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                                                                                                                     Saturday 16 April 2016

Problems fixed all over Russia after appeals on Putin’s show 

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures after speaking to the media after his marathon call-in TV                            Child prodigy Ilya Rayevsky     an outlet for speaking your
show in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, April 14, 2016.                                                                           may not be owed billions,       mind and shedding a tear
                                                                                                                               but he got his problem          — there is no other shoul-
                                                                                                 (AP Photo/A. Zemlianichenko)  solved too. The 8-year old      der other than Putin’s to cry
                                                                                                                               complained to Putin that        on,” leading  business  daily
                                                                                                                               he was too young to get         Vedomosti commented.
                                                                                                                               a place at summer camps         The Kremlin on Friday laud-
                                                                                                                               for gifted children in Sochi    ed the hasty efforts of local
                                                                                                                               and Crimea.                     officials to respond.
                                                                                                                               “Ilya, this is a bad mistake,”  “We are keeping tabs on
                                                                                                                               Putin replied. “It shows that   it,” Putin’s spokesman Dmi-
                                                                                                                               people in charge of this        try Peskov told reporters.
                                                                                                                               were not child prodigies        “We should not demonize
                                                                                                                               themselves. We will put it      official agencies and of-
                                                                                                                               right.”                         ficials. People are doing
                                                                                                                               Hours later, Rayevsky got       their jobs but of course they
                                                                                                                               an invitation from the edu-     sometimes fail at it, there is
                                                                                                                               cation ministry to pick the     a lot of responsibility and
                                                                                                                               camp of his choice.             work to do. What is impor-
                                                                                                                               Putin’s call-in show is “a      tant is the willingness to put
                                                                                                                               form of psychotherapy,          things right.”q

NATALIYA VASILYEVA                asphalt.
Associated Press                  In the Far Eastern city of Bi-
MOSCOW (AP) — In just             robidzhan, all it took was a
one day, roads of a Sibe-         recorded video appeal to
rian city were repaired,          Putin about the lack of an
swindled fishery workers          indoor skating rink for local
got wads of cash and a            officials to start scrambling:
child prodigy was invited         the governor told local me-
to go to a Crimean summer         dia he would be meeting
camp. One thing made it           the boys on Friday to “per-
possible: President Vladi-        sonally find out what issues
mir Putin’s Thursday call-in      the young athletes face.”
show where distressed Rus-        In arguably the most gut-
sians brought their prob-         wrenching complaint, a
lems to the leader.               group of fishery workers
Putin’s annual television         told Putin via a video-link
show has evolved in the           from the island of Sakhalin
past decade from a no-frills      that they were kept in con-
call-in program to a four-        ditions close to slavery last
hour marathon with callers        year when they went to
pleading for help and tele-       work to a remote island off
vision crews going live from      the Russian Pacific Coast
far-flung outposts.               and are now owed millions
And for one day, things get       in back pay.
done.                             A deputy prosecutor gen-
In the first call, a resident of  eral immediately flew to
the Siberian city of Omsk         Sakhalin while the local
complained about the              governor sat down with the
state of the roads. Within        workers after the show. Ear-
hours, officials in Omsk          ly on Friday the company’s
reported that they had            executive, Alexei Popov,
already got down to re-           was shown on Rossiya-1
pairing the road. By Friday       apologizing to the workers,
morning, the local govern-        saying that he had no idea
ment reported that it was         they were unpaid. He then
repairing roads in all of the     handed out wads of 5,000
city’s districts all day and      ruble ($77) banknotes to
night. Television footage         the workers in a 20,000 ru-
Friday morning showed             ble payment to each work-
road workers briskly laying       er.
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