In just 15 minutes Prime Minister Putin will take to the airwaves, this being the 10th call-in forum since the second year of his first term as president in December 2001. The show was originally scheduled a few days earlier in the month but the Prime Minister decided to delay the forum until after the Duma elections which were held on 4 December.
Mr. Putin has pledged not to use the forum to campaign for president and will be asked to comment on the recent post election protests, the largest at Bolotnaya Ploshchad in central Moscow on Saturday where tens of thousands came out to urge Putin to give up power.
He is expected to say that the protests are a legitimate way to express opinions but that they should be conducted in a lawful manner. That is a difficult task as officials have been known to routinely deny permits needed for public assembly and police have earned the reputation of quickly using force to disperse citizens.
It is unknown as to whether he will comment on former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s suggestion for new Duma elections and on the challenge from former ally and Russian billionaire businessman Mikhail Prokhorov.
Those reading this in the current Moscow time zone may watch the show on video here: http://www.moskva-putinu.ru/video.htm Viewers/listeners may call in at 8-800-200-40-40 or text a question or comment to 0-40-40.
The call-in forum will be hosted on Rossiya1 and broadcast nationally on TV and Radio networks.
For our Russian readers; Позвонить в единый центр обработки информации из любой точки России можно по телефону 8-800-200-40-40. Звонок с городских и мобильных телефонов – бесплатный.
Вопросы в виде SMS-сообщений принимаются на номер 0-40-40. Отправка по России с телефонов любого оператора связи – бесплатная.