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Communists accuse Kremlin of smear campaign

MOSCOW: Russia's Communists on Tuesday appealed to President Vladimir Putin in an open letter accusing Kremlin "provocateurs" of running a smear campaign against their presidential candidate. The Communist Party chose a new face for the March 18 polls, opting for businessman Pavel Grudinin rather than veteran leader Gennady Zyuganov. The party complains that Grudinin has faced a barrage of negative coverage in state-controlled and pro-Kremlin media, focusing on his foreign bank accounts and property. In an open…