Just Russia, Rot Front Face Off
Published: November 9, 2011 (Issue # 1682)
MOSCOW — Election debates began this weekend when A Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov and Rot Front head Sergei Udaltsov squared off in a heated but friendly exchange on Dozhd TV.
The event can only pay dividends to one side in the State Duma vote in December because Rot Front has been banned by the Justice Ministry from running.
A highlight of the debate, aired Sunday night, came when Mironov announced that he would not support Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in his bid to return to the presidency because Putin is backed by the ruling United Russia.
Mironov said before Putin announced his return in September that his party would back no United Russia candidate. Mironov never named any names at the time and continued to profess loyalty to Putin.
He also stressed Sunday that A Just Russia would not have backed President Medvedev if he had chosen to run for re-election.
Udaltsov made a name for himself with street campaigning against corruption. He has served more than 100 short jail terms over his activism and was detained again Monday when he led supporters into an unsanctioned “Occupy Old Square” rally in Moscow, which houses the presidential administration office.
All registered parties running for the Duma will engage in televised debates starting Wednesday.