Source AP ©

Putin says inflation may top 8 percent this year during annual televised question-and-answer session

President Vladimir Putin extolled Russia's strong economic growth but warned that inflation might top 8 percent this year, as he began fielding dozens of questions Thursday during his annual televised question-and-answer session.

The session was the sixth such event that Putin has participated in since coming to office in 2000 and was being closely watched for clues to his plans after his second presidential term ends next year.

Putin opened the session - broadcast on all state-run TV channels - by reeling off a string of statistics showing the improvement of Russia's economy in the seven years he has been in office. Much of the economic growth has been due to high world oil prices.

"It's unlikely that we will succeed in keeping inflation in the planned framework," Putin said. "It's planned that it will be around 8 percent."

Putin also said the country's birth rate was the highest it has been in 16 years and the death rate the lowest since 1999.

The event in past years has lasted several hours and consisted of people from around the vast country asking the president selected questions mainly on bread-and-butter issues.

A sampling of questions listed on a Web site set up by the broadcasters ranged from concerns about salaries for public sector workers to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and environmental worries.

Putin, who is widely popular among Russians for the stability and relative prosperity he has brought to the country, has sought to use phone-ins along with tightly choreographed, lavish television coverage to project the image of a leader responding directly to voters' concerns.

The Basmanny Court of Moscow arrested Michael Calvey, the founder of Baring Vostok investment fund, on allegations of embezzling 2.5 billion rubles from Vostochny Bank. Calvey will be held in custody until April 13

Putin informed about arrest of US investor Michael Calvey
Comments
Putin addresses social issues, threatens USA with Russia's new missiles in his 15th Federal Assembly speech
Putin addresses social issues, threatens USA with Russia's new missiles in his 15th Federal Assembly speech
Putin addresses social issues, threatens USA with Russia's new missiles in his 15th Federal Assembly speech
Jehova's Witnesses hunted down in Russia
Jehova's Witnesses hunted down in Russia
Jehova's Witnesses hunted down in Russia
Smartphones and social networks not allowed in the Russian Army
What Prime Minister Theresa May needs to understand
What Prime Minister Theresa May needs to understand
What Prime Minister Theresa May needs to understand
Putin addresses social issues, threatens USA with Russia's new missiles in his 15th Federal Assembly speech
Putin addresses social issues, threatens USA with Russia's new missiles in his 15th Federal Assembly speech
Putin addresses social issues, threatens USA with Russia's new missiles in his 15th Federal Assembly speech
Putin addresses social issues, threatens USA with Russia's new missiles in his 15th Federal Assembly speech
Putin addresses social issues, threatens USA with Russia's new missiles in his 15th Federal Assembly speech
Idlib Province Syria: Infested with US-Supported Terrorists
US wants Russia to return Crimea, forget Donbass
Putin addresses social issues, threatens USA with Russia's new missiles in his 15th Federal Assembly speech
UK wants Sergei Skripal dead
Russia's S-400 missiles lost in storm during transportation to China
Russia's S-400 missiles lost in storm during transportation to China