Russians have voted in regional elections that are widely considered a rehearsal for forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.
Exit polls suggested that United Russia, backed by President Putin, was leading in 10 of the 14 regions.
The new Kremlin-supported Just Russia party appeared to have a strong showing in one region, taking half the votes.
Opposition parties said they had been sidelined and dubbed the polls an illegitimate sham.
"We do not recognised as legitimate either these elections not the parliament elected today," said Maxim Reznik, the chairman of the Yabloko party, blocked from fielding candidates in the St Petersburg region.
The ballots are the first in a year of elections that critics say are organised to ensure that President Vladimir Putin retains control.
Mr Putin is expected to step down in 2008 but he has hinted he will choose the person who will replace him.
Some 31 million voters, about a third of the country's electorate, had a choice of two mainstream parties and a number of smaller ones in the elections in 14 of the country's 86 regions.
"The main result of the elections is that United Russia has remained the leading party of Russia. It had no rivals in the majority of regions," Valery Fyodorov of the Kremlin-linked polling centre said.
But Just Russia, a party which supports Putin but presents itself as an alternative to United Russia, gained some 40% of votes in the Stavropol region.