TASS-FACTBOX, December 19. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold his annual news conference in Moscow on December 20, 2018.
Back in 2001, Putin’s first meeting with a large audience of media workers was arranged in response to numerous requests for an interview with the Russian leader. In 2001-2017, a total of 13 such news conferences took place: seven in 2001-2008 (with the exception of 2005) and five in 2012-2016.
While serving as Russia’s prime minister - from May 2008 to May 2012 - Putin did not hold such meetings with the media but the tradition resumed after his re-election as head of state.
The shortest of these news conferences lasted for one hour and 35 minutes in 2001. The 2008 news conference set the record as being the longest one, lasting for four hours and 40 minutes. Starting from 2004, no annual news conference lasted less than four hours.
Since 2001, the number of media workers attending Putin’s news conferences has grown 3.3 times. About 500 journalists were accredited to cover his first news conference back in 2001, while as many as 1,640 media workers gathered for the event in 2017, which was an all-time record.
In 2001-2008, the number of journalists who addressed their questions to Putin increased with every passing year. At his first news conference back in 2001, the Russian president answered to questions asked by 20 journalists, half of whom represented foreign media outlets. In 2008, a total of 80 reporters, including media workers representing 18 foreign news outlets, had a chance to address questions to the president. The highest number of questions were asked in 2008. In 2012-2015, the number of journalists who addressed Putin somewhat declined. In 2012, Putin answered questions from 62 reporters (including nine foreign ones), in 2013, there were questions from 52 (11) media workers, in 2015, from 32 (5), in 2016, from 48 (10), and in 2017, 55 reporters, including six foreign ones, asked the Russian leader questions.
At first, Putin met with journalists in the Round Hall of Building 14 (part of the presidential residence inside the Kremlin walls), which seated about 800. In 2012-2017, the building was first closed for renovation and then dismantled, so Putin’s news conferences were moved to the International Trade Center on Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment.
Putin’s first news conferences were broadcast live on Channel One (known as ORT before 2002), the Rossiya TV channel and the Mayak radio station. Radio Rossii (or Radio of Russia) joined the team of broadcasters in 2006. In 2008, the two TV channels showed only parts of the news conference, while it was broadcast in full on the Vesti-24 TV channel and the Vesti FM radio station. Starting from 2012, the Channel One, Rossiya-1, Rossiya-24 TV channels and the Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii radio stations have been broadcasting Putin’s annual news conferences live. In 2015, they were joined by the Public Television of Russia.