Don’t mention the war? How much of Russia’s ‘special military operation’ will Putin talk about?

Keen followers of Russian news and politics will be interested to see how much of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s public phone-in and press conference features the war in Ukraine, or “special military operation,” as Russia calls it.

Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told the Rossiya-24 television channel Wednesday that questions submitted by the Russian public ahead of the phone-in mainly relate to the “special military operation” in Ukraine and the “international situation.”

Peskov said many questions refer to “the special military operation in all its aspects,” such as the current situation in the war, Russia’s objectives and the future of servicemen who are returning from the battlefield, news agency Tass reported.

Russians are also asking Putin “whether the Russian economy and social sphere are resilient enough and whether the state will continue to fulfil its social obligations,” the news outlet added.

A still image from a video shows smoke rising following an alleged drone attack on oil depot in Sevastopol, Crimea, April 29, 2023.

It’ll be interesting to see how many of these thorny issues are actually posed to Putin in the carefully curated combined phone-in and end-of-year press conference, particularly given reports that the president wanted to avoid focusing on the war ahead of the 2024 election.

Peskov said the president prepares thoroughly for the event, reviewing questions grouped in main thematic blocks. The Kremlin spokesperson said none of the messages will be left unanswered and all problems reported by citizens will be resolved within the next year.

The Kremlin had received a huge amount of support for Putin from Russian citizens ahead of the event, Peskov claimed. It’s been reported that over two million calls and messages have been made by Russian citizens posing questions for the president.

— Holly Ellyatt

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