Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Iowa chooses relevance

Iowa caucuses are less than two weeks away, and Romney is finally pulling ahead of perennial candidate Ron Paul.  Iowa: Romney 25% Paul 20% Gingrich 17% Is this reflecting shifting opinions of the primary voters, or concern that Iowa could lose its clout by nominating Paul, who has no chance to win enough states to clinch the GOP nomination.

Paul has a very small, but dedicated following, and has done well in IA caucuses in the past. Ron Paul could play the role of a spoiler for the GOP nomination, so it would be very useful to minimize his impact in the only state where he has a shot.  A number of commentators have expressed concern what his win would mean for Iowa's coveted first primary. First, Fox News pundit Chris Wallace’s suggested that the Iowa result “won’t count” if Ron Paul wins.

"Mortal” is how Doug Gross, a leading Republican lawyer and Branstad adviser, characterized the severity of the wound of Paul win would for Iowa's role in the primaries.

Even the Iowa governor said If Ron Paul Wins, Ignore It And Look At Who Finishes Second.

Regardless, of the cause for Paul's slide in Iowa's polls, it's is good news for the Republicans. Ron Paul has some great ideas, but he also also has some inane, and zany ideas. He makes a great contribution to opposition whichever party is in charge of the government. No reason to mess up a good thing.

Israel should say no to harakiri

Last week I wrote an article expressing my opinion about deep lingering dislike of Jews in Europe that is explains its hostility towards Israel. The fellowship with the sole besieged democracy in the Middle East is certainly underwhelming, whatever it's reasons.

Europe is quickly losing its economic clout abroad, and is barely able to control its periphery (see Lybia). Given their increasing irrelevance, and constant hostility the best strategy for Israel is to ignore them.
Last week the Quartet, which includes the US, EU, Russia and UN, reiterated its long-standing position - encouraging direct talks between Israelis and the Palestinians. Four European members in
UN Security Council (UNSC) – France, Britain (permanent), and Germany and Portugal (rotating) issued a contradictory proposal: "We call the parties to present as soon as possible to the Quartet comprehensive proposals on territory and security" - in other words indirect negotiation. In addition, these four countries went blasted construction beyond Green Line and in East Jerusalem.

These actions undermine negotiations, not further them. In addition, they are based on a demonstrable pipe dream of land-for-peace. As Charles Krauthammer recently wrote, these have consistently been land-without-peace deals - that is why Abbas went to UN asking for statehood in contradiction of all prior agreements to negotiate with Israelies.

Furthermore, they are destroying the remains of good faith in European neutrality: Israeli Foreign Ministry cautioned biased Europeans that "they risk becoming irrelevant".

Of course, some Israelies, like the opposition Tzipi Livni never pass an opportunity to lambaste the leadership, and side with Israels foes. She is the last opportunist remaining from the Kadima party, which sought to breathe new life into discredited ideas of the left which have backfired: Oslo, withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza, failures of second Lebanon war, tacit acceptance of Hamas, etc. It is not enough that she represents ideas that have done clear and apparent harm to Israel, she misrepresents Europeans as 'friends' and even stokes friction, but insinuating such intent.

Livni's provocative statement that Netanyahu is "starting war with friends", is at the core of the ideological struggle for survival. Israel-bashers everywhere like to criticize Israel for defending itself and alienating 'friends'. My thesis, is that they are not friends. Fortunately, they can be marginalized and ignored.

Several Israelis have noted that the origins of virulent anti-Israeli manifestation of liberal frustration is not their excessive ideology, but ultimately their rejection at the polls. They are the best the country has the offer, the country rejected them, and deserves to be found guilty in the international court of opinion regardless of actual damage it causes.
Israel is a small, but consequential country. It is a "canary in the mine" in at least two important respects. It's a functioning, Western democracy in the Middle East and they are also a microcosm where a lot of internal contradictions, and lies of the West is manifested.
Binding itself to Europe's leadership (and whims) as Livni suggests, would be masochistic for Israel. Netanyahu's job is made more difficult by a fifth-column oppositionist Livni, and victory is not assured. Recently, bowing to international pressure, he backed off a long-awaited debate in Knesset about a bill to oversee NGO funded from outside the country.
The 21st century's wars are about information, and they are already raging. I see major problems with the fact that the West is trying to solve problems by fixing 'optics'. It is lying, primarily to itself. I guess that means in addition to conflicts such as those in Syria, we can expect a major escalation of 'culture wars' for the soul of Western democracies. And that's why the situation is Israel matters: its a bellwether for the West.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How are those sanctions workin’ out, Mr. Obama?

Obama already apologized for America, who more do you people want? Hillary, is it time for another UN meetin and another sterm resolution?

Direct line with Putin 2011

I came across the wonderful commentary of Putin's 'Direct Line' discussion with the public by three editors from website. The discussion took 4.5 hours, and was itself fairly boring, although it is interesting to see what questions were asked, and Putin's answers are revealing to a novice. This is Putin's tenth such TV discussion, and although this one was slightly more intense, and slightly longer, not very much changed.
If any fewer than half of the local, miniscule, or outright inane questions that were asked of Putin were not planted I worry for the intellectual abilities of the motherland I left half a life-time ago. That's where the brilliant writers are so helpful. In addition they are major opinion makers, and markers so their view of this discussion is revealing.
The original article, in Russian, can be found here. Part of the fun for me is in attemting translation of colloqualisms, but it's a difficult task. I think very highly of this writing - it's practically a play. It reminds of of the Theater of the Absurd, and specifically of Waiting for Godot. 
I have underlined modern Russian words which are directly derived from English ones.

Commentators: Yaroslav Zarogetz, Alexander Polivanov, Kirill Golovastikov
On the December 15 (from 12:00 to 16:33) prime minister Vladimir Putin answer quesstions of Russian citizens, while main television channels translated. '' traditionally gave concurrent online reporting of the ordeal. However, as practice shows, questions (and asnwers) change slightly from year to year, so we paid less attention to the discussion per se, and more the ambieance.

10:36 The say, Putin is often late to events. But we're starting an hour and a half in advance! Hello y'all, my name is Sasha Polivano and I'm going to listen carefully (wiht you) what the primer minester has to say during all those unforgettable hours.
10:39 Good morning! I wanted to use the opportunity to send my regards to the blond in blue dress from the right mezanine of McCartney. My name is Kirill Golovastikov, today instead of sir Paul we're going to be entertained by Vladimir Putin. He's also on a kind of magical mystery tour.  
10:40 I wanted to send my regards to another blond - but I'm not saying which one. Greetings, my name is Yaroslav Zagoretz. With my colleages I'm going to lead you through the labyrithms of inane numbers and mysterious forest of direct TV. We're cooler than the TV.

11:09 It so happens that in 2011 I listened to Putin thrice: in the avio-salon MAKS, on an economics foru in Sochi at a conference of Sberbank. I can't say that on all three he said one and the same thing, but the motive were clearly similar. That's why today, when Putin is going to repeat himself I'm not going to write blah blah blah, I'm going to swire Soch-Sbe-MAK, Soch-Sbe-MAK, , Soch-Sbe-MAK.
11:14 While my colleages and working the internet, I am to entertain you. Here for example link to Putin's speaching onto the people in 2009. And here - 2010th. Find ten differences, as they say.
11:18 On site  "moscow-[to]-putin', to ask a question, you have to fill out a small form. Initially the user is asked to indicate his social status ('bum' is an option), then - home address. I wonder, how do the bums who want to pose a question to Putin handle that one?
11:24 I wanted to use the opportunity, and take away the oars of our online boat from Sasha, and row a bit myself. A statistical interlude: Putin's 2009 speech onto the people lasted exactly four hours, 2010th - four twenty. With increasing temp Vladimir Vladimirovich will arrive at 24-hour speech by the year 2069, for sure. I'm sure he can. 
11:28 Listeners ask, how can they ask a question from the head of governemnt. Dear readers! You can ask your question from anywhere in Russia by calling  8-800-200-40-40 (call from cite-line and mobile phones are free) or by sending a SMS to  0-40-40 (sending this in Russis is free from any phone servive provider). Questions are being gathered on he site Please don't deposit your questions into our forum. Thank you.
11:30 Today in a morning editorial meeting it came out that all of us online commentators have done something for Putin. I shaved, for example. Yaroslav - put on a white shirt. "A tied my shoe laces", - said after Kirill, after a moments hesitation.

