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Putin Kicks Off Annual Phone-In As Domestic, Foreign Issues Swirl

President Vladimir Putin began his televised phone-in session with the Russian public on Thursday at noon Moscow time amid a backdrop of growing dissatisfaction at home and stormy relations abroad.

The marathon Q&A session has become a yearly tradition during Putin’s nearly two decades in power, giving the Russian president a chance to shape narratives around pressing issues. With Russians’ trust in Putin at its lowest level since 2006, heightened attention will be placed on the phone-in this year.

More than 1 million questions had been submitted ahead of the carefully choreographed show, which is expected to last for up to four hours, organizers told Russian news agencies.

Putin is expected to field questions on issues including pensions, social programs, ecology and healthcare, the state-run Perviy Kanal (Channel One) television station that broadcasts the event said Monday.

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