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Putin cancels year-end press conference for first time since 2012


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For the first time since 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin has canceled his traditional end-of-year press conference. The event brings together Russian and foreign journalists.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said on Monday that Putin may “find an opportunity to speak with journalists” in some other way, including during his trips abroad. He did not justify the cancellation, but last month the Russian newspaper RBK had already warned that the Ukrainian War could disrupt the event.

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Last year, the press conference lasted four hours at an exhibition center near the Kremlin. At the time, when asked about an eventual invasion of Ukraine, he said that his country would like to avoid conflict, but that it would need an immediate response from the United States to demands for security guarantees.

According to the news website The Moscow Times, due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic, the media could not, in 2021, accredit themselves for the press conference. Instead, the Kremlin chose around 500 international and domestic journalists to participate in the event. Several independent critical outlets, including Novaia Gazeta — whose editor-in-chief received the Nobel Peace Prize in the past — said they had not received an invitation.

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Also this Monday, Peskov pointed out that the Russian president’s speech to the Federation Council, the Upper House of the country’s Parliament, is under review. According to Radio Free Europe, the Russian Constitution obliges the president to speak annually to the House about the situation in the country.

At the same time, it is still uncertain when Putin will participate in a traditional question and answer event with Russians of various ages, which has been held since 2001.

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