MOSCOW, June 1. /TASS/. More than half a million questions have streamed in just six days before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual Q&A session is scheduled to be held on June 7, Rossiya 24 television reported on Friday.
The public can send in their questions between May 27 and until the session ends. The most interesting and relevant ones will be asked online.
According to Rossiya 24, a total of 564,175 questions were received as of 9 am on June 1. Questions are asked by telephone, via SMS and MMS, on the website Moskva-putinu.ru, via an official mobile app and via official groups in VKontakte and Odnoklassniki social network services.
The most frequently asked questions target the objectives set out in Putin’s May Decrees. In particular, Putin is asked whether he indeed believes "that Russia is capable of joining the world’s five leading economies", "how will Russia get out of the demographic rut" and "what is necessary for a breakthrough development", among other questions.
More popular questions also address the second part of President Putin’s State of the Nation Address, in which the Russian leader unveiled a new array of nuclear arms. "Are these state-of-the-art weapons already in service, or (are they) still being tested or already commissioned?" is one of the questions.
Russian nationals are also eager to learn firsthand about pension reform, accessible mortgages for young families, soaring gasoline prices and contract service vs. conscription.
Regarding foreign affairs, Russians want to know whether President Putin will meet with US counterpart Donald Trump this year and if so, what will they discuss, as well as whether a thaw with the West can be expected in the near future. Russian nationals also want to learn whether Russia should assert its interests more aggressively. Recent gubernatorial appointments are also among the most frequently asked questions, in particular the appointment of 30-year-old Dmitry Artyukhov as head of the Yamalo-Nenets Region. "Is this a policy towards making the government younger?" they ask. Putin is even asked to foretell the winner in the upcoming FIFA World Cup hosted by Russia.
The Q&A session with the Russian public is an annual event in which Putin answers Russians’ questions live. This event was first held on December 24, 2001, on national TV and radio channels. It has been conducted annually since then, except for 2004 and 2012. Last year, the Q&A session was held on June 15. Putin answered the Russian public’s questions 11 times as president and four times as prime minister.