11:34 Enter a grim mathematician Konyaev and a kind main editor Timchenko. Grim Konyaev gave Yaroslav grief about some ovedue arithmetical progression, while kindly Timcheno said to Yaroslave... said to Yaroslave... No, that better remain our little secret.
11:39 "Stockmarket of RF [Russian Federation] fall this morning due to external negatives and lay down to slumber awaiting "Direct Line" with Puritn", - Ф утром снизился на внешнем негативе и лег в боковик в ожидании "Прямой линии" с Путиным", - said the 'Interfax'[news agency]. So it is, but the Line is strane, and dreaming of slumber. 

11:40 Oh, how gladly I would also catch a nap awaiting this 'Direct Line' with Putin!
11:45 Readiness in the studio is 146 percent!!!

11:48 My colleages are interested  in hte proper spelling of the name Miatzkjavichus. Bu I'm going to take my chances.
11:49 Two days ago I had the pleasure to listen  to Putin's press secreatary, Dimitry Peskov, who told journalists about preparinf for the 'Direct Line'. Dimitry Sergeevich swore that nobody is going to prepare questions for the premier in advance. But he was not so categorical abuout the answers.
11:52 Confirming announcement by Saha Polivanov: Yaroslav came to Putin-online  in a new white shirt. He's dressed up for the occasion!
11:54 Traditional disclaimer: there'are going to be repetitions in this online, and many.

11:54 There are three of us here, for one Putin. So, of course, there is is possible that we're goit to repeat. Repeat. Repeat. And repeat so more.

11:54 Friends, here in the studio we're sitting behind glass dividors, and we don't like to talk to each other much anyway. So, don't be surprise, if we write the same thing; repetition is inevitible.
11:58 I almost missed the beginning! Televisions are on, an man is giving some numbers. Doesn't look like Putin.
11:58 The program already started on "Russia-1" channel. They're showing porcelain women from the call-center.

11:58 On Russia-24 there's some commotion! Danger.
11:59 "The call center is experiencing a load of 600 calls a minute", - says the host of 'Russia". Perhaps, this is a call from that robotic lady who says "Putin is the light", ", "Putin loves you"...

12:00 Music has started. Grim and grand. But this is no hymn.

12:00 Sittel' on the screen! With a bare neck. [Sittel' is a TV personality in style of Katie Couric]

12:00 Matzkjavichus is wearing a tie! Striped. Can't see his neck.

12:01 Sittel': in preparation of this program were ivolved various experts - Roshal', Karelin, Kurchena, Vasili'ev (representative), Kalyagin, some priest, Ustinova, Bondarchuk, Bunntman, and ... others... another hundered and fifty people!
12:02 Oh lord, Prohanov is in the house! Limonov declined, I wonder? [Two opposition leaders]
12:02 Wow, wow, so many people .What are they doing there?
12:02 [In the studio with Putin] I see cultured people: Ustinov, Kalyagin, Mihalkov... I hope they're not paid to come, as to people who come to meetings on Manezhoi [sports area]?
12:03 Putin is coming, all suited up!
12:03 Enter HE! All get up.
12:03 Steps of Captain and Commander!
12:04 Lovel Tagill is coming online today. Intriges!
12:04 We're reminded on the site's: "Moscow Dash [to] Putin". Sounds menacing!
12:04 Here we go! Matzkyavichus asks about elections into Duma. How do you personally feel about meetings on the Swamp [Square]?
12:05 People expressing themselves about politics and economics, that's fine, as long as they act within limits of the law said VVP. No surprise.

12:06 Quaestion by Matzkyavichus. Well, not really but him, but by some anonymous from the internet. "Were these elections honest, and results fair?"

12:07 There's nothing new in these protests - that always was and will be. Opposition is fighting for power, says Ptin. And that saying likely reflects his thinking.  "This is normal [fine]" - I already heard this phrase several time.s "Results of elections reflect the real distribution of forces in the country".

12:07 "Opposition is fighting for power". You have it backwards, Vladimir Vladimirovich, opposition is fightint against power. "Ours" that are for power. ["Ourr" is a Kremlin organized nationalist youth organization. A mix between Boy/Girl scouts and Hitler Youth, but closer to the lattter].

12:08 Now, regardin honesty, people are always complaing about unfairness. Quetstion is in the forms, how things are done. To Putin it is clear that attacks along these lines have secondary character, but the main issue is - the presidential election. To undermine his critics, Putin makes a suggestion. Then, he started to tell us about last sumer's forest fires.
12:09 While my colleagues are writing important things, I want to note that Putin it seems to me is wearing his typical jacket and shirt, but his tie is polka-dot this time. Polka-dot!

12:09 Ok, this is what I was going to say![says Putin] He has suggested putting web-cameras at all of the polling places in hte country, just like during the forest fires! So the country can see! Motherland -  behold the web cams.

12:10 An interesting comparison of elections with fire-fighting.... We are on fire!
12:11 Putin invites voters - don't excuse yourself from voting by the need to go to your country house to dig potatoes. Nobody is going to do nothing except for you. Only you can determine the worthy.
12:12 Ask Venediktov from 'Echo of Moscow"! There was more than the old oppition on the Swamp[Square],  there we also new 'annoyed' foks, who never came to demonstrations before. What can you tell those, who says their votes were stolen?"
12:13 Putin repeats, that smart people - that's great! Peple on the Swamp - that's also great. Vladimir Vladimirovich, will come with us on the 24th? I'll give You a white ribbon. Also, Putin says, if there are problmes, you have to go to court.
12:14 In regard to the events on Bolotnaya [Swamp Square] speaks a veteran of labor from the Ural-train-factory.Veteran is attemting to turn on the microphone. No he's expressing his opinion about 'electiOns'[he has a funny pronunciation] There's no question yet - he's publicizing planned production numbers of trains.
12:15 The veteran says, that all thos guilty of that fact that the [living conditiions/civil services] (LCCS) are just aweful need to be punished. In general we should live well, and the troublemakers should not hide behind their mandates. And we should ship potatoes to Egypt. Such potatoes, my god.
12:15 "About electiOns", - says labor veteran. "In our stores you can get excellent glue" [for him to sniff?]. But, I'm shouldn't be the one to tell him.
12:16 Дhey gave the microphone to this veteran so we would talk about the demosntrations, but he's talking about potatoes, his factory, Egypt. "Don't draw troble onto Russia", - says the vetegan. So, where's the questin?

12:16 Judging by the speech of this veteran, slogans for "all the good against all the bad" will not soo lose their popularity.

12:17 Matzkyavichus tells the veteran to aks Putin a question. The veteran looks confused and gives Putin his oath "burn out democartism and lying to the people with a hot iron". Raders tell me that he said 'bureacratism'[excess bureaucracy + corruption], but I heard democratism, sorry.

12:17 Мatzkyavichus says something along the lines " ask your question from the head of governmetn". The veteran looked really taken aback. "What's this?" - says the fear in his eyes.

12:17 Putin: I haven't heard about potatoes for Egypt, but could tell you about grain.

12:18 Мatzkyavichus asks about the white ribbons [worn by protestors]. Yo, how do you feel about ribbons?

12:19 Putin, it seems to me, is tired of this topic. "'Color' revolutions - is a worked out scheme of destabilization of a nation, directed from the outside." Putins answr is also a worked out scheme. Also, he's convinced that the white ribbon is a symbol of fight agains AIDS. Puti is effectively saying they've decorated themselves with contraceptives. They have as much brains, probably.
12:19 "How can it be a 'color' revolution, if the ribbons are white",-  asks someone in he studio. Putin: "Let's move on". "It's making me nervous", - colleage Piotr for the primier.

12:20 "Protests - yes. Within the limit of the law", - says Putin. But he won't allow us to get pulled into schemes. And, naturally he has some words about the leaders of the oppositon. "What were they yelling? Idiots, march! How can you do that?" - Putin is outrages. In addition, he knows that the students who came to the square were pain. Are you sure you're not projecting [He appears to be hypocritically confusing it with his pet group, 'Ours']

12:21 Idiots, march! .. HUH?

12:21 Kucherna (wow, he's been snacking) gets a call from a remote region about gas. There needs to be a chance of attitude of power to the citizens. Bureaucrats don't won't to bother with people, so everyone is writing directly to Putin. I think - these new forms of communication are more suited for Medvedev, no?
12:22 Kucherna speaks about as much as the veteran. And about was interesting, only he doesn't mention assembly of trains.  

