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There is a mayoral campaign going on in the southern Russian city of Sochi, although if you live in the city, you might not know it.

All the local television and radio channels have refused to run paid ads or to cover campaign events. Instead, local news programming features happy meetings between acting Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov, Unified Russia’s candidate, and grateful locals.

The five opposition candidates in the race are reduced to running the old-fashioned way: by getting out into the streets and talking to voters face to face or at small, spontaneous meetings.

The photo above, provided by the campaign of former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, shows a handwritten sign tacked to a tree. It announces that Nemtsov will be meeting with voters on this spot at 12 noon on April 12.

-- Robert Coalson

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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