Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Putin pledges tough action after train attack

The Russian prime minister says tough measures will be taken against those behind a deadly train bombing.

MOSCOW // Prime minister Vladimir Putin today urged "very tough" measures against terrorism, as he sought to assure Russians shocked by a deadly train bombing that killed dozens of people. "It is necessary to act in a very tough way against criminals who carry out these kinds of terrorist attacks," Mr Putin said in a televised phone-in show on national television where he took questions from ordinary Russians.

He insisted that Russia had "enough firmness and decisiveness" to prevent attacks like last Friday's bombing, which killed 26 and injured around 100 more passengers aboard a train heading from Moscow to Saint Petersburg. "We need all of society ? every one of us ? to be aware of this threat which has been with us all these years," said Mr Putin, who earned a reputation for toughness by cracking down on Chechen rebels during his rise to power a decade ago.

He admitted it would be "very difficult and complex" to prevent attacks on infrastructure targets across Russia's sprawling territory, but insisted it would be possible if citizens co-operated with the state. "We need to act pre-emptively. The law-enforcement agencies understand perfectly well what I mean," Mr Putin said, without elaborating. The comments came during a nationally broadcast phone-in show which continued a tradition from Mr Putin's presidency.

Mr Putin, who served as president in 2000-2008, is still seen by many Russians and political experts as the country's true leader, holding more power than his hand-picked successor in the Kremlin, President Dmitry Medvedev. There has been speculation that Mr Putin may seek to return to the presidency in 2012 when Mr Medvedev's term expires. Other questions in the phone-in show titled A Conversation with Vladimir Putin focused on economic issues such as pensions and unemployment.

People posed questions to Mr Putin by video link from locations including the northern town of Pikalyovo, which this summer was the site of a high-profile labour dispute as a local factory faced closure due to the economic crisis. More than a million questions also were sent in beforehand by telephone, SMS and e-mail. Russians had made 950,000 calls to the programme's hotline, the government press service told news agencies before it was set to begin. They also sent questions in 439,000 text messages and 70,000 e-mails.

During Mr Putin's presidency, the phone-in became a national tradition where he would answer dozens of questions on everything from tensions with the West to the most local issues. Thursday's phone-in was the eighth such talk with ordinary Russians that Mr Putin has conducted, and his second since stepping down as president and becoming prime minister last year. * AFP

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Fatema holds a picture of her son Nurul Karim as she poses for a photograph in front of her slum house in Savar. Fatema lost her son Nurul Karim and her daughter Arifa, who were working on the fifth floor of Rana Plaza when it collapsed on April 24, 2013. All photos Andrew Biraj / Reuters

These women know the real price of cheap high street fashion

Survivors of the world's worst garment factory accident, struggle to rebuild their lives from the rubble of the Rana Plaza collapse as Bangladesh prepares to mark the first anniversary of the disaster.

 Iranian workers at the Iran Khodro auto plant in Tehran on March 18. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

Iran’s love of cars survives devastating sanctions

Sanctions and energy subsidy reductions might have hurt the Iranian automotive industry. But car makers at one factory are still optimistic, Yeganeh Salehi reports from Tehran

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeted by university students as he leaves Sistan University in Sistan and Baluchestan’s provincial capital of Zahedan on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

In Iran’s most troubled province, Rouhani hears pleas for change

Hassan Rounani aims to connect with residents of far-flung Sistan and Baluchestan province.

 Prince Bandar bin Sultan in Riyadh on March 3, 2007. Hassan Ammar / AFP Photo

Saudi Prince Bandar promised a victory he could not deliver

Saudi Arabia's controversial intelligence chief stepped down this week after rumours that his policies on Syria had fallen out of favour.

 Thai anti-government protesters blow whistles during a rally at the Metropolitan Electricity Authority in Bangkok, Thailand. Rungroj Yongrit / EPA

Best photography from around the world April 23

The NAtional View's photo editors pick the best of the day from around the world

 Aiza Tonida puts out laundry amid the ruins of her parents home in Leyte province that was destroyed when Typhoon Haiyan struck central Philippines on November 8, 2013. Joey Reyna for The National

Filipinos seek Middle East jobs to rebuild lives after Haiyan

Work in the GCC seen as only hope for thousands left homeless and jobless after devastating storm in November.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National