The Latest: Putin attacks opposition leaders – Washington Post

MOSCOW — The Latest on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s live call-in show (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

President Vladimir Putin says he is willing to work with all politicians who want to help people’s lives but has dismissed unnamed opposition leaders for “exploiting” Russia’s economic difficulties.

Tens of thousands took to the streets across Russia’s 11 times zones on Monday in widespread anti-government protests unseen in years. The protests were called for by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was detained outside his home before he could head out to the rally and later sentenced to 30 days in jail for staging an unsanctioned rally. Navalny announced last December that he would run for president in 2018.

Asked about Monday’s protest, Putin said on a live call-in show on Thursday that he was “prepared to talk with everyone who genuinely wants to improve people’s lives and solve the country’s problems.” He dismissed “some” opposition leaders for “exploiting the problems instead of offering solutions.”

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3:20 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated that he would give his approval to a much-disputed bill that would allow Moscow’s City Hall to pull down Soviet-era apartment blocks and relocate 1.6 million people.

The controversial bill has rattled many in Moscow who see the plans as an encroachment on their constitutional rights and a ruse to evict them from leafy neighborhoods to high-rise ones on the city’s outskirts. Moscow City Hall hails the plan that would pull down more than 4,500 blocks as a solution to get rid of dilapidated, poor-quality housing that is too costly to maintain. Thousands of people took to the streets in Moscow last month to protest against the demolition plan in the largest nonpolitical protest in years.

Putin said a during live call-in show on Thursday that the low-rise Soviet blocks will be a burden on the city’s budget in 10-15 years’ time if “the problem is not solved.” Putin also called on authorities t be mindful of the needs of the residents who are to be evicted and said “citizens’ rights, property rights are not violated.”

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