Last-Minute Flap on Moscow's Election Eve

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MOSCOW: On the eve of the Russian presidential runoff elections, all was supposed to be quiet, persuant to a 24-hour moratorium on campaigning. But the Communists just couldn't quit. On Tuesday, campaign officials for Communist leader Gennadi Zyuganov accused Russian Public Television of illegally censoring a political advertisement. While Zyuganov's campaign manager Valentin Kuptsov charged that omitting the five-minute advertisement was a serious breach of law, spokesmen for the TV channel said the ad was scrapped because it contained "unproven allegations" about election fraud and wasn't paid for. The Central Election Commission is expected to investigate the matter. But TIME's Sally Donnelly says it would come as no suprise if the TV station indeed omitted the ad as a last-minute political boost for Yeltsin, given the utter lack of balanced coverage typical of Russian TV media. "There's absolutely no sense of objectivity for these guys, who are 150 percent pro-Yeltsin," says Donnelly. "This could be just another straw in a long line of one-sided campaign coverage." -->