Wed, Jul

Russians to quiz Putin live on TV

Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to hold a live televised phone-in, with social welfare and housing high on the list of Russians' concerns.

It is the 13th such annual phone-in - and usually they last about four hours.

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Moscow says the event is highly choreographed but does reveal Russians' concerns. 

About two million people have submitted questions - and more will come in during the broadcast. Russia's ailing economy is a national preoccupation.

The Kremlin says there has been an increase in questions about foreign policy, including calls to give formal recognition to the two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

Mr Putin is said to have taken two days out to prepare for the phone-in by consulting ministers and other experts. The broadcast begins at 12:00 (09:00 GMT) from a studio near the Kremlin.

Our correspondent says the questions are clearly vetted, with nothing too critical or too personal.

But Mr Putin is likely to face complaints about healthcare, pensions and rising food prices, as Russians' real incomes have fallen this year for the first time since he came to power.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said about 23% of the questions submitted concerned social welfare issues, and the second biggest area of concern was housing and local services.

Credit: BBC