A Russian independent election watchdog has condemned the country’s presidential race as unfair.
Golos says independent rivals to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rely heavily on approval from the Kremlin as they need two million signatures to run.
It also says Russia’s election law allows for fraud because officials cannot be held to account.
“It’s quite clear that the two million signatures for non parliamentary party candidates is an exaggerated and unreal figure,” said Golos research chief Alexander Kynev.
“The mere wish of the controlling bodies is enough to oust any candidate, because this is the way the legislation is organised.”
Authorities have already barred two opposition politicians from standing against Putin in March over alleged irregularities.
His United Russia party faced demonstrations last month over accusations it fixed recent parliamentary elections.