Russian President Vladimir Putin held a major end-of-the-year press conference, where he answered a total of 47 questions on Russia's foreign and domestric policy, including Russia's relations with the US and the EU, the possibility of a new arms race and the murder of Russian ambassdor in Turkey.
"That's all! Have a Happy New Year everybody," Putin said.
He answered a total of 47 questions. The press conference lasted for over 3 hours 50 minutes.
Robots are needed in manufacturing. We deal with sensitive issues that have an impact on human lives. So you have to be human. We cannot rely on robots here.
Now a question from Children's Business Magazine. "What robot do you need in the Kremlin?" Putin: robots are important but so are people— max seddon (@maxseddon) December 23, 2016
I have been asked this many times. Everyone makes mistakes. No one lives without making them. I will refrain from repeating what I said earlier. I will try to draw conclusions.
#Putin on his biggest mistake this pres term: "Every person makes mistakes, it is important to draw conclusions." Another evasive answer.— Damien Sharkov (@DamienSharkov) December 23, 2016
It's hard to say when. The President-elect needs to build his team. We will discuss normalizing ties. Trump said during his election campaign that we need to improve ties, because they are already bad. We will think how to resolve this together.
I welcome the visa-free regime between Georgia and the EU. Visa regimes in Europe are an anachronism regardless of whether we speak about Ukraine or Georgia.
It's not us who were to blame, it's not Russia who started hostilities in South Ossetia. But in the end we must think about normalizing ties. I do not rule out a return to the visa-free regime between Russia and Georgia.
Putin has already answered 40 questions. Last year, the Russian leader answered 44 questions in four hours.
China is our biggest partner. There are major joint projects in energy, aircraft manufacturing, space. We have major initiatives in infrastructure projects. The renminbi (yuan) is a reserve currency now. Congratulations on that.
President Putin: "The relationship with China is described as Strategic Partnership, and more than this."— Ilias Koromplis (@IliasKoromplis) December 23, 2016
Our stances on many international issues are similar. This is a stabilizing element in all international affairs. We value relations with China and hope that they will develop.
We have taken steps to make our judicial system more humane. We will continue this work. Our country is big and complex. Some radically protect liberal values and provocative exhibitions. The same is true of ultra-patriots.
I agree with you. People must be more humble. This has to do with revenues, bonuses. They have to understand in what country we live.
It's not an issue of foreign agents. However, our competitors are sometimes using ecological organizations to disrupt certain projects in Russia. Rosatom is one of the leading companies in the world. International experts have found that technologies that it uses are safe.
The time will come. I will look at what is happening in the world and in the country. Taking into account what we have achieved and what can be done, I will make a decision on whether to take part in the upcoming presidential election or not.
Q: Will you take part in 2018 elections? Putin: Time will tell, I'll decide based on state of country/world, what we’ve done & what I can do— Will Vernon (@BBCWillVernon) December 23, 2016
When it comes to fostering ties with Europe, we were not the ones to ruin relations with the West and Germany. We did not introduce sanctions against Europe. We have merely responded to restrictive measures imposed on use. We will gladly remove these sanctions if our European partners lift their sanctions.
#PutinPresser Russia did not sour the relations with Europe, Russia wasn't the first to introduce sanctions and we'd be happy to lift them— RBTH (@russiabeyond) December 23, 2016
Our European and American partners provided guarantees that a deal in Ukraine would be upheld. The next day this agreement was broken. This led to Crimea's reunification with Russia and a war in Donbass.
We have been asking for years to discuss the parameters of this (Ukraine-EU Association) agreement. We were not the initiators of what happened. After the coup took place they postponed greater integration between Ukraine and the EU. Now Europe is against implementing the deal.
Putin: Look what happened in the Netherlands. Even Europe doesn't want to implement the Association Agreement with Ukraine.— Brian Whitmore (@PowerVertical) December 23, 2016
We want to jointly solve issues with Europe, for example in the fight against terrorism. We want to resolve issues together. One of these issues involves tackling international terrorism. We express our condolences to the victims of the Berlin tragedy. How can we speak about efficient work when it comes to counterterrorism when European partners have limited this cooperation. As a result, attacks take place. I spoke about this at the UN General Assembly, a united front against terrorism is needed.
My only goal is Russia's interests.
We will continue support patriotism. There is no other unifying force for us.
