Candidates standing in Russia’s presidential election have officially begun their media campaigns with a series of televised one-on-one debates.
Last night’s duel was between Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov and the relative newcomer Mikhail Prokhorov who is standing as an independent.
Zyuganov immediately attacked the inexperience of his opponent by asking how was it that he had suddenly appeared on the political scene?
Prokhorov responded by saying that as a businessman he was limited in what he could do for his country. “I want to ensure living standards for all workers are as good as those who work for me,” he said.
Nine hours of free air time have been scheduled to allow all five candidates the opportunity to allow viewers to know their policies.
But with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin widely expected to retake the presidency on March 4 it is not sure how much impact the TV coverage will have.
“Just Russia” leader Sergei Mironov has already taken out a political advertisment to help his cause, as has the Nationalist far-right candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky who can be seen on TV trying to encourage a reluctant donkey, representing Russia, to accept progress.