12:23 This is a marvellous program today: questions are longer than the answers. The main editor writes to me that I'm not managing to spell Matzkyavichus. Yes, he's stronger than I.

12:25 Putin and Matzkyavichus started discussing if it's worth waiting for Kucherna to finish. Using this opening Kucherna did finish..

12:25 Kucherna: "I understand, it is not an easy question". I think he has it backward: it's simply, but I don't understand.

12:26 "Soch-Sbe-MAK Soch-Sbe-MAK Soch-Sbe-MAK", -says Putin. That's about pensions and venerans. "Now in regard to your question!".

12:27 "I was to come back again to what Solzhenitsyn said", says Putin. How about Ghandi? It turns out that Solzhenitsyn belived that [bureaucratic]power needs to be exercised strongly.
12:27 "I want to come back to what Solzhenitsyn believed!" Wow!
12:28 Putin is being very presidentia now, nothing less.
12:28 "Thieves need to be jailed more often - that's proper! But we should not turn it into (political theaer).", - says Putin. I'm failing to understand the point of this anwer. But that's not Putin's fault, but mine! I don't want you to think something ...
12:28 Solzhenitsyn spoke also said 'butter-schmutter'. Pardon.
12:30 "Lenta - is a major information resource, whoat are these idiotic comments?" Ask readers in our forum. Finally. I was starting to get worried.
12:30 Putin tells, how he personally sent Shoiga figure things out for the freezing people, while the local official refused to invervene under the excused "I'll get beaten up".
12:31 Мatzkyavichus says that was a good president, and a pretty good PM.... "In case of victory, how do you see mission of president Putin in 2012?" Nice soft pitch. It's fun to hit at those.
12:32 Пutin thanks for this appraisal of his effors. Oh, now we're in for some numbers! 25% lived below the powerty line, but over the last 10 years this number was reduced in half. Saralies have have grown, profits increased, econoics is fine. All the remains is to say there's mor more land!

12:34 "ES is a negative to the economy! This is bad! Nothing to laught at!- Putin is attempting to convince himself. Then our colleague Igor Belkin says "numbers-numbers-numbers-numbers".

nuсебя Путин. А дальше, как говорит наш коллега Игорь Белкин, "цифры-цифры-цифры-цифры". Perfect time to write "Soch-Sbe-MAK Soch-Sbe-MAK Soch-Sbe-MAK".

12:34 I should note that the prime-minister pays attention to the minutiae of his speech, and corrects himself right away. One he said 'on the Ukrain', then immediately 'in".

12:35 There's a woman in red in the audience. She draws attantion, but Putin has he back towards her, and is immune.

12:35 Putin misspoke about some economic numbers, but the polit Polivanov, instant corrected him, and saved the situation. 

12:36 Putin is dancing around the number 146 percent (debt to VVP in other countries), but never cites the actual number. Putin has many great qualities, but needs to work on his trolling. Maybe he could take some lessons from Medvedev.

12:37 Putin is on his pet horse. "We need to strengthen, widen democracy", "trust towards power", "stability from outside factors".

12:37 I was too hasty saying that the questions are longer than the answers. Nothing of the kind. On the fifth minute of anser about "presidint Putin" prime miniestr Putin says that innovations need to reach the minds of all people. PLEASE DON'T!

12:37 They don't shot Sittel' enough. 'Show us Sittel'," demand internet forums.

12:39 A word to representative Andrew Makarov (who criticised reforsm of MVD - State department). He's upset that they don't give him the microphone in his hands. "Microphone is power", jokes Putin. Meanwhile he has a mike on his jacket. Two, actually.

12:39 "Microphone is power" Oooh. In rgard to lawyer Makarov we could now no use the words from "Moscow - Petushkov". "Oooh, how I've become excited!"

12:40 And  here's the question: "Who is mister Putin?" What is the taks of candidate Putin, when everything is supposed to have been done? How do you see it? 

12:40 Putin: I cannot agree with the idea that everything is done. We're overcome terrorism in the Cauceses, but if we should weakness... What about the pension system, huh? What if we need to discuss raising retirement age?

12:42 Putin has suddenly become very grim. He's always grim, I suppose, when he talks about the Ukraine. (The connection is that Ukraine has raised retirement age under pressure from 'international structures').

12:42 Stability - is not stomping in place, but steady growth, explains head of government. We have work to do to strengthen, and strengthen, from the esthitical and other perspectives.
12:44 Matzkyavichus about Kudrin! In case of victory, will You take him back on your team?

12:45 Kudrin hever left my team. He's my comrade and friend. "He didn't go anywhere far". Putin is even proud that in his governmetn worked that kind of man, two days ago the met and even talked about life and economy. "I'll reveal the cooking behinds scenes - we decided to raise the retiremetn age during a period of crisis. Liberal economists tell me - you can't do that." And so on about his debates with the liberals.

12:46 It started as an interesting anecdote about the kitchen, but ended with a phrase "why do we need so many bunks?'. That question, I remind you, was whether Putin will take Kudrin into his team after presidential elections.

12:46 Again about pensions! Perhaps, Putin talks so much about them, because he should be retired himself.

12:46 "Why do we need so many bunks?!?!" The phrase was said louder than the rest, and woke me up.

12:48 "Are you idiots? I understand such translation of Eurovision, but this is a conversation with our head of government! Even if you don't respected Putin, have some respect for your country, its citizens and your readers" - our online followers are upset.

12:49 "Why, the they are right", - says Yarik. 

12:50 Sittel! She says there are over fifteen hundred requests pending. Tumen is on direct line. "Tulen!" (sea lion, in Russian) - yell aficionados of the show 'From Life'. Dolores Irogevna from Tumen speaking. She asks about civil services: don't you think that administrators are used to you, and have lost all fear? ЖКХ и говорит: не кажется ли, что чиновники уже привыкли к вам и перестали бояться? What is Dolores implying? The third term is ahead. 

12:51 Sittel is not shown enough today. More images of Vladimir Vladimirovich (Putin) and Ernest Gendrievich.
12:51 There's a lot of fraud in civil services, says Putin (and thieves, presumably). He also says that local, not federal authorities are responsible for civil services. "They told me 'don't allow this problem to stick to you, it's complicated'", says Putin. "This is not my style of work!" - Prime minister waves his hand dismissively. And adds, that he elevated this problem to the federal level.
12:51 "Not my sittel of work" (play on words style = Sittel, name of the pretty announcer who's not shown enough).
12:52 Strange, why are Russians so interested in civil services? It doesn't move me so much, but fine. Putin meanwhile is telling us about de-monopolization of civil services, and about the need to raise prices carefully. "Some have raise them by 70 percent, or even by 100 percent!" Not right.
12:53 It's apparent that Putin is much more excited to answer questions about civil services that protests on Bolotnaya! He even started playing with his pen.
12:54 Basically, Putin says, federal authorities established guidelines for increasing the prices for civil services, and if those are exceeded in some regions, they have to deal with it locally.
12:54 "I ask the operator to tell me, from what city are you calling?" From Tumen, already!
12:55 Matzkjavichus wants to let somebody have a say, but can't decide to whom. Here's a questions we got from SMS: "Is it true that Tina Kandelaki will be minister of education?" (Tina is a pro-government reporter, who got chased from the protest on Bolotnaya).
12:56 Sittel dropped a paper! Must be nervous. Putin: "Judging by the reaction of the audience, Tina has some many talents I don't even know of them all". Great joke, Vladimir Vladimirovich, bravo! But seriously, one has to be have professional knowledge in a relevant area before becoming a minister.
12:57 Intermission for advertising. Tima just gave an interview to our wonderful correspondent Azar. Azar, did you call in that question?
12:58 Some girl asked Putin, whether he thinks that of the ministry of interior (equivalent of the US state department) was too shallow. He voice trickles, like a crystal clear stream somewhere in pristine forest of Siberia. 
12:59 "I didn't oversee that reform", - Putin wants nothing to do with the question. On the positive side he sees increase of salaries in the ministry. "We're raising salaries of all 'force' (security) structures' - promises the Prime minister. "Anyway, there are more or less deserving people, decent or not. Some have committed crimes. We need to not only raise salaries, but also treat people with respect". 
13:00 Matzkjavichus asks about elections again. Putin: "You're getting to me with your elections".
13:00 An hour has passed! But for Putin, as for Paul McCartney an hour is like kindergarten!
13:01 Question about the journal "Power"!!! "I cannot repeat their slogan", - admits the commentator. Putin: "Go ahead, repeat it".  Matzkjavichus still wouldn't risk it. I wouldn't either.
13:02 "I saw that slogan, it was very amusing... There's nothing new there." Putin says that in the early 2000's he read all kinds of things about himself - especially from in West. "I was convinced then that I'm doing the right thing, as well as now". Essentially, the answer is "The slogans were photographed in London, and you all know who's there" (Berezovsky)
13:02 That was kind of funny, at least. 
13:03 What did Chichvarkin write? Or Berezovsky? Ask asks Rochal. Whatever. Putin is talking about Bolotnaya again. Then about business. Everyone talks about bribery. "At least they have the money for it", - laughs Putin. Now, he's reminding us about Tahchidi, although I thought the question wasn't about that. We got another question! About privatized medicine and lines in state hospitals - how to eliminate them. 
13:03 "By the way, Yuri Shevchuk cannot get through", - we have such clever listeners. Check out our forum!

