MOSCOW, February 14. /TASS/. The candidates in the upcoming presidential election in Russia will start their TV and radio debates on Monday, February 26, the chairperson of Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) said on Tuesday.
The drawing procedure to allot screen time on state TV and radio channels among candidates and their parties was held on Tuesday. The election campaign will kick off on February 17, or 28 days before the vote, and will end on March 17, the day of silence.
CEC chair Ella Pamfilova said that the pre-election week will have the most intense schedule of televised debates.
"The last day of televised debates will be Thursday, March 15, because the day of silence will begin in the east of the country nine hours before it kicks off in Moscow," she said.
Five federal state TV channels (Rossiya-1, Rossiya-24, Channel One, TV Tsentr and Public Television of Russia (OTR)) and three nationwide radio networks (Radio of Russia, Mayak and Vesti FM) are to provide presidential candidates with free broadcasting time. The candidates who have applied to take part in the debates are obliged to attend them at all TV and radio channels in person.
According to CEC secretary Maya Grishina, a total of seven candidates who have applied to take part in the debates.
"All the seven candidates, who had applied to take part in discussions, will appear jointly in every TV broadcast by any Russian public channel," she said, adding that each radio debate will feature three or four candidates.
The seven candidates who are to enter public debate are Sergei Baburin (Russian All-People’s Union), CEO of Lenin State Farm agricultural company Pavel Grudinin (nominated by the Communist Party of Russia), Vladimir Zhirinovsky (the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia), TV host and journalist Ksenia Sobchak (nominated by the Civil Initiative party), Suraikin Maxim (Communists of Russia), business ombudsman and head of the Party of Growth Boris Titov and Grigory Yavlinsky, a co-founder of the Yabloko Party.