Putin’s Annual Press Conference, Live From Moscow

First questions and first answers
Putin’s Annual Press Conference, Live From Moscow
20 December 13:35 2018 Print This Article

President Vladimir Putin is fielding questions from journalists today during his 14th annual end-of-year press conference which began around noon.

Putin has so far answered questions about Russia’s economic future, the authorities’ crackdown on musicians, the fear of nuclear war and the U.S. withdrawal from Syria.

The televised question-and-answer session is traditionally a closely managed marathon affair: Last year it lasted 3 hours and 50 minutes, which fell short of the previous record of 4 hours and 40 minutes.

An Armenian journalist asks what it will take to restore relations between Armenia and Russia after the post-Soviet nation’s revolution earlier this year. “What restoration?” Putin replies. “We continue to be close countries.”

Rossia 1 television anchor Sergei Brilyov asks the Russian president about relations between the two countries and the ramifications of Brexit.

“Russian-British relations are at a dead-end,” Putin says, “and it’s in the interest of both countries to solve this.”

In response to a question about the creation of a unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church independent from Moscow, Putin says that this has to do with Ukraine’s upcoming presidential elections and that it’s part of Ukraine’s attempts to divide Ukrainian and Russian people.

“They didn’t like being part of the Moscow church, now they’ll be under Istanbul,” he says, referring to the Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew’s decision to grant autocephaly to Ukraine’s new church.

A Crimean journalist asks how Crimea can battle outside pressure after it voted to join Russia in 2014. “What annexation?” says Putin. “There’s no forced takeover if locals voted for it.”

Putin hails Russia’s agricultural boom, noting the country’s record grain exports this year.

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