Putin Q&A Expected to Be Subdued

When Prime Minister Vladimir Putin takes to the airwaves Thursday to answer questions from citizens around the country, his interlocutors are unlikely to learn when he became sexually active or if he still believes that gigantic robots will one day defend Russia's borders.

These were just a few of the hundreds of thousands of questions submitted to Putin for the annual live broadcast, which he established as president in 2001.

Judging by the scant sample of questions posted on the event's official web site, this year's broadcast looks to be a decidedly more staid affair.

The web site Moskva-Putinu.ru, set up by the All-Russian Television and Radio Co. last month to gather questions for the program, had published less than a dozen submissions as of Monday.

Almost all of the eight questions posted reflected citizens' fears of possible social and economic upheaval stemming from the global financial crisis. No questions were personal or amusing.

From a studio in the Gostiny Dvor exhibition center, just across Red Square from the Kremlin, Putin will go on the air at noon Thursday in a show that will be broadcast on Rossia television, Radio Mayak and Radio Rossii.

It will be Putin's seventh such broadcast since he became president in 2000 but his first as prime minister.

Anyone can ask Putin a question in advance by calling the toll-free number 8 (800) 200-4040 or by submitting a question to the web site Moskva-Putinu.ru.