19 Jun 2019 13:06

Kremlin disagrees that public losing interest in Q&A session, views format as highly popular

MOSCOW. June 19 (Interfax) - President Vladimir Putin's Q&A sessions are not a Kremlin project; it is financed by television channels, and there is still great public interest, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the press on Wednesday.

Journalists asked Peskov to comment on the cost of the project. "You know, it's not a project of the presidential administration, it's a joint project of two channels (Channel One and VGTRK), and a third channel, NTV, is taking part in it this year." Peskov said.

"You need to ask them," he said.

Putin will not have any public events on Wednesday, as he is going through questions asked by citizens for the Q&A session, Peskov said.

The president was working with statistical data and reference materials provided by ministries and departments on Tuesday, Peskov said. "A meeting with experts lasted for five or six hours yesterday, and the president continued working [with data] afterwards," he said.

"Today, the president will be analyzing questions, video and phone calls, and online messages. He will be preparing for the Q&A, which begins at noon tomorrow, until late into the night," Peskov said.

Peskov disagreed with the opinion that fewer questions were asked for this year's Q&A session. He said questions were collected by different channels, and the number of calls varied every year.

"Sometimes, fewer questions are asked during the first week, but their number soars shortly before the live program, and sometimes there is an opposite trend. There are a variety of factors, including weather: when the weather is hot, people spend less time watching television, browsing the Internet, and staying indoors," Peskov said.

"This does not mean a decline in interest, in fact, the interest is still huge, the format is still extremely popular, and this requires hard work from us," he said.