13:06 The essence of Putin's answer: credit for small business is good, but we need to be careful. If we pump money into the economy the lead to economic bu-bu-bles, said Putin. Our Central Bank is very careful with credit. 
13:07 "Bu-bu-bles", - we all said together mimicking Putin's style, amid general laughter. 
13:09 Too bad that advertising doesn't interrupt Putin. At least they could show during breaks - as in soccer. 

13:09 Talking about private (paid) medicine again. "You're one of the authors of that law". It seems Rochal doesn't think so, somehow. "Everything is clear there, what's free, what's not". Specialists in the audience doubt it: they say nothing is clear. Putin: we're adjusting resources between regions to equalize medical care, but not too swiftly. 

13:10 The facial expression of Roshal is best described as a 'pocker face'. The same cannot be said about Karelin! (sitting next to Roshal) Althogh Sasha here, one of our leading pocker players here, disagrees - he says Karelin has a great poker face. 

13:10 Yaroslav and I checked out the the crowed. And inquired from each other "Who is that woman?" "Build-editor appears to be into her", - opined Yaroslav. 

13:10 "Who is that broad?", - asked Polivanov and Zagoretz in unison. Sorry guys, I just sold you out. 

13:11 Putin keeps talking, and Kirill keeps writing. He's got a dissertation of an answer already. 
13:11 Roshal: Vladimir Vladimirovich, the increasing costs of medicine will not be associated with my name. Harsh! Conflict!
13:14 Matzkjavichus: "Vladimir Vladimirovich, what about the bribes? "About the bribes?" - Putin seems surprised. He says we need to eliminated bribes, that's all.
13:15 "Your friend McCain predicts Qaddafi's fate for you..." How do you like that? Cool question. Meaning that, while it's a normal question, the that fact that it was posed - that's great.
13:16 Regarding the fact that McCain is my friend - the called is greatly exaggerating, says Putin. "This is not about me, this is about Russia. They want to depress Russia, so we wouldn't let them dominate". They are afraid of our nuclear suitcase. But we have friends, just in case. "McCain fought in Vietnam, and apparently cannot do without pictures, showing somebody being murdered. That's how it was with Qaddafi! Who killed Qaddafi?! Drones! From America!"
13:16 Putin flipped McCain pretty well there. But McCain is no newbie, we await his response.
13:17 Putin adds: "McCain was captured during that war, and was thrown in a pit. Anyone would go nuts there."
13:17 Callers are asking Primakov to discuss foreign policy. He asks whether performance of governors could be judged according to how well "United Russia" (Putin's party) has done in that region. Slime! The second question is about crisis in Europe and political integration.
13:19 "Our government has formulated a range of criteria, which will form the basis for evaluation of governors. There's no provision there dealing with results of elections". It would be strange, if they put that in an official document like it.
13:20 While Putin was speaking, Yarik managed to go out for a smoke. Experience! 
13:20 I don't get it. Now Putin says the opposite of his usual rhetoric: elections show the mood of people regarding the authorities. "In place of some governors, I'd think whether to retire". 
13:21 Now about Europe. The free trade zone (Russia, Belorus and Kazahstan) and the European Union - is a favorite topic for Putin (his horse). He's on it. And riding it. Riding it. Riding it. Read this, everything is there. Enough time to read it, until he gets off it. 
13:23 When Putin talks abut the magnitude of indebtedness and similar numbers, he spreads his hands, as if saying "My dream indebtedness is this big".
13:24 Ooowww!
13:24 Ooohhh!!!!!
13:25 A word to retired colonel, journalist Victor Barantz. "(Official military greeting). I'm witness to your tenth discussion with the public. Some folks are telling you the salty truth". "That's good with beer", - retorts Putin. 
13:25 Putin got off it, by the way.
13:25 "I'm a witness of the tenth rider of the apocalypse", my colleagues are joking. 
13:25 Putin repeated the official military greeting to the colonel quietly, as if embarrassed by it. 
13:26 "At the base of your politics there needs to be truth, and only the truth. You said that the issue of housing for the veterans will be closed (solved) by 2010. It's not solved! Tell me when! You still have not given critical evaluation to failing ministers! As soon as you start appointing talented men - people will be drawn to you!" Baranetz 'gets harsh' (paraphrased from a line from of Pushkin poetry): "Worthless ministers have let you down, but if you need - you have willing supporters - just ask!"

