Putin fury as Russian TV station ‘beheads’ leader in embarrassing New Year’s ‘glitch’

Putin says Russia is more ‘open’ than other countries

In Russia’s westerly region of Kaliningrad, a TV channel said the mistake was a “technical glitch” and not a political protest but will be punishing those who are “guilty”. President Putin gives an address each year just before midnight on New Year’s Eve which is broadcast to each of the country’s 11 time zones.

However, Kaskad TV cut off the top of the president’s face during his longest-ever annual speech.

The TV officials noticed the huge mistake and replace the television and internet broadcasts with music.

In a statement, the TV channel admitted to a “technical glitch” and offered “sincere apologies to the viewers”.

They added that an investigation of the mistake is taking place but did not appear to offer any apology to the president himself.

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Kaskad TV said: “Problems with the image during the broadcast of Vladimir Putin’s New Year address were caused by a technical glitch in the broadcasting room.

“An investigation of the incident is ongoing. Those who are guilty will be punished.

“Kaskas Media Group offers sincere apologies to the viewers.”

The TV channel’s mishap sent social media users into meltdown with some praising the station for its “courageous act” and labelling the glitch as Mr Putin’s “beheading”.

One Twitter user posted: “Russian President Vladimir Putin’s head was cut off by Kaliningrad-based station Kaskad TV when broadcasting his New Year message. A courageous act!”

Another wrote: “He is a KGB man after all, no-one should see his full face.”

A third user said: “Everyone knows that there is only Botox up there.”

While a fourth wrote: “Were the guilty shot yet?”

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Due to Kaliningrad’s location on the Baltic Sea and as Russia’s most westerly region, it is the last area to hear President Putin’s annual message an hour after Moscow.

The region’s governor Anton Alikhanov gave a New Year address without any mistakes a few minutes before President Putin’s message.

The Russian president’s address lasted a record length of six minutes.

Mr Putin took the opportunity to address last year’s challenges and the difficulties faced by the country during the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “It appears that the outgoing year has taken in the burden of many years.

“It was a difficult year for all of us, with worries and serious financial difficulties, bitter experiences and, for some, loss of the loved ones.”

He added how “not everyone is sitting around the New Year’s table now” due to the pandemic.

President Putin said: “Many people remain in the hospitals, and I am sure they all feel the support of their families and friends.”

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Russia has recorded 3,226,758 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic making it the fourth worst hit country in terms of infection levels.

Russia has also registered a total of 58,203 deaths related to the coronavirus according to the university’s figures broadcasting room.

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