Live Blog: Putin's 'Direct Line' To The Nation
April 17, 2014
President Vladimir Putin holds his annual televised question-and-answer session in Moscow, April 17, 2014.
Ends after a relatively short 3 hours, 58 minutes.
Putin's final comments are response to this question: "What is a Russian?" A long standing ovation follows
Q: Would Obama save you if you were drowning?
Putin: I don't have close personal relations with Obama, but I think he's a good and courageous person and for sure he would save me.
Q: Would you agree to be president for the rest of your life.
Putin: The U.S. is certainly one of the global leaders -- for a while it seemed like they were the only leader. Now we see it's not true.
Our relationship with the U.S. is not a sports event. We are partners and I still hope we have a future because in many areas our interests mesh.
Komsomolskaya Pravda journalist gets heated in talking about Russian liberals:
They are "a heterogeneous mesh of liberal hamsters who are trying to take our national pride," he says.
Referring to separatist calls in eastern Ukraine to bring in troops, the questioner asks, "What alternative do we have if 2 million people are knocking on our door?"
He also says people should stop calling Russian soldiers green men.
Putin, playing the moderate, says, you're right we shouldn't say green men, but we also shouldn't say hamsters.
Putin taking question from Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
Putin: I always listen to the positions of all my colleagues. Even if I disagree with them, I let all my colleagues speak up.
But we shouldn't sacrifice our interests just so that they'll like us.
Snowden backlash coming fast.
He has been criticized in the past for seeking asylum in a country known for clamping down on independendent media and serious human rights issues. This is not likely to help.