Sean Gallup/Getty Images(MOSCOW) — During his annual marathon news conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday mistook a stroke victim for a drunk.
He called on a reporter, thinking he was from Turkey, but who was instead from the Russian region of Kirov. The lively reporter, identified as Vladimir Mamatova, wanted to ask about why the traditional Russian drink, kvas, can’t compete with Coca-Cola and Pepsi for shelf space in stores.
Kirov is famous for its production of kvas, a lightly alcoholic beverage of fermented bread.
“Kvas?” Putin asked. “I feel you’ve already drank kvas.”
As the audience roared with laughter, Mamatova explained that he wanted to bring some in for Putin to taste, but that security would not allow it.
“I got it. You do not have a taster,” Mamatova said. “My question is this. We make a lot of this kvas, we make it well and for long time.”
“Yes, I see this,” Putin said, chuckling.
But Mamatova had apparently suffered two strokes and was not drunk, according to Kremlin-friendly LifeNews.
After the news conference, Mamatova stood outside the conference center that hosted the event smoking a cigarette and sipping a bottle of kvas.
Outside I found the kvas guy… sipping kvas pic.twitter.com/Hd0YKr9DWl
— Kirit Radia (@KiritRadia) December 18, 2014
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