A leaked video that show Vladimir Putin berating Russian officials during a meeting with cabinet ministers and regional leaders has shocked many in Russia, where Putin usually goes to great lengths to appear nonchalant and relaxed.
The video was published Wednesday to LifeNews.ru, and appears to have been covertly filmed by someone in the room during a meeting on housing issues, even though the Russian president had told journalists to turn off their cameras before beginning on his screed.
Fred Weir of the Christian Science Monitor has translated some of the harsher words.
“How are we working?,” Putin tells the group. “The quality of work is extremely low. If we’re going to work like that then we’ll achieve [nothing].”
Putin went on to imply he may have to fire some officials: “If we don’t do this, we will have to admit that either I’m not working effectively, or you all are working badly and you all should leave. I want to draw your attention to the fact that today I am leaning towards the second option.”
The Kremlin has criticised the release of the video, but many are wondering if there’s more to the story — and whether it could be a sign that Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev has fallen out of favour in Moscow.
LifeNews.ru is a website with known links to the Kremlin, and the video was released just hours before Medvedev due to give a report on the ailing Russian economy to the country’s parliament.
Later on Wednesday, police raided one of Medvedev’s pet projects, the Skolkovo innovation hub near Moscow. Bloomberg reports that police are investigating the alleged misspending of 3.5 billion rubles ($111 million) provided by the government.
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