00:24 GMT +319 September 2018
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions from Russia’s citizens during the annual special Direct Line with Vladimir Putin broadcast live by Russian TV channels and radio stations

    WATCH: Russian President Putin Held Annual 'Direct Line' Q&A Session

    © Sputnik / Mikhael Klimentyev
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    The Russian President held his traditional annual "Direct Line" session with the country's citizens for the 16th time. Vladimir Putin answered the dozens of questions in the course of the Q&A session, which lasted four hours 20 minutes.

    Call centers have received more than 2.5 million questions for the annual "Direct Line" Q&A session with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the event's organizers. The questions were sorted into categories, including sports, tourism, business, sanctions, agriculture, the 2018 FIFA World Cup, economy, ecology and Russia's regions.

    The event began at 12:06 local time (09:06 GMT) and saw Putin answering various questions from Russian citizens. As of 15:30 p.m. Moscow time (12:30 GMT) on Thursday, call centers received at total of 2,580,929 questions, including through social media and special applications, organizers said.

    The annual Q&A session has been carried out by the Kremlin since 2001.

    In 2013, Putin broke his own record with the session lasting 4 hours and 47 minutes.

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    • 16:34

      Putin’s Direct Line Q&A Session Concludes After 4 Hours 20 Minutes

      The Direct Line Q&A session with Russian President Vladimir Putin concluded on Friday, lasting 4 hours 20 minutes. Call centers have received more than 2.5 million questions for the annual "Direct Line" Q&A session with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the event's organizers.

      The event began at 12:06 local time (09:06 GMT) and saw Putin answering various questions from Russian citizens. As of 15:30 p.m. Moscow time (12:30 GMT) on Thursday, call centers received at total of 2,580,929 questions, including through social media and special applications, organizers said.

      The annual Q&A session has been carried out by the Kremlin since 2001.

      In 2017, the "Direct Line" lasted for almost four hours. Putin answered over 70 questions during the session. In 2013, Putin broke his own record with the session lasting 4 hours and 47 minutes.

      Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions from Russia’s citizens during the annual special Direct Line with Vladimir Putin broadcast live by Russian TV channels and radio stations
      © Sputnik / Mikhael Klimentyev
    • 16:23

      Putin: Russian People Will Decide Who Will Be My Successor

      Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he has a team of like-minded people.

      "One cannot conquer alone," Putin replied, addressing the matter of his succession.

       

    • 15:54

      Russia Plans to Double Funds Allocated to Road Construction Within Six Years - Putin

      Commenting on the video conference from the Kerch bridge, the Russian president noted that Moscow was planning to double the funds allocated to road construction: thus, they will reach at least 9.5-9.6 trn. rubles (about $153 bln).

      "From 2012 to 2017, we spent, in general, on road construction 5.1 trillion rubles. We plan to almost double these funds in the next six years. This is approximately 9.5-9.7 trillion rubles which will be allocated to road construction in various regions of Russia," Putin said.

    • 15:42

      No Country Likely to Obtain Arms Similar to Avangard Russian Missile System Soon - Putin

      "It is an absolute weapon, if we speak about the present day ... I do not think that any country will obtain such weapons in the near future. Of course, one day they will have such arms, but as I've already said, we are not concerned about it, because we already possess such systems," Putin said during the annual "Direct Line" Q&A session.

      The Russian president added that Moscow started developing advanced weapons in response to the unilateral decision of the United States to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

    • 15:39

      Putin Reads and Responds to Questions During Q&A Session (PHOTO)

    • 15:29

      Russian President on Environment Issue: "By 2024 We Need to Build 200 Modern Waste Recycling Plants"

      The Russian president imposed a personal responsibility on the government and the Ministry of Natural Resources to address the recycling of waste.

    • 15:23

      "Direct Line With Putin" Lasts More Than 3 Hours: President Has Answered 45 Questions

      Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions from Russia’s citizens during the annual special Direct Line with Vladimir Putin broadcast live by Russian TV channels and radio stations
      © Sputnik / Mikhael Klimentyev

      #DirectLine Three hours in, and topics have ranged from Russia's retirement age to Moscow's renovation and mistakes that have been made.

    • 15:14

      Putin on Op in Syria: It Was Better to Destroy Militants There, Than Meet Them Here and Armed

      Vladimir Putin has spoken about the Russian operation in Syria upon the country's president Bashar al-Assad, saying that the Russian armed forces will stay there.

