Turkey To Hear This"
Vladimir Putin’s Annual Media Q&A
Video and Transcript
Turkey will not be able
to violate the Syria airspace as Russia has deployed
S-400 defense system in Hmeymim airabse, Russian
president Vladimir Putin told journalists during the
press-conference in Moscow.
"Turkish planes used
to fly there all the time, violating Syrian air
space. Let them try it now."
Posted December 17, 2015
President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
Friends and colleagues,
regularly meet at the end of the year. Only recently
I made my Address [to the Federal Assembly].
Honestly speaking, I do not know what else to add
to what I said then. I believe I covered all the key
Nevertheless, there must be issues, which you want
us to clarify. When I say ‘us’, I am referring
to my colleagues in the Presidential Executive
Office and the Government Cabinet and myself.
Therefore, I suggest that we skip any lengthy
monologues and get right down to your questions so
as not to waste time.
Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov:
Last year we started a good tradition by beginning
the press conference with a question from one
of the most experienced members of the Kremlin’s
press pool, Vyacheslav Terekhov. However, we have
another press pool old-timer, Alexander Gamov from
the Komsomolskaya Pravda. I would like
to give him the opportunity to ask the first
Thank you very much Mr President, for your 11th
press conference of this kind.
my question. Before coming here, I reread
the transcript of your last year’s press conference,
and there we also discussed the difficult situation
developing in the Russian economy. When Vyacheslav
Terekhov and our other colleagues asked you then how
long it would take to get over this complicated
situation, you said in the worst case scenario this
would take a year or two. These were your words.
I am sure you remember them. This means this would
be roughly late 2016 – early 2017.
you please tell us if your feelings regarding our
economic recovery have changed? The country is going
through very hard times, and you know this better
than we do. What is your forecast for the future?
I forgot to introduce myself: Alexander Gamov,
Komsomolskaya Pravda – radio station, website
and newspaper. Thank you.
To begin with, I will tell you a very old joke.
friends meet and one asks the other: ”How are you?“
The other says: ”My life is all stripes – black
stripes followed by white ones.“ – ”So which one is
it now?“ – ”Now I’m in the black one.“ Another six
months pass, they meet again: ”How’s life? I know
it’s all stripes, but which one is it now?“ – ”It’s
black now.“ – ”But it was black last time!“ – ”Looks
like it was white last time.“
having something very similar.
a year ago we spoke of our plans and how we would
move ahead to recover from the crisis, about our
prospects, we, knowing that unfortunately our
economy is very dependent on foreign economic
factors, mainly the prices for our traditional
exports like oil and gas, petroleum products
and chemicals, which are all calculated based on oil
and gas prices, proceeded from the idea that
the average price of Brent, our crude oil, would be
around $100 a barrel.
was in early 2014. We used this figure in all our
further calculations of macroeconomic parameters,
revenue and spending, and social support and support
for the economy, and late last year the Economic
Development Ministry built its development plans
proceeding from these figures. However, by the end
of this year we had to rerun all our calculations,
and even last year we had to do this as oil prices
fell almost by half, not by some percentage, but
by half from $100 a barrel to $50.
calculated the budget for next year based on this
very figure, a very optimistic one of $50 a barrel.
However, now it is what — $38? Therefore, I believe
we will have to make further adjustments.
At the same time, I would like to use your question
to demonstrate where we stand.
Statistics show that the Russian economy has
generally overcome the crisis, or at least
the peak of the crisis, not the crisis itself.
Naturally, after the drop in energy resource prices
all our other figures started ‘sliding’. What are
they? The GDP has gone down by 3.7 percent.
As of December 7, the inflation has reached 12.3
percent since the beginning of the year.
it important to say this, because there are sure
to be other questions dealing with our development
prospects and our current state of affairs.
To understand these things we need to know these
figures and proceed from them.
The real disposable household income has gone down;
fixed investment has dropped by 5.7 percent over
the first 10 months of the year. At the same time,
as we have already said, statistics show that
the Russian economy has generally overcome
the crisis, or at least the peak of the crisis, not
the crisis itself.
Starting with the 2nd quarter of this
year, we have been observing signs of economic
stabilisation. What leads us to such a conclusion?
In September-October the GDP grew (it is growing
already) by about 0.3–0.1 percent compared
to the previous month. The volumes of industrial
production stopped falling as of May.
In September-October, we also had a small growth
in industrial production – 0.2–0.1 percent.
Incidentally, industrial production in the Far East
grew by 3.1 percent.
Agriculture is demonstrating positive dynamics with
an at least 3 percent growth. This means we are
doing all the right and timely things to support
agriculture. For the second year running our grain
crops exceeded 100 million tonnes – 103.4. This is
very good. I would like to use this opportunity
to once again thank our agricultural workers
for their effort.
The labour market is stable, with the unemployment
rate hovering around 5.6 percent. We can see that if
we look back at 2008, this is an overall positive
result of the Government’s efforts.
trade balance also remains positive. The overall
trade volumes have gone down, but the export surplus
remains at a rather high level of about $126.3
billion. Our international reserves stand at $364.4
billion – this is a slight reduction, but a good
The Russian Federation’s external debt has gone down
by 13 percent compared to 2014. Capital outflow has
also significantly dropped. Moreover, in the 3rd
quarter we observed a net inflow.
The reduction in our debt burden is a very important
positive indicator. This is the other side dealing
with the so-called sanctions. It would have been
good, of course, to have access to foreign
refinancing markets, so that all the money would
stay in the country and help us develop, but
on the other hand over-crediting is also a bad sign.
what did we do? Despite all limitations, we complied
with all our commitments to our partners, including
international credit institutions. We pay everything
due on time and in full. As a result, the overall
joint debt, which is not the state debt, but
the total debt of our financial institutions
and companies operating in the real sector
of the economy – the overall joint debt has gone
down, which is generally a very positive thing.
As I have already said, we are observing a net
capital inflow, which is also a very positive
factor, and I am sure experts are saying this
as well. This means that investors, seeing
the realities of our economy, are beginning to show
some interest in working here. Despite
the complicated situation, the fuel and energy
complex continues developing. The production of oil,
coal and electricity has grown. More than 4.6
gigawatt of new generating capacity will be
commissioned by the end of the year.
Putin’s annual news conference.
already commissioned about 20 facilities; this is
somewhat less than last year and the year before
that. In the previous two years, we had an absolute
record, but 4.6 gigawatt is also very good. We will
retain this rate in the following years. This is
also very important as it shows the growing capacity
of the economy as a whole, its energy security.
The infrastructure is also developing actively.
