Putin’s 14th annual Q&A marathon as it happened
The tradition of holding Q&A sessions, which began in 2001, has become a less formal kind of state-of-the-nation report that addresses people living in Russia directly. Putin has made his 14th live TV appearance on Thursday.
20 December 201812:54 GMT
The Q&A session is over. It lasted about 3 hours 40 minutes.
- 12:53 GMT
A journalist asks for assistance for her channel, which is dedicated to relations between ethnic groups. Putin says it can be done. He then says it’s time to bow out and wishes a happy New Year to the audience.
- 12:51 GMT
Putin says there is a special program to help ‘ISIS wives’ and their children get back to Russia, which involves Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
- 12:50 GMT
A question about ‘endangered Russians’, according to a placard held by a Chechen journalist. When given a mic, he asked about the situation with Russian women and their children, who got stranded in Syria and Iraq after travelling there with husbands who joined terrorist ranks. Also a question about Chechnya development and an invitation to visit the region soon.
- 12:47 GMT
A question about water piping and regulations for wastewater treatment. Putin says there is a government effort to improve the situation with wastewater in Russia.
- 12:46 GMT
- 12:45 GMT
A journalist suggests that patriotism should be enshrined in the Russian constitution. Putin says it is subject to debate.
- 12:45 GMT
Euronews asks about UN GA resolution about Crimea and the Kerch Strait incident. Why does Russia develop troops in Crimea? Will it lay claim on the entire Azov Sea?
Putin explains the Crimea is part of Russia since 2014 and that Russia will pursue the military policy there as it sees fit, just as in other parts of the country.
Russia announced its plans to build a bridge across the strait right from the start and did so. It is developing civilian infrastructure in Crimea. The strait is narrow and shallow and requires piloting service to pass through. This was the case long before the bridge was created.
The Ukrainian Navy troops had no trouble passing through the strait into the Azov Sea, when they followed the regulations. The incident happened because it was a deliberate provocation by the Ukrainian side.
The Azov Sea is regulated by a special agreement between Russia and Ukraine, and its rules differ from those for regular international waters. Ukraine, by the way, captured Russian civilian ships in the Azov Sea, and outlets like Euronews don’t pay much attention to this.
As for military ships, the Ukrainians simply need to follow the rules, and everything will be fine.
- 12:37 GMT
What will be done for Russia’s Far East? Will Sakhalin and Primorsky Krai become one region? If your people want that, it can be done through a referendum, Putin says. But it’s between the two regions.
Putin then outlines development plans for the Far East, its shipbuilding industry, space-related production, fisheries, etc.
- 12:35 GMT