Russian Kremlin-controlled television has launched a new weekly show dedicated to President Vladimir Putin in an apparent attempt to stem a major fall in his approval ratings.
The first episode according to news agency AFP , which aired Sunday on the Rossiya 1 channel, showed the long-serving leader picking mushrooms in Siberia and in meetings with miners and schoolchildren.
The president already dominates state news bulletins but Rossiya 1’s hour-long show “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” provides a new format to showcase his activities.
The previously unannounced show comes as Putin faces a record fall in his approval ratings as a result of a deeply unpopular pension reform that saw thousands of Russians take to the streets in protest.
“This is the project of (state TV company) VGTRK, not the Kremlin’s,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.
“It is important for us that information about the president and his work schedule is shown correctly and without distortion,” he said.
Peskov added that Putin himself does not plan to take part in the programme.
But Peskov did take part in the first episode, interviewed by pro-Kremlin presenter Vladimir Solovyev, and praised Putin’s personal and professional achievements.
“Putin not only likes children, he likes people in general. He’s a very human person,” the spokesman told viewers.