Russia journalist resigns after Putin question
A Russian journalist appears to have been forced to resign amid speculation that it was because she asked Russian President Vladimir Putin a surprise question during his annual televised press conference.
Alisa Yarovskaya from the state-run Yamal regional television channel took the microphone, although it was apparently meant for another Yamal-Region TV journalist selected by Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. She asked Putin about plans for a River Ob bridge linking Salekhard (pictured) and Labytnangi in the Yamalo-Nenets region in northwest Siberia.
The journalist said: “Our governor, Dmitry Artyukhov, is doing everything possible to ensure that the project takes place but we hear less and less about it.” Yarovskaya asked if it could become a federal project.
“We hear this discussed less and less at a federal level. So the question is can we get the federal ‘heavy artillery’ involved?” she asked.
Yarovskaya hailed the advantages of global warming as it meant Arctic ice route was melting. Infrastructure, including rail links, was being built but the Ob bridge was stalling, she added.
Putin said the project should remain under regional control but the bridge was “certainly one of the most important infrastructure projects”, according to the Kremlin website.
Yarovskaya’s social-media post said: “I don’t see botox or filler. He looks his age.”
The Facebook post has since been deleted.
The 67-year-old president was rumoured in 2011 to have had cosmetic surgery.
After rumours Yarovskaya had been fired, she told the Moscow News she resigned.
Putin’s annual press conference is tightly choreographed and Yarovskaya apparently asked a question that had not been vetted, according to the Moscow Times.
Her TV channel was reportedly displeased she had taken the microphone from a colleague, who was due to ask about rail links.
Ura.ru claimed the Yamalo-Nenets authorities, which own Yarovskaya’s former channel, were angered by implied criticism of the regional governor in her question.
A project manager for opposition leader Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) has been assigned compulsory military service in the Arctic, according to the organisation.
Ruslan Shaveddinov, 23, was apprehended in Moscow and sent 5,600km northeast to Novaya Zemlya to serve at a remote air defence base in the Arctic, Navalny said on Christmas Eve.
Navalny blamed Putin.
“Looks like Mr Putin himself drafted the plan to isolate our Ruslan,” Navalny tweeted.
The conscription was legal, Deputy Moscow Military Commissioner Maksim Loktev told the Kremlin mouthpiece Tass.
A December 23 court ruling rejected Shaveddinov’s claim to be medically ineligible for military service.
Russian military service is mandatory for most males who are drafted for one year between 18 and 28.
Salekhard. Picture credit: Wikimedia