As Putin's Direct Line gets under way, expectations among some sarcastic Russians are high.
"Today Putin will walk on water, feed 140 million Russians with five loaves and two fishes and cure 10 cripples. Today is Direct Line."
Moderators on Russian television are making a big deal about how many uses the Direct Line hashtags are getting on social media (more than 330,000!). Counting clicks seems to be a popular indicator in the Kremlin.
Putin starts off by saying Russia is moving in the right direction: "solid economic growth," growing industrial and agricultural production, and historically low inflation.
Some of the Russian television monitors seem to be paying their respects to the Ukrainian flag:
Putin goes heavy on economics in his opening comments, adds that there are positive developments in boosting life-expectancy, wages. Concedes that not everyone is feeling positive effects of what he describes as an increasingly stable economy, but says that the statistics don't lie.
Putin says much of the government was left in place in his new term, while bringing in some new qualified people, so as to avoid delays in development plans.
Putin says "responsibility should be absolute" for members of the government who formulated his ambitious domestic plans for his fourth presidential term and are tasked with implementing them.
Each year, Internet wags come up with BINGO cards for Putin's Direct Line, featuring terms that he uses predictably every year. This year, the rumor is that Putin will call local and federal officials to upbraid them on live television in response to complaints by their constituents. So this witty BINGO card appeared showing officials who are likely to spend some time in the hot seat:
"There is a clear understanding what needs to be done, and how," Putin says of his domestic program, though he doesn't go into details.