Moscow: Russian leader Vladimir Putin was on course on Monday to win Russia's presidential elections in the first round in a landslide victory over his four rivals, an exit poll and initial results said.

Putin would win 58.3 percent of the vote, an exit poll survey by the state-run VTsIOM polling institute projected. Early results based on 14.5 percent of Russia's polling stations said he had won 61.8 percent of the vote, the central election commission said.

The early results gathered mainly from the Far East and Siberia where polls closed several hours ago showed Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov trailing in second with 17.8 percent.

The firebrand nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky was scoring 8.0 percent, tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov 7.6 percent, while the left-leaning former upper house speaker Sergei Mironov was fifth with 3.7 percent, the early results showed.

VTsIOM projected Zyuganov to come second with 17.7 percent, while Prokhorov was to finish third with 9.2 percent.

Zhirinovsky was on course to finish fourth with 8.5 percent, while Mironov was likely to finish last with 4.8 percent, the pollster said.

VTsIOM, whose exit polls are commissioned by Russian state television and which has developed a reputation of closely predicting final results, said 31.7 percent of the respondents refused to answer their survey.