MOSCOW – Russian voters, observers and eight presidential candidates are gearing up for an election that will undoubtedly hand Vladimir Putin another six-year term.
The outcome in Sunday's vote is so certain that authorities are investing in get-out-the-vote efforts to ensure a decent turnout.
Candidates are barred from campaigning Saturday. Voting starts in the Russian far east near Alaska and wraps up in the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad.
More than 1,500 international observers are joining thousands of Russian observers to watch the vote. The government wants to ensure elections are clean after ballot stuffing and fraud marred the last presidential election in 2012.
Unlike the last time Putin faced voters, this time he faces no serious opposition movement, and has strengthened his domestic support through his actions in Ukraine and Syria.