In Public Chat, Putin Dodges Big Question

YouTube-style scripted 'dialogue' sheds no light on prez's next move
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2007 3:56 PM CDT
A shop assistant tries to switch a TV set to a colour mode during a question-and-answer call-in session with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow shop on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007. President Vladimir...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Vladimir Putin held his sixth and final “dialogue” with the Russian people today, but the departing president revealed few clues about how he might maintain power after leaving office. The 3-hour YouTube-debate-style discussion saw Putin respond—from scripted text, some said—to ordinary citizens, but he didn't elaborate on his plans to become PM, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Since Putin’s recent declaration that he'll run for parliament in December, talk about his future has dominated public political discussion. His failure to show his hand today didn’t slow jaded critics: One suspicious observer said he’s “not made a single change in the Constitution, and yet we are living today in a totally different country.”