MOSCOW, June 15. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin answered a number of personal questions that people asked during his annual televised question and answer session dubbed The Direct Line.
When asked if he was aware about the conditions in which that ordinary people lived, Putin said he did. "First, I still communicate (with ordinary people). Second, I have recently told my colleagues about how my family lived." According to the president, his father "used to regularly check the energy meter and made precise calculations to fully pay the bill." "I still have this habit - I just cannot leave the lights on if I leave the room, so I always turn them down," Putin said.
In response to a question if he meant corrupt officials when he said that "we don’t rat our people out," Putin said that he did not count corrupt officials as his people.
The president also said that apart from speaking Russian, he was rather fluent in German and also could "communicate in English a little."
Putin was also asked what was his attitude towards popular jokes about him. "It depends on the joke," he said adding that he did not have a favorite one as he did not memorize any. "I haven’t read a single book about myself, let alone memorizing jokes," he added.
When asked what size was the biggest fish he had ever caught, Putin said it had weighed 20 kilograms. "It was weighed in front of me, though some say it was too small to weigh 20 kilograms. But this was what I saw," he noted.
Another question was whether he really thought that people believed in those staged questions? Putin seemed surprised at the question, as he referred to some questions that, in his words, could not be stated. One of those questions was like: "What do you do in your spare time?" "I work," Putin said.
He also chose a question about the difference in public sector wages in different regions. The president explained that it depended on different subsistence minimum income set for various regions based on different cost of living. "However, we should level it so that federal employees receive roughly equal wages," Putin said. "These were not staged questions, as well as all those that were put forward today," the president concluded.
He promised to respond to the people’s requests submitted to him during Thursday’s Direct Line.
He said that there were a lot of "sensitive requests." "I will not go into details, but I will try to respond, particularly because many requests come from people with disabilities," Putin said.