Putin Seeks to Calm Russians' Economic Fears as Vote NearsBy and
President holds annual `direct line' phone-in with people
Prices, wages, social questions are top issues, Kremlin says
President Vladimir Putin assured Russians that the economy will resume growth next year in his annual call-in show Thursday, using the Kremlin-controlled exercise to shore up his support as the country’s longest economic downturn in two decades pushes more people into poverty.
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