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    MOSCOW, January 19th, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Yelena Glushakova) - Vladimir Putin got in touch with schoolchildren from the Yaroslavl telecommunications and information systems centre and answered their questions on Monday. (Yaroslavl is an ancient Russian town on the upper Volga.) In particular, the children asked the president when he had begun to do sports. Putin answered he had started with boxing and then wrestling at 12.

    Besides, the president was asked what to do if the children's opinion did not coincide with the president's. "This is normal," the head of state said.

    "There can be no single opinion on all issues," stressed the president. "This is absolutely normal and natural, and this is how it should be. An optimal decision can only be found after different viewpoints have been considered." A schoolboy asked about Vladimir Putin's performance at school and suggested that a section about the president's school years be created. The head of state answered he had never made a secret of his record at school. "My diaries have already been found and even published," he said.

    The president emphasised that the children's site should include issues of the state activity, and present them in a comprehensible and interesting way.

    "The goal of the site is to help young citizens understand Russia's state structure, and not to spread the cult of the president's personality," Putin said.

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