28 february 2012

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, together with residents of the building in Astrakhan destroyed by a gas explosion, tours new housing for accident victims


The prime minister and residents of the building destroyed by a gas explosion in Astrakhan took a bus to reach their new housing. En route, the prime minister spoke with the residents assigned for relocation, answered their questions and discussed relocation plans with Governor Alexander Zhilkin. A woman on the bus asked Vladimir Putin whether the new flats will be provided based on existing per capita housing standards or whether their new flats will be similar to the ones that they had in the old building. Vladimir Putin reassured her saying the following: "No, not based on housing standards. The new flats will not be smaller than the ones you had."

The governor said that the residential building they were going to tour was brand new and had been built under the programme for relocation from ramshackle buildings. Since this is an emergency, he said, a decision will be taken on each case individually. "Your new flat will not be any smaller than the one that you lived in before," he said.

Having looked at several flats together with the prime minister, the residents of the collapsed building were satisfied with their new home and expressed their gratitude to the prime minister. "I wish you the best, and I believe that it won't be long before you settle in," Vladimir Putin said.

Following the tour, the prime minister reiterated that the new flats will be as large as the ones lost in the explosion. "All residents will not fit in one building, so we'll take two buildings and move all the families," Vladimir Putin said. He said that the regional authorities will resolve all infrastructure issues. "This will be a nice housing community with access roads and adequate transport. Children's needs will be taken care of as well," the prime minister said.

Towards the end, Vladimir Putin was approached by a mother with several children whose husband died in the explosion. She asked for two flats to replace the one that had been destroyed in the blast. The prime minister reassured her that her request would be granted, and the governor said that he would see to it personally.

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Vladimir Putin takes questions from journalists on the foiled plot to assassinate him

Question: Mr Putin, you were no doubt already aware of the plot to assassinate you. What do you think about such threats?

Vladimir Putin: Listen, people in my position should expect this, and these things shouldn't interfere with their work. In my case, they never have and never will. I have been living with such threats since 1999. There's no way around it.

Question: Do they scare you?

Vladimir Putin: If you keep thinking about it and let the fear in, then there's no way to live your life. Let them fear us.

Question: Are you going to beef up your security force?

Vladimir Putin: Why?

Remark: Critics are saying that it's a PR move by Putin...

Vladimir Putin: This is not the first time it has happened. This has been going on since 1999. Some time ago, a special unit was formed to carry out such attempts. Some of these masterminds are no longer with us, so I'll say it again: Let them fear us.

Remark: Take care of yourself.

Vladimir Putin: I'll do my best. You too.