Putin's press conference: nothing new?
In his annual press conference Russian President Vladimir Putin criticised the US for withdrawing from the INF arms control treaty and Ukraine's President Poroshenko for the incident in the Kerch Strait. Commentators concur that the four-hour event was a crashing bore - with the exception of one or two of Putin's remarks.
The same old answers as always
Even if Putin's speech didn't contain much that was new it was worth listening to, writes the editor-in-chief of Zaxid.net, Vasyl Rassevich:
“The four-hour 'political striptease' of this ageing man driven crazy by total power and complete impunity was worth the loss of a few brain cells for the viewers. Putin's answers didn't deviate one iota from the theses put forward in the aggressive Russian propaganda that we're all so sick of hearing. But the interesting thing was to watch Putin trembling before his subjects once more. What he said on foreign policy has been known for a long time. But to hear the way he explained the stagnation of the economy and the decline in social standards was remarkable.”
Four hours of tribute and twaddle
Journalists are also to blame for the fact that the annual interview is so boring, Echo of Moscow laments:
“The problem is: Putin simply has nothing new to tell us. It's his luck that the people have a short memory and don't notice that he says more or less the same thing he did five or even ten years ago. The same promises, the same criticisms, the same enemies that never leave us in peace. ... But it's not only Putin's problem, it's also the problem of the journalists. And that's even more serious: if all we hear in four hours is just a couple of real journalists' questions, the whole spectacle becomes boring and primitive. ... Instead we see enthusiastic youths from the provinces who're thrilled to see Putin live in Moscow. Or the state-run media, keen as cucumbers, who've got nothing to offer apart from their adulation.”