"Our state will always support patriotism, it's the only bond we have" #Putin— Lisa Gaufman (@lisas_research) December 23, 2016
Russia has special and cordial relations with the Kurds. Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have been extremely courageous and efficient in fighting terrorists. When it comes to sovereignty, we will act within the framework of international law. In the end, the rights of the Kurdish people will be upheld, but all specific issues will be determined by Iraq and the Kurdish people. We will not interfere in Iraq's internal affairs.
Islam should never be put together with terror.
The name is not that important. The most important that it will operate. Currently, people call it the Kerch Strait brigde, but we can conduct a poll.
There are issues with energy deliveries to Kaliningrad. Our European partners are saying that we should get closer to each other, but in this case they are cutting ties with us. We will resolve the issue of sustainable deliveries of energy resources to Kaliningrad. This is one of the key issues for Kaliningrad's development. Infrastructure is the second major area.
One of the issues Crimea has to deal with is energy deliveries. Gas pipeline system has been integrated with Russia's network. We will make a formal announcement in the coming days. We are going to build two nuclear stations in Crimea.
As for democracy, we have been speaking about this for a long time, but our American colleagues ignored that. We have long raised this issue. The US election system is archaic. But it's up to American people to solve that. The Democratic Party has clearly forgotten what its name means.
#PutinPresser US is a great country and it will make necessary decisions and learn the lessons needed to make the next election better— RBTH (@russiabeyond) December 23, 2016
I believe that the Americans will figure it out, the US is a great country.
All members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) benefit from what we are doing when it comes to integration. This is a useful process for all participants.
The Investigative Committee needs the remains of the Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft of the Polish Air Force which crashed in the city of Smolensk. We did everything to investigate this tragedy. It should not be used to upset relations between the countries.
If we need to talk to a third country to build relations with the EU, then it is not interesting to talk to Europe. It is not our business to tell Europe how to build relations among its nations.
Centralization in the EU is very pronounced. Whether it is for Europe's benefit or not is for you, not us to decide. Yes, there are differences about migants, the migrant crisis, it's up to European countries to decide that.
Whatever the situation is like in Europe, we are always interested in developing ties with Europe. We are interested in fostering ties with Europe. We would like Europe to speak with one voice. We want a partner we can talk to. If there's no such voice, we'll talk on the bilateral level. Europe's internal structure is not an issue we must deal with.
You speak about economic sovereignty. Economic sovereignty is extremely important. The independence of our financial system is also an issue. When they (the US and the EU) needed to pressure us, they started to use economy to pressure use. Import substitution of foreign consulting is an important issue. We must develop our own rating agencies. These organizations must be transparent.
As for rating agencies, nobody is going to hear them if they don't prove their competitiveness. We need to make this area more sovereign.
The situation was worse than average, our economy adjusted to the situation. Nobody knows what the prices would be like. We think that oil surplus will be out of the market and the oil price to stabilize at the current level.
How our economy will respond to oil cuts? It will be a gradual oil production cut. It's a first such decision by OPEC in the past 8 years. We will continue working with OPEC. We are not members of the cartel, but we will honor our commitments. This cooperation is beneficial to both members of OPEC and countries that are not part of the organization.
Everyone is talking about the switch to alternative fuels. And Russia is working on this. We deal with all of these issues. Coal consumption exceeds that of oil and gas. This component should be made more eco-friendly.
The tragedy (the assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov) that took place recently, I think, was an attempt on Russia and Russia's relations with Turkey. Will that damage Russia-Turkish relations? No. This will not affect Russia's relations with Turkey, because we understand how important these ties are. We will do a lot to develop them. After a thaw in our relations, we have managed to find common ground after the relations were improved. I hope we will be able to reach compromises in the future.
The trilateral cooperation has played a major part in resolving the Aleppo situation without combat activities. Some 100,000 people have been evacuated from Aleppo. This is the biggest humanitarian operation in the world. And it could not be achieved without the Turkish president, without Iran's leadership and the Syrian president.
"Aleppo is the biggest humanitarian operation our Era"#PutinPresser— Emmanuel Grynszpan (@_zerez_) December 23, 2016
The next phase must see a nationwide ceasefire. Then political negotiations must take place. We have suggested that they could take place in Astana. Erdogan and Assad have agreed to that.
As for the so-called occupants in Donbass. You should be more concerned that the Ukrainian troops would be considered occupants of Donbass for years to come.
Journalists should do what their profession tells them to do. As for servicemen of the Ukrainian army, nobody tortured them, they just confessed. Their contacts in Russia, other information, they revealed all that. If Kiev has a political will, this and other issues can be resolved.
