Medvedev al­most runs car into crowd

Shanghai Daily - - WORLD -

RUS­SIAN Pres­i­dent Dmitry Medvedev took his “For­ward, Rus­sia!” motto a bit too far in an in­ci­dent cap­tured on video, step­ping from the driver’s seat of an SUV and then fran­ti­cally try­ing to hold the ve­hi­cle back as it kept mov­ing to­ward a group of peo­ple wait­ing to greet him.

Burly body­guards came to his aid and man­aged to stop the big black Mercedes be­fore it headed for a crowd on Satur­day in Kazan, a city 720 kilo­me­ters east of Moscow.

“Oh, Dmitry Ana­tolye­vich,” a man ex­claims in an ad­mon­ish­ing tone in the clip.

No­body was re­ported hurt, but the gaffe drew some acer­bic com­ments, driv­ing tips and the­o­ries about what went wrong from a few of the 80,000 peo­ple who have watched the grainy clip posted on YouTube by user voronkov74.

“He left it in drive, the rookie,” user ezik­mar­coni wrote.

“In­stead of guns, his guards should be given bricks to throw un­der the wheels,” user lqfvb80u wrote, adding a smi­ley face.

The Krem­lin de­clined to com­ment on the in­ci­dent, and it was un­clear ex­actly what caused it. State me­dia made no men­tion of the in­ci­dent and the YouTube video was posted on Tues­day, three days af­ter it oc­curred.

Auto ac­ci­dents are a ma­jor cause of death and in­jury in Rus­sia, where car own­er­ship was a lux­ury 20 years ago but has ex­ploded since the 1991 Soviet col­lapse. Driv­ing li­cences can of­ten be bought for a bribe.

Medvedev and Prime Min­is­ter Vladimir Putin, who steered him into the pres­i­dency in 2008, ap­pear to share the grow­ing Rus­sian af­fec­tion for cars and have fre­quently taken the wheel in pub­lic ap­pear­ances.

The clip of the in­ci­dent in Kazan was the sec­ond eye­brow-rais­ing video this year de­pict­ing Medvedev, who is widely seen to be seek­ing Putin’s sup­port for a sec­ond pres­i­den­tial term in a March 2012 elec­tion.

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