Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions from the public

World Today

It’s an annual tradition for Russian President Vladimir Putin – he answered questions from the public, covering everything from Syria to the economy.

Putin also, somewhat surprisingly, praised Barack Obama.

CCTV’s Elena Casas reports from Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions from the public

It's an annual tradition for Russian President Vladimir Putin - he answered questions from the public, covering everything from Syria to the economy. Putin also, somewhat surprisingly, praised Barack Obama. CCTV's Elena Casas reports from Moscow.

Three hours and 40 minutes of live TV with more than three million questions submitted, Putin’s annual Q-and-A was a marathon aimed to show he is listening to all the Russian public’s concerns. One of those was Syria, where Putin praised the army of Bashar al-Assad, saying it is able to carry out major attacks on ISIL, despite the partial withdrawal of the Russian troops supporting it.

He also expressed support for the Syria peace talks underway in Geneva, and said the country must hold early elections, but didn’t say if Assad should be allowed to stand.

The Russian President was also asked about Turkey – which supports the rebels in Syria. He said Turkey still isn’t a safe country for Russian tourists to visit but despite their strained relations, he also said Turkey isn’t Russia’s enemy.

He also unexpectedly praised U.S. President Obama.

“He called him a man of courage and a decent person, which was a far cry from that ongoing war of words between Moscow and Washington which we have seen in recent months and years,”Sergei Strokan, Journalist of Kommersant newspaper said.

But the questioners were mostly concerned with domestic issues, above all, inflation that’s sent food prices soaring.


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Professor Anton Fedyashin on Putin's Call In

For more, CCTV America's Elaine Reyes spoke to Anton Fedyashin. He's a professor of Russian History at American University in Washington, D.C.