13:26 Putin bites his lips. 
13:28 It would have been cooler if Putin said: "Yes, you're right. I'll fire them all".
13:28 "And what post would you take?", asks Putin. "If I worked in oversight, and nobody would dare forget even a coma!!" 
13:29 VVP (Putin) is excusing himself: "We have not addressed the housing for the veterans, we have not dealt with it at all." Logical. "The wait for housing has only increased". The country had 70 thousand in need, when Putin took charge, and we've given out 100 thousand units - over-delivered! Then it turned out that Ministry of Defense can't count, and there's not 70 thousand needy veterans, but 150. 
13:31 How fortunate, that all such questions fall to Kirill. Work, Kirill. Listen carefully!
13:32 Guys, stop trolling! The solution of the housing for veterans is my purview! While Putin's ministers are being savaged, he is defending them: too easy to make them into scapegoats. "And I'm responsible for their work!" "So, you should leave too!" - joke my colleagues. Putin is strictly against sudden re-assignments: time will come - there will be a rotation. 
13:35 Attention, guys! Vladivostok is coming! There's night there, already. Nevertheless, around 100 people are crowded around a bridge, the one the leads across the Golden Horn bay. 
13:35 Is that the bridge that burned recently?
13:36 That one.
13:37 Short story of the bridge (constructions started in late July 2008): they were building and building, then it went up in flames. This is star hour for a journalist from Vladivostok, naturally. He decided to pose a question not to Putin, but to the head of construction: "How is the bridge? Is everything OK there?"
13:37 A quick diversion on the inner life here in the office. твлечемся на внутреннюю жизнь редакции. "Do you want any marmalade bears?", - inquired concerned colleagues. Bring them on, we take everything! Like museum of "Fields of wonder" (reference to an old Soviet movie for kids).
13:38 This is a problem - of course that's regrettable, says the head of state. But nothing illegal, everything is in order. "The bridge will be ready before the summit". What kind of discussion are we leading here online?
13:39 Apparently, the pause was needed for Putin to catch his breath. He's got his bearings again, now questions to prime minister. "I would like to ask, but first there is a little introduction ..."Aaaahh! Briefly, the question is this: corruption-Darkin-what-to-do? ('What to do', or 'what is to be done' was a pre-revolutionary and pro-revolutionary book by Chernishevsky). Sorry, hard to type; I got cold smoking a cigarette.
13:40 Putin decided to go back to the bridge. We need experts to look at all load-bearing parts. We need total confidence! Now about back to the far East: the question is not only about corruption, but about criminals, and there are many of those in your region. Still, he promises to consider what the citizen said. Signal Darkin!
13:40 Anna, thank you for the (marmalade) bears!
13:40 Bears have arrived. Thanks, Anna!
13:41 Anna, the bears saved us.
13:42 Asks a proprietor of university church of St. Tatyana: "In our country everything would be fine when three types of people were in charge - a doctor, a teacher, and a priest. Everything is fine with summer courses, at least." He's for religious and humanistic things in life and media. I support him; although an atheist, I reflected his question in good humor. 
13:43 Father kicked Venedictov christian-style: 4 minutes of TV time per week is all religious programs get from the most democratic radio station. 
13:44 Putin says that liberals are against giving TV time to religious confessions. "Although they have things to say". "Personally, I'm for strengthening the character of civil society in our country". Also Putin compared communist codices to the Bible - he says that in times of USSR there were some principles, now there's nothing. Give us codices!
13:46 The proprietor of the the church should be happy with "": we've dedicated three paragraphs to him. Unlike Venedictov!
13:47 Oops, I'm responsible for Putin's answer. Prime minister says, enough churches, et cetera. I missed it all, sorry. 
13:48 New question, from Ulianovsk: mistakes in appointment of governors area apparent, when will ours be fired? Is it true that regions that did not support "United Russia" will be not get government assistance? When will  direct elections of governors return?
13:50 We're missing Romik Dobrohotov in the audience.
13:51 "If you don't come to elections - we'll turn off your lights" - is total nonsense, says Putin. "Don't believe it". And more: "I spoke at length about elections of governors already. Current method of appointment of governors was my personal idea. "Smarty-pants", - quip my colleagues. Putin: there was a civil war in the country,  entire regions were dominated by semi-criminal organizations, to grab power people used nationalists and separatists. We wanted to preserve the country, and to prevent incitement!
13:52 Did I heave hear right - Putin said "don't bestir" (literally don't rock/shake loose/stir up/destabilize ~ incite)"  Or am I hearing things? No, I didn't dream it. Thanks, Kirill.
13:53 Putin: We need to maintain the filter of governors at the level of the President. We could consider all parties that participate in regional elections to give the list of their candidates to him. He confirms or rejects, and if he rejects them - that party proposes new candidates. Then these candidates are subjects to direct secret elections in the region!
13:54 Matzkjavichus cannot believe his ears! He asks about elections trice more. Putin explains what Kirill already wrote.
13:54 Guys, this the bomb! The scheme is very complicated, though. 
13:55 Sensational, kind of.
13:56 Maestro Gergiev on TV. "A special thanks that we still have such a large country". (huh?) Gergiev tells a story about how a man from St.Petersburg (Leningrad at the time, actually) came to Sergey Prokofiev and said: "You wrote a very bad piece, terrible music". Prokofiev then wrote and even better piece! "So will we". There was no question, somehow.
13:57 Putin is pleased again. He answers regarding Prokofiev: this is a good example how appreciation changes over time. "There's not music sadder in the world, than Prokofiev's music in a ballet", - quotes Putin as an examle of earlier attitude to the composer. (This is a common Russian phrase of complaint, that cane be made to rhyme with almost any content). Then everything changed. Putin will do everything in his power to make sure that today things will also change (not regarding Prokofiev). Then the Prime Minister elaborates on his love for St.Petersburg.
14:00 Two hours of Putin on TV! And we, along with him.
14:01 "I stopped polluting the Baltic sea yesterday! - says Gergiev. This is a dialogue of a deaf man and a blind man.
14:02 "Pollution of the Baltic sea has ceased, but there's no concert hall in Novosibirsk". I really like Gergieve, I can't help myself.
14:03 The blind sees, the deaf hears! Putin asks: how is the situation with theater in Novosibirsk? Gergiev: everything will be cool, we're getting an excellent theater. 
14:05 Мitzkjavichus: question from the internet. They say evens from the 5th and 6th of December have raised concerns in the Kremlin, that there all all kinds of extraordinary meetings, is that true? Putin: "I don't know, they didn't call me for these meetings". 
14:06 "Meanwhile I'm trying to learn to play hockey, but I'm like a cow on skates".
14:07 Now Vladimir Solov'ev asks, when will corrupt be jailed, and not only among the small fry, but also at the higher levels of power. Will the country finally see new people in power. Please give specific names, asks Solov'ev.
14:07 Putin utters the word "уконтрапупить" (a playful combination of remove, and eliminate/kill). He knows how to get attention.
14:07 Putin: "We'll start with you" (meaning jailing). He adds: "Not you personally, but in general". Neat conversation.
14:08 Putin didn't 'remove-eliminate' anyone after all. Meaning, that he didn't cite any names. He said only that some governors are even getting jail time. And not just the governors. But no names.
14:10 Question about anniversary of riots on Maneznaja (racing) square. Do you regret meeting with soccer fans/fanatics? You were accused on playing with ultra-nationalists!
14:12 "What distinguishes us froм Europe?", asks Putin. Stadiums get busted everywhere! "Fans - are a unified society!" (The authors are amused because it sounds like 'do you(plural) suck'). I can't believe my ears. By murder is always a tragedy (meaning Egor Sviridov). "What great kind of Russian chauvinism are they talking about when none of the arrested have a Russian last name?" Eh? I don't get the logic.
14:13 Nice name for a party: "Unified society" (making fun of Putin's "United Russia")
14:13 Kirill and Yaroslav, do we make a society together? 
14:13 No, Sanja, we're no society, although it sounds good online.
14:14 Agains Sittel is with us! Immediate question on the phone: "Maybe we should cease feeding the Caucasus?" (meaning Chechens, etc.) 
14:15 "I already hear such a thesis", - Putin is very calm. The problem is that in large cities there's more and more migrants from the Caucasus, and they don't always assimilate. Many are not ready, and that annoys. What to do? Create jobs in the Caucasus! (That means we're going to keep feeding them, after all).
14:16 Putin is convinced that we need to invest money in the Caucasus, but it needs to be done rationally. We need to make sure nobody want to leave the Caucasus. Sounds scary.
14:16 Putin says that in Chechnya there's no corruption at all. Impressive society they have there.
14:17 Question by SMS: cease feeding of Moscow. Putin: "(I) Agree".
14:18 "Enough! I agree" - says Putin, but it was clear that it's a joke.
14:19 Seriously now, the Prime Minister is talking about ... doctor Roshal all of a sudden. According to Putin, we need to equalize tariffs - while "Gazprom" works across the entire country, in pays taxes in Moscow. "Not good" - is the essential meaning of PM's words. 
14:20 (Not implying that we should stop feeding doctor Roshal)
14:20 After discussions about "enough feeding" I want to joke about the bladder, since Solov'ev has already spoken. же выступал. Nevertheless, I will try to restrain myself. 
14:21 Back to taking questions from the audience (in the TV sudio). General Aslambek Aslahanov. "A general cannot ask questions from the presidential candidate while sitting. So, I'm asking you standing up". Aslahanov is indignant about what he heard yesterday in the call-center - he says, citizens' rights are abused so badly, it's hard to believe. He asks Putin to to look into all these cases and to punish the bureaucrats. And the question is: wouldn't it be good to have a ministry of nationalities on the federal level? And a chaser about 'contrafact' (forgeries, and other violations of IP) thanks for the victory. 
14:22 Putin: "Yeaa, defeating 'contrafacts' was tough! There even polluted the defense industry.
14:23 The PM continues to answer. They're trying to pigeon-hold us by nationalities - that's unacceptable. He informs us that Aslahanov regularly wins championships in 'sambo' (combination of Georgina fighting style with judo). "By you can outplay him at hockey" - Polivanov tries to ingratiate himself to Putin.
14:24 Guys, why so sad? Yarik, Kirill! It's not even half-over!
14:25 Saha, bears are out (marmalade ones).
14:25 Sanja, you're right to fault us! We need to train harder for the year 2069. 
14:26 Aslahanov reminds Putin that, actually, he asked about ministry of nationalities. Putin: "This issue is the purview of ministry of regional development, perhaps that's insufficient. We'll think about it."
14:27 North Caucasus online, Stavropol region, village Novoterskii. Is that where mineral water comes from? That's right, the question is coming from the bottling factory. A journalist asks who has "big questions on sore issues". Word from a teacher in Pjatigorsk University.
14:28 "We have a big issue between the locals and tourists". He says, the tourists behave like swine and flaunt their "financial superiority". Also they display personal weapons. "The comers don't want to live with us, they want to live instead of us. Is the government planning to address this situation?" And more generally - isn't there a danger of inter-national tension?  
14:29 Putin says, that the question is not limited to Russia alone. "My colleague", says Putin, "from I-won't-tell-you-which country told how immigrants from North Africa for decades do not learn the national language (meaning in Europe). This is a total fiasco of immigration policy of these countries! Putin is again riding his favorite topic about how everything is bad in the West. "We have to take into account peculiarities of every russian  region. And visitors need to treat the place they are visiting with respect". Who would argue with that!
14:30 While Putin bloviates, I want to continue my thought from 10:39, that according to unofficial sources, the blond from the mezzanine also sends me her regards.
14:32 Question and answer are indeed about 'society'. And after the mention of the journal "Power", I cannot help but remember: "Will you 'society' (suck) the Fatherland?"
14:33 Kirill, maybe she gives it to Putin?
14:33 Sanja, don't worry about (V)ladim (V)ladimich! He's got it made.
14:33 Putin: nothing to fear, as long as we tighten the rules of registration (of residency). An example, those who rent apartments to 20-30 migrants. Also, this concerns migrants themselves who break the rules of registration. Stricter rules up to and including jail time! 
14:36 Question on the phone about presidential candidacy of Prohorov. "What do you think?" 
14:37 "Hmmm...", - says Putin. Meaning that Prohorov is an adult, and can run his candidacy. Let him run. "I don't want to say, that I wish him success, because I also intend to run, but I'm certain he will he a strong contender". 
14:37 How do you like Putin's pronunciations: "Выдьвигать", "сьфера"... (inappropriately soft consonants, sounds like a provincial migrant, actually).
14:38 One more question on the phone - Murmansk. "Why is there no real opposition in the country? Why is MinJust (Ministry of justice) not letting Mihael Kasyanov register his party?"
14:39 Philogogy from Kirill ... Judging by Putin's answer it's clear why they allowed demonstration on Bolotnaya. We have opposition!
14:39 "Judging by what I say on TV and on the internet, including social networks, and various journals, where yours truly is being told where to go, you can't say we don't have opposition". To have a party you need support of a certain percentage of the public! And we shouldn't have regional parties either, otherwise we'll beget nationalism again. 
14:40 VVP says that we need to move toward liberalization, but doesn't make any specific suggestions. He reminds us that Kasyanov was PM during Putin's presidency. Gref demands from the head of government "we need to get rid of this cheat", reminds him about his nickname "Misha two percent". Putin: "I never saw anything but personal animosity behind this, there was not proof, otherwise I wouldn't let him serve out his term".
14:42 Kirill may be into philology, but he decided not to quote Majakovski (poet of the early 20th century) The one Putin quoted, with the exception of insertion of of "opposition" in one of the lines. 
14:43 Another question: How will Putin work with the opposition. What a strange question. 
14:44 Putin seems amused by the last question. "There's a standard answer to that question: if citizens entrust me with the presidency, I will work with everyone. As I always have". I consider Putin's phrase "if we want positive stability, which is associated with development" I consider the best of this year. 
14:45 Aha, and we'll trust you, as we always have.
14:46 "Come to me , banderloges", - said Putin in a scary voice to underscore his willingness to work with the opposition. "I love Kipling from childhood". It sounded awful, though. (Banderlog is a monkey without rights, appearing in Rudyard Kipling's Jugle Book. It's a corruption of bandarlog, a vacuous chattering individual)
14:46 "Come to me, banderloges"??? Wow.
14:47 Connection to Ufa. It's snowing there. Due to the frost the journalist's pronouncement "Everything is great" does not sound believable. "We're working here for a week now". Are you cold, poor soul? A local man asks about elimination of Muslim holidays. Sounds like a lack of respect of religious traditions! 
14:48 "First of all, I once visited Bashkiria", - starts off Putin. I'm curious how this is related to the question. "Ufa was always a center of Russian Islam". "The government will always support Islam. Our traditional variety".

