What you missed at Vladimir Putin's quite crazy press conference

Matthew Champion@matthewchampion
Thursday 18 December 2014 13:20

Almost three and a half hours after it started, Vladimir Putin's annual end-of-year press conference for Russian and international media is over.

If you didn't have that sort of time to spare listening to Russia's president, here's what you missed:

Putin blows local journalist's moment in the spotlight

Putin noted that a journalist who asked about supermarkets not stocking Kirov's local fermented bread drink (kvas) had had a few drinks himself.

However, Russia Today later clarified that the reporter was actually a stroke survivor.

Putin also risked a call from Coca-Cola's lawyers when he remarked that "many experts" say it is harmful.

"The thing is we have our own national drinks," he said.

U OK, hun?

A Russian journalist asked Putin whether he had time for a personal life and was generally OK on behalf of her aunt's friend (really).

"Everything is just fine don’t worry," Putin said.

"I have people who love me, everything is just fine, don’t worry."

The prize for the strangest journalist was a no-brainer, however

Protests did take place

Around 20 people were arrested outside the press conference venue, with one demonstrator wanting to ask Putin about his sexual orientation.

Russian water torture

People entering the press conference were told to hand over any bottles of water they might have thought would have been a reasonable thing to take into a press conference likely to last for several hours.

At least the president's got a drink, however. It's probably water. And not kvas... or Coca-Cola.

A voice of reason

The first question in English was from the BBC's world affairs editor John Simpson, who asked whether Putin would pull back from the brink of what has been painted in the west as a new cold war.

"We will work together if our partners want to cooperate with us," was Putin's answer, mainly ignoring the the question.

There are apparently no elites in Russia

Putin said ordinary workers were bearing the weight of the country on their shoulders. Right...

Putin has a sense of humour, just about

He was asked whether he made a mistake in pardoning Mikhail Khodorkovsky, formerly Russia's richest man who spent ten years in jail.

When told he was now planning on running for president, Putin replied: "President of which country?"

Crisis, what crisis?

Putin began by saying he wouldn't call the rouble's woes a crisis, then said he would not introduce capital controls. In fact he announced no specific measures and the rouble continued to fall against the dollar during the press conference.

Something, something a bear in the woods

When asked whether the situation with the rouble was a result of his annexation of Crimea, Putin responded:

Sometimes I think, maybe they'll let the bear eat berries and honey in the forest, maybe they will leave it in peace.

They will not. Because they will always try to put him on a chain, and as soon as they succeed in doing so they tear out his fangs and his claws.

Once they've taken out his claws and his fangs, then the bear is no longer necessary. He'll become a stuffed animal.

Tear this wall down

On a question about the world becoming more divided, Putin likened the expansion of Nato to the Berlin Wall, in the year the 25th anniversary of it coming down was marked.

Putin dresses exactly the same at these things

Seriously. The photo on the left is taken from last year's end-of-year press conference. On the right is Putin today. Or... it might have been the other way round. Hard to tell.

More: [Russian state TV really wants you to watch Putin's press conference]3