Video catches Russian president in driving gaffe

Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:31am EDT
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MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) - Memo to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev: next time you plunge into a crowd, don't forget to park your car first.

Medvedev took his "Forward, Russia!" motto a bit too far in an incident captured on video, stepping from the driver's seat of an SUV and then frantically trying to hold the vehicle back as it kept moving toward a group of people waiting to greet him.

Burly bodyguards swiftly came to his aid and managed to stop the car, a big black Mercedes, before it bore down on the gasping crowd Saturday in Kazan, a city 720 km (450 miles) east of Moscow.

"Oh, Dmitry Anatolyevich," a man is heard exclaiming in an admonishing tone in the video.

Nobody was reported hurt, but the gaffe drew some acerbic comments, driving tips and theories about what went wrong from a few of the 80,000 people who have watched the grainy clip posted on Youtube by user voronkov74.

"He left it in drive, the rookie," user ezikmarconi wrote.

"Instead of guns, his guards should be given bricks to throw under the wheels," user lqfvb80u wrote, adding a smiley face.

The Kremlin declined to comment on the incident, and it was unclear exactly what caused it. State media made no mention of the incident and the Youtube video was posted Tuesday, three days after it occurred.

Auto accidents are a major cause of death and injury in Russia, where car ownership was a luxury 20 years ago but has exploded since the 1991 Soviet collapse, and driving licenses can often be bought for a bribe.   Continued...

<p>Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev applauds during a ceremony to award young Russian cultural workers in Moscow's Kremlin June 28, 2011. REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin</p>