«I hope colleagues in the region will hear me»
On June 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin held another Direct Line. Due to the pandemic, there were no viewers in the studio, and Vladimir Vladimirovich talked with the residents of the country using a video link, some questions were recorded in advance. The broadcast lasted 3 hours 42 minutes, during which time the head of state managed to answer 68 questions, the correspondent of The Moscow Post reports.
Mostly Russians were interested in the topics of the pandemic and its consequences, vaccination, as well as the social and economic spheres. The President answered in detail all the questions of the residents of the country. Some of the problems with which people addressed Mr. Putin were resolved even before the end of the broadcast.
It should be noted that a lot of questions came from the regions of the country. Regional problems are likely to be solved together with local authorities - Vladimir Putin made it clear that he closely monitors the activities of regional governments, and in some particularly egregious cases he will ask governors personally.
Vaccines, inflation, Ukraine
The main theme of the event was, of course, the next wave of coronavirus. People were interested in the President's attitude to compulsory vaccination, introduced in ten regions, to the lockdown, and also whether Vladimir Vladimirovich himself was vaccinated against COVID-19 and which vaccine.
The President said that he did not support mandatory vaccination and adheres to this opinion now. At the same time, he made it clear that in a number of regions such a requirement is the only chance to prevent the further spread of the epidemic and prevent a complete lockdown when both small and large enterprises close. "Everything acts within the framework of the law," he commented.
He especially emphasized that Russian-made vaccines are high-tech, safe and very effective. Now, according to the information received by him, 23 million Russians have already been vaccinated. When asked what vaccine he vaccinated, the President replied that he would not want to create any competitive advantages of one vaccine over another. However, during the broadcast, it nevertheless turned out that it was Sputnik V.
In the current topic of vaccination, the question was also raised whether Vladimir Vladimirovich's relatives defended themselves from the disease. He said that his entire nearest circle was vaccinated, no one had any complications, only his daughter once had a temperature of 37.5.
The second most popular topic was the economic situation, inflation, rising prices for housing and products. The President said that today world indices for food are at the highest level in 10 years. This is a global trend, but in Russia they are trying to take measures to curb prices - they have concluded agreements between manufacturers and retail chains, and also issued subsidies to producers of final products for the purchase of raw materials at high prices and introduced increased export customs duties in foreign trade. At the same time, despite the crisis, last year Russian agriculture earned a record amount of 30 billion rubles from exports.
A sharp increase in the price of building materials is also associated with the world market and inflation - in particular, metal prices in the world market have risen very much, which has entailed an increase in prices in Russia.
Unlike talking at a press conference with journalists, who usually ask a lot of questions about Russia's role on the world stage and about relations with other countries, on the "Direct Line" the issue of foreign policy was raised in passing. So, Vladimir Vladimirovich said that he does not consider the Ukrainian people unfriendly, but sees that today's leadership of Ukraine is unfriendly to Russia. The President considers the draft law submitted by the President to the Rada to prove this, according to which the Russian people will be considered non-indigenous in Ukraine. According to Putin, Zelensky put the country under full external control, so the key issues of the life of Ukraine are now being resolved not in the capital of the country, but in Washington, Berlin and Paris.
Also, Vladimir Vladimirovich spoke briefly about the situation with the British destroyer in Crimea - according to the President, such an action can be regarded as a provocation. As it turned out, on this day, in addition to the British destroyer, an American reconnaissance strategic aircraft took off from the NATO military airfield in Greece. At the same time, the President reassured - of course, there is no talk of the outbreak of World War III.
Questions were also raised, especially those of interest to young people, about rumors about blocking a number of foreign social networks. Putin said that they would not block anyone, but international platforms still need to comply with Russian laws and think about opening representative offices in Russia through which full-fledged dialogues could be conducted.
On a direct line, they discussed the scandalous garbage reform and the construction of incinerators collecting unauthorized protest actions. Mr. Putin noted that there is a lot of work to be done, but no one is going to stop it.
And, perhaps, one of the largest blocks of questions was social. People were interested in social benefits and illegal refusal to receive them, pensions and loan payments. Basically, the questions were asked by residents of the regions, and Vladimir Vladimirovich made it clear that he was closely following the lives of regional governments. By the way, some appeals to the "Direct Line" will probably hit the governors of those regions from where the questions came. It is significant that the heads who periodically read the resignation often fell under the criticism of local residents.
People complained about officials, their inaction and callousness, and often even threats. So, for example, a resident of the city of Novokuznetsk, Kemerovo Region, who had applied to the direct line, faced threats from local officials. The woman asked to help with the repair of the roof of kindergarten-school No. 235, in which her grandson studied. The roof was so cool that the children were in unsanitary conditions. However, when local officials found out about the appeal of the pensioner, she was threatened that she would be deprived of custody of her granddaughter. Even during the direct line, it became known that the UK began a preliminary investigation due to threats against the pensioner.
Another glaring situation with the educational institution developed in the Primorsky Territory in the village of Vozdvizhenka. The school building was so old that one of the walls literally collapsed, and the children were not injured only by a miracle. Note that the governor of Primorye constantly falls into the sight of the media due to ongoing scandals in the region. Oleg Kozhemyako commented on the situation with the crumbling school immediately, saying that he would build a new school in two years. At the same time, it is puzzling, which prevented the head of the region from dealing with a problematic building before voicing a problem at the federal level.
Another governor who is periodically predicted to resign soon - Alexander Moor - also probably came under special attention after a direct line. Residents of the village of Demyanka, Tyumen Region, recently relocated from emergency housing to new houses, showed the President utility bills for one month - amounts range from 40 to 70 thousand. Shocked people tried to contact different authorities, as well as the governor's administration, but everywhere they were informed that these were economically justified tariffs. The president, he said, was very discouraged by the numbers. And here the problem was also resolved immediately after the direct line - residents were recalculated tariffs.
The second "bell" from the Tyumen region - a resident complained that she could not find work for four years. Asked the governor to help, but he probably shrugged off the applicant. Putin noted that the leadership of the region should pay more time to such questions.
And at once several questions came from the Omsk region. People complained about dirty air, and Vladimir Vladimirovich proposed transferring the legal registration of large companies that work there from Moscow to Omsk, so taxes could go to the ecology of the region. Another Omsk complained that he was deprived of the title "Veteran of Labor of the Omsk Region," as well as that he was denied free rehabilitation after an illness. Putin called the decisions to deprive the rank unacceptable, and the regional prosecutor's office began an audit.
An interesting point is that almost all residents of the regions who turned to the President for help first asked for help from local officials and governors. However, they did not receive help. For these chapters, Vladimir Putin's personal intervention in private stories that do not require such wide publicity is not a good trend. After all, this means that they could not build a vertical of power in the region, officials on the ground get off with unsubscribes, and the only way to solve the problem for people is to appeal to the President and his further "manual management." Vladimir Putin noted this, who answered one of the complaints strongly: "I hope my colleagues in the region will hear me." Will they hear?