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MOSCOW, April 16. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has opened his annual televised question and answer session officially known as "The Direct Line with Vladimir Putin."
Prominent politicians and public figures have gathered in a studio in downtown Moscow, where Putin will answer questions pouring from all parts of the country.
Live video linkups with a number of Russian regions will be organised so that people could address the head of state directly.
A special call centre began processing questions to the Russian president a week ago. Many questions were also sent by SMS or MMS messages, via a special mobile application and to the website www.moskva-putinu.ru.
In all, over two million questions have already been sent in and more will be asked before the marathon ends later on Thursday.
The Q&A session will be broadcast live by Channel One, Rossiya-1 and Rossiya-24 TV channels, and Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii radio stations.
A total of 250 journalists, including 70 foreign reporters from the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, France, China, Japan and Latin America, will be covering Putin’s Q&A session.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that this year Russians were concerned about "the situation in Ukraine, sanctions and international relations."
Peskov said that Putin had received "many words of support," as well as demands "to take a tougher position on everything regarding the country's national interests."
"This is a great opportunity to take one's eyes off dry statistics and see what is actually going on," Peskov said.
The president's first session was held in 2001, lasting two-and-half hours. Since that time, his 12 appearances have totalled 36 hours.