Russia’s entire seaport infrastructure has grown
by 19.5 million tonnes worth of capacity. I would
like to use this opportunity to draw your attention
to the fact that over the January-September period
the volume of cargo loaded at Russian ports went up
by 3 percent. What does this mean, colleagues? Why
have our budget revenues from our export goods gone
down? Because of the prices. Meanwhile, as we are
observing growing trade turnover at the ports, it
means the physical volume has not gone down but has
actually increased. This is a very positive factor.
continue developing our airport system. In the first
nine months, our airports served over 126 million
passengers, which is 2.5 percent more than last
year. Internal air traffic has also grown
noticeably – by more than 16 percent.
the complicated financial and economic situation, we
continue our responsible state financial policy.
In the 11 months of this year federal budget revenue
reached 12.2 trillion, spending – 13.1 trillion.
The budget deficit, as we can see, stands at 957
billion. The expected budget deficit by the end
of the year is about 2.8 – 2.9 percent of the GDP.
This is a satisfactory figure for the current
economic situation, even more than satisfactory.
To achieve a balanced federal budget this year we
used our reserve fund. At the same time, it is very
important that the sovereign funds generally remain
at a healthy level of 11.8 percent of the GDP.
The reserve fund amounted to 3.931 trillion rubles,
which is 5.3 percent of the GDP, while the national
welfare fund was 4.777 trillion rubles, which is 6.5
percent of the GDP.
complied with all our social commitments this year
and are witnessing a natural population growth. This
is a very good figure that speaks of the people’s
state of mind, shows that they have the opportunity
to plan their families, which makes me very happy.
Thus, 6.5 million Russian families have received
maternity capital over the entire period since
the programme was introduced. We have now extended
this programme. I would like to remind you that
in 2016 maternity capital payment will remain
the same as in 2015 at 453,000 rubles.
In the majority of regions, the situation with
accessibility of preschool facilities has been
resolved by over 97 percent.
According to the Federal State Statistics Service,
life expectancy at the end of this year is forecast
to exceed 71 years.
complied with our commitments in terms of adjusting
pensions to the actual inflation in 2014, with
the PAYG component increased by 11.4 percent.
As of April 1 of this year, social security pensions
have gone up by 10.3 percent.
began your question by asking about last year
and our expectations for next year and the year
after that. Proceeding from the current value of our
exports, the Government is expecting our economy
to achieve at least a 0.7 percent growth in 2016,
1.9 percent in 2017 and 2.4 percent in 2018.
like to draw your attention to the fact that all our
calculations were based on the oil price of $50
a barrel. Now the price is lower. Volatility is
high. We will not rush to adjust the budget, as this
would lead to a reduction in the funding of both
the social and real sectors; however, the Government
is of course working on different development
scenarios. The Government should have this
instrument available, to be ready for any
calculations were based on the oil price of $50
a barrel. Now the price is lower. We will not
rush to adjust the budget, as this would lead
to a reduction in the funding of both the social
and real sectors; however, the Government is
working on different development scenarios.
Of course, potential GDP growth is not limited
to our export-related opportunities. We must also
promote import replacement, as I said in my Address
to the Federal Assembly, which is not a cure-all,
but we believe that it will help us retool a large
park of the production sector and the agriculture
industry. This programme will enable us to introduce
novel technology and, hence, to increase labour
productivity. We must certainly continue working
to improve economic management, to de-bureaucratise
our economy, and to create more attractive
conditions for doing business and for helping
entrepreneurs achieve the goals that are facing them
and the national economy as a whole. We will be
working hard, with a focus on these targets.
you for your question: it allowed me to use
the materials at hand.
afternoon! Mr President, you said we are past
the peak of the crisis, however the economic
situation continues to be very disturbing, something
economists say. In particular, your team mate Alexei
Kudrin calls for reforms, but he is known to be
week, for example, your Ombudsman, Commissioner
for Entrepreneurs’ Rights, Boris Titov, expressed
very disturbing thoughts. He said, in particular,
that the Central Bank interest rate is extremely
high. So our entrepreneurs, who for obvious reasons
are unable to borrow in the West, cannot borrow
in Russia either because the costs are too high. He
said that if this situation continues, we will turn
into Venezuela, where there is one national currency
exchange rate on the black market and a very
different official rate.
share these concerns? Do you support the monetary
policy of the Bank of Russia? Do you consider it
necessary to lower interest rates?
Please give a long applause for this question.
Naturally, these are everyone’s concerns.
And of course, everyone wants the Central Bank
refinancing rate lowered, because everyone knows it
guides commercial banks in lending to businesses.
This, by the way, is not the only thing that affects
the rates in the commercial sector, but a major one
Titov does the right thing in fighting
for the interests of the business community, and it
is important that we have such a man and such
institutions. Why do you think I insisted
on appointing a business ombudsman in the first
place? Because I want to hear different points
of view, and I do not want to miss important
and essential elements of our economic life over all
the current issues.
To begin with, I will simply answer your question.
I support the policy that the Central Bank
and the Government pursue to ensure macroeconomic
stability. That is first.
however much we want to lower the rate, it cannot be
done by administrative methods. We have to work from
the realities of our economy and its structure.
Of course, I often hear this talk about interest
rates being far lower outside Russia. Of course,
there are lower rates. So they do it on purpose. But
they have other problems, and a different economic
structure. We are threatened by inflation, and they
probably have deflation looming when manufacturers
cannot sell what they make. That is their problem.
I support the policy that the Central Bank
and the Government pursue to ensure
a different problem. To lower the rate, we need
to help the Central Bank and the Government suppress
inflation and reduce devaluation risks
and expectations, rather than snap at the regulator
as was common in Soviet times in the planned
economy. Once we can do both, once we start down
this road, then the market will calm down naturally
and Central Bank refinancing rate will decrease.
there’s a possibility to support the real economy,
the Central Bank is doing it anyway. That said, it
should not be pushed to do even more, since this
could affect its ability to keep the inflation
at bay, which is one of the key issues, not
the only, but still a very important one. It could
prompt the question: Does the Central Bank have any
objectives other than making sure that the country’s
financial and banking systems are up and running?
And we can argue that this is the way things are
at the present time. What else is the Central Bank
doing? For example, together with the Government it
is working on the so-called project financing
programmes: the Government oversees a wide range
of projects under various programmes worth tens
of billions of dollars, about 250 billion already,
and up to 500 billion moving forward. Under these
programmes, the Central Bank provides funding
to Russian private banks so that they can finance
these specific programmes. The Central Bank is also
involved in new investment projects. It uses a wide
range of instruments. For now, this is enough.
Putin, could you tell us in all honesty whether you
are satisfied with the Government’s work? To what
extent are the initiatives that are being taken
against the backdrop of crisis developments you’ve
just described adequate? Can any changes
in the Government line-up be expected?
