Voters are casting ballots across Russia for local legislators and governors, in elections expected to be won by candidates loyal to President Vladimir Putin.

Legislative elections are being held in 11 of Russia's 83 regions, but the anti-Putin opposition was allowed to run only in the Kostroma region a few hundred kilometers (miles) north of Moscow.

Opposition candidates campaigned throughout the rural, economically depressed region, but came up against a general feeling of apathy. Most Russians still see no alternative to Putin and have little interest in a political process now controlled by the Kremlin.

Even in Moscow, with its wealthier, more Western-oriented population, the opposition has been marginalized in recent years.

Sunday's elections are being seen as a dress rehearsal for next year's vote for a national parliament.