Seven candidates vying to unseat Vladimir Putin saw their chances improve slightly when the president wondered aloud about his employment prospects in case of a loss in next month's presidential elections.
The offhand remark was delivered at a combine harvester during a campaign stop in the southern city of Rostov on Thursday, where workers taught the president how to operate a combine simulator.
"If worst comes to worst, I’ll go work as a combine operator after March 18," Putin was filmed saying at the wheel of a combine simulator by the Kremlin-funded RT news outlet.
"No problem at all," his instructor replied.
The latest state-run poll suggests that 69.9 percent of voters would vote for Putin if the elections took place this Sunday. The president’s nearest competitor, communist candidate Pavel Grudinin, polls at around 6 percent.