Well, as you may know or could have noticed
throughout the years I’ve been in office, I a) value
people highly and b) believe that staff reshuffles,
usually, but not always, are to be avoided and can
be detrimental. If someone is unable to work
something out, I think that I bear part of the blame
and responsibility. For this reason, there will be
no changes, at least no major reshuffles.
working together with the Government on ways
to improve its structure. This is true. This is
about finding solutions for enhancing
the Government’s efficiency with respect to the most
sensible economic and social issues. There are plans
to this effect, but there’s nothing dramatic about
them and they don’t boil down to specific
individuals. Our efforts are aimed at improving
the operations of this crucial governing body.
As for the question whether I’m satisfied or not,
overall I think that the Government’s work has been
satisfactory. Of course, it can and should be even
better. An anti-crisis plan was drafted and enacted
in early 2014. I don’t remember its exact title, but
essentially this was an anti-crisis plan. If you
look at what has been done, you can see that
unfortunately 35 percent or more than one third
of the initiatives listed in this plan have yet
to be implemented. This goes to show that efforts
on the administrative, organisational front
undertaken by various ministries and agencies did
not suffice to respond to the challenges we are
facing in a prompt and timely manner. However, let
me reiterate that overall in terms of its strategy
the Government is moving in the right direction
and is efficient.
that the Government’s work has been
satisfactory. Of course, it can and should be
even better, but overall in terms of its
strategy the Government is moving in the right
direction and is efficient.
give the floor to Tatars. There is such a big
poster. How can we possibly do without Tatars?
Nothing is possible without Tatars here.
Thank you very
much, Mr President. I am Yelena Kolebakina with
Tatarstan’s business newspaper Business Online.
The people of Tatarstan will not forgive me if I do
not ask you these questions.
address, you said – you stressed, actually – that
the kind, hard-working people of Turkey
and the ruling elite should not be put on the same
plane and that we have a lot of reliable friends
in Turkey. As you know, over the years Tatarstan has
forged extensive economic and cultural ties with
Turkey. What are we supposed to do now? Rupture
these ties, cut our bonds with the entire Turkic
world? After all, this is precisely the message
of Vladimir Medinsky’s recent telegram with his
recommendation that all contacts with
the international organisation of Turkic Culture
(TURKSOY) be broken. What is to be done with
the Turkish investors who have invested a quarter
of all foreign direct investment in Tatarstan? This
is my first question.
And allow me to ask the second question
or the people of Tatarstan will be unhappy.
In keeping with the federal law, from January 1,
2016, President Rustam Minnikhanov of Tatarstan will
no longer be referred to as president. However, this
can hurt the ethnic feelings of all Tatars
in the world while you – let me remind you – have
always said that in accordance with
the Constitution, it is up to the republic itself
to decide what to call the head of the region. So,
will the federal centre insist on renaming
the position of the head of Tatarstan after all?
Yes, I saw
the “Turkey” poster. Please go ahead with your
question and you too. We will sort this out.
with the Anadolu news agency. I have a similar
question. I would also like to start off with
the fact that in your Address to the Federal
Assembly, you said that we should not put
the Turkish people and the part of the Turkish elite
that is directly responsible for the death of our
military personnel in Syria on the same plane.
On a day-to-day level, however, the impression is
somewhat different. Complaints are coming
to the Turkish embassy in Moscow from students
saying they have been expelled and from business
people who say they are about to be deported. What
is to be done about this?
The second question concerns Syria. The position
on the fate of the Syrian president is well-known.
Russia says it should be decided by the Syrian
people while the United States and its allies insist
that he has no political future. Did you address
the issue with John Kerry during his visit
to Moscow? Will this issue be raised in New York?
And your question please.
Fuad Safarov with the Turkish news agency Cihan.
The rapid deterioration of relations between Russia
and Turkey benefits neither side. What is more, this
has only harmed both sides. Do you believe there is
a third party in this scenario?
The second question, if you allow me. An Islamic
anti-ISIS coalition was established recently, but we
know that there is also the NATO-led coalition
and the Russian-Syrian coalition. It turns out that
there are three coalitions against ISIS. Is it
really so difficult to deal with this evil? Maybe
there are some other goals and some other plans
here? Maybe it is not ISIS that is the problem?
Putin’s annual news conference.
Okay, I will
talk about Syria in the end. Now, regarding
the conflict that has flared up. We believe that
the actions of the Turkish authorities (in relation
to our warplane, which they shot down) are not
an unfriendly, but a hostile act. They shot down
a warplane and our people were killed.
outraged us so much? If it was an accident, as we
heard later, apparently, the Turkish authorities did
not even know it was a Russian plane… What is
usually done in such cases? After all, people were
killed. They immediately make a phone call
and straighten things out. Instead, they immediately
ran to Brussels, shouting: “Help, we have been
hurt.” Who is hurting you? Did we touch anybody
there? No. They started covering themselves with
NATO. Does NATO need this? As it turned out,
apparently it does not.
the most important thing for us? I want you
to understand this. I want our people to hear this
and I want Turkey to hear this as well. Apart from
the tragedy, the fact that our people were killed,
what has upset us so much, do you know? After all,
we have not abandoned cooperation. When I was last
in Antalya I had contact with Turkey’s entire
leadership. Our Turkish colleagues raised very
sensitive issues and asked for support. Even though
our relations have soured now (I will not say what
the issue was – this is not my style), but believe
me, they raised issues with us that are very
sensitive and that do not fit into the context
of international law when we consider the decisions
proposed by the Turkish side.
will be surprised, but we said, “Yes, we understand,
and we are willing to help.” You see, I had not
heard about the Turkomans (Syrian Turks) before.
I knew that Turkmen – our Turkmen – lived
in Turkmenistan, and so I was confused… Nobody told
us about them. But after we indicated our
willingness to cooperate on the issues that are
sensitive to Turkey, why did not they phone us via
the cooperation channels between our militaries
to say that during our discussions we overlooked
a certain part of the border where Turkey has vested
interests. They could have expressed their concerns
or asked us not to hit certain areas. But nobody
As I said, we were willing to cooperate with Turkey
on very sensitive issues. So why did they do it?
Tell me, why? What have they accomplished? Did they
think we would just pack up and go? They could not
have thought that of course, Russia is not that kind
of country. We have increased our presence
and increased the number of warplanes [in Syria]. We
did not have air defence systems there, but after
that we dispatched S-400 systems to the area. We are
also adjusting the Syrian air defence system
and have serviced the highly effective Buk systems
that we had sent them before. Turkish planes used
to fly there all the time, violating Syrian air
space. Let them try it now. Why did they do it?
asked if there is a third party involved. I see what
you mean. We do not know, but if someone in Turkish
leadership has decided to brown nose
the Americans, I am not sure if they did the right
thing. First, I do not know if the US needed this.
