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Sunday, 5 March, 2000, 17:50 GMT
Frost fascinates Russian media
Putin and Frost
It was Mr Putin's first interview to the foreign media
Russian news agencies have been fascinated by the BBC Sunday morning programme, Breakfast with Frost, which is hosted by veteran broadcaster and erstwhile 1960s satirist, Sir David Frost.

Battle for the Caucasus
The agencies devoted almost as much space in their reports to lauding the programme as they did to covering Mr Putin's comments on Nato, Chechnya and his life before politics.

Itar-Tass news agency said senior politicians pay great attention to the programme, quoting a Foreign Office spokeswoman to the effect that Foreign Secretary Robin Cook usually watched such important interviews.

"Breakfast with Frost is closely watched by Downing Street and the White House," the agency added.

frost
RIA called Sir David Frost a 'star and veteran of British analytical journalism'
RIA news agency interviewed the producer of the programme, Barney Jones, who said: "We made this interview because we think that Mr Putin is a very interesting person".

He replied to the questions posed to him at the Kremlin on Tuesday "frankly and in detail", Mr Jones said.

Veteran of British journalism

To RIA Sir David Frost is a "star and veteran of British analytical journalism", while to Itar-Tass he is "Mister Press ... a personal friend of the British royal family, the Rothschild family and a whole galaxy of British prime ministers and US presidents".

Itar-Tass praised "billionaire Frost ... the patriarch of British television" as a "clever aristocratic politician and influential image-maker for 40 years".

It said Breakfast with Frost was "the most popular news programme on British television".

In a report headlined "Putin to speak on most popular programme on British TV", Itar-Tass said "Breakfast with Frost, which has been aired for many years each Sunday morning by BBC One, is one of the best examples of classic British TV reporting ... It enjoys great popularity in Britain and in the West as a whole."

Communist comments

Russian Communist Party leader Gennadiy Zyuganov, however, was not impressed by Mr Putin's performance.

He told Interfax news agency that the interview had been "naive" and his comments about Russia's possibly joining Nato some day "unpardonable".

Mr Zyuganov's opinion of Sir David's interview technique - "aggressive, based on ideals of high integrity and able to understand the position of the politicians interviewed", according to Itar-Tass - was not reported.

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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See also:

05 Mar 00 |  Europe
Analysis: Putin wants respect
22 Feb 00 |  Europe
Cook woos Russian leader
15 Feb 00 |  Europe
Vladimir Putin joins the race
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