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Russians have a million questions for Putin



Published: Wed, October 25, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



MOSCOW (AP) -- Russians have submitted more than a million queries for Vladimir Putin ahead of an eagerly anticipated question-and-answer session on live television with the famously peppery president.

Today, both of Russia's main state channels are scheduled to air the annual phone-in event, which usually lasts several hours and is Putin's fifth since he came to office in 2000. The Kremlin said Tuesday that the volume of queries from Russians had already reached seven figures, with a day remaining before show time.

The most popular questions concerned housing, student stipends, the minimum wage, inflation and benefits for large families, the Kremlin said.

Putin, whose popularity has remained extremely high throughout his presidency, sees the phone-in as an opportunity to show he can respond directly to voters' concerns. In September 2005, Putin took nearly three hours to answer 60 questions, fielding many via live hook-up. Other queries came in by phone, e-mail or text messaging.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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