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Putin, who won a landslide re-election victory in March, has taken part in the annual phone-in since 2001, using it to cast himself as a decisive troubleshooter on the home front and as a staunch defender of Russia's interests on the world stage.

That's raised questions in Austria about the real agenda for Putin's visit. In December, Mr. Putin announced that Russian Federation would scale down its military presence in the war-torn country, now in its eighth year. At the same time, according to the president, in these conditions the authorities "did the most important thing - they preserved and strengthened macroeconomic stability in the country."Putin agreed that since 2012 "the level of wages has slightly fallen; population incomes have slightly declined".

After talking, Putin directly transferred to a video link with Russia's energy minister to bring up the issue.

He said that Russia is constantly pointing out to the governments of the Baltic states, including Latvia, that the rights of Russians living there are being violated. He referred some questions to regional governors, government ministers and state company heads who were shown on giant TV monitors sitting at their desks across Russian Federation, waiting to be quizzed.

The videoconferencing element was a new addition to the yearly call-in show. The Kremlin believes that the meeting between Putin and trump still was not organized due to the political instability in the United States and the lack of initiatives of Washington.

More: Putin complains that probe around Trump hurting U.S.

"One of the very well-known publishers in Germany wrote that President [Donald] Trump is pushing Europe into Putin's hands", he said. In response to one, Putin reassured viewers that "World War III" isn't near.

Putin's 16th call-in marathon, which lasted 4½ uninterrupted hours, provided a window into the president's mind-set - and a prime display of the stagecraft that the Kremlin deploys to boost Putin's image and promote his worldview to Russian households.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has skirted a question about a possibility that he could stay at the helm beyond 2024.

"And we will normalise relations with all our partners, including the United States, as well as those who are obedient to the United States and impose sanctions on us".

U.S. President Donald Trump enraged Canada and other American allies last week by imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and threatening to do the same with imported cars and trucks.

Why did he warn Ukraine not to try anything during the World Cup?

"So, we influenced the USA elections, and he gifted us Europe in return?" he asked. "I don't say this to rejoice or to be ironic".

"Overall, we are heading in the right direction", he said.

Putin, who has ruled Russian Federation since 2000, was re-elected for his fourth term in office in March and, barring changes to the Constitution, will not be able to run again in 2024.

"I am, of course without question, always thinking about that".


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