Voting is underway in the first mayoral elections in Moscow in almost a decade with the leader of the national protest movement Alexei Navalny casting his ballot early alongside his family. The main opponent to the current mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, was found guilty of embezzlement in July, however he insists it was a political trial.
Sobyanin from the United Russia party is a close ally of President Vladimir Putin and was appointed in 2010 by the then President Dmitry Medvedev. He has already held high ranking positions serving as Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and as Head of the presidential administration.
The elections are the first to take place since 2003 and the first since the Kremlin reversed President Vladimir Putin’s 2004 decree abolishing direct elections for the Russian capital’s mayor and other regional leaders.
Muscovites have until 8pm to cast their votes.