Putin cancels annual phone-in: Kremlin
President Vladimir Putin will not hold his annual question-and-answer session with the public this year, his spokesman said Wednesday.
Putin usually spends hours answering the public’s questions via phone calls and messages in front of a live audience of officials, supporters and journalists.
The tradition began in 2001 and the last session was in June last year. Putin did not stage a phone-in for 2004 or 2012.
He has used the broadcast to resolve minor local issues and upbraid regional officials as well as answer questions on his personal life.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that there was no need to hold the marathon event this year.
“You see how often the president talks to regional leaders,” Peskov said.
“You could say that the president has been holding a regional phone-in for months.”
He did not explicitly link the decision to the coronavirus pandemic but Putin has held most of his meetings remotely since March.
Peskov said some elements of the phone-in could be included in Putin’s annual press conference, held in December.
“So far we are planning for this to be held live,” Peskov said.
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