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TASS-FACTBOX. A new annual televised question and answer session, the Direct Line with Vladimir Putin, will be held on June 15, 2017, during which Russian people will have the possibility to ask the president questions or make requests live. The TASS-FACTBOX editorial staff has prepared information about how the problems of people who turned to Vladimir Putin for help were resolved.
On December 24, 2001, a Great Patriotic War veteran, Antonina Rzhanova, called the Direct Line to complain about her small pension of 1,000 rubles ($17). Vladimir Putin promised that this issue would be resolved. After the Q&A Session, her pension amount increased to 1,700 rubles ($30). In 2002, Rzhanova received the award "For the Defense of Stalingrad": in 1942, she served in Elista in the 14th separate air surveillance battalion and transmitted data on the enemy’s warplanes to Stalingrad (known as Volgograd now).
During the Q&A, a fifth-grader from Ust-Kut secondary school #4, Irkutsk Region, Pavel Tsvetkov, addressed Putin, complaining that his school had not been heated for three weeks already and lessons had been canceled there. Vladimir Putin said that the region’s governor "will do all that is possible to restore the normal operation of educational facilities." The next day Irkutsk Region Governor Sergey Brilka said that the school heating system would be restored by January 7, 2002. On December 27, 2001, Ust-Kut Mayor Yevgeny Korneiko resigned. In early 2002, the school was renovated and its heating system restored.
On December 19, 2002, warrant officer of the 201 division located in Tajikistan, Oleg Kozlov, asked Vladimir Putin for help. He was bestowed the Hero of Russia award for participation in fights on the Tajik-Afghan border in 1994. Despite his military merit, Oleg Kozlov failed to acquire Russian citizenship for himself and for his family. Vladimir Putin promised that "this issue will be fully settled during the next week," as "the president has special authority in this sphere." On December, 25, 2002, the head of state signed an order to grant citizenship to Oleg Kozlov, his wife Svetlana and their children, Vlad and Anastasiya.
On December 18, 2003, Lyudmila Karachentseva from the Degtyarevsky settlement, Kochubeyevsky District, Stavropol Region, complained to the president on the absence of plumbing in her community. The president promised to resolve this problem. However, Stavropol authorities did not take action. In August 2004, Presidential Chief of Staff Dmitry Medvedev wrote a letter to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov asking him to personally deal with the situation. Two years later, on September 27, 2005, Vladimir Putin quoted live Lyudmila Karachentseva’s story published by the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily, where she said there was still no water in the settlement. The head of state said that he would not propose Stavropol Governor Alexander Chernogorov’s candidacy to the Legislative Assembly for approval until the water supply system was built in the community. The next day special equipment arrived in Degtyarevsky, building the water supply system there in no time.
On September 27, 2005, a student from the city of Vorkuta, Marina, asked Vladimir Putin during the Direct Line to preserve the only higher educational institution that functioned on a free basis - an affiliated branch of the St. Petersburg Mining Institute (which has been known as St. Petersburg Mining University since 2016). The president promised to talk to the institute’s principal Vladimir Litvinenko and head of the Komi Region Vladimir Torlopov. After the talks, 10 mln rubles ($175,717) necessary to keep the institute from being closed down were procured, and the affiliated branch continued functioning.
On October 25, 2006, the president quoted the appeal of the inmates of colony #21 (the village of Shiroky, Gubakhinsky District, Perm Region), sent via e-mail. The inmates complained on bad incarceration conditions and the abuse of power by the colony administration. Vladimir Putin said that all problems mentioned in the letter would be investigated by the General Prosecutor’s Office. A few days later, the Perm Region prisons and colonies beholden to the Federal Prisons Service were inspected under the president’s initiative. The head of the local Federal Prisons Service’s headquarters received a report on the elimination of the revealed breaches of law. Two criminal cases were opened against the colony employees under the article "Abuse of Power," with physical abuse involved. Disciplinary actions were taken against 20 employees.
On October 18, 2007, the daughter of a Great Patriotic War veteran, Fyodor Fyodorov, from the Orenburg Region, expressed regret to Vladimir Putin that her father, a participant of the 1945 Victory Parade, had never been invited to the Victory Parade annually held on May 9 in Moscow. The head of state apologized for "such failures that sometimes occur" and promised to settle the matter. On May 9, 2008, Fyodor Fyodorov took part in the Victory Parade in the veteran formation.
On December 4, 2008, nine-year-old Dasha Varfolomeyeva from the village of Tugnui, Buryatia Region, told Vladimir Putin during the Q&A that her family had only her grandmother’s pension to live on. The girl asked the prime minister new dresses for the New Year for her and her elder sister. Vladimir Putin, in his turn, suggested Dasha, her mother and her sister should come to celebrate the New Year in Moscow. The head of state met the Varfolomeyevs in his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo and gave them presents, including dresses for the girls.
On December 3, 2009, a ninth-grader Tanya Kopninskaya from the village of Starodubka, Omsk Region, told Vladimir Putin that her school lacked computers and asked the prime minister to help purchase new ones. Vladimir Putin promised to provide computers for each school student. In January 2010, new computer equipment was delivered to school, and a school class for 15 students was opened.
