AP Photos: On the campaign trail with Vladimir Putin

March 13, 2018

In this photo taken on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to employees of Uralvagonzavod factory in Nizhny Tagil, Russia . President Vladimir Putin has sought to reach out to voters across Russia. Putin has appealed to various social groups and traveled to many of the country’s far-flung regions, promising to bolster the economy, raise living standards and combat poverty. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

NIZHNY TAGIL, Russia (AP) — There’s no question Russian voters will re-elect President Vladimir Putin on Sunday. His approval rating is about 80 percent.

But the Kremlin is worried about voter apathy and looking to boost turnout, so Putin has been out making appearances, seeking to reach voters across the country.

The Associated Press recently followed him on the campaign trail as he traveled to Nizhny Tagil, home to Uralvagonzavod, the world’s largest manufacturer of battle tanks, which also makes railway cars.

Putin focused on the need to modernize the country’s industries, support innovative technologies and raise skills of its workforce.

“We need people with new knowledge, fresh approaches, people who are ready to meet the new challenges,” he told a forum on young workers.

He pointed at his own family history, saying that his father also worked at a plant making railway cars and was proud of his job.

Workers asked about the future of heavy industries and professional training, and Putin said the government will sponsor efforts to expand opportunities for professional training and learning new skills.

After hopping by helicopter back to Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city which is a key industrial hub, Putin chaired a meeting with top officials on training industrial personnel.

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