”Secrecy, hard coaching:” Russians get prepared for Q&A marathon with Putin

The televised question-and-answer marathon, known as Direct Line with Russian President Vladimir Putin, will be held at Gostinny Dvor near the Kremlin on Thursday.
The Direct Line will be broadcast by Russia`s TV Channel One, Rossiya 1, Rossiya 24, radio stations Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii. Sign language interpretation will be available at the program`s website and on Public Russian Television (OTR), according to TASS.
Putin will respond to citizens` questions by phone, will speak with the regions by video, as well as will talk to representatives of various sectors, experts, journalists and politicians sitting in the studio.
Preparations for the event had been long, the Presidential Administration sought people who could ask questions to the head of state, according to two sources, close to the organizers, Russian news agency RBC reported.
According to them, on Tuesday, future studio guests, about several hundred, gathered in Moscow region in one of the boarding houses of the Presidential Administration.
The organizers divided people into sections and listened to how they ask questions. According to the results of interviews, a few dozen people were selected of several hundred, who will communicate with the President. Someone will ask their own questions, some have been suggested to ask questions prepared in advance by the organizers, the sources said. A separate rehearsal was held with these people. The rest were said that they would attend the event as extras and would not be able to apply directly to Putin, a participant of the event said.
All future participants were subject to hard coaching, a source close to the organizers said. They were explained that they could raise their hand, not to ask the head of state, but to give a signal to the organizers that there was some problem. In this case, the organizers will approach them to ”solve problems.” In addition, according to the source, the participants were forbidden to take over the microphone from staff.
Guests have been advised not to disclose details of preparations for the Direct Line, even to their relatives.

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