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Kremlin Spokesman Issues Rare Apology After Election Reprimand

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has apologized after the head of Russia's Central Election Commission (CEC) reprimanded him for public statements that could be interpreted as electioneering for President Vladimir Putin.

Peskov said on February 2 that he accepts the CEC's warning and said he would be careful about his statements during the run-up to the March 18 presidential election.

"I apologize for any statements that could be interpreted as campaigning," Peskov said in Moscow.

Earlier the same day, CEC Chairwoman Ella Pamfilova said that some statements Peskov made on January 29 bore "obvious signs of electioneering."

She did not specify which comments she had in mind, but was probably referring to Peskov's assertion that Putin is beyond political competition.

"I don't think anybody can doubt that Putin is the absolute leader of public opinion, the absolute leader of the political Olympus…with whom it is unlikely that anyone can seriously compete at this stage," Peskov said in response to a question about whether the Kremlin fears opposition politician Aleksei Navalny.

With the Kremlin controlling the levers of political power nationwide after years of steps to suppress dissent and marginalize political opponents, Putin is virtually assured of being awarded a fourth presidential term following the vote.

Based on reporting by RIA Novosti and TASS

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