The Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin has called for tough action against those behind last week’s bombing of a train between Moscow and St Petersburg. Speaking on a live TV phone-in programme, he said the threat from terrorist groups remained high. Islamist rebels have said they carried out the attack that killed 26 people.
The programme on state television took questions by video-link from around the country, including from cities badly hit by the economic crisis. Billed as “A Conversation with Vladimir Putin: The Sequel”, this was his eight such phone-in, which developed into an annual event during his presidency. He was linked up to one town which is home to the strugging carmaker Lada – and another where he intervened in the summer to save a threatened cement factory. The prime minister said the recession had caused industrial production to shrink by 13 percent this year. But he said the worst of the crisis was over. The programme was broadcast from a conference centre next to the Kremlin, giving Putin the chance to boost his popularity ratings – which although high have dropped slightly.