Russia » Politics
Author`s name Ольга Савка

United Russia Party Rejects Free Debate on Television

The party believes, the populist debate on central TV channels is needless

Yesterday, Russia's Central Electoral Committee cast the lots between parties and blocs for free television time. Each election association will have 16 hours of the free of charge broadcasting on federal television channels. This is the only agitation way for many parties and blocs. That is why there have been several sensational statements released. United Russia - the frontrunner in the pre-election race has rejected an opportunity of free agitation on television.

United Russia's spokespeople are not intended to participate in pre-election television debates with other parties. "Our ideology and stance on most important questions is clearly formulated in the party's program. In addition, we have repeatedly expressed our points of view at meetings, conferences and press briefings," Yury Volkov, chairman of the parties central election headquarters said. "We believe it is unreasonable and dangerous to spend time on advertising and populist appearances on television. This matter is for the people, who think that the conversation about honest elections is simply a conversation," Volkov said.

According to Yury Volkov, United Russia believes that the party's work in the regions, the direct interaction with people is enough. Central Electoral Committee's chairman Alexander Veshnyakov stated, United Russia's refusal to take part in television debates might incite organizational problems: "Political parties could refuse to participate in the debate on television by means of a written notification sent to the committee until October 29th." Alexander Veshnyakov added, the adequate note from United Russia had arrived to the Central Electoral Committee on November 3rd. Veshnyakov added, everything would take place within the legal framework.

Alexander Veshnyakov will have to make excuses for United Russia again, as it has already happened after Vladimir Putin's appearance at the party's congress. The electoral committee's head did not see any legal violation in the event. Yet, he stated that president's appearance at the congress had destroyed certain stereotypes. Then Veshnyakov had to deal with numerous complaints about United Russia's excessive advertising on central television channels and in the streets. Alexander Veshnyakov simply stated that the committee had "stopped reacting to every sneeze."

There are a lot of United Russia's stickers in the Moscow metro. One can see Yabloko's stickers there too, but their stickers mention in a corner that the advertisement has been paid from the election fund. United Russia did not bother to do so.

The financial resource does not always bring a desirable result. Alexander Bespalov, United Russia's central headquarters chief, was shamefully dismissed from the position in March. Kremlin officials did not like the way the official was spending huge money assigned for the party's promotion. Bespalov ordered to produce countless advertising posters and arranged a series of PR scandals (for example, the raising of the election limit to the Duma up to 12.5 percent).

Alexander Bespalov was replaced by Yury Volkov - another man from St.Petersburg. Volkov completely changed the party's pre-election strategy, rejected the aggressive PR and concentrated on the administrative resource which was to provide good election results. That is why, there are about 30 governors on the election list of the party. The governors are supposed to find an approach to the regional electorate.

United Russia's candidates will take part in television debates of regional TV companies. RIA Novosti reported, Yury Volkov - the party's headquarters chief - said that on November 4th. 

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