(Reuters) – Dozens of villagers thronged and cheered Russian President Vladimir Putin during an unannounced visit on Friday to a community near Moscow where he has ancestral ties.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Russian media that Putin visited the village of Turginovo to see places associated with his family.
Video posted by local news sites showed dozens of residents flocking the beaming president after he emerged from a car in the village square at dusk.
“Good health, strength and good luck,” one woman said. “Thank you for coming to see us. For remembering us.”
During a stop lasting only a few minutes, Putin expressed surprise that a science teacher at the local school was undertaking a doctoral degree and promised improved conditions to attract qualified people to the area.
Residents told him they needed more and better housing.
“Yes, yes, I agree, We’ll do everything gradually,” Putin told them during the encounter lasting only a few minutes. “My best wishes on the start of the school year.”
He was returning to Moscow after speaking to students at a “management lab” near the capital on “Knowledge Day”, Sept. 1, the traditional start of the school year.
(Reporting by Ron Popeski; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)