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Posted at 10:54 AM ET, 02/23/2012

Putin gives patriotic speech, while Prokhorov raps on state television

It’s crunch time, and two of Russia’s presidential candidates know it. Ten days ahead of the March 4 election, Russia’s most powerful man, Prime Minister Vladi­mir Putin, and Russia’s third-richest man, oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov, are making very different public appearances.

On Thursday, Putin appeared before more than 100,000 supporters at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow to give a short speech “heavy on patriotism” to a “balloon-and-banner-carrying crowd,” The Post’s Kathy Lally and Will Englund report. “We came here to say we love Russia,” Putin told his supporters. “We are the defenders of our fatherland.” The response was muted, and several men heckled Putin, but at the end there were cheers.

Contrast that with a recent appearance by Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov on “Projector Paris Hilton,” a comedy show that allows gentle political satire on state television. There, Prokhorov is encouraged to break out in a rap about his biggest product, a request he humbly obliges. Making the whole rapping enterprise funnier is that the product, pronounced in Russian as “yo-Mobile,” sounds like an expletive beginning with “F”- Mobile to a Russian ear, the New Yorker points out.

(Listen to Putin’s speech in English here)

“Putin talking, no one near me listening,” Miriam Elder, the Guardian’s correspondent in Russia, reported Thursday as she shot film of the scene. “I'm over the Putin rally and fully into [the] Prokhorov rap.”

Read more on Prokhorov here.

By  |  10:54 AM ET, 02/23/2012

Tags:  World, Russia, presidential election, rallies

 
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