Hospital 'set up' for Putin visit, doctor tells TV show

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A cardiologist is in serious trouble with his local authorities after telling Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that he had been conned while on an official visit to a regional hospital.

Ivan Khrenov, a doctor from the Ivanovo region in Western Russia, phoned into to a four-hour question-and-answer session with Mr Putin that was aired live on Russian television on Thursday. Mr Khrenov told Mr Putin that during a recent visit to an Ivanovo hospital, a Potemkin village had been set up by the local authorities.

Some patients who looked too ill were told to go home and newer equipment had been moved from other hospitals in the region to make the facility look more modern and better equipped.

After Mr Putin left, the equipment was moved back again, the cardiologist said. Mr Putin said the allegations were "strange" and promised that a ministerial commission would visit the hospital and look into them.

The local authorities in Ivanovo were quick to react. Mr Khrenov's mother said that her son had been summoned to the local prosecutor's office for questioning and feared he would be sacked.

Mikhail Menn, the Governor of Ivanovo, wrote on his Twitter feed that there was no question of Mr Khrenov being fired. He called the accusations "absurd" and said that Mr Khrenov did not even work at the hospital in question.

Mr Khrenov said he wrote a letter to Mr Putin about the situation a month ago, and an official from the Prime Minister's administration had called and asked if he would be willing to ask the question on air. Mr Khrenov said sound technicians came to set up a special phone line the day before the television show, indicating callers were not random.