MOSCOW, June 15. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will answer questions of the nation at his traditional annual question-and-answer marathon before television audiences, known as Direct Line with Vladimir Putin due to start at noon on Thursday.
The Direct Line will be broadcast by Russia's TV Channel One, Rossiya 1, Rossiya 24, radio stations Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii. This Direct Line will be 15th for Putin over his presidency and premiership.
In the first dialogue with nation, which the Kremlin formally refers to as the Direct Line with Vladimir Putin, 400,000 questions were asked. From that moment on, queries have steadily climbed all the way to a record-high of 3.25 million in 2015.
The list of incoming questions for the Direct Line is published and constantly updated on the official website of the program moskva-putinu.ru.
Social and domestic issues and economic situation in the country are expected to become main topics of the conversation with the head of the state this year.
According to Dmitry Peskov, Putin's press secretary, international issues are not the topic that worries Russian citizens so much and they are "not even on the tenth place" on the list of the most frequently asked questions.
The most popular questions concern the existing problems of industries, construction and transport sectors, communications, wages, housing and communal services, health care and education, environment.
According to Peskov, social issues are still on top of the list.
"These are very diverse social issues related to social security, wages, pensions, social benefits, housing and public utilities, health-related issues," the President's press secretary said. He added that traditionally there are many stories, in which people ask the President for help.
"One can definitely say that, unfortunately, the majority of such issues are those that should be solved by local authorities and regional authorities. Unfortunately, people often say that it is sometimes easier for them to reach the President than to the leadership of their own regions," the representative of the Kremlin said.
According to Peskov, over the last few days the head of state has been paying special attention to preparation for the Q&A marathon. Peskov called this process, "information upgrade".
"He traditionally works with a large volume of data, refreshes statistical data, communicates with ministers, heads of agencies - in fact, he makes an upgrade of information," the spokesman said.
Tradition of Direct Lines
The annual Direct Line with Vladimir Putin is a live TV broadcast when the head of state answers questions from residents of Russia and the CIS-states. Last year it was held on April 14.
The very first Q&A marathon of the Russian President was held on December 24, 2001. Since then Direct Lines were held annually, except for 2004 and 2012.
This year, the Q&A session will be held for the first time in the summer. Earlier Peskov said that the shift of the broadcast from April to June was only due to the working schedule of the President.
The Kremlin spokesman repeatedly said that the program has no strict time frame and Putin decides how long the conversation will last on the air.
The record of the Direct Line was set in 2013, when Putin answered questions 4 hours and 48 minutes. In 2015, the conversation took 3 hours 55 minutes, in 2016 - 3 hours 39 minutes. If you add the duration of all Direct Lines the total time will be about two days.