Russian network TV insists Putin never laughed away a villager's problems, but footage shows he totally did
During a televised debate on channel Rossiya 1, the debates' host, Dmitry Shchugorev, denied that Vladimir Putin ever mocked a man who called into the president's “direct line” question-and-answer program. Shchugorev was responding to an accusation made by Mikhail Kasyanov, an opposition leader and a former prime minister, who said Putin once asked a man why he needs a car, if there are no roads in his town.
When the show came back from a commercial break, Shchugorev announced that his crew had searched the archives of Putin's “direct line” and were unable to find the remark Kasyanov described, leaving audiences at home to believe that the former prime minister had fabricated the whole thing.
The video can be found easily on YouTube, however.
In 2014, a man living in the village of Belgo in the Khabarovsk Region told Putin that he is a car lover and pays 4,000 rubles ($61) in motor-vehicle taxes annually, though there are no roads in his village and the nearest highway is 50 kilometers (31 miles) away. In response, Putin started laughing on air and candidly asked the man, "Why do you need a car, if there are no roads? Where do you drive?" The man subsequently continued to explain to Putin the necessity of building roads and improving infrastructure, saying sick and injured people need it most of all.