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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More