SOCHI, May 16 (Itar-Tass) - Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to use a helicopter instead of a motor car to get to his Kremlin office, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
“A helicopter pad in the Kremlin is ready, and the president will use it as soon as reasonable practicable,” he said. According to the press secretary, both Putin and Russia’s first President Boris Yeltsin practiced helicopter use to reach their Moscow residence. “At that time, helicopters landed at the Ivanovskaya pad, where there are too many tourists and officials,” he said. Moreover, there was a danger to the historical buildings on the territory of the Kremlin.
“Now, a new helicopter pad has been built in the Kremlin (in the Tainitsky Garden). Its location was chosen to avoid any harm to the architectural monuments, even in case of the use of heavy machines,” Peskov noted. In his words, a “scientific approach” was applied to avoid negative impacts on the palaces and churches. Experts made numerous test flights to try takeoff and landings in various conditions.
According to Peskov, the president will use a Russia-made Mi-8 helicopter. “The president will use a helicopter as soon as an opportunity presents itself,” he noted. This week, the president is working at his Sochi residence. His immediate plans include several working trips.
The president has opted for a helicopter in order not to create problems for Moscow’s traffic, Peskov stressed. However, he noted, Putin’s movements about the city had posed no serious traffic problems.
“Two motorcades [of the president and the prime minister], or even four motorcades, when Moscow welcomes foreign leaders, never stalls traffic, experts say traffic suspension to let motorcades leads only to temporary difficulties,” the press secretary noted.
Over the past years, in his words, both the president and the prime minister have reduced their car trips about Moscow and often they prefer to work at their residences outside the city. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has already been using a helicopter to get to the government building in Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment.
However, other top-ranking state officials are not planning to following the president’s and the prime minister’s lead. “Nobody halts traffic to let my car pass. Well, sometimes, we bypass a car stream sidewise,” speaker of the State Duma lower parliament house Sergei Naryshkin told journalists. “I need no helicopter.”