On December 16, 2010, a cardiologist from the town of Ivanovo, Ivan Khrenov, told Vladimir Putin that during the prime minister’s November visit to the town "there was nothing but show-off there." As he put it, equipment installed in the hospital that the prime minister visited was taken from other healthcare centers, some patients were replaced with medical staff members, and the nurses were ordered to say that their salaries were twice as high as the real ones. Vladimir Putin promised to check the presented information. The Health and Social Development Ministry’s commission did not find any proof of the information presented by Khrenov. However, the regional administration’s checks revealed a number of violations in the local health care system. In 2011, the administration of the regional hospital and the cancer center filed a lawsuit against Khrenov regarding the false accusation. The lawsuits against the cardiologist were withdrawn later, upon the recommendation of Ivanovo Region Governor Mikhail Men. Ivan Khrenov underwent advanced training in the capital upon the application of the head of Moscow’s Emergency Pediatric Surgery and Traumatology Research Institute, Leonid Roshal, and then returned to Ivanovo, where he continued working as a cardiologist.
On December 15, 2011, businessman from the Primorye Region, Andrey Goldobin, said that "the bureaucracy headed by Darkin, the region’s governor, stuff… their pockets with money squeezed from the federal budget and from us, businessmen." Vladimir Putin said that this information "will be considered in further work." On February 28, 2012, the head of state accepted the resignation of Sergey Darkin and appointed the principal of the Far East Federal University, Vladimir Miklushevsky, as the new regional governor.
On April 25, 2013, the survivor of the 1941-1943 Siege of Leningrad, Alevtina Rapatsevich, who lives in the village of Beregovoy, Omsk Region, complained to the president on the operation of civil administration companies that, in her opinion, were overbilling housing and utility services. She also said that it was difficult to get an appointment for the city mayor, whereas the General Prosecutor’s Office ignored her application. Vladimir Putin said that Alevtina Rapatsevich would meet with Russia’s Prosecutor General Yury Chaika. On April 26, 2013, it emerged that the prosecutor’s office had sent a report on violations to the Omsk mayor revealed during the investigation into the pensioner’s application.
During the 2013 Direct Line, Vladimir Putin also talked to the Kuzmenkos, a family with many children from the Primorye Region. The family has 15 children, 12 of whom were adopted. The couple asked the president to help build a children’s playground in their courtyard. In May 2013, the playground was built. A few days later, the Kuzmenkos met with Primorye Governor Vladimir Miklushevsky. The regional administration presented them with a Volkswagen Crafter minibus.
On April 17, 2014, residents from the village of Belgo, Khabarovsk Region, addressed the president complaining on the absence of a road and gas supply. Following the Q&A session, the Russian government and regional authorities were ordered to consider the construction of a road that would link the village with the Khabarovsk - Komsomolsk-on-Amur federal highway. It later emerged that local authorities allocated funds to build the road. In April 2016, the gas supply system was installed in the village of Belgo.
During the Q&A session, a Chelyabinsk resident, Svetlana Shcherbakova, said that housing and utility services were unreasonably overbilled, in her opinion. The regional general prosecutor’s office checked the application following the order of Russia’s Deputy Prosecutor General in the Ural Federal District, Yury Ponomaryov. The owners of flats in the house where Shcherbakov lives recalculated their payments for water supply. As a result, the service costs went down. Besides, individual water metering devices were installed in Shcherbakova’s flat free of charge.
Ten-year-old Kristina Kutepova from St. Petersburg said she was ready to come to Moscow with her parents to shake the president’s hand. Vladimir Putin invited the Kutepovs to the Victory Parade. On May 9, the head of state met with the girl and her parents near the governmental tribune on the Red Square. Kristina presented Vladimir Putin with his portrait which she painted with gouache.
On April 16, 2015, a Great Patriotic War veteran from the Vladimir Region, Vasily Yerokhin, addressed the president asking to help him obtain housing. Vladimir Putin assured the veteran that his problem would be addressed "in the nearest future." On May 8, 2015, Yerokhin received a real estate certificate for 1.8 mln rubles ($31,629) from the Defense Ministry to purchase housing in the Moscow Region.
During the Direct Line, fifteen-year-old Sofia Babich from the city of Togliatti, Samara Region, recorded a video address to the president in which she asked him to purchase her an exerciser (the girls is suffering from cerebral palsy). Vladimir Putin said that "this is a problem that can be resolved with little effort … and we, no doubt, will handle it." A few days after the Q&A session, the exerciser purchased at the expense of Samara’s Health Ministry was installed in the Babichs’ flat.
During the Direct Line of April 14, 2016, an employee of the Uralavtopritsep car plant based in Chelyabinsk, Dmitry Dudkin, told the president that the plant had not paid salaries to its workers for three months (according to media outlets, the debt amounted to 5.4 mln rubles ($94,887)). Vladimir Putin promised to draw the Russian Industry and Trade Ministry’s attention to the Chelyabinsk car manufacturer. Later in the day, Chief Assistant Prosecutor of the Chelyabinsk Region, Natalya Mamayeva, confirmed on the "Moscow Speaking" ("Govorit Moskva") radio station that the manufacturer had paid its February debts to the employees.
Vladimir Putin read live the complaint sent by Maria Solomatina, a mother with many children from the Stavropol Region, who said that local authorities had taken from her the previously allocated land plot on the basis that, according to the newly adopted regional law, she was not considered impecunious any more. On the day following the Q&A session, Nevinnomyssk’s administrative head, Vasily Shestak, reported that a rental agreement had been signed with Solomatina. Nevninnomyssk City Duma advanced an initiative to amend the Stavropol Region legislation regarding the simplification of the housing improvement procedure for large families. Earlier, Stavropol Region Governor Vladimir Vladimirov said that regional authorities would simplify the registration procedure for families with many children.