      "We are not yet planning a withdrawal of these military forces," Putin told a televised phone-in session.

      However, he noted that the troops might be withdrawn from the Syrian bases promptly if needed.

    • 15:11

      Russian President Considers It Necessary to Liberalize Process of Obtaining Russian Citizenship

    • 15:01

      Putin Warns: Be Cautious With Cryptocurrencies

      Speaking about cryptocurrencies, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that this financial instrument should be treated carefully: it shouldn't be used for payments, transactions or the accumulation of funds.

       

      Putin dispelled the notion that Russia could create its own state cryptocurrency.

      "Russia can not have its own cryptocurrency by default - just like any other country," the head of state said. "Because if we talk about a cryptocurrency, it's something that goes beyond national borders."

    • 14:59

      Putin Reveals What It Takes to Be a President

      Vladimir Putin answered the question of what it is necessary to sacrifice in order to be a president:

      "Private life. It is inevitable, but there is a powerful compensator - this is all compensated by the realization that you are doing a very important, unique and necessary  thing, aimed at improving the welfare of millions of people and strengthening the most important thing that exists in the life of every person - the homeland," he stated.

    • 14:43

      Precious Time With the President: Social Media Users Share Their Photos During Putin's Q&A Session

    • 14:32

      Q&A Session in Numbers: Russian President Answers 27 Questions in Two Hours

    • 14:26

      Putin Calls Article in the German Media With Headline "Trump Pushes Europe Into Putin's Hands" The Best Joke He's Heard Recently

    • 14:16

      Putin Calls Claims of Moscow's Meddling in 2016 US Election Complete Nonsense

      Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions from Russia’s citizens during the annual special Direct Line with Vladimir Putin broadcast live by Russian TV channels and radio stations
      © Sputnik / Alexei Druzhinin

      When asked a question concerning the claims that Moscow has interfered in the 2016 US presidential election, allegedly aiming to ensure Donald Trump's victory, the Russian President called these allegations complete nonsense, adding that he could only call it a joke.

    • 14:12

      Russian President Reveals What Rules He Follows in Life, Politics

      Russian President Vladimir Putin touched on the "drivers' rule" he follows in politics: "do not pass someone if you are not sure." He noted that the cost of making mistakes in his line of work is "very high."

    • 13:45

      Putin: Russia Should Take Many More Steps to Regain Superiority in Space

      The Russian president noted that Moscow had ambitious plans for its space program. However, he noted that there is much to be done to improve the quality of the country's space equipment and satellites.

      "We have good programs, related to projects in deep space. By 2022, we expect to carry out the first test of a super-heavy launch vehicle in an unmanned mode, and start using manned vehicles by 2024," Putin said.

      He revealed that the Russian Vostochniy Cosmodrome was slated to be developed as a civilian component of space programs.

      "In general, we have ambitious plans for the development of the space sector. We will continue to follow this path. It is no coincidence that we've spent quite a lot of money and resources to create a new cosmodrome in the east of our country, the Vostochny Cosmodrome. We will develop it precisely as a civilian component of our space activities," the Russian president stressed.

    • 13:38

      Putin: We're Not Going to Shut Down Social Media

      Vladimir Putin, responding to related questions from Russian bloggers, assured that Russia would not shut down social media access. He stated that he was aware of the government's decision on Telegram messenger, and underlined that he understood the concerns of the country's social media users.

      The president stressed that he would urge the country's security services to use modern ways to ensure public safety, while not limiting internet freedom. However, Putin reminded that Islamist militants have used encrypted online messaging services like Telegram to carry out attacks in Russia.

      "I understand your concerns and understand the concerns of the people with whom you work on the internet. We are not going to block anything," Putin said when asked about whether Youtube and Instagram could be blocked during the annual "Direct Line" Q&A session.

      "I also know about the situation around Telegram ... You said that you are worried. I am worried as well, as a president, about the security of the people. When the security service officers tell me that following the explosions in the St. Petersburg underground they could not detect the communication among the terrorists, since it was encrypted and the terrorists are using this, how should I react? Security issues come first," the president said.

      "At the same time, I know, since I have worked for security agencies, that it is easy to ban everything. It is more difficult to find a reasonable solution. That is why I will encourage my colleagues to follow this path. The path, which implies the use of advanced tools to counter breaches of the law without limiting freedom, including on the internet," Putin concluded.

