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Crimea, Ukraine to be in focus at Putin’s Q&A session

April 17, 2014, 6:55 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Already two million questions have come from Russian citizens

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MOSCOW, April 17, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold an annual televised question and answer session at noon Moscow time on Thursday, April 17. Already two million questions have come from Russian citizens, and according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Crimea and Ukraine as well as traditional social problems will be in the focus of attention.

This will be Putin’s 12th Q&A session. Each time it was getting longer and longer, reaching the record four hours and 48 minutes last year. Kremlin sources could not forecast how long the Thursday session would be.

“The length of the program will depend on the president, on how actively questions will be asked, but we know for sure that it will be several hours long,” the spokesman said.

According to him, this year many of the citizens, who have called, have expressed support for the head of state on the situation with Crimea and on Ukraine instead of asking questions or addressing requests. “I have not seen any protest, disagreement [with Putin’s position],” Peskov said, noting that he personally had looked through dozens of thousands of appeals to the president.

“That’s what people say: Thank you for Crimea! Many also ask how they could help, express their intention to participate in raising funds for the construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait. And this enthusiasm is manifest in the overall amount of appeals, which cannot but gladden,” Peskov said.

However, a host of questions will still focus on the daily life of the country. “The set of questions is traditional - it is our bane, the housing and utility sector, as well as questions connected with social insurance,” he said. Peskov said that having no possibility to ‘reach’ the local authorities, people had to complain directly to the president. As a result, the call-in conferences had become a one more mechanism of country’s management, he said.

Peskov explained with a touch of humour that “under the burden of a possible effect from the call-in show and under the burden of possible decisions the head of state makes after it, things miraculously begin looking better in many regions”.

Meanwhile, the president is also getting ready for the Q&A session, looking through reports from ministries, refreshing statistical data, as well as looking through all questions. “He is traditionally very attentive as to feeling the pulse of the country,” Peskov said.

He said “a successful call-in show is the one that was viewed and listened to, the one that was discussed and after which a list of president’s instructions is expected”.

Questions to the president have been received for already a week, and will be received all through the televised conversation. This year, there are more possibilities to ask questions - a telephone call, an sms-text, an email as well as a video question. This time, residents of the two new entities, Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, will also be able to ask their questions, as a free telephone number was opened for them.

The most popular and interesting of the questions will be asked during the Q&A session.

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