Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

Europe

Putin addresses nation in phone-in show after protests

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-15

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin is taking part in a phone-in television show on Thursday to lay out his plans for his third presidential term. His appearance comes after a rare outburst of protest against his 12-year rule.

AFP - Vladimir Putin was on Thursday to address Russians during his trademark marathon televised session as he prepares to reclaim the presidency after a rare outburst of protest against his rule.

The powerful prime minister is expected to use the traditional question-and-answer phone-in session to lay out plans for his third term in the Kremlin as he seeks to tackle the most serious political crisis of his 12-year rule.

"As in previous years, the head of the government during direct contact with Russians will answer questions that are of interest to our country's citizens," his office said.

Analyst say Putin who is preparing to move back to the Kremlin in March presidential polls is facing the worst legitimacy crisis of his rule after opposition parties and poll observers accused his ruling United Russia party of blatantly cheating in December 4 parliamentary polls.

Public anger culminated last weekend in a series of protests across the country including a rally in Moscow that drew tens of thousands of protesters of all political hues.

The protests on a scale unseen since the turbulent 1990s gave a major boost to the country's sidelined opposition which have promised a new mass protest on December 24 in Moscow.

Analysts predict substantial shake-ups in the leadership of United Russia and the government.

The controversy has already claimed its first high-profile casualty in the form of the dour-faced United Russia chairman Boris Gryzlov who on Wednesday resigned his post as speaker of the lower house of parliament, the State Duma.

Putin's stamina-busting phone-in session has become a feature of the winter season over the past years, with the Russian strongman holding court on everything from bread-and-butter issues to foreign policy.

During a four-and-a-half-session last year, Putin sealed the fate of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, saying "a thief must be in prison" even before a court delivered the verdict in his second trial on charges of embezzlement.

Days after the phone-in session Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev received a second prison term which is likely to keep them behind bars until 2016.

The carefully stage-managed performance flaunting Putin's charisma and a natural ability to command attention is designed to boost his image and show he remains in control despite various crises that befall Russia.

But analysts say that Putin is increasingly losing his magic touch as more and more Russians are showing signs of uneasiness over his tightly controlled political system.


Date created : 2011-12-15

  • Russia

    Medvedev orders Russia poll inquiry after protests

    Read more

  • Russia

    Tens of thousands gather for biggest protests of Putin era

    Read more

  • Russia

    European observers criticise Russian elections

    Read more

COMMENT(S)