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    Putin responds to blogger angry over local fire brigade

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    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has responded to a letter by an Internet blogger angry over the fire safety situation in small Russian villages.

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has responded to a letter by an Internet blogger angry over the fire safety situation in small Russian villages.

    Head of the Ekho Moskvy FM station, Alexei Venediktov, told RIA Novosti that his team monitor blogs of residents of fire-damaged regions on a daily basis. In the beginning of the week, Ekho Moskvy sent Putin one of the posts and received an answer from the premier.

    Venediktov said the author of the post, a blogger from the Tver region, in harsh words described the fire safety situation in his village. Using swear words, he said he is ready to buy a personal fire truck in exchange for releasing him from contributing to his retirement fund.

    The blogger said that the only fireman in the village was armed with only a helmet and fire jacket, which was most likely left over from Soviet days. He also said there was no fire truck or no warning systems. He said the only warning bell was removed years ago and replaced with a telephone booth; however, workers never got around to connecting the phone lines to it.

    "In any case, I won't live to retirement," he wrote, meaning that the ecological situation is too unfriendly for humans.

    Putin said the local and federal government is in charge taking care of the disaster but reminded the blogger that the heat had been caused by abnormal weather, which no one was able to predict.

    "You are a remarkably frank person, simply great. And you are a gifted writer. If you made your living by writing... you could have lived on Capri," Putin said in his letter, referring to an Italian resort.

    A scorching heat wave has gripped much of European Russia since mid-June, sparking wildfires and causing the worst drought in decades.

    Moscow and a dozen other cities have been wrapped in a thick layer of smog. Health experts say pollution levels are so high that breathing has become as dangerous as smoking several packs of cigarettes a day.

    MOSCOW, August 4 (RIA Novosti) 

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