With 25 percent of the votes counted, mostly in eastern part of the country, Vladimir Putin leads with 73 percent of the vote, well ahead of the simple majority needed to avoid a run-off.
First-time Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin is running second with 15 percent, while veteran nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who first ran against Boris Yeltsin in 1991, rounds out the top three with about seven percent.
None of the other five candidates is on track to receive more than two percent of the vote.
Vladimir Putin was first elected to the Kremlin in 2000, and again four years later. Constitutionally barred from serving more than two consecutive terms, he did not run in 2008, the same year presidential terms were extended from four years to six years. Putin won 63.6 percent of the vote in 2012, and, if the early results are confirmed, he will now stay in his post until 2024, the year he turns 72.