15 Jan 2018 18:46

Zyuganov files complaints over biased coverage of Communist candidate's campaign

MOSCOW. Jan 15 (Interfax) - Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov urged President Vladimir Putin on Monday to take measures to stop the use of TV programs to spread "counter-propaganda" against the Communist Party's presidential candidate, Pavel Grudinin.

In his letter to Putin, which was shared with Interfax, Zyuganov pointed out that Grudinin has publicized "a substantive, detailed, and constructive program" with which he is going to run and has also declared his willingness to take part in debates.

"We hoped that the presidential election campaign would provide the proper conditions for the fair competition of programs and an open discussion about Russia's future. We believed we would see the central TV channels impartially covering the campaign this time around. The public expects this, and the administration itself should be interested in this," the letter says.

"This is important in light of the pressure being applied by Russia's foreign political opponents," it says.

However, "whole television programs have been devoted to discussions about how to oppose our candidate, what labels to stick on him, and how to defame him," Zyuganov said. "All of this is being done unilaterally, without a chance to respond or contradict," the letter says.

"We believe it is unacceptable to use airtime to spread counter-propaganda against one of the key presidential candidates. This undermines confidence in this election campaign and the electoral system as a whole. I urge you to take the necessary measures to return the campaign to the track of fair and principled competition," it says.

Interfax has learned that the letter was also sent to Central Elections Commission Chair Ella Pamfilova and the heads of Channel One and VGTRK.