Last year, Putin talked to Russians on April 25. The talk lasted a record time of four hours and 47 minutes and passed in traditional format, as the president was staying in a Moscow studio answering questions of several dozens of guests, as well as telephone calls and electronic messages.
The acceptance of questions and addresses to the president usually begins several days before televised talks. The most interesting and topical questions will be voiced during the presidential question-and-answer session. Meanwhile, several teleconference bridge sessions between the Moscow studio and Russian regions are planned for the live session.
Meanwhile, the list of settlements, residents of which will be able to ask questions to the president in a call-in show, remains secret strictly until the last moment.
The first similar teleconference hook-up with Moscow was made from eight capital cities of Russian constituent entities. Then the president gave preference to little towns, district centers and small settlements. According to the tradition one TV link-up was made with a foreign country: with Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe, in 2002, the Russian airbase in Kyrgyzstan’s Kant in 2003, Latvia’s capital, Riga, in 2005, the Crimean city of Sevastopol in 2006 and the Kazakh city of Aktau in 2007.
Putin began televised question-and-answer sessions with Russians in 2001. The tradition to hold direct lines was also not interrupted in 2008 when he occupied the post of prime minister. All in all, Putin held 11 direct dialogues with Russian citizens, including four of them as the prime minister. In his words, this communication with Russians gives an opportunity to incumbent authorities “to focus attention on vitally important problems.”
In 2001, slightly more than 400 thousand questions came to Putin, but there were already more than 1.4 million questions next year, more than 1.5 million questions came to the president in 2003 and 2.5 million — in 2007. The question-and-answer session in the previous year has broken a record when around three million questions came to the president.
The duration of direct lines increased from year to year. If in 2001 the president has talked to Russians for two hours and 20 minutes, the presidential question-and-answer session lasted already four hours and 47 minutes in 2013. Putting together all time that Putin spent in call-in shows with Russians this will be more than 1.5 days or around 37 hours.
The number of questions that Putin manages to answer at direct lines is also traditionally on the rise. For instance, the president replied to 47 addresses in 2001, but their number reached 85 in the previous year. The year of 2011 became a record one with more than 90 questions.
For all these years, the most topical issues that made Russians address to the Russian leader remained social sphere, higher life level and housing.