      Roskomnadzor began blocking Telegram in Russia on April 16, explaining the move by the fact that the messenger was widely used by terrorists for communication. The watchdog further specified that Telegram had refused to provide encryption keys to the Russian authorities to track down terrorists.

    • 13:37

      Russia Will Do Everything in Its Power to Resolve Ukraine's Donbass Problems Within Framework of Minsk Agreements - Putin

      "What is happening in these territories is, of course, sad. But this, by the way, also says that the current Ukrainian leadership is not able to solve this problem," Putin stated.

      He expressed bewilderment at how Ukraine is trying to solve this problem, by "considering these territories its own" and at the same time "organizing a complete blockade of these territories," and shelling people it considers its citizens.

      "Civilians are suffering - notably, civilians. And now, OSCE representatives record an increase in these attacks by the Ukrainian armed forces. Why do this, when you just need to follow the Minsk agreements? It is simply ridiculous from the point of view of realizing the final result of restoring the territorial integrity of the country. The longer and the further this happens, the worse the situation for Ukraine," Putin said.

    • 13:36

      Putin: Trust in the Dollar Will Be Undermined if US Limits Access to Dollar Transactions

       

      The Russian President spoke about US limitations on dollar transactions, calling the dollar "the only universal currency now," but underlining that Washington "bites the hand that feeds it" with its limitations.

      "Today, the dollar is the universal reserve currency. The euro is trying to take part in these functions, and partly succeeds. But nevertheless, the dollar is the sole universal currency. However, if the US government limits payments in dollars, it undermines trust in the dollar. They may achieve some short-term results - not in economics, but in the political sphere - though even this is unlikely ... But in the long term, it undermines trust in such policies. Everyone starts to think of creating new universal currencies or settling deals in national currencies. They bite the hand that feeds them, that it is counterproductive and wrong," Putin said.

      The imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum not only on Europe but also on Canada and Mexico; these are basically sanctions... It is related to the pragmatic national interests of the United States, the way the current [US] authorities understand them," Putin said.

      The Russian president stressed that the nations of the world were coming to understand that it was necessary to sit down at the negotiating table and develop common world trade rules.

       

    • 13:30

      "Pressure on Russian Companies Abroad Undermines Trust in Western Countries' Economic Policies" - Putin

      The president touched upon the problems Russian companies face abroad, saying the pressure some Western countries put on them undermines trust in these states' economic policies.

    • 13:26

      Russian President on Skripal Case: Russia Wants Consular Access to Yulia Skripal, and to Take Part in Probe

      Commenting on the poisoning of former Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, Russian President Vladimir Putin once again underlined that Moscow wanted access to them after they were released from the hospital.

      "If, as the United Kingdom argues, those people were subjected to a nerve agent, then they would be dead in several minutes or seconds. Thank God, it didn't happen. We would very much like to have an opportunity, first of all, to have access to our nationals, to Yulia, in this case, and an opportunity to take part in the investigation. Unless we are provided with the access, it is complicated to comment on this issue," Putin said.

    • 13:21

      Putin: Is the EU Waiting for US Approval to Drop Anti-Russian Sanctions?

    • 13:20

      Putin: US Withdrawal From ABM Treaty is Attempt to Destroy Strategic Parity

      "The US withdrawal from the anti-ballistic missile treaty is an attempt to break this strategic parity, but we are responding to it; in my message I said this: the modern systems of our weapons that have been developed have already been put into service - they maintain this parity, of course," he stated during the "Direct Line."

      Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions from Russia’s citizens during the annual special Direct Line with Vladimir Putin broadcast live by Russian TV channels and radio stations
      © Sputnik / Mikhael Klimentyev
    • 13:09

      Threat of WWIII Contained by Understanding This Will be End of Civilization - Putin

      The Russian president called the accusations against Moscow by some foreign countries a "mistake," saying that these politics are harmful to all sides. 

      When asked about the possibility of a third world war, he stated that it would mean the end of civilization, and that he would show restraint from taking such dangerous steps in international relations.

      As he explained, the fear of mutual destruction, as well as strategic parity, have forced the world powers to respect one another since the end of World War II. 

      The president went on to stress the need to sit down at the negotiating table, and to develop schemes guaranteeing European security that are relevant to today's reality.

      A journalist speaks on the phone while Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures answering a question during his annual call-in show in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, June 7, 2018
      © AP Photo / Pavel Golovkin, Pool
    • 13:03

      Putin Speaks About the Development of Civil Aviation in the Country

      When asked about the high prices for tickets from distant Russian regions, such as the Far East, the president specified that Russia's federal government had adopted legislation granting VAT relief to domestic air carriers.

