In this Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015 photo released on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015 by the Kremlin press service, Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles as he listens to a question during an interview with CBS and PBS in Moscow, Russia. (Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian media are abuzz with anticipation of President Vladimir Putin’s speech at the UN.
Putin is in the United States for the first time since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and threw its support behind separatist rebels in Ukraine. What is more, Russia’s recent military buildup in Syria has raised concern in the West about Putin’s future steps there.
A state-owned news channel has run a countdown to the opening of the UN General Assembly on its screen all day Monday. Another Russian television channel, Ren-TV, said Monday that Putin is “preparing a speech that will change the world.”
Russian TV stations on Monday topped their newscasts with excerpts from Putin’s CBS interview, dwelling on the fact that an American channel ran it in prime time. Ren-TV even claimed that “this interview has already become one of the most successful products of American television.”
Putin’s interference in Ukraine and his attempts to carve out a role in Syria have been seen as an attempt to distract Russians from the country’s flagging economy. For months, Ukraine has dominated Russian newscasts while the Russian currency was in a freefall, the economy entered recession and the average income for Russians contracted for the first time since Putin took power in 2000.
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