Vladimir Putin’s Annual Q & A

PQA.jpgPrime Minister Putin held his annual live broadcast question-and-answer session yesterday – his seventh, although his first in the role of Prime Minister, sparking the usual speculation about Russia’s power vertical, as well as some acidic remarks in the Russian media. The Q&A focused largely on reassuring the public about Russia’s economic prosperity and foreign policy issues.  Contrary to previous years, Putin refrained from criticism of the United States, holding out instead the prospect of better relations under Barack Obama.

The Guardian has some video extracts, including Putin’s comments defending state intervention and his statement – referring to Ukraine – that Russia would have no choice but to cut gas supplies in the event of broken agreements (‘You don’t get things for free.  You have to pay.’).  Russia Today also has a series of videos from the session, and a selection of soundbites on less sensitive issues, like the Sochi Olympics and where to shop for the best Christmas tree.