Russian President Vladimir Putin holds his customary year-end news conference on Thursday, December 17. This time, amid the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, the event is being held online. Also, it incorporates some features of the question-and-answer program called Direct Line with Vladimir Putin, in which the head of state is asked questions from audiences across the nation.
Russia’s main TV channels have reserved three hours of airtime on their schedules, but the real duration of the news conference is impossible to forecast.
Putin’s tradition of holding year-end news conferences started in 2001. However, there was a four-year hiatus May 2008 to May 2012, when he held the prime minister’s seat. After Putin’s election to a six year-term in 2012, this annual event was resumed.
Putin’s first news conference in 2001 was also the shortest one (one hour and 35 minutes), while the longest so far (four hours and 40 minutes) took place in 2008. Starting from 2004 all of Putin’s news conferences at the end of the year lasted for no less than three hours. In 2019, Putin spent 4 hours and 18 minutes on the podium in front of the audience to answer questions from 57 mass media outlets.