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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Slighted Zyuganov Seeks 'Man-to-Man' Soliciting

KRASNOYARSK, Western Siberia -- Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov appealed to his supporters on Wednesday to help him win Russia's presidency from Boris Yeltsin by campaigning "from man to man, from heart to heart."

Zyuganov, angry that state-controlled television pays much more attention to Yeltsin than to his own campaign for the June 16 election, issued a new challenge to the Kremlin leader to face him in a live debate.

"The last 10 days [of the campaign] are crucial and I have a request -- each of you must win over six or seven others," he told a rally of some 700 enthusiastic supporters packed into a musical theatre.

"The party campaign workers will go out to every village and speak from man to man, from heart to heart," he later said at a news conference in Krasnoyarsk, a Siberian city of about 1 million people. "This is our strength."

Zyuganov likened the lack of television coverage of his campaigning to "black propaganda like that of [Nazi propaganda chief Joseph] Goebbels" and said most journalists had become hostages of Yeltsin's camp.

He said he wanted a two- or three-hour debate on June 10 grouping all the candidates to be broadcast live on state television "so that the whole country can choose." Yeltsin has so far rejected all calls for a live debate.

Zyuganov got a slight boost on Wednesday when hardliner Aman Tuleyev confirmed he would withdraw from the race and urged his supporters to vote for the Communist leader.

The Communist-led election bloc appointed him this year to be Zyuganov's understudy in case the communist leader was forced to bow out.

"During my [campaign] trips I have become convinced that this is the right decision," Itar-Tass quoted Tuleyev as saying in the ethnic republic of Bashkortostan. He did not say when he would pull out.