Britain is to target wealth linked to the Kremlin in response to the poisoning of a former spy, foreign minister Boris Johnson said Sunday ahead of a visit by global chemical weapons experts. His most vocal critic, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was barred from taking part in the race because of a criminal conviction that many believe to be politically motivated.
Overall turnout is expected to be between 63% and 67%, according to official pollsters.
Commentators have also noted that the lack of stiff competition among candidates could also discourage voters from heading to the polls.
Since first being elected president in 2000, Putin has stamped his total authority on the world's biggest country, muzzling opposition, putting television under state control and reasserting Moscow's standing overseas.
Commission chairwoman Ella Pamfilova said it was a DDoS, or distributed denial of service, attempt tracked to computers in 15 countries, without naming them. Despite a lackluster campaign period, the 65-year-old President is the clear front-runner. "I fear that independent observers will become objects of such an attack".More news: KCR will meet Mamata Banerjee today over new front
Results are expected to trickle in by the end of the day and a stage where Putin is expected to deliver his victory address has already been set up in Moscow's city centre, near the Kremlin.
At many polling stations the atmosphere was festive, with patriotic songs blasting out of speakers, cheap food available to voters and entertainers organising games for children.
But while elections are a serious matter, there were those who took the time to have fun while casting their vote.
"By doing this we hope to attract voters to the polling stations and we think we can increase turnout", said Nikolai Kretsu, chairman of the consumer market committee in the regional administration.
Putin faces 7 other candidates.
Navalny's team and non-government election monitor Golos reported ballot stuffing and multiple voting, with voters also being bussed to polling booths against the law.More news: Iran seeking Persian Gulf-Black Sea corridor: Zarif
The 2018 Russian presidential election is a vote of confidence for the Russian Communist Party (CPRF), which has undergone a major rebranding following significant setbacks in the 2016 parliamentary elections. The run-up to Russia's last presidential election in 2012 was marked by protests across the country against Putin's return as head of state after four years as prime minister.
Earlier this week, Britain announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats and suspension of high-level contacts over the poisoning.
In remarks on Sunday morning that significantly escalated the row over the use of a lethal nerve agent in Salisbury two weeks ago, the foreign secretary said: "We actually have evidence within the last 10 years that Russian Federation has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the goal of assassination, but has also been creating and stockpiling novichok".
Russian Federation has also vowed to retaliate after the United States imposed new sanctions on the country this week over its reported cyberattacks and meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
His previous Kremlin term has been marked by a severe crackdown on the opposition, the annexation of Crimea, support for an insurgency in eastern Ukraine, an ongoing military intervention in Syria and the introduction of European and United States sanctions - all to the backdrop of a huge deterioration in ties with the West.
But he seems certain to extend his rule to 2024 despite a lacklustre campaign and a litany of domestic problems such as widespread poverty and poor healthcare.More news: Lalu Prasad convicted in 4th fodder scam case, Mishra acquitted