MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS /. A record-setting number of journalists - 1,640 - has been accredited to attend Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference due on December 14.
The list of accredited journalists is available on the Kremlin’s website. Among them are mostly Russian regional journalists along with reporters from the United States, Germany, Japan, France, China, Poland and Estonia.
Among the accredited journalists is Russian socialite Ksenia Sobchak, who will stand in the country’s presidential election in 2018. She will represent the Dozhd television channel at the news conference. Sobchak attended Putin’s annual news conference twice - in 2014 and 2015.
The list has the name of radio presenter Tatiana Shadrina (Felgengauer) of the Ekho Moskvy station. In October she was attacked and stabbed in the neck by an Israeli citizen. Commenting on the attack, Putin said it had nothing to do with freedom of expression in Russia.
The popularity of Putin’s news conference has been steadily growing every year. More than 500 journalists were accredited for Putin’s first annual news conference in 2001, their number jumped to 700 in 2002 and 2003 and reached almost 750 people in 2004.
In 2007, the number of accredited journalists soared to 1,132, and has been fluctuating since: in 2008 - 1,364, in 2013 - 1,327, in 2014 - 1,259. In 2015, 1,390 journalists were accredited to Putin’s press conference, whereas in 2016 -1,350.
In 2017, the news conference will become the last for Putin during his current term in office. On December 6, Putin announced he would run for another presidential term in March 2018.
Since 2001, Putin has been annually holding news conferences, with a break when he served as prime minister between May 2008 and May 2012.
The Russian president traditionally convenes his annual news conference in December to sum up the outgoing year’s results. The conference has no time limits. The shortest of these news conferences lasted for 1 hour and 33 minutes back in 2001. The 2008 news conference set the record as being the longest one, lasting for 4 hours and 40 minutes.