Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin looks sure to reclaim his former position as president next Sunday, with the latest polls giving him around 59.9 percent of the vote.
Putin only needs 50 percent plus one solitary vote in the presidential election to avoid a second round run-off.
At 15.1 percent in the latest figures is Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov – who is expected to come second and who looks like the only one capable of preventing Putin’s outright victory.
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov climbs into third position for the first time with 8.7 per cent. The tycoon claims he will create a new party to unite Russian society.
Just behind with 7.1 percent is ultra-nationalist candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
Voting has already begun in the far eastern regions of the country where access is difficut – including the autonomous region of Chukotka, the only part of Russia partially in the western hemisphere.