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Sobchak throws water as Russian presidential debate descends to bickering

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Zhirinovsky got a soaking during the debate
Zhirinovsky got a soaking during the debate
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The first Russian presidential debate descended into farce when Ksenia Sobchak doused nationalist candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky with water.

The televised event was attended by all seven challengers to president Vladimir Putin, who is seeking re-election but chose not to attend. The dispute erupted after Sobchak, a former actress, chastised right-wing populist Zhirinovsky for interrupting another candidate, Sergei Baburin.

Zhirinovsky objected to being asked to calm down and said Sobchak's behaviour was more fitting to a reality TV show she once presented - Dom-2.

The pair then exchanged words before Sobchak resorted to what she said were Zhirinovsky's own methods and emptied a glass of water over him.

The Russian election takes place on March 18 and Vladimir Putin is expected to win by a wide margin. The other candidates are Pavel Grudinin, Boris Titov, Maxim Suraykin and Grigory Yavlinsky,