In case you haven’t noticed, there will be a presidential election in Russia on 4 March. Millions of Russians will go to polling stations and choose a leader for the next six years.
Naturally you’d think that there would be debates going on now. Well…there is…sort of. You see, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin plans to return to the presidency but it just so happens that his schedule has him all tied up right now. His office says that he is too busy running the government to engage in debates. Besides, he is “fully informed” and apparently doesn’t need to debate according to Political scientist Natalia Narochnitskaya who is sitting in for Mr. Putin on several televised debates.
We get it. Mr. Putin is a busy man and can’t be bothered with sharing his views personally with the Russian people right now. He has more important things to do…like hunting Siberian tigers, diving for treasure carefully placed where he could find it, holding four hour long “talk show” forums on national TV & Radio (no opposition candidates allowed) and writing long editorials in newspapers weeks before the start of legal campaigning. Ah, guess he did share his views with the populace, didn’t he. Just several weeks earlier than the other candidates could legally tell their story.
So it is really no surprise that Mr. Putin won’t be appearing at any of the presidential debates. Remember, he’s already “fully informed” and just too busy right now. Instead of facing voters himself, Mr. Putin has designated spokespersons who are handling the debates for him. We give you this half hour debate on Russia Channel 1, between Vladimir Zhirinovsky the outspoken candidate for the Liberal Democratic Party and Political scientist Natalia Narochnitskaya who is standing in for Mr. Putin and the United Russia Party.
If Vladimir Zhirinovsky seems a little familiar, he has run several times in the past for president, losing every time but he does attract enough votes to keep his party representation in the Russian Parliament. You may remember Zhirinovsky from previous years when in 2008 he physically attacked an opposing candidate after he thought the TV cameras had stopped filming. In another debate he attacked the moderator, saying that the man didn’t know how to moderate so he (Zhirinovsky) was taking over the moderators duties. He has also engaged in fistfights on the floor of parliament.
Ah, Russian politics. So much fun.