MOSCOW – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused a leading liberal radio station of constantly disparaging him and serving foreign interests, the BBC said. At a regular meeting with editors-in-chief of leading media, he told Moscow Echo radio’s Alexei Venediktov: “You pour diarrhoea over me day and night.”
He singled out a discussion of Russia’s opposition to US missile defence plans in Europe as an example of Echo’s bias. Venediktov later said Putin was entitled to criticise his station. “If I criticise him, why can’t he criticise me?”
Putin asked Ekho Moskvy’s editor-in-chief, Alexei Venediktov, whom he would vote for in presidential elections on March 4. “I haven’t voted since 1996,” Venediktov answered.
“Why?” Putin asked. “I will explain to you why,” Venediktov said. Putin interrupted: “I see that you are upset with me. I see it in your face.” “But why?” Putin continued. “I am not offended with you when you pour diarrhea on me from dawn to dusk. But you are offended!”
After that exchange, the microphones were switched off, and the meeting with about 30 editors from the Russian media continued behind closed doors, the Wall Street Journal said.
Putin is standing for re-election as president in March, having served two terms previously.