Dec 12, 2022 - World

Putin skipping annual news conference for first time in a decade

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Dec. 12.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Dec. 12. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin will skip his annual marathon December news conference this year for the first time in a decade, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday, according to Russian state media.

Why it matters: Putin's cancellation comes as Russia's military faces several setbacks in its war in Ukraine and Western sanctions continue to erode the country's economy.

What they're saying: "As for the annual news conference, yes, there won't be one before the New Year, but we expect that the president will still find an opportunity to talk to [reporters], as he does regularly, including during his foreign visits," Peskov said Monday, according to TASS.

The big picture: The news conference, which often lasts several hours, is traditionally one of the rare moments when reporters, including foreign correspondents and those not accredited to regularly cover the activities of the Kremlin, get to ask Putin questions directly.

  • Putin uses the conferences to give the appearance of being open to — and being able to answer — all questions around Russian life, though the questions are often choreographed in advance, according to the New York Times.
  • Putin has held 17 of them since 2001 and has had only one previous cancellation. He did not hold them when he was prime minister between 2008-2011.

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