#PutinPresser servicemen of Ukr. army captured: no one tortured them, they confessed, easy to check if they are members of Ukr. military— RBTH (@russiabeyond) December 23, 2016
As for the Normandy format group, indeed, it's been not extremely efficient, but we have no other alternative. We have to continue working in this framework. Without it, the situation will only become worse.
As for Ukraine's visa-free regime with the EU, I support that. I believe that a visa regime is a relic of the past, of the Cold War times.
Putin says he "fully supports" visa-free regime for Ukrainians in Europe. "It is the right step," he says in #PutinPresser— Damien Sharkov (@DamienSharkov) December 23, 2016
I cannot agree with you that Western countries are paying less attention to preserving nature. France has made a major effort to bring the Paris treaty to life. It is hard to say whether other countries will fulfil their obligations under this treaty, but Russia is ready to achieve what it has pledged to do. I am extremely worried about pollution, massive waste deposits. Preserving forests is also a major issue.
The basis for the new arms race was created when the US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, it's not something we did. We have to respond to this challenge and have made progress. It's in the framework of all our agreements and obligations. We are not violating anything, including the New START. We were not the ones to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. But we have upgraded our nuclear potential. Yes, we impoved our nuclear triad. Probably, this is what has prompted the US to upgrade their nuclear forces.
#PutinPresser USA withdrew from ABM Treaty, not Russia— RBTH (@russiabeyond) December 23, 2016
We are not the ones fueling the new arms race. We will never join the arms race. By 2021, more than 70 percent of weapons in Russia's arsenal will be upgraded or new.
I never reveal the content of our conversations with Obama one-on-one. The side that lost is always searching for someone to blame. Now it's easy for them to blame some other countries. But the most important things is what was revealed. The truth came out. The Democratic party manipulated public opinion. The DNC chairman resigned. This means that this information was true. And instead of apologizing, they chose to blame others.
I have never publicly commented on my conversation with Obama. This is my rule.
Social media users quickly reacted to the US' accusations and posted memes on the issues.
First of all, the issue of performance-enhancing substances has never been raised in Russia. There is no state-run doping program. We are having some issues with doping just as many other countries. We will work with international organizations, WADA, to resolve this problem. As for (WADA's) informants, who escaped from Russia to another country, he previously worked in Canada. He brought prohibited substances in Russia for the US or Canada. He made athletes take them.
“No state system of doping in Russia, only individual problems” - Putin #putinpresser— Oliver Carroll (@olliecarroll) December 23, 2016
We have to tackle this issue, primarily taking the health of athletes into account. I am convinced that activities of WADA and similar organizations have to be transparent and accountable. Transparency is essential in this area.
Clearly, there is a political component. We need to cleanse sport and culture from politics. They must unite and not divide people.
There have always been issues and there will always be issues, but we will surely win, Putin said refering to import substitution.
Russian economy, if it wants to develop and it will develop, has to be part of global economy.
President Putin has already answered ten questions since the press conference kicked off more than an hour ago.
All attempts to blame outside factors for all the failures of the outgoing administration and the leadership of the Democratic Party… Is it my work? There are systemic issues. There is a gap between what is good and what is bad when to comes to elites and people.
We were the only ones who believed Trump would win, says Putin. His opponents are now looking for someone to blame. #putinpresser— Oliver Carroll (@olliecarroll) December 23, 2016
The fact that many Republican voters support the Russian president says that some Americans share our view on global challenges and traditional values. This is a good basis to build relations between Russia and the US. I think that former President Ronald Reagan would not "roll in his grave", but would have been happy his party wins. He would have been happy for the president-elect that he understood the grieve. He united the nation, while the current administration split the nation.
We were the only ones who believed Trump would win, says Putin. His opponents are now looking for someone to blame. #putinpresser— Oliver Carroll (@olliecarroll) December 23, 2016
They (Democrats) have to learn how to lose. We want to build working relations with the next US administration.
Putin says the US Democratic Party must stop scapegoating for their electoral failures. He is not to blame for their loss. #PutinPresser— IG: ConceptSixty5 (@Sentletse) December 23, 2016
As for the integration, you might know about the program of Crimea's development, Crimea is a free economic zone, it's more difficult than we expected. It greatly depends on local authorities. Crimea's integration is underway. In Crimea, the inflation is even lower than 5.5 percent this year.
