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Passenger Jet 'Diverted' by Putin's Plane

Moscow drivers are used to being delayed because of President Vladimir Putin's motorcade. But now a planeload of passengers might be able to blame Putin for their late arrival in St. Petersburg.

A passenger jet operated by state-owned airline Rossia was forced to reroute to Helsinki on Wednesday after its arrival to St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport clashed with Putin's flight itinerary, St. Petersburg news site Fontanka reported, citing an unidentified airport official.

Rossia Flight FV242 was supposed to arrive in St. Petersburg from Berlin at 3:25 p.m. But after the last-minute re-rerouting to Helsinki, its expected arrival was pushed back by about two hours, according to the flight board at the airport.

Putin flew to St. Petersburg to celebrate the May 1 holiday by handing out Hero of Labor awards, a revival of a Soviet-era tradition.

In recent months Putin has taken to flying a helicopter from his residence outside Moscow to the Kremlin in order to avoid snarling traffic and further inflaming the anger of drivers.

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