Moscow. The farmer thanked him for his ban on Turkish tomatoes. A teacher from Siberia asked how she lived on $ 120 a month. The residents of the Moscow suburb complained of a giant mountain of garbage, which is visible even from space.
Faced with the unrest, which Russia had not seen for many years, President Vladimir Putin on Thursday addressed the nation on television, after the annual “Direct line” that gives the Russians the opportunity to share their problems directly with the Kremlin leader.
Carefully orchestrated four-hour show has a long allows Putin to show that he understands the problems of his people, and to tell how he will solve them. The current telethon did not differ from the previous one, and Putin sought to reassure Russians that the economy after a long recession begins to grow, and that ordinary people “will soon begin to feel the effects”.
Answering questions about U.S. and European sanctions imposed over the Russian intervention against Ukraine, Putin said that the West has for centuries been trying to isolate Russia. As one farmer praised it for its counter-sanctions, by which Russian agriculture flourished as never before.
A teacher from Siberia, Putin was asked how she lived on a teacher’s salary of 120 dollars a month.
“I don’t know how!” Putin said and promised to deal with local leaders from the education sector.
And the inhabitants of Balashikha near Moscow, where years of accumulated garbage that no exports, the Russian President promised a new recycling plant that will work in the near future.
“Direct line with the President” aired three days later, after tens of thousands of people out of 180 odd Russian cities took part in rallies to Express their dissatisfaction with the Russian government. It was the most massive protest in the country since the return of Putin to the presidency in 2012. During the protests, was arrested more than 1,700 people that have overshadowed the official celebration of Russia Day.
These disturbances are unlikely to prevent Putin to win the election in March next year, as the popularity ratings of the Russian President in the last three years do not fall below 80%. However, the sociological service noted that according to the Russians, their leaders are not accountable to anyone. And the Kremlin agrees.
“As always, unfortunately, people often say that it is sometimes easier to reach out to Putin than to the officials,” — said the press-Secretary of Russian President Dmitry Peskov, in an interview with reporters.
In past years, the presidential telethon lasted about four hours, and Putin answered 80 questions from citizens, which were shown on screens all over the country — after pre-selection.
On the eve of this show questions the President has sent nearly two million Russians, and some of them published on official website of this program.
Many people have asked Putin to pay attention to the bad condition of roads, housing construction projects, mortgage market, education, and the lack of accountability and irresponsibility of officials. One young man asked why so many young Russians who wish to emigrate. A few people asked Putin to explain why the rest of the world is afraid of Russia. And there was a rather strange word when one citizen wished to Express the hope for peace in Syria.
In recent months, has repeatedly held rallies truckers unhappy with tolls, owners, perturbed large-scale plan to resettle 1.6 million Muscovites, and Russians ganged up against corruption in government.
Putin often uses such annual forums to inform people on current issues. In 2014 it was Ukraine, in 2015 — the economic crisis. But he also answers to other questions, for instance about the lack of trainers in the provincial medical centres and health resorts or the spouses dispute over a dog.
Putin’s answers seem spontaneous, but state media are scattered small demon, telling about how well the President has information.
“We’re always amazed at how much Putin knows the statistics by heart,” tweeted NTV.
But at the bottom of the screen you can see the unedited questions that show that some Russians are outraged and dissatisfied with their leader and his system.
“Putin, do you really think that people believe in this circus with prepared questions?” — wrote one complaining.
Another questions, when Putin will deal with the dismissal of officials accused of corruption, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
News site RBC.ru this week has informed that in a rest home near Moscow was held a rehearsal of “Straight line”. The guests were divided into groups and asked to read their questions to the clerks who made the entries in the notebooks.
The audience was asked not to drink alcohol before the show and not to drink too much water, as the “Straight line” may last five hours. In addition, participants were advised not to wear plaid and striped clothing.
Putin’s press Secretary Peskov admitted that the meetings with the participants were, but they were discussed organizational and technical issues, and these meetings were no rehearsals.