Campaigning begins for Russian presidential poll

Other News Materials 2 February 2008 19:51 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Campaigning has begun in earnest in the Russian presidential election with the electoral commission giving the green light for candidates to place advertising in the mass media, Interfax news agency reported Saturday.

The poll is scheduled for March 2. Deputy prime minister Dmitri Medvedev, who is backed by outgoing President Vladimir Putin, has a large majority over the other three candidates, polls have shown.

With the popular president's backing Medvedev's victory is widely viewed as a foregone conclusion. Putin, who can't serve a third term as president, is expected to be appointed prime minister if Medvedev wins.

The candidates to run alongside Medvedev are nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who is loyal to the Kremlin, loyalist independent candidate Andrei Bodganov and the leader of the Communist Party, Gennadi Syuganov.

On Saturday the Kremlin newspaper Rossijskaja Gaseta published a full page promoting Medvedev's election programme entitled "Putin's Plan - for a worthy future of a great country."