News / Europe

Putin's Challengers Seek Attention With TV Ads

James Brooke

Russia's presidential election, now just over two weeks away, features five main candidates, but the vote is widely seen as the vehicle for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to take over as head of state once again.  His four opponents, outwardly still hopeful about their chances, are filling the air waves with confident advertising, but some viewers think even the challengers have scant hope of victory.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky is running for president of Russia for the fifth time since 1991.

In his TV ads, he whips a stubborn donkey. He shouts: “This lousy little donkey is a symbol of our country.”

The Carnegie Endowment's Moscow analyst, Masha Lipman, wonders whether Zhirinovsky really wants to win the presidential election:

“He is whipping a donkey, saying Russia is backward," Lipman said.  "So is Russia a donkey?  Using his whip to make it move.  And he exclaims in exasperation: 'It wouldn’t even move!'  Then it ends ... with the phrase [Vote for] ‘Zhirinovsky and everything will be fine.’  Which is how he sees Russia today.  Which is kind of insulting.”

Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyuganov is running for the fourth time since 1996.  His fast-paced TV ad shows images of modern Russia.

Lipman's view:  “This Russia is beautiful and grand.  This is Russia of big and shiny factories, of beautiful plains and mountains.  In every way this is a great and beautiful country, which is somewhat controversial, as it make him look as if he has been president already.  If everything looks so good, what is the whole point of competing with the person who rules it?”

Mr. Putin served two terms as president before, stepping down only because the constitution bars a head of state from serving three consecutive terms.  He has since been prime minister, but his successor as president, Dmitry Medvedev, deferred his own political ambitions to allow Mr. Putin to return to the top job at the Kremlin.

Zyuganov, running second at this point in the presidential race, has his own challenger in Mikhail Prokhorov, a billionaire who is rising in opinion polls.  Prokhorov's confident appearance and message appeals to Russia’s growing liberal middle class.  He says a new Russia needs a new president.  

“A president who returns our belief in ourselves," he says. "Demand more:  Mikhail Prokhorov.  New president, new Russia!”

Sergei Mironov, candidate of the Fair Russia party, takes up an anti-corruption theme in his ad:  Mironov says, “we need to change those in power, and I’ll fight them till the end.”

Despite those fighting words, Mironov did not join the tens of thousands of Russians who protested against corruption in a mass rally in Moscow on February 4.

In the world of TV ads, the missing face belongs to the fifth candidate, Vladimir Putin.

At Moscow’s State Historical Library, Elena Strukova curates a show of Russian political advertisements created for elections in the 20 years since the Soviet Union collapsed.  Once Mr. Putin became the official candidate, she says advertising in support of him became unnecessary.  

Mr. Putin’s everyday activities dominate Russia’s daily news programs, so advertising might be seen as overkill.

In Russia, the candidate who is not advertising may be the candidate who wins the race.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid