The Kremlin has announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not participate in the traditional end-of-the-year meeting with business leaders.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on December 27 that the meeting, which is normally held each year in the days before New Year's, would not be held. He did not give a reason.
Earlier this month, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs head Aleksandr Shokhin said the meeting would take place sometime after December 25.
This year Putin also cancelled his annual Direct Line question-and-answer session, an annual televised event at which the president spends several hours fielding carefully chosen questions from people across Russia.
Last year, the meeting with business leaders was held in the Kremlin and included billionaires Mikhail Gutseriyev, Mikhail Prokhorov, Mikhail Fridman, Gennady Timchenko, and Vladimir Potanin. Rosneft state oil company CEO Igor Sechin also attended.
Although attendees normally discuss economic issues at the closed-door meetings, Forbes magazine quoted anonymous sources as saying Putin devoted considerable time to discussing his research into the diplomatic run-up to World War II, focusing on the position of Poland.