MOSCOW, June 6. /TASS/. More than 1,385,000 questions were sent in for the Direct Line with Vladimir Putin, his annual Q&A session, one day before its start, the event’s organizers reported.
The intake of questions for the program, during which the head of state will answer the most relevant and interesting questions from Russians on-air, was launched on May 27, at 08:00 Moscow time and will continue until the end of the Direct Line, that will be broadcasted live on June 7 at noon Moscow time.
According to organizers, 1,385,000 questions were received by 12:00 Moscow time on Wednesday. The highest number of applicants used the telephone (803,135), and some used SMS (more than 317,000) and MMS (more than 31,500). As many as 144,000 people posted their questions on the special website for the program. Almost 90,000 people used special apps and official groups on social media to ask Putin questions.
Questions submitted for the head of state concern growing gasoline prices, the fight against cancer, demographic problems, disabled employment benefits, mortgage services for young families, pension reform prospects, protection of art pieces from vandals, transport communication with Crimea, Putin’s plans to meet with US President Donald Trump, the situation with reporter Arkady Babchenko, the resignations of governors and many other issues. Some asked the president more personal questions, for example whether he is afraid of political rivals, whether he liked the new Cortege-project limousine and whether in his opinion the Russian national team will be able to leave the group at the upcoming World Cup.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier said in an interview with Channel One that questions that citizens send in for the Direct Line are transferred to relevant ministries and regional heads, and "the most shocking situations are dealt with immediately" with direct participation of the Kremlin.
The Direct Line with Vladimir Putin is a televised program during which the head of state answers questions asked by Russian citizens and citizens of other countries live. The program was launched on December 24, 2001, and has been held annually since then, except in 2004 and in 2012.
About 400,000 questions were received for the president by the start of the program in 2001. Their number has been growing ever since then, having reached a record of 3.25 million requests in 2015.