Putin sick of Russians living in 'huts'

  • 16/06/2017
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin. Photo credit: Getty

Vladimir Putin isn't giving a direct answer when asked whether he will be Russia's President this time next year, saying only that the Russian people should decide who succeeds him.

"I am still working," Mr Putin said during his annual question-and-answer session with Russian citizens on Thursday, in response to a question as to whom he would leave as his successor.

"I want to say that the voter, the Russian people should decide this," Mr Putin said, adding that the President in the next term should increase people's incomes.

Opinion polls show Mr Putin would comfortably win another term in office if he decides to stand, but have also laid bare widespread political apathy and serious concerns about bread and butter issues such as low wages, rising consumer prices and substandard housing.

Mr Putin, who will turn 65 this year, has dominated Russia's political landscape for 17 years and remains popular with many Russians.

But low world oil prices and Western sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine have hit Russia hard, reducing the amount of money Mr Putin can throw at domestic problems.

"What does the objective data show? It shows that the recession in the Russian economy is over. We have moved to a period of growth," Mr Putin told voters.

"Everything will be okay."

When asked to list his priority tasks, he named increasing productivity and wages, making sure that people no longer had to live in "huts", and tackling poverty.

He said while he sees opposition street protests as a healthy part of democracy, they should not be used as a provocation.

Baton-wielding riot police broke up opposition protests on Monday and detained hundreds of demonstrators in Moscow and other Russian cities.

The protests were some of the biggest in Russia since 2012.

Reuters / Newshub.