Moscow clubs Dynamo and Spartak beat Terek Grozny and Mordovia Saransk respectively on Sunday to join neighbours and reigning champions CSKA in a battle for third place.
The three Moscow sides are all on 25 points, 10 behind leaders Zenit St Petersburg, with FC Krasnodar second on 27 points.
A goal by Russian international forward Alexander Kokorin and a brace by German sharpshooter Kevin Kuranyi set Dynamo on their way to a well-deserved 3-0 win.
Kokorin gave Dynamo a 26th-minute lead when he received Mathieu Valbuena's pass at the edge of the box and fired the ball into the net past goalkeeper Yaroslav Godzyur.
Three minutes later Valbuena helped the ball on to the unmarked Kuranyi in the area and the German striker sliced the ball into the net from 12 yards.
In the 86th minute Kuranyi rounded off the scoring as he netted his 50th goal for Dynamo with a precise spotkick after he was brought down in the box.
"We played a very solid and harmonious match today," Dynamo manager Stanislav Cherchesov said.
"The break in the championship allowed us to improve our physical fitness a great deal. Today we dominated play and were in complete control throughout the match."
In Sunday's other match, a brace by Dutch midfielder Quincy Promes and goals from Brazilian back Joao Carlos and Russian international forward Artem Dzyuba assured Russia's most successful club Spartak won a six-goal thriller 4-2.
Promes put Spartak into the lead in the ninth minute, firing the ball into the back of the net from Yura Movsisyan's pass.
In the 18th minute Promes doubled Spartak's advantage, sending the ball home after a mix-up in the Mordovia defence, while Carlos made it 3-0 for the Muscovites as he headed the ball in from a well-served corner nine minutes later.
Mordovia's Serbian back Marko Lomic reduced the arrears with a precise spotkick just before the break, while forward Ruslan Mukhametshin made it 3-2 in the 58th minute.
But Dzyuba netted Spartak's fourth in stoppage time to secure his team's win.
"We did everything quite right," Spartak head coach Murat Yakin said.
"We scored three goals before the break and kept our lead despite the pressure. I think we won deservedly tonight."