Putin Will Not Hold His Annual Year-End Conference

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin will not hold a lengthy press conference in December this year, breaking with an annual tradition dating back to the early years of his presidency.

This will be the first time in a decade that Putin does not hold the event in December.

Dmitri S. Peskov, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, told reporters during his daily press conference on Monday that the event would not take place, although he raised the possibility it could be rescheduled for next year. new.

The move comes amid a weakening Russian economy under sanctions and after a series of significant military losses due to Moscow’s campaign in Ukraine. Peskov did not give a reason why the press conference would not be held, but noted that Putin “constantly talks to the press, including during foreign visits”. But those appearances were limited to the group of reporters regularly sent to the Kremlin.

Usually lasting four hours or more, the December press conference is one of the few times a year that reporters outside the Kremlin, including foreign ones, have the opportunity to ask Putin questions directly. Mr. Putin has held 17 press conferences since 2001 – sometimes he skips one – and they have become a permanent part of his calendar, along with other events such as a national appeal concert. joined in early summer when he asked questions from ordinary Russians.

Mr. Putin did not hold press conferences in December between 2008-2011, when he was prime minister.

Tatiana Stanovaya, a political analyst, wrote on her Telegram channel that the cancellation is a sign that Mr. Putin does not want to meddle in what he considers minor domestic affairs or answer questions. boring or ordinary.

December press conferences often take place in a circus-like atmosphere, with reporters waving signs with some of Putin’s signature phrases, or wearing costumes from their homelands, hoping to catch his eye and be questioned. The sessions are an opportunity for Mr. Putin to demonstrate his grasp of facts affecting all aspects of Russian life, and ostensibly to show his “openness” to all questions.

However, Mr. Putin prefers scripted events, using a few such appearances last week to try to portray Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as going as planned, despite a flurry of appearances. military defeats, including the loss of the large southern city of Kherson, which Russia had illegally annexed. Thousands of Russians have been killed since Moscow launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine in February, an issue that is often not covered on state television.

The questions from foreign reporters are often – to a certain extent – pre-arranged, with the Kremlin asking reporters in advance what they might want to ask Mr. Putin. But a Russian or international reporter could detail some of the defeats in the war and ask Putin to explain it live on national television.


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