14:49 Stop being mean to our citizens with your sacrificial lambs. Those who don't get it.
14:50 L@mbs?
14:50 Basically, the Supreme Court kinds of suspended its decision regarding religious holidays. That means nobody gets slighted! Hurrah! Hurrah!
14:50 Baby lambs!
14:51 Putin looks rather bored. And another questions from Ufa. Karina in a blue down jacket asks about winter light-saving time. "This year we didn't get it. Are we not going to have it any more?"
14:51 We were told that the opposite is the case - adjusting the time badly impacts the biological clock! Try what we might, this were always bad with biology here. Perpetual inebriation.  
14:52 Putin: "We'll take measures." Was that it? Clearly, we're not the only ones getting tired.
14:53 Microphone is returned to Moscow, and Moscow turns attention to the big geopolitical picture. The microphone went dead at that. Or, more accurately, it started to work with "gaps" (starts and spurts).
14:54 Nevertheless, we heard the question. "Idols were cast down", "the Soviet Union fell apart", "totalitarianism is supposedly bad", "the West feared USSR, poor sobs..."
14:55 Dang, I was too rash about "understanding" the question. Nothing is clear. "Don't wait for teasing apart of compassion". "If you were in Gorbachev's shoes, what would You have done in 1991?"
14:55 "It's very difficult for me to answer you question", - said Putin and rolled his eyes in such a way that we pitied him. 
14:56 An unexpected question. "History doesn't know the word "if"... It's difficult for me to answer your question." And started talking about Sobchak (former mayor of St. Petersburg, leader of a reform movement, died under questionable circumstances in 2000). "Being a democrat he told me 'What are they doing? Why are they dismembering the country?'" Also, Putin was surprised at Sobchak's reaction about destruction of a monument to Dzerzhinskiy. "Revolution is a good thing, but why do we need to destroy memorials?" Basically, question is about Gorbachev, the answer is about Sobchak.

14:57 Putin is certain that we shouldn't have hidden out head in the sand, with the behind sticking out. Then we would have preserved the country. 
14:58 Basically, Putin is lamenting that we're not a single country with George, Armenia, Ukraine and another dozen republics. 
14:59 Astrahov decided to ask about childhood. He says that the white ribbons on Bolotnaya are a symbol of the fight against abortions, and suicides of teenage gays. Putin tried to make light of it, but we're decent folk here, and pretended not to notice. 
15:00 Question - regarding maltreatment of adopted Russian children abroad. He recalls the case of Ivan Skorobogatov. What to do? Maybe it's worth stopping adoption abroad? 
15:00 Three hours on TV! We're wiping the working up sweat off our faces.
15:01 Wow, we've been working for three hours! Vladimir Vladimirovich - the cafeteria in our building closes at five, please rap it up!
15:03 "I'm not in favor of adoption by foreigners", - says Putin. The audience applauds. "But in our state homes the conditions are bad for the kids, and they'll be better off in another country". Nobody applauds that for some reason.
15:04 Putin says that in 2010 so many thousands of children were adopted. So many thousands more than before. So, we need to improve the state homes for kids. The general party line: adopt into Russian families
15:05 Continuing the theme with a question about divorce of Olga Sluzker. Isolation of children by one parent from another - is the norm for Russia. In all developed countries that is equivalent to assault, but we only have fines. Can't we modernize this and prevent such cases?
15:06 I figured that Putin would start his answer with the phase "I have two daughters myself". But not, he was thankful that Sluzker transferred her personal responsibilities to the whole country. He asks to formulate specific suggestions and send them to the Duma (lower house of the Parliament). 
15:07 Again about children's (state) foster homes. Actress Olga Budina will ask a question. "I'm absolutely convinced that adoption of our children by foreigners is a very good thing. Because they take sick children, while ours don't." And the questions is this: a hooligan child broke a window. Civil authorities come, and remove the child (from a single foster mother). What is this? What kind of society? (play on works, kind of - doesn't this suck).
15:09 "Olya, I'm going to formulate my take on this problem." He talks about importance of fixing this issue. When such incidents happen - a thrown stone, child taken away - if you dig into this, you can always uncover all a heap of problems. If things are done thoughtlessly, they deserve condemnation - what's needed is not to take away the child, but to help put in a new window for the single mom. But the government is committed to facilitating transfer of children of children into (whole) families. Basically, Putin doesn't agree with Olga. 
15:10 During the question about children Kirill opens an energy drink. Narcotics! Meanwhile, Putin is clearly losing his audience. He's already lost me, I've turned off. Reloading. (the word is the one Hillary Clinton should have used for her infamous 'reset button'.) 
15:14 Vladimir Vladimirovich, we need to discharge the atmosphere, the direct line is getting boring. It's embarrassing to our readers.
15:14 Vladimir Vladimirovich, start about Khodorkovsky again. "A thief needs to sit (in jail)". It always raising your rating!
15:15 Putin and Budina have agreed that Olga will forward her thoughts to Putin in written form. Putin doesn't object.
15:17 Tuning in from Sochi! Olympic build up, everyone is wearing helmets. A woman in a coyly slanted helmet asks: do we have any means of influencing entrenched bureaucrats? 
15:18 "We need a needle for that", - says Putin. If someone has grown too big for his breeches, like a balloon, we need to - pfft - blow it up. Putin shows exactly how to do this 'pfft'. Very cute. Putin has done his homework: Sochi will be a very nice city after the Olympics, and the grass will be greener year round. Basically, it's time to write Soch-Sbe-MAK, Soch-Sbe-MAK, , Soch-Sbe-MAK.
15:19 Kittystuff!
15:20 Thanks, Sochi, and good bye. A phone call - on the line is Vasiliy Petrov from Moscow. "Why do you think people are attacking you?" And hangs up immediately. "Do you want us to call him back?" - asks Sittel'. "I want him to defend me", - laughs Putin. 
15:20 Esrnet Matzkjavichus. (Did you know that for correct understanding of the word the first and last letters suffice?) Questoin regarding the governing system has lost all fear (and shame): nobody is afraid of Putin, nobody is afraid of the governors. Is it time to return Stalin?
15:23 "Fear is not the best instrument of resolving problems. Same as slavery - not a very efficient means of production. We need effective laws, respect for them and government, which can demand that the laws are followed."  I thought we hear that last year. Or the year before. Or both. 
15:24 Vasiliy Petrov again!

