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Putin Pledges To Cut Officials' Traffic Privileges

A Moscow traffic jam (file photo)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has promised that, if elected to a third term as president in March, he will cut traffic privileges for officials.

The privileges are a strong irritant for Muscovites as they allow officials to bypass the city's notorious traffic jams by ignoring basic rules of the road, even driving into oncoming lanes.

Putin, at a meeting with his campaign representatives, promised to cut the number of officials entitled to traffic privileges to "a few dozen."

There are currently nearly 900 officials who keep blue flashing lights on their vehicles, allowing them to ignore traffic rules.

Putin, who served two terms as president between 2000 and 2008 and has since been prime minister, is facing unprecedented protests against his policies ahead of the March 4 presidential vote.

Compiled from agency reports