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In Microphone Lapse, Putin Slams Professor as ‘Nutball’

© RIA Novosti . Mikhail Klimentyev  / Go to the photo bankVladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin - Sputnik International
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Russian President Vladimir Putin fell victim to technology at a public event Thursday when an emotional response to a question about the Arctic was unintentionally caught on microphone.

MOSCOW, October 3 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin fell victim to technology at a public event Thursday when an emotional response to a question about the Arctic was unintentionally caught on microphone.

“Nutball,” Putin said under his breath at a meeting with senior functionaries of the ruling United Russia party after being asked about a recent proposal to put the Russian section of the Arctic under international control.

His actual response was more politely worded, but no less harsh. He called the idea “utter nonsense” and “an unpatriotic position.”

The idea was pitched last weekend by Sergei Medvedev, a professor of political science at the prestigious Higher School of Economics in Moscow.

Dozhd online television cited Medvedev as saying on his Facebook account that he saw Putin’s statement as a “reward,” but the professor later wrote that he deleted his statement and would comment later in a separate article in Forbes Russia.

Russia is preparing to drill for oil in the Arctic despite opposition from environmental organizations that say no safe technologies are currently available for such projects. An attempt at scaling a Russian oil rig in the Arctic Pechora Sea last month ended in criminal charges for 30 crew members of a Greenpeace icebreaker currently being held at a Russian pretrial facility.

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