Support The Moscow Times!

Kneeling Russian Pensioner Confronts Medvedev Over Hot Water Shutoff

Yekaterina Shtukina / POOL / TASS

A Russian pensioner has dropped to her knees in front of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in an encounter that drew comparisons to his iconic 2016 quote that turned into a meme.

Cameras were rolling during Medvedev’s visit to a Siberian village with his entourage when the woman kneeled on the snowy ground in front of the prime minister, ignoring security agents urging her to stand up.

“I’m tired of going through the channels [...] How long will they keep denigrating me?” she said, voice cracking, begging for authorities to install hot water in her apartment building. 

After hearing her out, Medvedev responded: “Don’t worry, there will be water. All the best.” Hours later, local media published footage of the regional governor visiting her apartment and promising to solve the water issue.

Medvedev was later filmed recounting the unexpected meeting — omitting any reference to her kneeling. 

“There’s always enough problems: A woman came up to me and told me about the lack of hot water,” the prime minister said during a press scrum in the same village. 

“Still, there will be progress: We’ll probably build a sports complex here, you just [need to] file an application,” he was heard telling the Altai region villagers.

The woman’s pleas evoked a 2016 meet-and-greet where Medvedev told disgruntled Crimean pensioners that “There’s no money, but you hang in there.”

The off-the-cuff remark went viral on Russian social media and turned into a meme sensation. It later became a rallying cry during a 2017 wave of anti-corruption protests led by Russia’s opposition.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.