Shipbuilding, ship repairs, agriculture, chemical industry, tourism. I would like the high-tech sector to develop in Crimea. They could create high-tech and well-paid jobs in Crimea. You need to develop tourism. Once this bridge (the Kerch Strait Bridge) is put into operation, there will be more tourists.
Crimea has a lot of potential. I'm sure we will see some growth there. We just need to resolve issues, which had been unresolved for decades.
When it comes to Trump, there is nothing new about his comments. He spoke about increasing America's nuclear potential during the election campaign. I was surprised by comments of some officials in the outgoing administration.
Yesterday, I said that Russia is stronger than any potential aggressor. And this is true. What is an aggressor? A country that can launch an attack against us.
We have upgraded our land- and sea-based nuclear forces, as well as our Air Force. We are acting in strict accordance with all our international commitments, including the New START Treaty.
Nothing new is happening here. Why would some officials in the US administration say that the US has the strongest military force in the world? We are saying that we are stronger that any aggressor.
Putin makes obligatory objection of US withdrawal from ABM #PutinPresser— Brian Whitmore (@PowerVertical) December 23, 2016
Putin: In which country? It is possible, but it is not necessary.
When it comes to Russia's budget, we are using conservative estimates - $40 a barrel. We will fulfill our social commitments. In 2011, we spent 2.7 percent of our GDP on the defense. In 2016, it will be 4.7 percent. In 2017, we will go down. It will be 3.7 percent next year. This will not affect our defense capabilities. In the past five years we spent a lot of money on upgrading our army.
#Putinpresser we will decrease military budget but it won't affect military capabilities.— Jill Dougherty (@jillrussia) December 23, 2016
The Russian budget included the sake of a stake in Rosneft. They money has already been transfered. The government has already received 1.1 trillion rubles.
I am closely following all high-profile cases. On all high-profile cases, the investigators must have time to find out all the details. As for Mister Ulyukayev, I did not speak with him. The information and documents provided by law enforcement were enough for me to dismiss him over lack of trust. We'll wait and see what the court rules.
No one thinks that Russia's Central Bank has taken a wrong path to revive the country's economy.
The problem with economies like ours is when you have petrodollars, you can get cash easily, while other sector remain underdeveloped. Our country has been working on changing the structure of our economy. We are still investing in high-tech sectors less than OECD countries. They invest 2.4 percent of their GDP, while we invest approximately 2.1 percent. The Russian government is making steps to resolve this issue. Export of IT-technologies was close to zero. Right now, Russian IT-exports amount to $7 billion.
#Putinpresser: we do have problems. The problem is petrodollars, you get cash easily and other sectors suffer.— Jill Dougherty (@jillrussia) December 23, 2016
Recently, we exported billions of dollars in weapons. In the defense indusstry, we see a real growth there. We have grounds to believe that we will lead in many key sectors and will maintain this leadership for decades. We should be leaders in a global technology revolution. We have all the chance for that, taking into account high level of education and science in our country.
I think that actually agricultural machinery shows a positive dynamic of development. This is a sector that helps to boost the economy. Agriculture has been growing by over 4 percent. However, the government plans to assistant certain sectors of the economy with subsidies. I hope this will produce a positive outcome.
In 2015, GDP fell by 3.7 percent last year. This year GDP is expected to decrease by -0.6 percent. Russia's economy is improving due to machinery manufacturing, agriculture. We see growth in the agriculture sector. The second indicator is the inflation rate. Last year the inflation rate was too high even for our economy. In this year inflation will be very different. This yeat the inflation will definitely will be less than 6 percent. Now it looks like it will be 5.5 percent, which is a record low. Capital outflow is reducing.
Do we have problems? We do. We should be sure our economy will continue to grow. In the last few months we saw a real increase in real wages, which makes us optimistic.
When commenting on the issues Putin is expected to cover, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "That is Syria. And in the context the situation of in Syria many people are interested in the development of our armed forces. We know that the armed forces are taking part in a large cross-border operation for the first time in a long period of time. They are doing a brilliant job … This topic is likely to attract much attention [during the press conference]. The process of the rearmament of the Russian army correlates with [Russian] economic potential."
A record high of over 1,400 journalists have been accredited to participate in the event. According to the Kremlin spokesman, "many US journalists have been accredited."
The Putin annual press conference is an intimate affair, as usual pic.twitter.com/NShwAhP372— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) December 23, 2016
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