I can imagine that certain agreements were reached
at some level that they would down a Russian plane,
while the US closes its eyes to Turkish troops
entering Iraq, and occupying it. I do not know if
there was such an exchange. We do not know. But
whatever happened, they have put everyone in a bind.
In my opinion – I have looked at the situation
and everything that has happened and is happening
there – it appears that ISIS is losing priority.
I will share my impressions with you.
time ago, they invaded Iraq and destroyed that
country (for good or bad is beside the point).
The void set in. Then, elements tied to the oil
trading emerged. This situation has been building up
over the years. It is a business, a huge trafficking
operation run on an industrial scale. Of course,
they needed a military force to protect smuggling
operations and illegal exports. It is great to be
able to cite the Islamic factor and slogans to that
effect in order to attract cannon fodder. Instead,
the recruits are being manipulated in a game based
on economic interests. They started urging people
to join this movement. I think that is how ISIS came
about. Next, they needed to protect delivery routes.
We began attacking their convoys. Now, we can see
that they are splitting up with five, six, ten,
fifteen trucks hitting the roads after dark.
However, another flow, the bulk of the truck fleet,
is headed for Iraq, and across Iraq through Iraqi
Kurdistan. In one place there – I will ask
the Defence Ministry to show this picture – we
spotted 11,000 oil trucks. Just think of it – 11,000
oil trucks in one place. Unbelievable.
there is a third party involved is anyone’s guess,
but a scenario whereby these moves were never agreed
with anyone is quite likely. However, today,
the Turkish authorities are taking quite a lot
of heat – not directly, though – for islamising
their country. I am not saying if it is bad or good,
but I admit that the current Turkish leaders have
decided to let the Americans and Europeans know –
yes, we are islamising our country, but we are
modern and civilised Islamists. Remember, what
President Reagan said about Somoza in his time:
“Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he is our son
of a bitch.” Just keep it in mind, we are Islamists,
but we are on your side, we are your Islamists.
may be such an overtone, but nothing good came out
of what happened. The goals, even if Turkey had any,
not only were not achieved, but, on the contrary,
only exacerbated the situation.
regarding Turkic peoples residing in Russia.
Of course we should maintain contacts with those who
are close to us ethnically. I am saying “us,”
because Turkic-speaking peoples of Russia are part
of Russia, and in this sense the Turkish people,
whom I mentioned in my Address as a friendly people,
and other Turkic-speaking peoples remain our
partners and friends. Of course, we will and must
maintain contacts with them.
learned from experience that it is hard or almost
impossible to reach common ground with the current
Turkish leadership. Even when we tell them “yes, we
agree,” they are trying to outflank or stab us
in the back for absolutely no good reason.
Consequently, I do not see any prospects
for improving relations with the Turkish leaders
in terms of state-to-state relations, while
remaining completely open to humanitarian
cooperation. However, even this area is not without
issues. I think that Turkish leaders have actually
gone beyond their own expectations. Russia is forced
to impose restrictive economic and other measures,
for example, in tourism.
know, the creeping islamisation that would have made
Ataturk turn over in his own grave, affects Russia.
We know that there are fighters from the North
Caucasus on Turkish soil. We have told our partners
time and again: “We do not do such things with
respect to Turkey.” But these fighters are still
there, they receive treatment and protection. They
benefit from visa-free travel arrangements and are
able to enter Russian territory using Turkish
passports and disappear, while we have to go after
them in the Caucasus or in our million plus cities.
For this reason, we will certainly have to do it
along with a number of other initiatives to ensure
our national security.
As for the President of Tatarstan, there is a saying
in Russia: “Call me a pot but heat me not.” This is
Tatarstan’s business. I do not think that this is
such a sensitive issue or that it could hurt
national feelings. You know the people
in the Caucasus always react vehemently to all
issues related to their national identity. However,
even Chechnya said: no, the country should have only
one President, and we will not call the head
of the Republic this way. This was the choice
of the Chechen people. We will respect the choice
of the people of Tatarstan. It is up to you
to decide, all right?
Anton Vernitsky, Channel One.
I am sorry, I forgot, but I wrote down your
question. Again, I am sorry, Anton.
The fate of the Syrian president. I have said it
many times, and I would like to repeat it: We will
never agree with the idea of a third party, whoever
it is, imposing its opinion about who governs who.
This is beyond any common sense and international
law. Of course, we discussed it with US Secretary
of State Kerry. Our opinion remains the same,
and this is our principled approach. We believe that
only Syrians can choose their leaders, establish
their government standards and rules.
Therefore, I will say something very important now.
We support the initiative of the United States,
including with respect to the UN Security Council
draft resolution on Syria. The Secretary of State’s
visit mainly focused on this resolution. We
generally agree with it. I think Syrian officials
will agree with the draft, too. There may be
something that somebody does not like. But
in an attempt to resolve this bloody conflict
of many years, there is always room for compromise
on either side. We believe it is a generally
acceptable proposal, although there could be
As I have said before, this is an initiative
of the United States and President Obama. This means
that both the US and Europe are highly concerned
with the current situation in the Middle East,
Yemen, Syria and Iraq. We will do what we can
to help settle the crisis and will aim to satisfy
all parties with our solutions, however complicated
first, it is necessary to work together
on a constitution and a procedure to oversee
possible future elections. It must be a transparent
procedure that everyone trusts. Based on these
democratic procedures, Syria will decide which form
of government is the most suitable and who will lead
Back to the Syria issue. Mr Putin, do we have
a clear-cut plan on Syria or we are acting
impulsively? I mean, Turkey shot down our plane
and we immediately increased our military presence
in Syria. When will our military operation end? What
will you regard as the end point of our military
operation in Syrian airspace?
believe that the intra-Syrian conflict can, after
all, be switched to a political track? Though you
already talked about it, is it possible?
I was trying
to answer this just now. We think that, A, it is
possible; and, B, we believe that there is no other
way to resolve the situation. This will have to be
done in any case sooner or later, and better sooner
than later because there will be fewer casualties
and losses, and there will be fewer threats,
including to Europe and to the United States
as well. Look, 14 people were killed in the United
States − ISIS has made its way into the US. US law
enforcement has acknowledged that it was a terrorist
attack committed by ISIS, so it is a threat
to everyone. And the sooner we do it, resolve this,
repeat, there is no solution to this problem except
a political one. Do we have a plan? Yes, we do,
and I just spelled it out. In its key aspects,
strange as it may sound, it coincides with
the American vision, proposed by the United States:
cooperative work on the constitution, creating
mechanisms to control future early elections,
holding the elections and recognising the results
based on this political process.
Of course, it is a complicated objective
and of course there are various mutual grievances:
some do nt like this group and others do not like
that group, some want to work with the Syrian
Government and others refuse do so categorically.
But what is necessary is that all conflicting
parties make an effort to meet each other halfway.
