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MOSCOW, February 4 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian presidential election campaign is entering the most critical and exciting stage. On Saturday, the official start to campaigning in the media is given. However, on weekends the candidates can campaign for themselves only on a commercial basis. The law gives them free airtime and newspaper pages only on weekdays. Thus, the first canvassing actions, including TV debates, the viewers will be able to see only on Monday.
The debate “season” will be opened on the TV Channel One on December 6 by Communist Party (CPRF) leader Gennady Zyuganov and businessman Mikhail Prokhorov. The airtime for the debate on Channel One is set from 18:15 to 18:45MSK. The discussions will be held “one on one.” A total of ten cycles of the debates are scheduled.
The VGRTK Holding has placed the primary emphasis on the last days of the election campaign. VGTRK Deputy Chairman Dmitry Kiselev said that on the Rossiya-1 TV channel the debates will begin February 27 and end on March 2, that is, literally up to the “Day of Silence.” The debates will take place in the already well-known format of the “Poyedinok” (“Duel”) program of Vladimir Solovyov, as it was during the Duma campaign. They are scheduled for 22:50 MSK in the viewing grid. “It’s late prime time, both the viewers and participants liked such a version,” said Kiselev, noting that the channel decided “not to give up on the successful precedent.” He also informed that the company’s management made an ingenious solution – to cancel political talk shows on the Rossiya-1 channel for the canvassing period. He referred to the programs “Poyedinok,” “Historical Process,” “Special Correspondent.” According to Kiselev, the reason for this is the need to create “some kind of sterile environment” for the canvassing and to exclude “the risk of misinterpretation.”
From February 27 to March 2 debates will also be held on the air of three radio stations of the VGTRK Holding: Radio Mayak, Radio Russia and Radio Vesti FM.
As for the Vesti-24 news TV channel, five cycles of debates are planned there. They will start on February 9 and will be aired from 18:00 to 19:00 MSK.
A total of 12 newspapers and one magazine - Echo of the Planet Printed will provide printed canvassing space for the candidates.
The canvassing stage ends at midnight from March 2 to 3 (local time). The Saturday before the election will traditionally become a “day of silence.”
The Russian presidential election will be held on March 4.