Seven parties are competing for seats in the lower house or State Duma.
The poll is a test for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s ruling party, United Russia, three months before he asks voters to endorse his return to the Kremlin as President.
People in the far-east region began casting their ballots first in the world’s largest country that spans nine time zones. Polls close at 17:00 GMT.
On the eve of voting, the spotlight shifted to a group monitoring the ballot which has accused authorites of harassment.
Returning from abroad for the election, the head of Golos, which translates as ‘voice’ in English, was detained for 12 hours at a Moscow airport. Liliya Shibanova told reporters her laptop computer had been seized, on the basis that it might have “very dangerous software”.
Some in Russia accuse the Western-funded group of being an international tool for meddling in the election.