-- Vladimir Putin took questions from Russians across the country in the Direct Line program, which lasted four hours.
-- Putin said there was no cause for the new sanctions against Moscow that are under consideration in the U.S. Congress, and that the aim of Western sanctions is to hold Russia back.
-- Putin said the country had pulled out of a long recession and that "the economy has moved to a period of growth."
-- The Direct Line program is one of three high-profile annual events that Putin uses to burnish his image in Russia, send signals abroad, and offer hints about future plans.
-- This year's rendition comes at a time of social tension in Russia, just days after police detained more than 1,500 people at anticorruption protests in cities across the country on June 12. In addition, Moscow has seen numerous protests in recent weeks over a controversial government plan to raze and replace thousands of Soviet-era residential buildings.
*NOTE: Times are stated according to local time in Moscow (GMT/UTC +3)