President Dimitri Medvedev is putting out his regular video blog while on vacation. And as correspondent Jessica Golloher reports, the Russian leader is asking citizens to chime in.
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LISA MULLINS: Even though Russian is a key player in the energy crisis in Europe, Russian president Dimitri Medvedev was far away from Moscow. He's on holiday in the south. But he found time to put out his regular video blog. And, as Jessica Golloher reports, for the first time, Medvedev asked Russians to respond to his blog.
JESSICA GOLLOHER: Considering the country's perilous economy, the dispute with neighboring Ukraine and much of the rest of Europe over natural gas deliveries and rocky relations with the US, it was a slightly surreal performance. With the background of majestic snow-capped mountains and sporting a stylish black ski jacket with brown fur trim, Medvedev was in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The topic: The importance of the country's physical education and sports program. Medvedev says that quite frankly, not enough has been done to develop and create the proper physical culture in Russia. He acknowledged that during the Soviet era, this was not encouraged, but now Russians should take advantage of what the country has to offer, like downhill skiing in Sochi. That's where he spent the recent holidays with his family. He said he really liked it. Medvedev went on to say that a person's well being can be linked to a nation's wealth as a whole. Medvedev barely mentioned Russia's economy, and when he did, it was to promise Russia is making an effort to ensure that the facilities for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi are the best possible, and that â€œthis is not a place to pinch pennies.â€ About 100 edited comments from around Russia were posted in response to the video blog. One of the first comments praised Medvedev's â€œcool, fur-lined ski jacketâ€ and asked what label it was. After that, the comments were not so complimentary. Inna, a blogger from Vyborg, near Finland, said doing sports in Russia was â€œcrazily expensive,â€ including going to her local swimming pool she said was owned by Gazprom. Several others complained that instead of talking about sports, the President should promote the fight against alcoholism. One blogger just felt the need to let Medvedev know he looked tired and had bags under his eyes. In any event, the Russian President promised to read all of the comments and
said he hoped it had given viewers the opportunity to say everything they wanted to. For The World, I'm Jessica Golloher in Moscow.