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Reported by: Associated Press
Reported: Thursday, April 17, 2014 11:56 AM EDT

Russian President Vladimir Putin is assuring Edward Snowden that Russians have nothing to fear when it comes to mass surveillance by their own government.

Several hours into Putin's televised call-in show today, there was an appearance on video from Snowden, the American who leaked a trove of material on U.S. government surveillance programs from the National Security Agency. He was granted asylum in Russia last year.

Snowden asked, "Does Russia intercept, store or analyze the communications of millions of individuals?"

It's a question that came as little surprise to Putin, since the program was heavily stage-managed.

Putin replied, "Special services here, thank God, are under the strict control of the government, society, and their operations are regulated by law."

His official answer, though, differs sharply from the reality in Russia.

In recent months, Russia's Internet regulatory body has shut down the domain of a leading opposition figure. It's also moved to block groups on Russia's leading social network that were connected to the Ukrainian protest movement that helped force out the country's Kremlin-backed president.

%@AP Links

168-a-26- -"by the law (audio trails out)"-Heard here through an interpreter, Russian President Vladimir Putin answers a question phoned into his televised talk show by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden, who's currently living in Russia. ((note length)) (17 Apr 2014)

<<CUT *168 (04/17/14)££ 00:26 "by the law (audio trails out)"

167-a-07-(Edward Snowden, former National Security Agency systems analyst, calling in to Russian President Vladimir Putin's televised program on the Russian network RTR)-"millions of individuals?"-Former NSA analyst Edward Snowden called in to Russian President Vladimir Putin's televised talk show to ask about Russia's surveillance programs. (17 Apr 2014)

<<CUT *167 (04/17/14)££ 00:07 "millions of individuals?"

APPHOTO XPAG104: Edward Snowden, displayed on television screens, asks a question to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a nationally televised question-and-answer session, in Moscow, Thursday, April 17, 2014. Speaking in a televised call-in show with the nation, Putin harshly criticized the West for trying to pull Ukraine into its orbit and said that people in eastern Ukraine have risen against the authorities in Kiev, who ignored their rights and legitimate demands. Putin also took a video question from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, whom Russia granted asylum last year. Asked by Snowden about Russia's surveillance programs, Putin said that Russian special services also tap on communications in their fight against terrorism, but don't do it on such a massive scale as the U.S. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin) (17 Apr 2014)

<<APPHOTO XPAG104 (04/17/14)££


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