On the New Year's eve, Russians will once again have a chance to ask the president their questions
December 18, Russia President Vladimir Putin will be on the TV and radio air to answer questions of the Russian population. People already now can ask their questions addressed to the president through the Internet or by telephone.
The communication line with the president is to start December 18 at noon. Russia's TV channels Rossiya and The First Channel, Radio Rossiya and Mayak radio stations will broadcast the presidential appearance.
People can use the free phone number 8-800-200-40-40 or the website www.linia2003.ru to ask their questions addressed to the president.
The website and the Unified Center for telephone calls processing warn that unfortunately the president would not be able to answer all questions because of the time limit. It is promised that the president will be asked pressing questions immediately on the air. A special questionnaire is to be filled in to send questions to the president through the Internet. The questionnaire requires information about the name, the address, the sex, the citizenship and social status of each correspondent. The columns of age, family status, education, employment and phone number are optional. If correspondents use the telephone number to ask their questions, they will also have to provide exact information concerning their names, addresses and phone numbers, ITAR-TASS reports.
It has become a good tradition for President Putin to communicate with the Russian population on the air before the New Year. Vladimir Putin appeared on the air in December of 2001 and 2002. In 2001, the TV appearance lasted for 2 hours 20 minutes when the president answered 47 questions. In 2002, the communication lasted for 2 hours 40 minutes, the population got answers to 50 questions. Over 400,000 questions addressed to the president were received within several days in 2001, while the number of appeals increased up to 1.5 million in 2002. Absolute majority of questions concerned social problems such as accommodation issues, pensions and wages. After the president was on the air for the second time he told journalists that people are more interested about the life of the country. In 2002, Vladimir Putin was particularly pleased that "people did not ask panicky questions, but rather took interest in the prospective and development pace of the country". In his words, this fact proves that "nobody doubts that the country will develop." In both cases, the president admitted that he liked to communicate with the Russian population on the air. Vladimir Putin says this communication provides unique material; this is some kind of opinion poll which allows to see what people in the country are anxious about and what they expect from the government. It takes the president several days to get ready for appearance on the air; the second appearance was easier, Vladimir Putin says.