Putin to Hold Annual Live Q&A Session on Thursday

© Sputnik / Pavel Lisitsyn / Go to the photo bankBroadcast of "Direct Line with Vladimir Putin"
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Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to hold a traditional Q&A session on Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to hold a traditional Q&A session on Thursday starting at 12:00 Moscow time (9:00 GMT).

The special annual program dubbed "Direct Line with Vladimir Putin" will be broadcast by the country's three major channels as well as Russian radio stations.

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Prominent public and political figures have been invited to the Moscow studio for the conference, while President Putin is also expected to answer questions asked via live link-ups from across the country.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that there will be no link-ups with foreign countries this year.

Peskov declined to comment on whether the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which rejoined Russia in March 2014 following a referendum, will participate in the event.

Around 1.7 million questions have been collected for the presidential conference since April 9, according to the spokesman.

Peskov said that the upcoming session has seen an increase in questions regarding Russia's relations with the West and NATO over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Many of those sending in their queries have called for support for the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk peoples republics in Ukraine's east, according to Peskov.

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Russia's ties with other former Soviet republics, including the Eurasian Economic Union member states — Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan — are also high on the agenda.

Another recurring theme among questions pouring in from across Russia is social and economic issues, including growing consumer prices and proposed pension reforms.

President Putin's upcoming hotline will be his 13th after holding his first live session in 2001. The 2013 conference lasted a record 4 hours 47 minutes.

Sputnik will cover the event live — stay with us and wait for updates!

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