Reigning champions Zenit St Petersburg recorded their first win following the winter break with a 5-1 mauling of hosts Dynamo Moscow on Friday.
Zenit now have 70 points from 35 matches, nine ahead of second-placed CSKA Moscow who play city rivals Spartak on Monday. Dynamo Moscow remain third on 59 points.
"I'd like to congratulate my team, who deservedly won this match," said Zenit boss Luciano Spalletti.
"We showed excellent football tonight keeping the right rhythm throughout the match. All of my players have a very strong character. I believe my team have the strongest character in the league."
Zenit were 3-0 ahead by the interval.
In the 13th minute, Zenit's Italian star Domenico Criscito headed home following an error by Dynamo defender Vladimir Granat.
Russian international striker Alexander Kerzhakov added the second just a minute later firing home with a powerful long-range shot.
Zenit continued their domination at the Khimki stadium and, in the 24th minute, Sergei Semak made it 3-0, scoring from Andrei Arshavin's precise pass.
In the 72nd minute, Dynamo's German striker Kevin Kuranyi reduced the arrears, scoring with a header after a free-kick but Kerzhakov restored Zenit's three-goal advantage just three minutes later.
Zenit's Hungarian midfielder Szabolcs Huszti rounded off the scoring with 11 minutes to go, beating Dynamo 'keeper Roman Berezovsky with a well-struck 28-metre freekick.