Russian opposition politician and anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny has said that he will not participate in any more debates in the Moscow mayoral election unless they are broadcast by major media outlets.
In a statement posted to social media, Navalny said the experience of three debates broadcast by minor television and radio channels has shown it is more effective for him to use the time campaigning directly, considering the small audiences for the debates.
He noted that the next debate -- which he will skip -- is scheduled for the small television channel Moscow Doveriye (Moscow Trust) on August 19.
He said he believes it is a tactic by the authorities to technically present candidates with airtime without really giving them the opportunity to reach voters.
He added, however, that he would particpate in debates on larger outlets, including Moscow's city-government-owned TV-Tsentr, Ekho Moskvy, or any of Russia's national broadcast channels.
Acting Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has not participated in any of the debates.
Navalny also wrote that his campaign has sent letters of complaint to all of the national television broadcasters for allegedly showing Sobyanin "constantly" while not giving coverage to any of the other candidates in the election.
Navalny has not been invited to appear on any national channel, despite polling second in the race to become mayor of the Russian capital.
Sobyanin is a close ally of President Vladimir Putin and a leader of the ruling United Russia party, although he is technically running as an independent.
According to the latest polls, he is leading with about 53 percent support among likely voters. Navalny is polling about 5 percent.
The election is set for September 8. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a second round of voting will be conducted.