MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin says Russia’s agricultural production has risen even though its national economy has plunged into recession, and predicts that the economy will start growing next year.
Putin was speaking Thursday during his highly scripted marathon call-in TV show. The Russian leader uses the annual event to burnish his image as a strong leader who protects Russia from foreign threats and cares about people’s needs.
The first question came from a woman from the Siberian region of Omsk who asked about potholed roads. Putin replied the government needs to make sure that local officials don’t divert road construction funds to other needs.
Ahead of the show, Russians sent more than 1 million questions to Putin, ranging from economic troubles at home to the situation in Syria and Ukraine.