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Elderly women watch a live broadcast of Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual question-and-answer session in the village of Yelna, Ivanovo region, on June 7.
Elderly women watch a live broadcast of Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual question-and-answer session in the village of Yelna, Ivanovo region, on June 7.

Live Blog: Putin's Annual Call-In Show

Russian President Vladimir Putin fielded questions on June 7 from across the country in an annual call-in show that lasted for more than four hours, one of a handful of live performances he holds every year to burnish his image.

-- Russian President Vladimir Putin painted an upbeat picture of the country's economy and accused the West of seeking to thwart its progress, setting a familiar tone for his new term in a marathon call-in show broadcast live on state TV.

-- The Direct Line broadcast on June 7 came a month after Putin was sworn in to a new six-year term following a landslide election that foes said was marred by fraud and international observers said did not present voters with a genuine choice.

-- The event was closely choreographed, with Putin fielding selected questions from among more than a million submitted and sending signals about an array of domestic and foreign policy issues.

*NOTE: Times are stated according to local time in Moscow (GMT/UTC +3)

16:26 7.6.2018

Putin gives a concluding speech expressing regret that he couldn't answer all questions, says they will all be analyzed and the government will respond to the things that Russians are most worried about. He expresses gratitude to everyone who supports him.

16:25 7.6.2018

Moderator says this is the last question and asks Putin to say something to inspire people to help him achieve a "breakthrough" for Russia. Putin gives a long speech about Soviet times about how people worked because they felt the existence of the country was under threat (in the pre-war period, in the Cold War). Putin says that if Russia falls behind technologically or economically, if it can't develop its communications/transportation infrastructure, if it can't develop health care, Russia's sovereignty will come under threat. Putin says Russia must be at the head of the locomotive of progress! Says in order to achieve this, Russia must develop its people. Only "free people" able to develop their creative potential can achieve what Russia needs to achieve. "We will achieve this if we remain together," Putin says.

16:23 7.6.2018

This Twitter user notes that the color scheme of these two moderators' dresses matches that of the Ukrainian flag: "Another provocation by the SBU [Ukrainian Security Service]"

16:20 7.6.2018

Moderator notes that Putin got a "record-high" result in the last presidential election. Asks if Putin is "lonely" at the top of the Russian political ladder. Putin says, no, because he has a good team of like-minded people.

16:20 7.6.2018

Moderator saves the toughest questions for last: Is it hard being without political competition in Russia?

16:18 7.6.2018

Moderator asks if Putin is preparing a "successor." Putin says he thinks about this a lot, but emphasizes that only the people can choose his successor. However, Putin says he's always looking for young people who are ready to lead the country.

16:18 7.6.2018

Moderator asks which world leaders speak to Putin with the informal pronoun "ty." Putin says he has informal, personal relations with many colleagues, including Merkel, Macron, Abe. Says he addresses Czech President Zeman using formal pronouns because "he is older" as a sign of respect.

16:16 7.6.2018

Looks like the moderator may be getting ready to wind things down. But first a question about the disputed Crimean Bridge.

16:15 7.6.2018

Putin repeats earlier statement on desirability of making it easier for "compatriots" to get Russian citizenship and says this woman's case is a special one. Assures her she will get support, says he'll ask the Defense Ministry to bring her family to her and will give her Russian citizenship.

16:15 7.6.2018

Another take on Putin's comments about Sentsov today:

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