President Vladimir Putin’s traditional televised call-in show has been delayed because of worries about the military situation in Ukraine where Kyiv’s forces are expected to mount a major counteroffensive, Russia’s Kommersant business daily reported Thursday.
This is the second consecutive year that the setpiece event, where ordinary citizens ask the Russian leader to solve their daily problems, has not beeen held in June.
Several major political events involving Putin have been delayed, or scrapped altogether, amid the fighting in Ukraine and Russian military reversals. Putin did not hold his televised call-in or his annual press conference last year — and the annual state-of-the-nation address was delayed to February.
This year’s call-in is “now tentatively planned to be held in November-December,” Kommersant quoted an unidentified source close to the Kremlin as saying.
The source linked the decision — which they said was reached “a couple of weeks ago” — to lack of certainty on the battlefield in Ukraine.
Ukraine is widely expected to mount a major counteroffensive against Russian forces in the coming weeks, with some experts claiming that it has already begun.
Russia’s military claimed this week that it had repelled significant Ukrainian attacks.
Kommersant noted that the Kremlin wants to run the televised call-in before Putin launches his prsidential re-election campaign later this year.
Russia’s presidential election is expected to be held on March 17, 2024.