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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spirits, Security High As Zyuganov Casts Vote

Communist leader and presidential hopeful Gennady Zyuganov was in good spirits Wednesday as he showed up promptly at 10:00 a.m. at his local polling station on Miusskaya Ploshchad, to cast his vote, as he modestly put it, "for Russia and its bright future."

Security was tight as a throng of reporters fought to catch a glimpse of the Communist leader, creating roadblocks for some voters trying to get to the polls.

"If Zyuganov is such a man of the people, why does he want to keep people away?" sniffed one woman, negotiating her way through barriers and militiamen.

Zyuganov was beaming and confident, saying he had "good feelings" about the outcome of the elections.

Commenting on his opponent, President Boris Yeltsin, whose low profile in recent days has given rise to speculation that he is seriously ill, Zyuganov expressed the hope that Yeltsin would "get better."

"Apparently his state of health is not very good," Zyuganov said, adding that in the future, "I will do everything to ensure that a medical commission will provide special reports on the state of health of top officials, to avoid circulation of any rumors."

He sought to reassure voters, saying he was against radical changes.

"We will take all the best from what exists now," Zyuganov said. "We realize the need for the country to move forward."

But Zyuganov's calming words did not assuage the fears of Maxim, owner of the Romeo and Juliette Cafe next to the polling station.

"This is my life," he said pointing to the cafe. "I would even support cheating by Yeltsin if necessary, just to protect it."