MOSCOW, September 9. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual question-and-answer session will not be held in its traditional format this year, but its elements will be added to the Russian leader’s big press conference in December 2020, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS.
The Russian president regularly addresses the nationwide audience during his annual 'Direct Line with Vladimir Putin' broadcast, answering a multitude of questions flooding in by telephone, text, email, social media, or live via television studios.
However, Peskov told TASS that, due to this year’s events, "the president has been holding a direct line for the past few months already."
"That is why, naturally, holding a Direct Line this year in its traditional format would be too much," Peskov said.
"Therefore, we will undoubtedly try to add some elements of the Direct Line, allowing the president to receive feedback from residents of various regions, to Putin’s annual press conference in December," he said.
Putin’s previous event of this format was held in June 2019. It was his 17th Q&A session. The very first ‘Direct Line with Vladimir Putin’ was held in late 2001. Since then, this event has been held annually, except for 2004 and 2012.
The first five broadcasts took less than two hours each, but, since 2007, the broadcast has always exceeded this length. The 2013 broadcast was the longest, taking 4 hours 47 minutes.
Since 2001, Putin has also held the major year-end news conference every year, except for the period of his premiership in May 2008-May 2012. He resumed the tradition after his election for a six-year presidential term in 2012. The previous major press conference was held on December 19, 2019.
This year, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the majority of events with Putin’s participation have been held in the format of a video conference since late March.