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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A Fight, an Egg and Several Wake-Up Calls

Not counting some fiery language and a hurled egg, political heavyweights past and present voted in front of the cameras without incident Sunday.

Some were bellicose and others morose, but all had a few words for the public.

Appearing at a voting station around noon with his entourage, ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky wasted no time causing a ruckus.

After casting his ballot, Zhirinovsky began answering questions from a small army of reporters and camera crews. But when asked by an elections observer from Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov's campaign team to move the impromptu news conference away from the voting area, Zhirinovsky indignantly demanded to see the official's identification.

"Show me your documents!" he bellowed. "What gives you the right to get involved in the voting process?"

As a crowd pressed forward to watch the 15-minute dispute, Zhirinovsky's bodyguards pushed back a female voter who was scolding Zhirinovsky and began leading the politician toward the exit.

"She's crazy! Show me a note from your psychiatrist!" he shouted after her.

The elections observer, who declined to give his name, said he considered the incident a voting violation. "I will report this as a violation. ... We'll see what happens," he said.

More than harsh rhetoric was flung around across town at Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov's Polling Station No. 107.

"Kasyanov, the elections are a farce!" a woman cried out as she hurled an egg at the prime minister as he cast his ballot, Interfax reported. The egg struck him on his shoulder and broke.

As police led the unidentified woman out of the hall, Kasyanov quickly put on a brave face. "This little incident is part of democracy," he said with a smile, RIA-Novosti reported.

The radical National Bolshevik Party later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Police opened a criminal investigation of hooliganism.

For former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, his polling station on Ulitsa Kosygina held nothing more ominous than a 10-minute wait in line.

A local elections representative met Gorbachev and his daughter, Irena Virganskaya, at the door. "Mikhail Sergeyevich, I have a surprise for you. You will have to wait in this line."

"No problem," Gorbachev replied as he took his place.

Despite numerous offers from fellow voters, he did not cut in line, Interfax reported.

Some were less lucky. Union of Right Forces co-leader Boris Nemtsov stood for a full 20 minutes in line at Polling Station No. 94 on Ulitsa Krasina.

Nemtsov told reporters that his daughter, Zhanna, was voting for the first time, and congratulated the scores other young Russians for whom Sunday was their first hands-on taste of democracy.

SPS co-leader Anatoly Chubais said he came to vote in a "bad" mood.

"Many of the electorate do not fully understand the seriousness of the situation. We really could wake up in a different country tomorrow," Chubais said, also at the Ulitsa Kosygina polling station.

SPS warned last week that the State Duma was in danger of being swamped by "nationalist-socialist" candidates.

It seemed likely, however, that Chubais could count on at least one vote. Former President Boris Yeltsin gave a strong hint that his vote had gone to SPS, saying he had voted for "the youngsters who are having a hard time right now but with whom the future lies."

Nemtsov and Chubais were part of Yeltsin's team of "young reformers" drafted in the 1990s to steer the country toward a market economy.

Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov, asked why he had arrived at the polling station without his family, said it was just too early in the morning.

"I have a big family, they will vote later. The young ones have just woken up."

Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu, a leader of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, did not share Chubais' fears about the country and was looking forward to waking up Monday morning.

"We would really like to wake up in a brand new country, a happier and more stable one. I am hoping for this," he said.

As one of the first to vote at Polling Station No. 1808 in Barvikha in the Moscow region, Shoigu was presented with three red carnations.

Speaking with journalists afterward, Shoigu cast the weeks leading up to the election in a sentimental light. "When I filled in the voting form, I recalled the past month, meeting people, their questions, their sadness and their joy," said Shoigu, who traveled across the country in recent weeks to stump for United Russia.

"I saw the country from Kamchatka to Kaliningrad."

Shoigu said he would spend the day with family and friends and "definitely play some soccer."

As well being the so-called party of power, United Russia seems to be the party of early risers.

Interior Minister and United Russia chairman Boris Gryzlov urged Russians to follow his example after turning up at a polling station in Vladivostok at 8:15 a.m.

"Russia is fine, there's no need to cure her. She just needs to be woken up," he said after dropping his ballot into the ballot box with a flourish.

He called upon Russians to "wake up fast and come and vote."

One man for whom early morning wake-up calls have become a way of life cast his ballot along with the other inmates at the Matrosskaya Tishina prison.

"[Mikhail] Khodorkovsky voted in the morning along with the other prisoners," Deputy Justice Minister Yury Kalinin said.

"There were no excesses in the course of voting in this prison. Everything went well."

Asked who Khodorkovsky had voted for, a lawyer for the embattled Yukos founder, Anton Drel, told Agence France Presse: "I wouldn't like to hazard a guess."

Greg Walters contributed to this report.

See also Election Special 2003