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SOCHI, February 8 (Itar-Tass) - Presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov said he did not refuse to debate with election agents of other candidates, including those of Vladimir Putin.
“I said what I think so far about the debates, and I have not yet refused them. I want to see, with whom I will hold the debate,” he told journalists in Sochi during a visit to the combined ski-biathlon complex Laura, where the Russian Biathlon Cup events start on Wednesday.
“I do not exclude the possibility that I will debate with representatives of Vladimir Putin. I am ready, the only question is, with whom,” Prokhorov said. “To debate with a person with whom it is not interesting? What for? And if he is a bright man, I will use the chance with pleasure and explain once again my position to the electorate,” he said. “I’m not familiar so far with the whole list of Putin’s representatives, so when it is presented, we’ll see,” the candidate said.
Meanwhile, Prokhorov expressed a view that “in the presidential election each candidate simply must participate in the debates.” “What kind of presidential election is this - involving representatives of a candidate?” he said.
Within the presidential election campaign, each candidate will get nine hours of free TV and radio airtime on the channels of the national state broadcasting companies, and half of this time is given to the joint campaigning events, the so-called debates, which were launched on Tuesday.
Russian presidential candidate, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin refused to participate in the debates before the start of the canvassing campaign. His press secretary Dmitry Peskov explained that this is due to the fact that the participation in the debates “implies certain things – taking a leave, and doing it every time does not allow Putin to perform his functions.”
On Tuesday, press-secretary of Mikhail Prokhorov’s electoral headquarters Olga Stukalova told the Russian News Service that Prokhorov “will not participate in debates with the proxies, but only with the presidential candidates. It is his stance and the stance of his election headquarters.”
Meanwhile, another presidential candidate - leader of Just Russia Sergei Mironov also refused to participate in debates with Putin’s proxies.