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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Opposition Demands TV Airtime

Opposition parties are demanding airtime on state television and radio, the liberal Yabloko party announced Friday.

In a letter sent Thursday to President Vladimir Putin and the heads of Channel One and Rossia -- the two main state television channels -- and state-owned Radio Russia, the parties demanded that weekly live radio and television political debates be held with the participation of the country's different political parties.

Yabloko, the liberal Union of Right Forces and the Communist and nationalist Rodina parties, among others, formed a joint committee for the defense of free speech in May.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, whose reforms ushered in an era of openness, objected to the growing state control over media earlier this year on the 20th anniversary of his pioneering policy of perestroika, or restructuring.

"The one thing I can say is that it's pointless today to watch television," he said.