      "We have the Sukhoi Superjet, produced by Russian hands, we rely on Russian and foreign technology; aviation will be developed along with shipbuilding," he stated.

    • 12:45

      ‘Pay Attention to Football’: Russian Ex-Coach to Putin Ahead of World Cup in Russia

      Valery Gazzaev addressed the issue of the upcoming World Cup, saying that Russia has exerted every effort to prepare for the championship.

      "The whole community understands you're overwhelmed, but pay the attention to the World Cup," he stated.

      The president revealed that following the FIFA 2018 World Cup,  the government will use the event's facilities to attract young people to sports activities, as it did with the facilities which were built for the 2014 Olympic Games.

      He went further, speaking about the country's national team, saying that it "has shown strong results recently," and expressing hope that it would show its best skills during the World Cup. 

    • 12:38

      Journalists Share Backstage Photos of Q&A Session

    • 12:28

      Russian President Responds to the Most Burning Question

      The Russian President, as expected, addressed the question of rising gasoline prices, which became one the most popular points raised during this Q&A session.

      As the president noted, the increase in gasoline prices is unacceptable, but he explained that it was connected with imprecise regulation in the energy sector.

      When asked about the issue, he vowed that the government would take additional measures to stabilize gasoline prices.

      The president went further, calling the country's Energy Minister and asking him about the steps the ministry planned to take regarding the problem. The minister responded that gasoline price growth, which reached 5.6% in May, was curtailed through decisive fiscal measures.

    • 12:16

      ‘New faces, Fresh Faces’ Putin Says Russian Government Completely Reshuffled

      Russian President Vladimir Putin called the current government the best possible, noting that the small changes that have been made to it have been connected with the development plan created by the previous Cabinet.

      "I've made a decision that the cabinet should be significantly renewed with 'fresh' people ... who are very skilled and have proven themselves to be adept in different spheres, but at the same time it has been necessary to keep people who have prepared decisions that have led to breakthroughs in the development of our country in order to reflect their personal responsibility for the things that have been done and are expected to be done in future. I think that at the moment our government has an optimal composition," Putin said.

      The president has described his view of the government, saying that the personal responsibility of each of its members should be "absolute", as "we don't have time for waddling."

      As he underlined, the government is set to adopt the development plan by fall.

    • 12:13

      Putin Speaks About Russia's Economy

      Putin is asked what stage the country is going through now. The president responded, "we are moving forward with sustainable economic growth," noting that the trade balance is quite good and in the nearest future, Russia's economy will continue to grow.

      "First, we are moving in the direction of sustainable economic growth. Yes, it is still modest growth; slight, I've already spoken about this. But this is not a contraction, but growth: one and a half percent over the past year. Industry is growing, agriculture is growing. It's stable. And all this has acquired a steady trend. Inflation is at an all-time low. This is a very important prerequisite for further growth. And this is all against the backdrop of accelerated growth in investment: 4.4% over the past year. This is a very good indicator: it suggests that growth is also guaranteed in the short term," he said.

      As he noted, the structural changes in economics are connected with the export of machinery and equipment, as well as agricultural production.

      As he noted, the government is moving toward cutting the number of people below the poverty line.

      "We need to redistribute some resources among the people who are in need," he stated.

    • 12:07

      Russian President Vladimir Putin Arrives for Q&A Session

      Putin is asked what stage the country is going through now. The president responded, "we are moving forward with sustainable economic growth," noting that the trade balance is quite good and in the nearest future, Russia's economy will continue to grow.

    • 12:03

      Putin's Q&A Session Starts

      Every year, Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions concerning such topics as education, healthcare and economics. This year the president is expected to touch upon the issue of petroleum prices as well.

      This is the first such event since the head of state entered office. In total, the "direct line" received over two million questions.

      Call-center operators before the Direct Line with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Gostiny Dvor
      © Sputnik / Grigori Sisoev
    • 11:59

      Call Centers Receive Over 1.7Mln Questions for Putin's Q&A Session - Organizers

      As of 05:00 GMT, around 1 million calls, 384,132 text messages and 41,359 MMS messages have been received.

      Also, 13,314 video messages and 44,145 text messages have been sent via a special app, while 185,000 questions have been submitted through the official site of the session.

       

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