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    Russia's outgoing President Vladimir Putin gave on Thursday his seventh and last annual news conference, which also was his longest lasting four hours and 40 minutes.

    MOSCOW, February 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's outgoing President Vladimir Putin gave on Thursday his seventh and last annual news conference, which also was his longest lasting four hours and 40 minutes.

    However, Putin is Russia's first leader to have introduced the practice of annual news conferences. The world's absolute champion in the field is Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who boasts a world record of an eight and a half hour air time on his Hello, President traditional Sunday program.

    Another talkative leader, Cuba's ever-lasting Fidel Castro, gave a five-hour speech in May 2005, excusing himself by saying he had obviously failed to fulfill his intention not to speak much.

    In his last annual meeting with over 1,300 journalists Putin answered 100 questions from 78 reporters. He said:

    - there is no danger of military conflict between Russia and the United States, despite current disagreements

    - Russia could be forced to retarget its missiles on Ukraine if NATO bases are deployed in the country

    - tensions in economic relations with Poland are linked to U.S. plans to deploy missile defense elements in the Central European country

    - Russian-U.S. relations should not depend on the personalities of the new presidents of both countries

    - Russia backs Washington's moves to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East

    - Russia does not intend to limit energy deliveries to Europe, including Poland, but is set to diversify supply routes

    - Russia has no plans to adopt an "illegal" policy of retaliation if Western countries acknowledge Kosovo's independence

    - rejected arguments by European powers that Kosovo is a "special case" in seeking independence, and accused the countries of employing double standards on the issue

    - Russia will not allow anyone to dictate terms to it, but that it will honor its international commitments in full

    - he is ready to meet with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili during an informal Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit in Moscow on February 22

    - Russia's Arctic research is aimed at proving that the country has the right to a part of the Arctic shelf

    - excessive subsidies for agriculture within the EU affect Russia

    - Russia will protect its agricultural producers when it joins the World Trade Organization (WTO)

    - the introduction of a 7% threshold for parliamentary elections benefited the development of Russia's politics

    - Russia's three-layer government system established in 2004 is not effective enough

    - Russia will need to adopt anti-corruption laws

    - the Amur Region, in Russia's Far East, is the most favorable location for the construction of a new space center

    - there is no sense adding new national projects to those being currently implemented in healthcare, education, agricultural development and housing

    - Russia has no plans for moving to state capitalism

    - domestic problems, not foreign expansion, are Russia's main focus

    - it was relatively easy for Russia's banking system to survive the recent global financial crisis

    - the government will make sure that its commitments to put into practice demographic incentives are honored

    - the government's priority task for 2008 will be to curb inflation

    - Russia could spend more to develop its nuclear energy, one of its most competitive industries

    - recently-established government corporations will be gradually prepared for initial public offerings (IPOs)

    - Russian companies, including energy giant Gazprom, are much more interested in asset swaps with foreign partners, than in attracting funds

    - he had never been tempted to stay on as Russia's president for a third consecutive term

    - he was satisfied with the results of his second term in office and stated that he had achieved all he had set out to do

    - presidential candidate First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev would be a successful and effective head of state

    - there will be no power-sharing disputes between him as premier and Dmitry Medvedev if he wins the March 2 presidential election

    - if his ally wins next month's presidential election, he is prepared to be premier as long as Medvedev is president

    - Medvedev would need no assistance from him if he is elected president

    - media reports about his 'huge fortune' was "empty chatter and nonsense"

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