Putin accuses free media of pandering to foreign interests

Prime Minister said Moscow radio station's output had 'poured diarrhoea' over him

Moscow

Vladimir Putin has launched a vitriolic attack on one of Russia's few independent media outlets, accusing its editor-in-chief of unfounded criticism and insinuating the radio station served foreign interests.

Russia's Prime Minister lectured Alexei Venediktov, of Ekho Moskvy radio, during a meeting on Wednesday with Russian media hotshots. At the same meeting he attacked the leaders of recent mass protests against his planned return to the Kremlin for not engaging in dialogue with the authorities, despite in the past having dismissed them as foreign agents.

Mr Putin, in his characteristic earthy lexicon, said that Mr Venediktov's radio station "poured diarrhoea" over him in its broadcasts. He also said that while lying in bed one evening he had listened to a discussion on US plans for a missile defence system in Europe and come to the conclusion that the radio station was biased. "I have never heard such ravings... This isn't news, this is serving the foreign policy interests of one state with regard to another, with regard to Russia."

Ekho Moskvy is owned by the state energy giant Gazprom, but is able to keep an independent editorial line and is widely respected in Russia. Unlike state-controlled television, it gives airtime to members of the liberal and radical opposition to the Kremlin. Mr Putin has frequently suggested that those who oppose him are doing the bidding of foreign powers. He has suggested that rights activists are "jackals" who wait outside Western embassies for cash handouts, and recently said that the mass protests against his rule were organised by the US State Department.

In a barbed exchange with Mr Venediktov, Mr Putin tried to suggest that it was the radio editor who was overly sensitive to criticism, but it was the Prime Minister who came out looking the thinner skinned. "You're offended, I can see it on your face," said Mr Putin. Mr Venediktov said he was indeed offended.

"But I don't get offended with you, when you pour diarrhoea on me day and night. I've said two words to you and now you're offended," Mr Putin replied.

Mr Venediktov said he was joking, and was not actually offended. "Well, I'm not joking," shot back Mr Putin.

"It was completely unexpected that he would start criticising the station," said Mr Venediktov. "But if I criticise him, then why shouldn't he be able to criticise me too."

At the meeting with Russian media chiefs, Mr Putin was also asked why he has not reached out for dialogue with the leaders of the protest movement.

Mr Putin is standing in presidential elections on 4 March that would see him returned to the Kremlin. Even though he is still likely to win, the expected smoothly choreographed transition appears to have been derailed somewhat by the protests against him and his United Russia party that have swept the country in recent months.

Yesterday several opposition politicians said they would be happy to meet Mr Putin to discuss their demands.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Recruitment Resourcer / Recruitment Account Manager

£20 - 25k + Bonus: Guru Careers: Are you a Recruitment Consultant looking to m...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night