"Putin will hold the yearend news conference on December 23. It will be a face-to-face event. The president will appear in front of a media audience. The journalists will be free to ask questions, as it usually happens," Peskov said. "The news conference will take place in Moscow’s central exhibition hall Manezh."
Due to the COVID pandemic-related restrictions no more than 500 people will be allowed to attend. The list will be determined by the Kremlin.
"Regrettably, the number of seats will be limited: 500. Usually, we have more than one thousand [journalists in the audience]: 1,100 and more. As the number of seats is restricted, there will be no open accreditation. We will contact journalists ourselves," Peskov said.
The presidential spokesman said that all federal mass media covering presidential level events and also foreign mass media would be invited. Regional media would receive invitations through the offices of presidential representatives in federal districts.
As the coronavirus pandemic is continuing, Peskov said, the consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor will be the main body of authority whose recommendations will be mandatory for everybody. "We will follow all of Rospotrebnadzor’s recommendations. The number of journalists will be restricted and the participants seated sparsely. This explains why we made a decision to move the news conference to Manezh from its traditional site at the International Trade Center."
Peskov added that the accredited journalists, TV cameramen and photographers would have to undergo three PCR tests. The Kremlin’s accreditation services will begin to contact mass media starting from December 1.