TV officials in Russia are to be “punished” after Vladimir Putin was “beheaded” on screen as he made his televised New Year’s message.
A channel in Kaliningrad – the country’s most westerly region – blamed a "technical glitch” rather than a political protest for the embarrassing scandal.
Only the lower half of the Russian strongman’s head was visible to viewers as addressed the nation against a backdrop of the Kremlin.
The president’s annual address is traditionally broadcast a few minutes before midnight in each of Russia’s 11 time zones.
It has a status akin to the Queen’s Christmas Day message in Britain and the Commonwealth.
But on Kaskad TV, the top of Putin’s face including his eyes was invisible during his longest-ever New Year’s message.
Horrified editors soon realised the error and aborted the broadcast on both television and the internet, replacing it with music.
Red-faced bosses at the channel admitted a “technical glitch” was to blame and offered “sincere apologies to the viewers” though surprisingly not to Putin himself.
They said an “investigation of the incident is ongoing” and menacingly “those who are guilty will be punished”.
The statement did not specify the punishments to be meted out, nor name those responsible – though there was speculation about them being “shot”.
A video of the blunder was recorded by a shocked viewer in Kaliningrad, and the incident sparked quick fire social media comments on his "beheading".
“Were the guilty shot yet?” asked one commenter.
“He is a KGB man after all, no-one should see his full face,” posted another.
“Everyone knows that there is only botox up there,” said one more.
One viewer observed that this was “quite a brave channel” while another predicted: “Kaput to Kaskad TV."
A few minutes earlier, a broadcast of New Year message by the regional governor Anton Alikhanov was screened without mishap.
Due to its location on the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad is the last Russian region to hear Putin’s address, an hour after Moscow.
His New Year broadcast lasted six minutes, a record for him, but shorter than his predecessor Boris Yeltsin’s famous message ushering in the year 2000, which announced that former KGB spy Putin was the new acting president.
He used the broadcast to lament about the difficulties caused by Covid-19, but also to urge Russians to have faith in themselves.
Putin noted that “not all of us are at the New Year table right now” due to deaths and illness caused by the coronavirus, but praised the work of doctors and the emergency services.
Source: Read Full Article