15:25 Putin has taken the first place in Lentapedia (" + wikipedia). In a mere one hour and one night. The number of clicks (hits) he's behind "In contact" and "Schoolmates".
15:25 Vasiliy Petrov again! Repeats word to work: "Why are you being attacked? I found lists on the internet about who needs to be removed, and you're on top". I'm not sure about the word "remove", but the implication is extreme. 
15:26 Putin says he's gotten used to it. His point is this: terrorists in the Caucasus think that they are defending their own interests, but in reality they are being used for destabilization of the situation in Russia. At the end it reflects negatively on these islamic republics, as well.
15:26 Who was booed in the Olympic center? Sittel' is not afraid of risky questions.
15:27 I came to see a fight of a man, whom I respect deeply. When I came there was some noise, but I didn't hear any booing. Anyway, it all ended with applause. Maybe my mug, when it showed up in the ring elicited some disapproval. I allow this possibility. Maybe they were unhappy with Jeff Monson. Maybe they were unhappy with the fight and considered the fight (judging) FALSIFIED! I don't agree with that; Ymel'yanenko fought very well. 
15:28 There's booing in our office. Or is that just some noise?
15:29 About the mug he said well, but too little! It all ended in the usual fashion: "My critics latched onto this - that's their job, and how they make money". 
15:29 Question - about booing, but somehow the answer is about Ymel'yanenko.
15:29 Three and a half hours! My stomach growls.
15:30 С=Nikita Mihalkov (famous Russian producer and actor) talking! "He's going to drive the TV nuts (paraphrased from a combination word of brain wash + drive up the wall)", - joke colleagues in the office. 
15:31 Question: you travel a lot around the country, but you see only what they want to show you. Do you believe it reflects the real situation in the regions and the mood of the people? A more, Russia - is it the West, East of Eurasia? Is the future in the East, anyway? In addition, Mihalkov got a letter, in which a mother of a young man beater up by migrants for the Caucasus ask all related and eternal questions together.
15:32 Putin is writing the question down, it looks like he hangs on every word. 
15:33 Mihalkov, as in his "Burnt by the sun - 2" movie is asking his question in seven parts.
15:34 Putin is addresses the letter first. "The grass is always greener on the other side", as they say. "I lived abroad for almost five years, and I know what's it like". This answer shows that Putin is a good man, and an orator, no matter what they say. Here he's extolling the woman, who wrote the letter to Mihalkov. She must be very pleased. 
15:35 Maybe he's not such a good orator, after all... Now he says that in Latvia the crime is lower that in Russia. And there are plenty of migrants there... from North Africa! Then the talk somehow shifted imperceptibly to Paris. 
15:35 Putin is a stoic pessimist: it's bad everywhere, so why not live in Russia?
15:36 "You don't leave your mothers bedside!" - says Putin. Before it there was something about "Mo-ther-land". "Band-der-lo-ges", - adds Kirill. 
15:37 Question by Prohanov! "In light of the suffering of our people the billioners who do not support local Russian development look repulsive. They buy football teams. Who do you root for Semenovtsy or Preobrazentzy, Vladimir Vladimirovich?"
15:37 Pro-ha-nov! Pro-ha-nov!
15:38 Putin: why is purchasing foreign teams is necessarily bad? Of course, wasting money of amusement is bad, and it would have been better if they invested into our teams. But there's sense in investing abroad. For example, to hide new technologies under a pillow is senseless. Investing Russian funds in high technology abroad, where they are being developed, and to transfer them here - that's appropriate for the economy.
15:40 "I have always said - I'm a contractor, the people hire me. Today we don't need to rely on either Semenovtsy or Preobrazentzy. We need to rely on the people", - says Putin. "The level of support is not determined on the plazas (referring to Bolotnaya square, Ohhh!), but only by elections". Then Putin added a few harsh notes, and wagged his finger. 
15:42 Question from a web: "When are the money stolen from the people going to stop enriching England?" The question is about the case involving Berezovsky and Abramovich.
15:42 "It would have been better if they sued each other in Russia. The money was stolen-made in Russia, let them divide it here." Vladimir Vladimirovich, I don't get it - were they stolen or made? Perhaps "stolen by Berezovski and made by Abramovich".

15:43 Nice, my favorite blond also send me her regards. Take that, Kirill!
15:43 Lower Tagil on the line. Didn't we have it already? I guess not yet. "We're from the factory "Uralvagonzavod" (Ural - train car - factory). They really make train cars here", - reports a journalist. Here's a question from an assembly man: "There's more money for defense now, but where do they go? We're buying Austrian rifles, and French Mistrals (helicopter carrier)..."
15:44 There's applause in the audience, but from mere politeness, it seems. Putin says that nobody is going to sell as strategic defensive systems. In regard to regular arms - we need to be armed with weapons at the cutting edge of the world tech. That's why we buy things. With our weapons we can't have dominance. But we're also going to pour money into Russian defense industry, promises Putin. 
15:45 The poor assembly man doesn't know where to hide his eyes. So, he's staring into space. 
15:46 One more question from Tagil. "We're ready to develop better technology, but we have the impression that the Minister of Defense doesn't need it. So, please get rid of this Serdukov". 
15:47 Putin doesn't give up his own! He's not giving up the Minister of Defense. "What's important is that 20 trillion rubles that go the the army and navy are spent effectively". "We need things", - almost yells Putin. "THINGS!" And then he lists some: rockets, planes...
15:48 So many requests to fire ministers and governors. During ... time we didn't have that (replace the dots with any last name). 
15:49 Tagil again, they won't let it rest. The assembly foreman wanted to ask about American missile defense, but he has another question about which "he soul aches". The soul aches about meetings - "if police cannot control people on the public squares, we with other muzuiks (guys) are ready to defend stability". 
15:50 This one will come, and defend... 
15:50 Putin: "Come on down". Mwahaha. "But not now. I hope everything will remain within bounds." We have other concerns for you: the system of orders for defense, production... 
15:51 Returning to the studio. Bondarchuk will ask a question. A real one! "In Peter (St. Petersburg) the majority voted for the opposition. What do you think about that?"
15:52 "That's normal. Petersburg is a unique city". Putin doesn't seem concerned by Bondarchuk's question, so calm. "I'm sure it won't be a problem for Petersburg".
15:52 Here's what I think: Bondarchuk got a call and an offer to ask a question. And he spends one sleepless night, then another, thinking what kind of a question to ask. Finally, after much antagonizing about it  he asks about Peter!

15:53 The microphone is taken by political scientist Nicolai Zlobin (who specializes in US) - the favorite partner of Putin's discussions in the club "Valdai". He asks about the foreign affairs: it seems that Russia is surrounded by enemies, and there's no alliances with anyone. Will we make any friends in the next six years?

15:54 Not true, Russia has many allies! When I visited Guatemala ... 
15:55 He's talking about a meeting of the Olympic Committed, where Putin won the Olympiad for Sochi. According to Putin, in Guatemala everyone supported Russian, because it's not dependent on the US. The US doesn't have any allies, but "vassals". "Vassals" in "society".
15:56 As an example of "vassalage" (or vassalatude?) Putin cited "operation FU" (he actually said that!) in Afghanistan. "US came there saying - those who are not with us are against us." Basically, Putin says that US doesn't have allies, but Russia does, and not just allies, but natural friends. 

15:57 "He's Primakov sitting in the front, and Ivanov", - says Putin sending them some signs with his hands. 