And the military operation?
What about the military operation? We said a long
time ago that we will carry out air strikes
to provide support for offensive operations
by the Syrian army. And that is what we have been
doing while the Syrian army conducts their
By the way, I have recently said publicly – the idea
was proposed by Francois Hollande – that we should
try to pool the forces of the Syrian army
and at least part of the armed opposition
in the fight against ISIS. We have succeeded
in working towards this goal, even if partly.
At the least, we have found common ground with these
people. This part of the Syrian opposition, these
irreconcilable and armed people want to fight
against ISIS and are actually doing so. We are
supporting their fight against ISIS by delivering
air strikes, just as we are doing to support
the Syrian army. When we see that the process
of rapprochement has begun and the Syrian army
and Syrian authorities believe that the time has
come to stop shooting and to start talking, this is
when we will stop being more Syrian than Syrians
themselves. We do not need to act in their place.
And the sooner this happens, the better
Brilyov, do you have anything to add?
you. Yes, I want to add to what my Turkish
colleagues and Anton [Vernitsky] have said.
President, first I would like to ask if the Turkish
ship has sailed. Can President Erdogan do anything
to reverse the situation? And second, we do not have
to be more Syrian than Syrians themselves, but since
Turkey’s actions have forced Russia to increase its
contingent at Latakia, maybe we should keep that
base to ensure stability in Syria and the rest
of the Eastern Mediterranean?
Vladimir Putin: I do
not want to answer for other people and the leaders
of other countries. If they believe it possible
and necessary to do something, let them do so. We do
not see any change so far. So why should I speak
about it now? That is my answer to the first
As for the second question, about the base, opinions
differ, you know. Some people in Europe and the US
repeatedly said that our interests would be
respected, and that our [military] base can remain
there if we want it to. But I do not know if we need
a base there. A military base implies considerable
infrastructure and investment.
all, what we have there today is our planes
and temporary modules, which serve as a cafeteria
and dormitories. We can pack up in a matter of two
days, get everything aboard Antei transport planes
and go home. Maintaining a base is different.
believe, including in Russia, that we must have
a base there. I am not so sure. Why? My European
colleagues told me that I am probably nurturing such
ideas. I asked why, and they said: so that you can
control things there. Why would we want to control
things there? This is a major question.
showed that we in fact did not have any medium-range
missiles. We destroyed them all, because all we had
were ground-based medium-range missiles.
The Americans have destroyed their Pershing
ground-based medium-range missiles as well. However,
they have kept their sea- and aircraft-based
Tomahawks. We did not have such missiles, but now we
do – a 1,500-kilometre-range Kalibr sea-based
missile and aircraft-carried Kh-101 missile with
a 4,500-kilometre range.
would we need a base there? Should we need to reach
somebody, we can do so without a base.
might make sense, I am not sure. We still need
to give it some thought. Perhaps we might need some
kind of temporary site, but taking root there
and getting ourselves heavily involved does not make
sense, I believe. We will give it some thought.
Colleagues, let's be respectful of each other
and ask one question at a time, OK? So that everyone
can get the chance to ask a question. Terekhov,
Interfax, please go ahead.
Sorry, here’s Ukraine, our sister republic. I’m
never tired of saying it over and over again. Please
Microphone to the first row, please.
Thank you for the opportunity to ask a question,
even though we are not Turks, but Ukrainians.
I can see that, yes.
Mr Putin, as a follow-up to your allegations that
there are no Russian servicemen in Donbass, Captain
Yerofeyev and Sergeant Alexandrov, Third Brigade,
the city of Togliatti, send their regards to you.
going to exchange them for Sentsov, Savchenko,
Afanasyev, Kolchenko, and Klykh? And the list goes
more question, if I may, just to continue my first
question: The Minsk Agreements are coming to an end,
and none of the parties have complied with their
provisions. So, what should we expect from you come
January 1? Are you going to launch an offensive
again, come up with some negotiation ideas, or maybe
forget about Ukraine for a while? Thank you.
exchanges. We’ve never said there are no people
there who deal with certain matters, including
in the military area, but this does not mean that
regular Russian troops are present there. Feel
the difference. This is the first point.
you mentioned two or three people you propose
exchanging and then offered a long list of persons
to exchange them for. First of all, the exchange
should be equitable. Second, we should discuss
everything calmly with our colleagues, talk
and propose what we have always insisted on and what
the Ukrainian President has proposed. People who are
being held on one side and those held on the other
should be released. This applies above all to people
from Donbass, southeastern Ukraine, and Ukrainian
servicemen who were detained in these territories.
However, the exchange should proceed on an equitable
I talking about? It’s no secret that the Ukrainian
authorities regard all those detained and held
in Donbass as people who are subject to exchange
while those who are held in Kiev prisons are
considered criminals and therefore outside the scope
of this exchange. People in Donbass don’t agree with
this. This should be treated fairly and it should be
said: Let’s exchange all for all, as President
Poroshenko proposed, not selectively – we’ll
exchange these but not those. This is the line
to take here and we support it. We have a lot
of disagreements with the Ukrainian authorities but
here we have a common position.
regarding January 1. On January 1, regrettably
for us, we predict a deterioration in our economic
relations because we had to make the decision that
from January 1, we will no longer treat Ukraine
as a member of the CIS free trade zone. EU leaders
have proposed and asked me not to expel Ukraine from
the free trade zone and not to strip it
of preferences in trade with Russia in the hope that
we will negotiate in a tripartite format –
Russia-EU-Ukraine – for a year and make certain
changes in various formats.
do not change agreement itself between Ukraine
and Russia regarding association with the EU, we
will introduce certain amendments through additional
protocols to address our concerns and guarantee our
economic interests. Before July, we had asked
a hundred times for a tripartite meeting. Contact
was only established in July, you see? The result
was practically zero.
recently, I met with the German Chancellor
and President of the European Commission in Paris.
We received a document. It was their chance to gain
a respectable audience. I’ll explain the specifics
shortly. We’ve tried to maintain good economic
relations with Ukraine, since Ukraine is member
of the free trade area which offers mutual
preferences and zero rates. In its economic
relations with Russia and the CIS, Ukraine has used
standards, technical regulations and customs rules
which we inherited from the past and which we are
gradually changing together. Ukraine is unilaterally
withdrawing from this system and joining
the European standards. Those, for example, state
that all the goods in the Ukrainian market must
comply with EU technical standards and regulations.
But see, our products don’t comply with them yet.
this mean Ukraine has to keep our goods from its
market? Okay, they heard us. Now Ukraine is
officially allowed to keep both compliant
and non-compliant products in their market. It’s not
an obligation but a right. Whether it uses it
or not, we don’t know. They have the right
to establish a subcommission to decide, but again,
it is not an obligation. However, Russia is
expressly required to maintain all preferences
in place. No, it doesn’t work that way.
