Vladimir Putin
Russian president Vladimir Putin fielded questions for more than 3.5 hours on Thursday 14 AprilReuters

Vladimir Putin promised the Russian people that the beleaguered economy would bounce back, and brandished his country's credentials in overseas conflicts, such as Syria, in his annual marathon call-in show on 14 April.

Ahead of the tightly scripted and rehearsed show, the Kremlin said that more than one million questions had been sent in to the president with the ones finally aired ranging from potholed Russian roads to ties with Turkey.

The faltering economy, due to lower oil prices, will be an issue for the Russian parliamentary elections in September. In response to concerns over high inflation, poor public services and wage arrears, he said: "I share your concerns in nearly 100% of cases. We'll work together so that your problems are relieved."

During the three hour 40 minute session, he said that Syrian government forces, with Russia's support, had enjoyed some gains in Syria despite Russia's drawdown of troops – and was optimistic that the truce brokered by Moscow and the US would help peace talks in Geneva.

Putin said that despite poor relations between Moscow and Ankara, after it shot down a Russian warplane in November, he said Turkey was a friendly nation and it only had "problems with some politicians who have behaved improperly".

Putin also said that information from the Panama Papers revelations, implicating his friend and cellist Sergei Roldugin, with cash flows of up to $2bn (£1.4bn) "was correct".

"I have the feeling that it was prepared not by journalists but by lawyers, given the way it is presented. And it doesn't actually accuse anyone of anything, and that's the whole point.

"They are just trying to cause confusion, saying that some of my friends are involved in business, and suggesting that some of the money from these offshore accounts finds its way to officials, including the president."

Putin also praised US President Barack Obama as "decent" for admitting to failures over the US intervention in Libya, and he asked that foreign powers should treat Russia as an equal partner.

"They should not act from a position of strength, dictate imperial ambitions," Putin said.

He was asked by a 12-year-old if who he would save if Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and Ukraine's pro-Western leader Petro Poroshenko were both drowning in front of him.

"If someone has decided to drown, then it's already impossible to save them. But we are of course ready to extend a helping hand, a hand of friendship, to any partner of ours that itself wants that help," Putin said

Journalists assessed the questions on twitter