A whole array of pressing issues is expected to be touched upon as Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak from his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo during his annual press conference later on Thursday.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the press conference is being held in an online format, and only 247 journalists will be allowed to enter the Moscow World Trade Centre to cover the event, as compared to the 1,895 reporters that gathered there last year.
The new format envisages tight health security-related measures, such as social distancing along with face coverings for journalists.
The Russian president is due to answer both online questions and those already submitted through the website Moskva-Putinu.ru, launched earlier this month.
The press conference's call centre began to operate on 6 December, with scores of questions on various topics already processed by volunteers from the All-Russian Popular Front.
Pensions and Salaries
It appears that this year, Russians are most concerned about social issues, pertaining to preferential mortgage, pensions, and food prices, among other things.
The volunteers additionally received lots of questions about salaries, benefits, and housing, as well as the situation surrounding COVID-19. Many are interested in where and how they can be vaccinated, with parents of schoolchildren expressing alarm over remote learning.
Nagorno-Karabakh, US Elections, Belarus
Apart from internal issues, President Putin is expected to answer a spate of questions related to international affairs, including the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, where Armenia and Azerbaijan were involved in a bloody conflict.
The bloodshed ended last month, when the sides concluded a ceasefire deal brokered by Russia, stipulating the deployment of Russian peacekeepers in the area.
Separately, the press conference will almost certainly see a raft of questions pertaining to the situation in Belarus, where protest rallies against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko show no signs of abating.
The press conference kicks off at 12:00 p.m. Moscow time (09:00 GMT) and will be broadcast by a number of Russian news networks. It is expected to last 3-4 hours as it has since 2004.