Candidates Approach the People: What Do Russian Voters Have on Their Minds?

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Now, news of the election campaign. Most presidential candidates are now in the regions. The politicians are discussing various topics with voters. The industrial development, support for veterans, and even the breeding of rabbits are among the topics.

Our political observer Alexander Balitsky will tell us about how the meetings are going.

For voters to know not only official information about the candidates but more, the participants in the presidential campaign meet with the people themselves and prepare campaign materials.

At Ksenia Sobchak’s headquarters, they’re composing a newspaper layout. Sobchak participates in the brainstorming remotely.

"Yes, Ksenia Anatolyevna…"

In order for it to be printed, the newspaper must be approved by the CEC. Today, they were just determining what would be written on the information poster about each of the eight candidates. The information also includes income and financial assets. Speaking of all this data, the CEC deputy chairman Nikolai Bulayev was forced again to recall the story about candidate Grudinin’s foreign accounts.

Nikolai Bulayev: "The CEC has two kinds of letters: first, asking why a person with foreign accounts is still participating in the election campaign, and second, asking to stop attacks on Pavel Nikolayevich. The Federal Tax Service informs us that Pavel Nikolayevich has two additional accounts in Switzerland banks, of which he notified the Federal Tax Service, and on February 2, 2018, he sent a notification through his account saying that he closed them. But there’s a small circumstance, the CEC wasn’t informed of these accounts, and information about the cash balances as of December 1, 2017 wasn’t transferred to the CEC. We still don’t have such information".

The story of Grudinin's accounts has been developing since December. At first, he didn’t specify that he had overseas accounts at all, in January, he confirmed their absence, and then, reported that he had five, which he seemed to have closed. Then, it turned out that there are also Swiss accounts. On February 2, candidate Grudinin already gave explanations about this in the CEC. He said that the accounts were closed, and he had documents confirming this. He’d surely bring them. But ten days passed, and the Central Election Commission still continues to wait.

Ella Pamfilova, the CEC chairman: "I hope that respected Pavel Nikolaevich, as a respected candidate registered, as there are no doubts that he'll participate in this election campaign, will show maximum respect for more than 100 million voters, and as soon as possible, if there’s a need to update this information, will provide us with the documents, as he promised, proving that the accounts are closed".

The candidate from the Communist Party couldn’t personally hand over these documents today. He met with voters in the Altai.

Pavel Grudinin: "First, we need to fill the budget and, first of all, we need to put an end to corruption and robbery in our country, we’re the richest country, after all".

And this is a press conference for local journalists. However, they were more interested in the latest news about the trials and the land of the Lenin State Farm.

Pavel Grudinin: "As for the cooperative members, the Lenin State Farm never had any cooperative. We had shareholders, we’ve been a joint-stock company since 1995 and the whole land until 1995, from 1991 to 1995, was in collective-joint ownership, and then, it was transferred into fixed capital. This is confirmed by all courts, up to the Supreme Court".

"What do you mean saying there were no cooperative members? They were in the whole country, there was the reorganization of agricultural enterprises into public companies. There were cooperatives, there were their members, and they claim that there were no cooperative members".

"After all, two certificates were issued according to the court decision. We had two certificates. They gave them to us".

"417 certificates were brought to court".

This story, in which former employees of the Lenin State Farm believe that their leadership deceived them when it was privatizing the land, has been developing for more than 20 years. As well as courts proceedings.

Lyudmila Sidorova, the Lenin State Farm former employees representative: "Our trustees were unfairly deprived of their shares, and at present, we’re convinced that they are proprietors by law".

The other day, the Vidnensky City Court admitted to examination another claim to the management of the state farm. Considering that there are already nine such appeals, they decided to unify the case.

"The court comes to the conclusion that in this case the unification of similar cases of several complainants' suits to one defendant, the Lenin State Farm, in one proceeding will facilitate the proper consideration of the case".

Today, Zhirinovsky’s agitation train makes a stop in the Smolensk Oblast. The LDPR leader always likes to set the region as an example. For five years, it’s been led by his party representative. Zhirinovsky visits a complex where rabbits are bred, which, as we know, bring not only valuable fur.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky: "Rabbit meat is the healthiest! It’s low-fat and has many vitamins!"

Zhirinovsky checks how much easier it became to issue certificates and documents at the local multifunctional center of state services and gives a speech to the local university students.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky: "The higher the democracy level is, the more peoples want to have their own the state. It must be divided only administratively. The Smolensk Province, Tver, Kostroma. Republics are an option that can weaken the state".

Grigory Yavlinsky spent all day in Saratov. He saw the historical center, which obviously needs repairing, and compared prices and buying activity in the local market. At an enterprise that produces packaging equipment Yavlinsky spoke on the basis of economic prosperity.

Grigory Yavlinsky: "In the next 20 years, all foreign, internal, military, defense, security policies, all policies should be aimed at solving one important task: the creation of a modern, large, competitive, efficient economy in Russia".

The pre-election morning in the Crimea began for Boris Titov. with a roadside café and famous local chebureks.

Boris Titov: "I really like chebureks".

The topic of competition comes up by itself. Titov is a business ombudsman. And on the way, he has time to discuss with the taxi driver what the small business is waiting for. The trip, by the way, cost 300 rubles.

Boris Titov: "It should be very convenient. As little administrative pressure as possible. It should be fine in terms of financial burden, so that taxes are small. This is why we say 20,000 a year, not more. Well, and it needs to be safe. For the control bodies not to come and take the property away".

Sergey Baburin came to support the picketers at the Gorky Park. They gathered to protest against the idea of the Yakimanka municipal deputies to move the monument to Lenin from the Kaluga Square to the Museon Park.

Sergey Baburin: "I hope that they, these deputies, realized that they were stupid and went to repent somewhere. This is our legacy. No matter how we treat Lenin, Nicholas II, some people love one, some people love the other one, let's take good care of our memory".

Another candidate for presidency, Maxim Suraykin, repeatedly supported Lenin on the Kaluga Square. But today, he’s in the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. Some time ago, Suraykin already tried to become governor there. And today, as a presidential candidate, he visits the residential facility for veterans of war and labor.

Suraykin immediately explains that the Communists of Russia and the Communist Party, in spite of the similarity in the title, are different parties. And while having a cup of tea, he gives veterans jubilee party medals on the Red Army's 100th anniversary. His campaign program addresses both social guarantees and communal services.

Maxim Suraykin: "We must return to the Soviet system of state service enterprises and state regulation of prices for housing and communal services, so that they’re accessible and don’t constitute more than 10 percent of the total family budget".

And in Chelyabinsk, the first meeting of volunteers was held in the regional headquarters of Vladimir Putin, they’ll help to prepare and conduct the election. All volunteers undergo a rigorous selection. And you’ll be able to recognize them by these special uniforms.

Yekaterina Baymukhametova, Volunteers of Victory coordinator: "The youngest ones are 18 years old, college freshmen who support his policy despite being young, they like the country they live in".

Putin’s trustees have already joined work. Actor Sergey Bezrukov spoke in Samara about the support of culture and art.

Sergey Bezrukov: "You should go to the election with energy and good mood".

The voting day is exactly in five days. And the most active part of the campaign is ahead: the candidates will receive free television airtime.

And today, the Central Election Commission presented an updated version of the website. It became simpler and more convenient to search for and receive election news and information about candidates for the presidency.

Alexander Balitsky, Maxim Shchepilov and Ilgiz Khakimov, Vesti.

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