Medvedev almost runs car into crowd
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.