This is the first time in a decade that the Russian President has postponed the television show. The ‘Direct Line with Vladimir Putin’ is an annual televised event in Russia that sees citizens submit questions for Putin to answer.
The number of submitted questions can run into the millions, with the Russian President usually answering about 70 in detail.
This is a major TV event for Russia, which has run yearly since Putin first came into power in 2001, with the exception of 2004 and 2012.
Just last week, the government announced that the marathon phone-in would be held between June 15-18 at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, making the sudden backflip even more bizarre.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that a new date for the event is “unknown”, but that it “cannot take place this month”.
One of the theories behind the postponement is that the Kremlin fears the 69-year-old could face a number of difficult and even hostile questions over the invasion of Ukraine.
The other theory is the move is in response to Putin’s rumoured failing health, with speculation that he would struggle to remain on TV for the whole event, which can run for up to four hours.
New claims about his health have been emerging almost weekly, with a report last week claiming the US intelligence community believes Putin’s health is suffering and that he is being treated for cancer.
The sudden delay was surprising since it had been announced five days ago that it would take place in the “foreseeable future”, implying soon after the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, which ends on June 18.
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MI6 officials apparently claimed that the Russian President may not have even attended recent events, including the Moscow Victory Day Parade, in person.
Many of his TV interviews and addresses could have also been pre-recorded, one intelligence source told the Daily Star.