Moreover, one doesn’t have to be an expert to see
that Russia is required to bring CIS customs
regulations into compliance with EU standards.
In Paris, I told them: this doesn’t make any sense.
The three of us (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan)
have argued for years about these customs duties.
And you want us to change the CIS customs
regulations just because Ukraine entered into this
agreement with the EU. This is not a fair
requirement. It will take years to accomplish.
it was stated that we must comply with EU
phytosanitary requirements. Ukraine is willing but
nobody discussed it with us. It is expressly written
that Russia has agreed to comply. Since when? We may
be in favour of the idea but it will take time. How
can you not understand that it takes time and money?
Tens, maybe hundreds of billions of dollars. We need
By the way I was told in Paris that “their standards
are better and maybe we had better switch to those
standards.” Well, it’s true, and we want to, but we
need money – we need investments. And we still have
our access to external financing blocked. You
understand that it is impossible, I said, so why did
you write all this? They said, “But we haven’t read
this yet.” Look, you haven’t even read it, but you
sent us this official paper. Should we agree with
about what we will do. We are not going to impose
any sanctions on Ukraine – I want this to be heard.
We are just switching to a most-favoured-nation
treatment in trade. Which means Ukraine cannot be
put in conditions worse than those any other foreign
partner is in. But of course, Russia will grant no
more privileges or preferences to Ukraine from
January 1, 2016.
will this mean in practice? In practice, it means
that the zero tariffs in trade between Russia
and Ukraine will change to the weighted average
tariff of 6 percent. Various rates will range from 3
to 8 or 10 percent. But this is not our choice. We
have fought for this not to happen. But they did not
want to listen to us. They did so unilaterally
and in the style I just described to you. But we
have to work in the conditions we have.
about all sorts of attacks. As you know, I told you
frankly that we are not interested in exacerbating
the conflict. On the contrary, we are interested
in resolving this conflict as soon as possible, but
not by way of physical annihilation of people
in southeastern Ukraine. By the way, look
at the results of the municipal elections and see
the voting pattern in the area. In nearly all
the regions – nine or ten I think – the opposition
bloc came first or second.
in those territories of Donbass that are controlled
by the Ukrainian authorities, the Lugansk Region,
more than 43 percent voted for the opposition. Don’t
the Kiev authorities see this? Are they so reluctant
to take into account the sentiments and expectations
of their own people? We very much hope that we will
have an open, honest dialogue.
about the Minsk agreements. We’ve heard it a hundred
times, that Russia must stick to the Minsk
agreements. And this is what we want! Let’s look
at their provisions. First – to introduce amendments
to the Constitution and coordinate them with Donbass
on a permanent basis. Has this been done?
Transitional provisions were amended, it seems.
And what are those amendments? The law
on the special status was incorporated into
the transitional provisions. “On a permanent basis?”
I ask all my colleagues. They all say, “Yes,
permanent.” I say, “Do you know that this law has
only been adopted for three years? A year has
already passed.” They all say, “Really?” I say,
“Yes.” “Is that true, Mr Poroshenko?” He answers,
“Yes.” This is almost a direct quote. Everybody
says, “You know, he should do it on a permanent
basis.” I say, “He should, nobody’s stopping him.”
the law on the special status. Has Rada passed this
law? Yes. Under the Minsk agreements, it should be
“implemented within 30 days by having the Rada adopt
a resolution to this effect.” Have they adopted
the resolution? Yes. But how? They added an article,
I think number 10, to the law, which stipulates that
it can only be implemented after elections, which
means more delays. I told them, “Listen, it says
here that the law must be implemented.” “No, it
doesn’t. It says: the Rada must pass a resolution.
We’ve done it. That’s it.” But this is
really want to resolve the problem, let’s stop this,
let’s work together. And we are willing to influence
people in the southeast of the country and persuade
them to accept a compromise. We are willing and we
want it to happen, but we need our partners in Kiev
to be willing as well.
afternoon, Mr President. You just talked about
a significant expansion of the military presence
in the conflict zone in Syria with S-400s [missile
There you go again about Syria. Ask me about
the national economy.
Russia, not Syria.
Sanctions are in force, oil prices are falling
and there are not only sanctions but also a crisis.
Will Russia have enough resources for all this?
For military operations, the expansion of its
military presence, for survival. In addition
to this, there are more than enough other problems
to deal with. Meanwhile, resources – this is not
only money and military officers. A popular
expression has just come to my mind: “It’s easy
to start a war but difficult to end it.”
We did not start a war. We are conducting limited
operations with the use of our Aerospace Forces,
air-defence systems and reconnaissance systems. This
does not involve any serious strain, including
strain on the budget. Some of the resources that we
earmarked for military training and exercises – we
simply retargeted them to the operations of our
Aerospace Defence Forces in Syria. Something needs
to be thrown in, but this does not have any
significant impact on the budget.
see, we hold large-scale exercises. Take the Centre
or Vostok-2015 drills alone. Thousands of people are
involved. Thousands are redeployed from one theatre
to another. There are hundreds of aircraft and so
on and so forth. We simply direct a part
of the resources to the operation in Syria. It is
difficult to think of a better training exercise.
So, in principle, we can keep training for quite
a long time there without unduly denting our budget.
As for other components, yes, that is an issue –
I mean the economic problems we are faced with. We
know what needs to be done and we know how to do it,
and we talk about this publicly.
can be said in this regard? If we go back
to the economy, of course, here we need to implement
import substitution programmes (I believe
I mentioned this earlier). Not just import
substitution as such, but we need to modernise our
economy, enhance labour productivity, improve
the business climate and ensure effective public
demand. This is an element of our economic drive.
to carry out an array of measures that
the Government has publicly announced. And this is
what we will do.
Anastasia Zhukova: Good
afternoon. I am Anastasia Zhukova from Tulskiye
Novosti. Here’s my question. A tragedy occurred
in Tula last year when two babies were burned
in a local maternity home. One of them was seriously
injured and suffered burns to almost 80 percent
of his body. The issue of his adoption is being
reviewed now. People from all over the country are
worried about Matvei’s destiny. They worry that he
will be institutionalised. They think the boy will
end up in a nursing home. Most Russians
and foreigners want him to be adopted by a loving
Putin, can you please see to his fate and personally
control his adoption and treatment? And what do you
think can be done to prevent such accidents from
happening again? Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: This
is a horrendous, terrible story. It’s impossible
to think about it or talk about it without tears.
What a horrible tragedy. I simply don’t want to say
any more about it now – it’s just awful.
The problem is not rooted in healthcare. No matter
how much money is allotted to it, there will always
be people who will be criminally negligent
in fulfilling their duties. This needs to be
monitored. The attitude of personnel to their duties
should rest on a completely different approach.
