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  Monday, September 16, 2019
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President Vladimir Putin will take questions from domestic and foreign Internet users Thursday in an online news conference
President Vladimir Putin will take questions from domestic and foreign Internet users Thursday in an online news conference. The conference, arranged by the BBC and Russian Web portal Yandex, will begin at 5 p.m. Moscow time (1 p.m. GMT) and is expected to run for at least an hour and a half. It will be Putin's second live Web cast since he took office in 2000 and his first since winning reelection in 2004. According to a Kremlin source, Putin will answer questions sent to the BBC and Yandex early on as well as ones that will be coming in during the conference. The organizers of the event said questions from Russian Internet users deal with serious issues, including pensions, military conscription, xenophobia and corruption, as well as with less down-to-earth ones, such as whether the president plans to employ humanoid robots to defend the nation. Western audiences appear to be more concerned with alleged human rights abuses in Russia and with its president's private life. The web cast comes in the run-up to a summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations in St. Petersburg, which Russia will be hosting on July 15-17 as the current G8 president.
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