15:57 "Everything that I've said is the Truth!" - Putin tries to convince us. 
15:58 "Everything I said is the truth", - reminds Putin. As if trying to convince himself! "Putin loves himself. He's the light", - say cynical colleagues with mechanical voices. 

16:00 Bashkiria is on a landline phone, but you can barely hear them. A pensioner asks about the luxury tax: "When will it come? Will I live to see it?" The author of the question is 75 years old, and is desperately awaiting the answer.
16:00 Putin starts a lecture about neighbors, here's the punch line: "take out my eye". But the "approach/attitude" to the introduction of a luxury tax he considers correct. Many conceal their income and property, though. Basically, I missed half of Putin's speech, but the law about taxes on the highest incomes he promised to proposed to Duma in 2013.
утин напоминает притчу про соседей, в которой панчлайн: "выколи мне один глаз". Но "подход" - введение налога на роскошь - продолжает считать правильным. Правда, многие свои доходы и имущество укрывают. Короче, полречи Путина я пропустил, но закон о сверхприбыли он пообещал внести в Думу в 2013-м.
16:00 I haven't spent found hours straight in front of the TV since ... since... the last Direct Line with Putin!
16:03 I word to a Frenchman Marek Halter (very French last name!) "It would have been easier for me to ask in French, but, my dear, I know that you didn't have time to study the language of Voltaire". He asks from a paper. "When you become president, will you be ready to turn to the youth, like general de Gaulle - meaning I get you". The question is about revolution and the internet. 
16:05 "Mercie bien for this question", says Putin. "Often we kick ourselves - first we let the situation become extreme, and then we eliminate the oversights." Meanwhile we have to respect the minority - not to push it away, then we don't have to apologize, says Putin. I don't get it - it's some kind of a stream of consciousness.
16:06 A grandson of white immigrants came form Germany especially to ask Putin a question. After four hours this is the first mention of Medvedev! The semi-German asks how he was in the trenches on "Freedom" and dreamed of a single, unified Europe. The question is why are we not together with Europe.
16:07 "Radio station 'Freedom' was seen as propaganda from the CIA", - says Putin. PM clearly recalls his times in the KGB with pleasure. Of course, that's been long known. "They'r afraid our our enormity (meaning size, ironically Putin didn't use the word for greatness) - continues Putin his quote from some Russian czar. (That's Alexander III to his son Nicolai - corrects me Vanja Yakovin from the the "Far East").
16:09 Essentially, Putin is saying that's Europe fault that we're not together. Trying to make us disarm. But Putin is convinced - in the end, we're all going to unite anyway.
16:09 Vladimir Vladimirovich, what is this petty philosophizing in high places! Where are the numbers! Specifics! Where's the forcefulness! You're going to participate in elections, after all.
16:10 Kirill, load up that cat again, otherwise we're going to fall asleep. и
16:11 Sanja, here's kitty-cat.
16:12 "Russia - is not bridge, no link!" - the PM is upset.
16:13 Kirill, great cat-video! That's how USA frightens it's "allies".
16:14 Question from the old head of the Foreign Ministry, Irog Ivanov. Haven't seen him in a while! Hasn't changed at all. His question is about international cooperation, the role of the union for tax-free exports, foreign affairs ... is he for real?
16:14 Guys, did it get dark already, or has it not gotten light yet?
16:14 Putin: we're investing into foreign countries more than vice versa. We're so open, there's a draft, and we're kept out of essential spheres of foreign economies. He recalls the unsuccessful purchase of "Opel" and misadventures of Veksel'berg in Switzerland. Putin didn't give that last name - this is between us. 
16:15 In comparison with former "Discussions" with Putin he and his team have clearly decided to change the style of "Direct Line". Very few numbers, a lot more celebrities. It's getting a little better, rejoice!
16:17 "How do you feel about the internet and it's denizens?" That means us. 
16:18 "I consider it impossible to limit the internet". (applause) "If you don't like what's happening on the net - you need to use that forum to offer your alternatives, and do it more creatively. Putin! Internet! Creative-no?!
16:18 Putin said the work "creativeno"! I'm convinced Medvedev taught him. 
16:19 Putin says that he doesn't have time to go online often, he doesn't have the time (apparently, Medvedev has more). "I don't watch the TV either". At least he reads journals. 
16:19 Questions, which Putin himself has selected! From the internet and SMS ticker-line.
16:20 "Where will you celebrate the New Year? - Home. What's up with the Bridge to Sahalin island? - We need to calculate how much it'll load up the Trans-Siberian railroad and BAM (Baikalo-Amur magistral/road)"
16:20 Question about natural resources. Putin: they belong to the government, and entrepreneurs only exploit them. Recalls the results of privatization. We need to put people into their places (stalls), and force them to work according to our laws!
16:21 Questions abut tax on car owners. Why was it cancelled? Because of insistence of governors. "We need to fill the transportation (dept) coffers". Such uninteresting question Putin picked for himself. 
16:22 Question about prohibition of airguns. "It concerns me, and I share that position", - says Putin. What position is "that"? 
16:22 He promised to look into problems with hospitals in Tver region. How cool is that.
16:23 Now about pensions. I'm not going to bother writing after the PM.
16:24 'Mothers funds' needs to be spent on the family needs - that's a question. We need to consider, we need to get involved, says Putin. 
16:24 What's Motherland to you? - It's my life. 
16:25 "How to get world peace? Grisha, 10 years old. "When we have such children, everything will work out". 
16:25 What do you expect from Russians, and what can they expect from You? - I await consolidation and working together for the development of our country. 
16:26 "What are your negative traits? - I have enough, as do all people." He didn't specify.
16:26 "What do you dream about? About fulfillment of all these plans". This is a real blitz.
16:27 "You may be given the rank of Marshall. Does that remind you of six "Hero" medals of Brezhnev?" Et cetera. This puts me in a compromising light, says Putin. Nobody gives such ranks for for free. He tells how Eltzin wanted to make him a general, when he made him head of the FSB, but Putin decline. "This will never happen", - he concludes about becoming a Marshall. He didn't bother to comment on Brezhnev.
16:27 What constitutes happiness for you? (why do I get such questions???) "Love", - says Putin. 
16:27 Do you get polished (literally, brushed) information or unpolished? Unpolished.
16:28 "How do you feel about the slogan: stop feeding off-shores? Putin agrees with the slogan.
16:28 "We love you" - " Love you, too". For what???
16:28 "Why is everything so shitty in Sarapule? - I don't know we need to check it out". 
16:29 "How do you feel about Russian billionaires? - "Sudden changes are not the way to go"
16:29 "Do you have happiness? - I already answered this question".
16:29 How do you feel about moving federal elections to the happy, sunny May? - I'm afraid to get flak from gardeners.
16:29 "Do you have time to rest?" "Yes". This blitz is getting hellish. 
16:29 Аaaahh!
16:30 Four and a half hours! Putin, go home already!
16:31 Putin unexpectedly talks at length about motherhood.
16:31 He's closing his folder! He's closing it!
16:32 "I haven't finished yet! We need to increase productivity three-fold... I believe in Russia!"
16:32 Matzkjavichus asks cautiously: "When You become President, will You visit us again?" Putin says: "Of course I'll get entrenched and won't". That was a joke.
16:32 Мatzkjavichus asks the last question. "You said so much today, can you fulfill all of it? - Ho-ho, I haven't said everything. Ho-ho is from me.
16:32 Putin thanks people for support and congratulates them with the coming New Year and Christmas (Russian Orthodox Christmas is 2 weeks later than the western, and comer after the New Year). 
16:33 That's it!!!
16:33 That's it!
16:33 That's all!!!
16:35 Wow, is it really over? Comparing this Direct Line with the last it's apparent that Putin is running for President. 
16:36 Maybe Vladmir Vladimirovich can consider a more radical change of format of Direct Line. How about formspring? (Twitter equivalent). The questions are more poignant there, anyway. Especially, if you're a girl, of course.
16:37 The bottom line of these four and a half hours; we have semi-elected governors, jail for those who rents inappropriately, "operation FU", and 'banderloges'. And society, of course. 
16:40 I think the joke by Zagoretz about 2069 is better than Putin's job about society! They're even better together, of course. Good bye, friends. Please follow us on Twitter.
16:41 I think that "society" - is the best line of this Direct Line. Thanks, friends, that you've followed us for all these long hours. We love you! 
16:42 Friends, it's time to say good-bye. Be happy and talk as little as possible!