As for a nursing home or adoption, I know that
the entire country is watching the developments.
I know this anyway, and we are keeping an eye on it.
Moreover, several people (not one, two or three),
several families not only want to adopt Matvei but
are fighting for him. I wish them success and want
to thank them for this. I hope this issue will be
resolved very soon.
lady, I promised you – go ahead please.
Yekaterina Vinokurova: Thank
you for keeping your promises, Mr Putin. Yekaterina
December 2015. You’ve been at the helm for 15 years,
and so we can say that a certain system of authority
has evolved. I have a question about a very
dangerous aspect of this system because we can see
especially clearly now that a very dangerous second
generation of the elite has grown up over this
period. One of them is Rotenberg Jr, who has
received the country’s long-haul truckers
as a present. Another is Turchak Jr, who cannot be
summoned for questioning over the assault of Oleg
Kashin, even though journalists continue to be
beaten up in his region. These are also the children
of Chaika, who have a very murky business, which
should be investigated. Sorry, but I don’t give
a damn whether this is a paid-for reporting or not,
because even rumours must be investigated. There are
many more such children who are unable to revive
or even preserve Russia, because they are not
the elite but only a poor semblance of it.
At the same time, when journalists investigate
something or public accusations are made
as in the case of Prosecutor General Chaika and his
team, the authorities, instead of launching
an investigation, shout that the rumour is being
spread by the hateful State Department or Obama,
or order an inspection – for instance, how
the prosecutor’s office dealt with the Dozhd TV
Channel, which helped investigate the problem. When
the long-haul trackers hold protests, they are
accused of acting on somebody’s orders, whereas
instead you simply need to talk to them.
Putin, I have a simple question. Did you expect
to see these results when you assumed power in 2000?
Maybe the situation needs improving before it is too
late? Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Let’s
start with results. If we want to be objective,
we’ll have to admit that these are not the only
results. Our best achievements are higher incomes
for the people and a stronger economy, which has
grown by nearly 100 percent. Our GDP has almost
doubled. These are our results. Stronger defences
and improved capabilities of our Armed Forces –
these are the results. The fight against terrorism,
which we haven’t defeated yet but we’ve definitely
broken its back – these are the results.
As for the problems of secondary importance you
mentioned, they can happen anywhere. Now
for the reaction of the media and the public
to the activities of our high-level officials’
children. Take young Rotenberg, whom you mentioned:
his father doesn’t hold any government posts, as far
as I know. Maybe he has found his way into
a government agency since I last looked, but I don’t
As for Mr Chaika, and who else? Turchak
and the rest. I’m aware of the reports by the media
and online that, say Turchak was involved in beating
up journalists. Is he the one responsible or is his
father involved? There’s a famous Soviet-era joke,
when an HR manager says: We’re not going to promote
this guy. Why? He had an incident with a fur coat.
It turned out that five years ago his wife’s fur
coat was stolen in a theatre. Something had
happened, so the guy won’t be promoted, just
in case. This should not be our attitude. You are
right to raise this issue. No, I really mean it.
This provides us with an opportunity to respond…
I mean, it is our obligation to respond.
Regarding all the issues you’ve mentioned,
especially those related to the children
of high-ranking officials… Let’s take for example
the General Prosecutor – he heads a very important
institution. We have to understand whether
the General Prosecutor’s children committed
an offence? Does anything point to a conflict
of interest in the General Prosecutor’s work? Did he
assist or help his children in any manner? For that,
we have the Presidential Control Directorate.
I didn’t want to mention this issue, but it doesn’t
mean that we’re not working on it. All
the information should be carefully reviewed.
The same goes for examining all the reports online.
now move to the truck drivers. Are there any
questions on this particular issue? Are there any
questions about the truck drivers? Go ahead. Maybe
someone can articulate this question better.
My question is
not just about the truckers. Everyone is aware
of professional drivers’ problems, why they have
been protesting for weeks against the problems with
the new toll system. But I have questions on behalf
of the entire driving community.
motorists are also forced to pay. For example,
there’s this new road being built from Moscow to St
Petersburg, recognized by all as the most expensive
in Europe. For example, a drive to the nearest
Moscow suburb and back costs 1,000 rubles, more than
a small amount for most people.
In Moscow, the metered parking policy has reached
residential areas where there actually wasn’t any
serious need for it, as many have said. But drivers
have been told that this is the way things are
in Europe. But we have a standard of living far
lower than them, and even you pointed out
at the beginning of this news conference that real
income has declined. So my question is: is it fair
to dump these high charges on all categories
Paid parking is kind of beyond the point, it’s
another matter. As to these car parks in Moscow, all
major metropolitan areas at some point have
to introduce paid parking because the problem can’t
be solved in any other way. Of course common sense
should prevail here too and you need to watch not
only what to do but how to do it, and prices should
be based on reality. However, the Moscow city
authorities have made this decision. You need
to know this.
The Moscow authorities decided that parking prices
should not be directly set by the mayor's office,
but only after consultations with the municipalities
and with the districts. Moreover, the local elected
authorities, district authorities have the right
to decide on this issue – they have been given that
authority. And parking is free for people who live
in the buildings next to these car parks. I can
assure you that the citizens concerned,
the Muscovites who live near these car parks, are
more in favour of the policy than against it.
The charges apply to those who arrive from other
districts or other regions: from the Moscow suburbs
and so on. This doesn’t mean, however, that we
should not think about them at all. And of course,
the fees should have some relation to average
incomes. But I repeat, these decisions are largely
up to the local municipalities. But keep in mind,
the revenue from parking goes entirely, completely,
one hundred percent, into the local district
like to reiterate that this does not mean the upper
levels and limits should be ignored. After all, this
is the prerogative of district and city authorities,
above all, the districts.
regarding other components of the auto business.
importantly, Rotenberg junior was mentioned here.
What should I say, and what is important? It is
important to get to the bottom of the problem, not
try to use a difficult situation for some
quasi-political purposes, but look inside. And what
lies inside? All revenues coming from the Platon
system – all 100 percent – do not go into somebody’s
pocket but into the Road Fund of the Russian
Federation, down to the last cent, and from there
all this money, down to the last cent, is spent
on road construction in Russian regions. I’d like
you to hear this. This is the first point.
where does this joint venture set up
by Rostechnologii and the company represented
by private investors get funding from? Directly from
the budget – I believe about 10 billion [rubles].
For what purpose? For the repair and maintenance
of this system, keeping it operational,
for development. However, what does it mean that
they receive funding from the budget? This means
that everything can be checked, including
by the public and the Accounts Chamber, which is
very important. If some people think that these
maintenance and development costs are inflated, let
them do calculations and submit them. This will be
the right thing to do – calculate and submit. This
can be done – [count] the money and revenues from
Platon, the company with private investment
and Rostechnologii – these revenues don’t go there.
