Russian maths problem teaches students who's really in power

11th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Russian teacher has been asked to remove a mathematics problem from the Internet after he inadvertently revealed who most Russians believe is the country's most powerful figure.

"(Russian President Dmitry) Medvedev must guess the number imagined by (Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin or he will be fired from his post as president. How can he save his position?" read the problem, posted by Saint Petersburg teacher Grigory Chepichev for the children in his mathematics club.

"There was nothing political in this mathematical problem, which I invented with my colleagues for the children. It's simply to make the problems more fun, more interesting for the students," he told AFP.

The problem nonetheless seems to have raised eyebrows and Chepichev said he had removed it from the club's website on Wednesday "at the request of the authorities."

Putin ruled Russia as president for the maximum two consecutive terms allowed by the constitution from 2000-2008 and then handed over to Medvedev, becoming a powerful partner in a ruling tandem.

Many still consider Putin the most powerful man in Russia, however, and Putin has hinted that he may seek to return to the Kremlin during presidential elections in 2012.

In full the mathematical problem is as follows:

"Vladimir Putin names three two-digit numbers, a, b and c. Dmitry Medvedev has to in turn name three other numbers, X, Y and Z."

"Putin then gives him the sum aX+bY+cZ. Medvedev must guess the answer, otherwise he is sacked from the presidency."

© 2010 AFP

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