From Nikolai Petrov’s column in the Moscow Times:
President Dmitry Medvedev, however, has not been able to manage a similar line of communication with the people, even with the careful selection of participants and the prior agreement of questions. So Medvedev has not followed in the path of his more telegenic and smooth predecessor with the call-in shows.
Another type of show was created for Medvedev — gatherings of citizens for meetings heavily laden with regional officials. This is a tasteless show that could be titled “The Benevolent Tsar and the Unruly Noblemen” and involves the public flogging of poorly performing officials. Designed for cheap popularity, the show repeats a provincial recipe for simple populism that was used by governors like Ulyanovsk’s Yury Goryachev during the era of President Boris Yeltsin. Now that’s a novel example of the Kremlin borrowing an innovative idea from the regions!