Starting with the noon, December 19, Russian President Vladimir Putin will answer questions of the population on the air of Russia’s TV channels ORT and RTR, radio stations “Mayak” and “Russia’s Radio”. A similar action was organized in Russia last year; it seems that the president liked the idea. The time format of the previous appearance was insufficient to answer all questions asked by the population (there were several thousand questions received during the previous action, but Vladimir Putin had time to answer only 47 of them). He promised that remaining questions would be answered later; in any case, he said that sufficient attention would be paid to those problems. Those lucky people who had a chance to talk to the Russian president, reasonably believed that their problems were settled. The whole action of the president’s live appearance could be considered a success but for one snag: Putin’s order to correct mistakes or improve the situations mentioned in the questions of the population was carried out by those who were guilty of those disorders, Russian officials to be more precise.
Everybody remembers the situation which the population of the hamlet of Kazachi-Malevanny in Russia’s Krasnodar region had to experience. When the Russian president appeared on the air of TV and radio programs last year, population of the hamlet had a lucky chance to talk to the president and they complained that although a gas pipeline was laid just close to the settlement, no gas was installed in the houses. By the end of the live program, president’s aides prepared special information on the problem for the president. And Vladimir Putin cited that information: “I just got information from Gazprom. I would like to inform you that the level of gasification with natural liquefied gas is 76.4%; the level of gasification in the Krasnodar region is 83.2% which is higher than on average in the country. Within the whole period of gasification in the Krasnodar region, 188 gas pipelines of 1271 kilometers in length were built and put into operation. Six gas pipelines are under construction. Gasification of the hamlet of Kazachi-Malevanny will be completed in January 2002.” That could be considered a happy end.
As the president promised, gasification was done in the hamlet, but nobody told the local population that they would have to pay individually for connection to the gas pipeline. The connection costs one thousand rubles (it is a bit more than 30 dollars), which is by the way a considerable sum for poorly-paid villagers. That is why the people have to heat their houses with firewood, in an old habitual manner. It may sound an absurdity: a gas pipeline goes along the hamlet, but the villagers have to heat their houses with firewood, as this is the only fuel they can afford.
By the way, there are happier stories connected with the live appearance of the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yesterday, Russian news agencies reported that last year Pavel Shvedkov, a pupil from the school #9 from the city of Ust-Kut in Russia’s Irkutsk region, called President Putin during his previous live appearance on TV; he complained that the school wasn’t heated in cold weather at all. After the call, heating of the school was recommenced and mayor of the city was dismissed. This year, on December 19, the boy plans to call Vladimir Putin once again.
Today it was also reported that teachers from the school #18 in the settlement of Beloyarsky in Russia’s Sverdlovsk region decided to follow the example of the schoolboy from Ust-Kut. Russian website Regions.Ru informs that the teachers called the Presidential administration and told about their miserable situation. The teachers from Beloyarsky are still not paid wages for October; in this connection, they organized a protest action on November 3. However, the regional administration didn’t pay attention to the action. At first, the administration ignored the teachers strike; then they paid wages for October only to teacher who worked with school leavers and technical staff of the school. And the teachers don’t even hope to get more money. The Presidential administration registered the teachers’ complaint, the address of the school and promised to help in the situation.
The above mentioned facts reveal that Russians have found a new way of solving problems connected with arrears of wages and unheated apartments. They just call the president. And Russians are not completely satisfied with answers of the president to pressing questions. They plan to use the opportunity of “direct connection” with the Russian President more effectively.
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://politics.pravda.ru/politics/2002/1/1/1/4468_Putin.html
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