(Itar-Tass) - President Vladimir Putin on Thursday has met Russian and foreign journalists for the last time in his presidency. Putin's big press conference has been held in the Kremlin two weeks before the election of a new Russian president. Such an extensive, long interview of President Putin to the press is long-established practice, but the interest in such interviews has been growing from year to year.
The press conference on Thursday is the seventh in succession and it has beat the previous record in the number of journalists accredited there. This time 1, 364 journalists, including 200 foreign journalists, are going to put questions to the Russian president, or 132 journalists more than in 2007.
A big press conference of the Russian president has well-established traditions. One of them is that Putin invites journalists, not limiting subjects they might raise and the time of his interview. Most of the questions asked usually pertain to Russia's home policy and no more than one- fourth of the questions are devoted to the international agenda. Putin also answers questions of a personal character.
The number of the questions put to the president and the duration of the interview have been growing from year to year. Last year, Putin' s press conference continued three hours and 32 minutes.
Unlike the practice of the previous years this time foreign diplomats have come to the Kremlin to personally listen to the president's answers and feel the spirit of the press conference.