MOSCOW (Reuters) ? Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday held his annual televised call-in show less than a week after thousands took to the streets to protest against his rule and to demand a re-run of recent parliamentary elections.
Below is a selection of comments on Putin's performance and what it says about his standing as paramount leader of Russia:
ROLAND NASH, CHIEF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, VERNO CAPITAL
"Putin always comes across very well on these calls but he has to keep working harder to maintain his credibility. I've never seen so much respect given to opposition parties -- he realizes the people protesting on Bolotnaya square have a point. Some of his comments -- such as that protesters were paid -- show that he is not completely in touch but overall it's a step in the right direction.
"Kudrin bridges a gap in that he is a proven technocrat and very close to Putin -- he is respected in government and by investors. It would be surprising if he did not come back to government."
TOM MUNDY, CHIEF STRATEGIST, OTKRITIE CAPITAL
"On standard questions about the economy he is very much on script -- he knows all the numbers and is very comfortable. Where he is less comfortable is in response to the protests -- he says people have a right to voice an opinion but is dismissive of the reasons behind the protests. There have been lots of allusions to international influence.
"It was interesting what he said about local government. I would not be surprised if there was a reshuffle of local government so it becomes more accountable. I think that would give voters the feeling they have a voice.
"Kudrin is very close to Putin and the strength of his expression -- that Kudrin had never left his team -- was notable. There is clearly space for Kudrin in the next cabinet. This will be welcomed by the market as he is a very respected politician."
ALEXEY BACHURIN, HEAD OF RUSSIAN CASH EQUITY TRADING AT RENAISSANCE:
"This is neutral for his popularity. He said all the right things so people who were supporting him could keep supporting him. But he could have said something to win the hearts of the people who are in between.
"He could say more things about an honest process of elections ... he's not winning any fresh votes. He didn't say anything to win the votes of the other crowd - he could have used this big event to push forward his rating."
(Reporting by John Bowker and Megan Davies, Editing by Douglas Busvine)