Staunton, February 14 – Because Vladimir Putin is the incumbent and because he exercises enormous control over the Russian media, it is no surprise that he is mentioned far more often than is any one of his challengers. What is striking, however, is that he is referred to just under twice as often as all of them taken together.
Sociologists at the VTsIOM polling agency found that during the six days from February 8 to February 13, Russian media had materials on Putin 59,130 times – or nearly 10,000 a day (wciom.ru/index.php?id=236&uid=116696 and http://politsovet.ru/58060-smi-pishut-pro-putina-chasche-chem-pro-ego-sopernikov-vmeste-vzyatyh.html).
Over the same period, the sociologists said Kseniya Sobchak had 7465 mentions, Pavel Grudinin 7107, Vladimir Zhirinovsky 5556, Boris Titov 4648, Grigory Yavlinsky 4119, Sergey Baburin 3234 and Maksim Suraykin.
As the Politsoviet portal put it, “it isn’t hard to calculation that even taken together the reports about Putin’s opponents do not reach the number of publications about the president.” Indeed, they collectively received just a few more than half as many mentions, something that would have a major impact on the results even if Putin had no other resources at his command.