I want this to be heard.
did the idea come from? It came from the Government.
Why? For two reasons.
because economic agents across all transport
sectors, including aviation, river, sea and rail
transport, pay taxes and infrastructure fees,
including on the railway. Motor vehicle owners pay
only a portion of the infrastructure tax through
the excise tax on petrol. But that’s only a portion
of it. In other industries, economic agents pay
infrastructure fees in full. This had a portion
of cargo travel from rivers, seas and railways
to motor roads. Huge numbers of trucks flooded motor
roads, causing damage to infrastructure. A motor
vehicle tax is the same for passenger cars
and trucks weighing 12 tonnes or more.
that those guys are saying there’s no difference
between a passenger car and a heavy-duty truck. But
this is not true. Experts say that during
acceleration and braking, 12-tonne trucks do more
damage to the road bed than cars. However, they pay
the same amount. This proposal seeks to create
a level playing field for all types of transport.
the licensing of this activity was stopped in 2008
or 2007 as part of the war on red tape. It seemed
like a good idea, but what do we have as a result?
Large numbers of people go ahead and buy heavy-duty
trucks and get away with it. But this is
an absolutely grey economy. They aren’t even
licensed as sole proprietors.
from a working-class family, and I know that these
guys work hard driving these trucks, but we need
to leave grey schemes behind. I’d like to support
them, believe me. Ms Pamfilova came to see me
and said that she met with them, and they are hard
workers and nice people overall. However, we must
shed these grey schemes, and help truck drivers out
asked me if I’m pleased with the Government or not.
Certain things must still be fine-tuned. How do we
go about it? How do we get them out of the scheme
and make sure that we don’t charge them too many
fees and taxes? There’s a simple way to do this.
They should be given an opportunity to purchase
inexpensive patents. However, there’s a problem.
Patents are issued for a year, while there may be
seasonal transport. Let the Government think about
it in advance and do it.
time ago, the Government reviewed the possibility
of introducing a similar fee. They charge
for mileage covered by heavy-duty trucks in many
countries around the world. In Belarus, truck
drivers are paying seven times more than is
suggested in Russia. They are paying seven times
more for their mileage, just think about it. We said
that the motor vehicle tax can be cancelled after
transiting to this system. The tax wasn’t cancelled
upon the request of the regional authorities,
as the motor vehicle tax goes straight
to the regional budget. It must be cancelled
at least for heavy-duty trucks whose owners must pay
for mileage. I hope the Government will do so
in early 2016.
that there is concern over having to buy various
devices. They also cost money. Here also it is
necessary to take a thorough look into who must pay
and for what.
For instance, a tachograph, a device showing how
much time a driver has been at the wheel. Listen,
after all, this must be paid for. And people all
over the world pay for this. It must be done
to ensure the safety of both heavy-truck drivers
and other motorists. Because when a person works
overtime, sitting at the wheel for 20 hours on end,
he poses a threat to himself and to other road
users. Yes, this must be paid for. I can’t recall
how much, but this must be paid for.
And there are two more devices. One is the Platon
tracking device , which must be provided to all free
of charge, and the other is the ERA-GLONASS system
(or the SOS system, so to speak), which sends out
an emergency signal. The latter device must be
tucked away in a safe spot to prevent it from
getting damaged during an accident. And so,
the first and second systems [tachograph and Platon]
can be put together in one box, while the third
system must for the time being be hidden deep inside
a vehicle. And by the way, it must also be provided
free of charge.
people say that while it must be installed on new
trucks free of charge, money is charged
for installing it on used trucks. No, they mustn’t
charge anything. Around two million have already
been produced, as far as I know.
As a matter of fact, this is the initiative
of Rostechnologii, and not of any private persons.
Why? Because, first, Rostechnologii proposed
a technical solution, assigned the work to their
enterprises and created jobs, so this is their
intellectual product. Why do we need private persons
there? We need them as investors. They have invested
29 billion rubles (by the way, as regards
the elites, they can do something, or their
children, or cannot), invested these 29 billion
rubles in Russia, and not in the United States,
or Cyprus or anywhere else. The point is that
the system needs to be adjusted, that’s true.
the Government will make all these decisions,
including taxes on transport vehicles in the near
future – no later than the first quarter.
Gotsiridze, Maestro TV. Mr Putin, I have a general
question about the future of Russian-Georgian
relations. Three years have passed since the change
of government in Georgia. There were expectations
of a summit. It’s still unclear why this hasn’t been
held yet. People hoped that Russia would ease visa
restrictions for Georgians or make travel visa-free
altogether but there is no progress on this either.
this question: what does each side need to do? What
does Moscow expect from Tbilisi? What can be
expected of Moscow to bring Russian-Georgian
relations to a new level? What do you think about
Vladimir Putin: As for the events
in 2008 and the subsequent decline in our relations,
we’ve talked about this many times, but I consider
myself obliged to repeat it. We are not to blame
for the deterioration in relations. The former
Georgian leaders and the then President Saakashvili
should not have made the adventurist decisions that
triggered Georgia’s territorial disintegration. This
is their fault, their historical fault. They are
fully to blame for this.
the export of politicians has begun. They are
actively operating in another former Soviet
republic – independent Ukraine. As you can see, they
haven’t changed their approach.
already mentioned this but I’d like to repeat it.
I think this is simply a slap in the face
of the Ukrainian people. Not only have they been put
under an external administration but they’ve also
had to accept so-called politicians that were
delegated there. By the way, I think Saakashvili was
never granted a work visa to the United States but
they sent him to run the show in Ukraine and he is
functioning there. What was Ukraine told? We won’t
just organise you – we’ll send people who will
administer over you, people from more civilised
countries – either your neighbours or from overseas.
put all of them into key positions: finance,
the economy, and so on and so forth because you
don’t know how to do it well. Others know but you
impossible to find five or ten honest, decent
and efficient managers out of 45 million people?
This is simply a slap in the face of the Ukrainian
let’s turn to relations with Georgia. We didn’t
initiate the collapse of these relations bit we’re
willing to restore them. As for Georgia’s
territorial integrity, this is primarily up
to the people of Georgia, South Ossetia
and Abkhazia. It would be necessary to work with
them. We’ll accept any decision.
despite the difficulties you mentioned we notice
signals from the current Georgian leaders and we are
receiving them. Imagine, today Russia accounts
for two thirds of Georgia’s wine and wine stock
exports. They are coming to the Russian market not
to some other market abroad. We are importing these
products as well as others and our trade has
increased. It declined a little this year due
to general economic difficulties, but on the whole
it is demonstrating fairly high growth rates.
As for visas, we’re ready to cancel them with
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