MOSCOW - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sought to court millions of Russian drivers this week by sending supporters on an epic car journey across eight time zones to check the state of Russia's notoriously poor roads ahead of the elections.
Opinion polls show more than half of voters are unhappy with the dire state of Russia's roads, an issue that could become a theme in the December parliamentary election and a presidential election in March.
Putin told officials that members of his All-Russian People's Front, a movement he created to boost the ratings of his ruling United Russia party, would inspect the roads on a car journey of more then 7,350 km (4,500 miles) from the Pacific port of Vladivostok to Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea.
"They will see with their own eyes how the roads are being
built and what they look like," Putin, who is widely expected to
run in the March election, told government officials,
construction workers and activists during a video conference.