Exit polls cited by state television say Vladimir Putin has won Russia's presidential election, which the opposition and independent observers say has been marred by widespread violations.
Putin tallied 59 percent of Sunday's vote, according to a nationwide exit poll conducted by the VTsIOM polling agency for Channel one television. Another exit poll done by the FOM polling agency for Rossiya TV showed Putin received 58 percent of the ballot.
Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyuganov, got support of some 18 percent, according to the survey, and the others -- nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, socialist Sergei Mironov and billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov -- were in single digits.
Opposition leaders and Russian observers said Sunday they are seeing widespread violations in elections that are expected to return Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin.
If confirmed, claims of violations could undermine the legitimacy of Putin's victory and help fuel opposition protests.
The independent elections watchdog agency Golos said it was receiving reports of so-called "carousel voting," in which busloads of voters are driven around to cast ballots multiple times.