>> Meet the man dubbed by some as Russia's last reformer, and his time might be running out. Independent MP, Dmitry Gudkov, is fighting for reelection in Sunday's Russian parliamentary elections, but his campaign is struggling from a lack of cash. And as Reuters deputy Moscow bureau chief, Andrew Osborne says, a hostile atmosphere.
>> Dmitry Gudkov says he has faced a dirty tricks campaign. Voters have been given fake newspapers which say he is an American stooge, and that he is part of a Jewish-Ukrainian conspiracy to seize power. Unknown men turn up at his meetings with voters and shout over him.>> Gudkov is Russia's only independent MP.
Parliament is dominated by lawmakers under the banner of United Russia, a party established by President Vladimir Putin. And Gudkov isn't holding high hopes for shaking up the status quo.>> Gudkov complains, however, that he cannot get on state television, whereas his main rival, a candidate from the ruling United Russia Party, can have access to state television.
And he says that he's on television from morning to night. Sothat, he says, clearly is unfair and makes it much harder for him to win.>> Gudkov isn't alone in his struggle to push a reformist agenda. Mass protests marked the last such elections amidst allegations of electoral fraud.
But since, Russian politics is changed significantly. Putin securing a third term as president, Russia annexing Crimea, and the Kremlin taking a harder line in opposition movements. The liberal spirit that helped Gudkov into mainstream politics may now just be a spectre.