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Sobyanin Cancels Call-in Show After Complaints by Opponents

Acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has canceled a pre-election call-in show scheduled for Thursday, Gulnara Penkova, Sobyanin's spokeswoman, told Interfax.

She said the plans had been scrapped as a result of complaints by other mayoral candidates in the run-up to the Sept. 8 mayoral election. The call-in show has been criticized for presumably providing an unfair advantage to Sobyanin.

Only state-affiliated media were permitted to take part in the show, while all other media were not accredited, Lenta.ru reported.

Sobyanin has also been accused of orchestrating a "black PR" effort against mayoral candidate Alexei Navalny. Leonid Volkov, Navalny's campaign manager, said in a LiveJournal post Wednesday that false campaign materials aimed against the anti-corruption activist had been distributed, while many of his supporters had received repeated calls with pro-Navalny slogans at night.

Meanwhile, Nikolai Levichev, the mayoral candidate who represents the Just Russia party, said Thursday he could quit the race and endorse whoever is the runner-up, adding that this would make a second round more likely. Currently, the runner-up is Navalny.

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