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Live Blog: Putin's Annual Press Conference (Archive)

Vladimir Putin has held his annual marathon news conference for 2019. If you missed it, you can still follow our correspondents as they gave a play-by-play of everything he said in this live blog archive.


Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual end-of-the-year news conference in Moscow on December 19.

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KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF PUTIN'S PRESS CONFERENCE

-- Putin defended an amendment that he signed into law on December 2 about media outlets deemed "foreign agents" to include workers employed by such organizations being listed as "foreign agents," as well.

-- Putin, whose current term runs through 2024, refused to be pinned down on his political future. He wouldn't answer if he could potentially extend his rule by shifting into a new governing position to become the head of a Russia-Belarus union. He also suggested the Russian Constitution could be amended, such as changing the powers of the president and the cabinet.

-- Putin says the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump was based on allegations that are “dreamed up.”

-- Putin said Russia is warming more than twice as fast as the global average. He said that global warming could threaten Russian Arctic cities and towns built on permafrost.

-- Regarding the banning of Russian athletes from the Olympics and other international sports event for four years, Putin said the the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) had acted unfairly.


-- Putin added that Russia is ready to extend the New START arms treaty with the United States, but that there has been no response to Russian proposals.

-- Putin says there are no “foreign troops” in areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Ukraine under separatist control.

-- Putin lambasted Lenin's policies on ethnic issues, saying his idea to grant broad autonomy to ethnic-based Soviet republics paved way for the Soviet breakup. He also rejected the push for taking Lenin's embalmed body out of the Red Square tomb in Moscow and burying it.

*Time stamps indicate local time in Moscow

16:27 19.12.2019

And it's over, after four hours and 18 minutes. Not a record (that's four hours and 40 minutes), but still a marathon press conference by anyone's definition.

16:25 19.12.2019
16x9 Image Mike Eckel

One of the last questions Putin took was a good one:

A correspondent from the BBC's Russian Service asked Putin about his family, and specifically his daughters. There've been reports for years that a woman named Katerina Tikhonova is his daughter,

Putin NEVER talks about his family publicly, and the Kremlin has NEVER confirmed the reports, which were first documented by Reuters a couple years ago.

Tikhonova has been seen in Russian news reports more recently, as director of billion dollar high-tech development project. She's also a dancer in the circuit of competitive rock-n-roll dancer.

In answering the question, Putin speaks for some length about the development of high-tech projects in Russia.

And he totally dodges the question about whether Tikhonova is his daughter.

16:17 19.12.2019

16:11 19.12.2019
16x9 Image Matthew Luxmoore

More than 4 hours in and still no question about the crackdown on protesters during the summer.

16:04 19.12.2019

A woman from Yekaterinburg with a banner that reads “I Love Putin” asked him to help build a subway in the city. Putin promised to work with regional authorities.

15:52 19.12.2019

15:47 19.12.2019
16x9 Image Mike Eckel

Brexit and BoJo.

One of the BBC's Moscow correspondents got in a question about Britain's ongoing Brexit process, and the recent election that gave Prime Minister Boris Johnson a commanding majority in parliament, paving the way for London to leave the European Union.

Putin answered the question by congratulating Johnson on the recent electoral victory.

"He sensed the mood in British society better than the opposition," he says.

Johnson has also had unflattering words for Putin -- Johnson has called him a "ruthless and manipulative tyrant." There has also been persistent speculation, unconfirmed and uncorroborated, about whether Moscow sought to interfere in the original Brexit vote.

Putin answers:

"I know what my country's interests are. No matter what anyone anywhere says about me and my country, the fundamental interests of my country come first."

"People in the West, foreign governments, always comment on developments in Russia. I wonder if that can be defined as meddling into Russia's internal affairs... We also comment on developments in those countries. And that is the only thing that may be interpreted as Russia's meddling."

15:39 19.12.2019
16x9 Image Michael Scollon

On terrorist attacks on Russian soil -- the Beslan school siege of 2004 that killed more than 330 people, and the Dubrovka Theater hostage crisis in which at least 170 died.

"Putin: The most difficult events [during the leadership of the country] are, of course, major terrorist attacks. Beslan, I will never forget. The attack on Dubrovka!"

15:32 19.12.2019
16x9 Image Mike Eckel

A reporter from Minsk threw out an intriguing query for Putin: Essentially, what do you think about Gorbachev and the breakup of the Soviet Union?

"As for the legal assessment of Gorbachev’s steps or someone else’s, I cannot understand what this will bring about from the point of view of territorial integrity. We have solved all issues and all the documents have been signed. What can a legal assessment of their activities accomplish? I do not understand," Putin says.

(Background for this question is the pending issue of whether Belarus and Russia will in fact, finally, sign an agreement creating a long-discussed Union State. For the moment, it appears it won't happen, thanks to the long-standing hesitations of Belarus' president, Alyaksandr Lukashenka.)

15:29 19.12.2019
16x9 Image Michael Scollon

A view from outside:

"In the train car someone is listening to Putin's press conference on his telephone. You won't believe it, but passengers forced him to turn on the headphones. 'But can't you listen to it through the headphones!?!'"

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