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There are about 110 million eligible voters in Russia, and turnout in many areas appeared low Sunday. In the Pacific Coast regions of Sakhalin and Kamchatka, turnout was just 45 percent to 48 percent with two hours to go until the polls closed.

Turnout in some regions appeared high, however. An AP reporter saw a polling station in Moscow’s southwest filled with voters, including an unusually high number of young people compared with the previous election.

Mr. Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev made final appeals for their party Friday, the last day of campaigning, warning that a parliament made up of diverse political camps would be incapable of making decisions.

The view underlines Russian authorities’ continuing discomfort with political pluralism and preference for top-down operation.

As president in 2000-2008, Mr. Putin‘s autocratic leadership style won wide support among Russians exhausted by a decade of post-Soviet uncertainty. But United Russia has become increasingly disliked, seen as stifling opposition, representing a corrupt bureaucracy and often called “the party of crooks and thieves.”

A few dozen activists of the Left Front opposition group tried to stage an unsanctioned protest just outside Red Square in Moscow on Sunday but were dispersed quickly by police, who detained about a dozen of them.

In the western city of Bryansk, an unidentified assailant threw a firebomb into the window of the local United Russia’s office. No one was hurt, and the fire quickly was extinguished, according to local police.

An interim report from an elections-monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe noted that “most parties have expressed a lack of trust in the fairness of the electoral process.”

The websites of Golos and Ekho Moskvy, a prominent, independent-minded radio station, were down on Sunday. Both claimed the failures were due to denial-of-service hacker attacks.

“The attack on the site on election day is obviously connected to attempts to interfere with publication of information about violations,” Ekho Moskvy editor Alexey Venediktov said in a Twitter post.

Golos has come under strong pressure in the week leading up to the vote.

Its leader, Lilya Shibanova, was held at a Moscow airport for 12 hours upon her Friday return from Poland after refusing to give her laptop computer to security officers, said Golos‘ deputy director, Grigory Melkonyants. On Friday, the group was fined the equivalent of $1,000 by a Moscow court for violating a law that prohibits publication of election opinion research for five days before a vote.

John Beyrle, U.S. ambassador to Russia, said in his blog that he called the Golos head Saturday “to express my support for the work they have been doing, and convey the concern of the White House about the pressure they have been experiencing over the last week.”

Mr. Putin last Sunday accused Western governments of trying to influence the election. Golos is funded by grants from the United States and Europe.

The group has compiled some 5,300 complaints of election-law violations ahead of the vote. Most are linked to United Russia. Roughly a third of the complainants — mostly government employees and students — say employers and professors are pressuring them to vote for the party.

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