Russia's President Vladimir Putin phones in his residence in Novo-Ogarevo outside Moscow late on September 1, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL/ ALEXEY DRUZHININ
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Last year's call-in broadcast lasted almost four hours and attracted a record 3.25 million questions, according to the official website. Putin is seeking to reassure the country as the world's largest energy exporter navigates its second year of recession. While Russians enjoyed rising prosperity during his first two presidential terms from 2000, when the economy grew at an annual average of 7 percent, the number who fell into poverty in 2015 rose by 3.1 million to 19.2 million, the most since 2006, as wages fell and the ruble tumbled after the collapse in oil prices.Parliamentary elections in September begin a new electoral cycle that will culminate in the 2018 presidential contest, when Putin can seek a fourth and final term under the constitution.Questions on social issues and the economy dominate the more than 1 million questions Russians had submitted by Wednesday morning via a call center and a website, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.Although Putin promised to deal with the issue, the back wages still haven't been paid, the newspaper said.
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