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    Question Marathon: President Putin Holds Annual Q&A Session

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    Direct Line With Vladimir Putin 2015 (27)
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin has held his 13th annual Q&A session Thursday. He answered over 70 questions from people from all over Russia during almost 4 hours.

    More than 3 million questions have been collected since April 9. At the conference that started at 12:00 Moscow time (9:00 GMT), Vladimir Putin also answered questions asked via live link-ups from across the country. The Q&A session, Vladimir Putin's 13th in succession, was broadcasted by the country's major TV channels and radio stations.

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    • 15:59

      Q&A session of Russian President Putin has ended

      After almost four hours and over 70 questions Russian President Putin's Q&A session has ended.

      Live broadcast with Vladimir Putin
      © Sputnik / Alexei Druzhinin
    • 15:51

      Short questions and answers

      Q: Would you want to clone yourself?

      A: No.

      Q: Why do you choose Thursdays for news conferences?

      A: It is a coincidence.

      Q: Who could be considered a conscience of the Russian nation?

      A: People themselve should choose such a person.

      Q: Do you think your friends abuse your friendship?

      A: Not just friends. Everyone takes advantage of that.

      Putin told a story about the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who finished his beer before leaving a banya [Russian sauna] on fire.

      Putin doesn't want to be UN Secretary General.

      Putin: Q&A are an opinion poll. It's an opportunity to learn what really concerns our people.

    • 15:31

      The Russian leader has already answered almost 60 questions

      Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to a question during his annual televised phone-in with the nation in central Moscow on April 16, 2015.
      © AFP 2018 / RIA NOVOSTI / MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV
    • 15:25

      Question on the import of foreign medications

      Putin: We need to develop our own pharmaceutical industry, our own domestic producers make high-quality medication. However, the Russian government doesn't plan to replace all foreign medications.

    • 15:15

      A question from a child who wants to become the president of Russia: How many hours do you sleep?

      Russian President Putin said that the boy has everything to become a president once and that it is important to sleep well to be healthy.

    • 15:10

      Question on the development of small business in Russia

      Putin: Small business is a special type of business, but still a business. There might be more benefits for entrepreneurs. We need to boost the confidence of entrepreneurs.

      Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

      Russia to Increase Share of Small Business in Economy - Kremlin Spokesman

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      Read more
    • 15:05

      Over 3 million requests during 3 hours - an absolute record for the president's Q&A session

      Live broadcast with Vladimir Putin
      © Sputnik / Mikhail Klimentiev
    • 14:45

      Question on the delivery of Mistral ships

      Putin: The decision not to deliver the ship under the current contract is a bad sign. To us, in terms of our defense capabilities, this is insignificant. We signed the contracts in order to support our partners, to make sure their shipbuilding yards are busy. We mostly planned to use Mistrals in the Far East, so it is not critical.

      We don't even plan to insist on them making extra-payments or fines. We simply want all our costs to be covered if the ships are not delivered.

      But this certainly indicates that reliability of our [French] partners is questionable and we will certainly take this into account.

      The Vladivostok Mistral-class helicopter carrier
      © AP Photo / Laetitia Notarianni
      The Sevastopol mistral warship is on its way for its first sea trials, on March 16, 2015 off Saint-Nazaire

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    • 14:36

      Question on the Islamic State threat

      Putin: ISIL first emerged in Iraq and then spread. There was a non-democratic leader Saddam Hussein there, but there was no terrorism.

      ISIL is fighting professionally and they started to attract other radicals.

      We are really concerned that our people and CIS nationals fight there. We are aware of that. We know certain names. We are taking necessary steps. Our security forces are working on the issue.

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    • 14:31

      Putin on Russian Armed Forces

      There is a plan until 2020 to rearm our Armed Forces. Certainly, there will be enough modern equipment in the army.

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      Read more
    • 14:29

      On WWII Victory Day celebrations in Russia

      Some people don't want to and some other people are pressured by Washington even if they wanted to attend the celebrations.

      It's up to them. It might be a disgrace to some. We are celebrating our holiday. It's a big event for Russia. We pay tribute to the generation of those, who secured the victory.

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    • 14:23

      A question from a WWII veteran: Does Russia have allies?

      Putin quoted Russian emperor Alexander III as saying that Russia has only two allies - it's Army and Fleet.

      We need to identify the threats: terrorism, xenophobia, organized crime and others. Many states and individuals around the world support the fight against those threats.

      BRICS is not a military organization, but those countries are our friends as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

      We are not going to fight against anyone but we will build up our defense so that no one wants to fight against Russia.

      Our countries is big in terms of size. In terms of population our country has huge potential for growth. We are a nuclear power.

      We do not view any countries as enemies. And we don't recommend anyone to view or treat us as an enemy.

      Live broadcast with Vladimir Putin
      © Sputnik / Mikhail Klimentiev
    • 14:20

      Putin on the Great Patriotic War

      Nazism and Stalinism should not be compared. The Nazis openly, publicly said that they were going to destroy Jews, Slavs, gipsies. Of course, Stalin was not an angel. But Stalin never wanted to destroy whole ethnicities.

      After WWII, we tried to make many eastern European countries live like the Soviet Union did. That's what the US does now.

      A WWII veteran stands near the Monument to the Unknown Sailor at the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa. File photo

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    • 14:18

      Putin on political killings in Ukraine

      There have already been series of political killings in Ukraine. If Ukraine wants to be a democratic state, it needs to find the killers. But Europe, the US turn a blind eye on it.

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    • 14:10

      Question from editor-in-chief of Nezavisimaya Gazeta on relations with the West, on radical nationalism

      Putin: You compare patriotism (love to homeland) with xenophobia (hatred towards others). Nationalism is a very destructive force for the Russian statehood. As for radical nationalism - we have always been fighting against it. Russia was born as a multi-national country.

      We advocate good relations with all states. Russia is laways open to cooperation. We have never suspended our cooperation. Every time we voiced our position, we faced a tough response. Every time you voice your independent position, everyone critisizes you. It does not mean we have to distance ourselves. We are ready for cooperation despite that some world leaders are saying. We will cooperate with everyone who wants to do business with us.

      It's useless to put pressure on Russia. Our Western partners need to realize that. People always feel when there is injustice. I would like to thank our people for their support.

    • 14:00

      A correspondent is talking to refugees from Ukraine living in Russia's Rostov Region

      Alexander from Donbass asks a question: What are the prospects of Donbass becoming separate from Kiev?

      Putin: I know that people who live in Donbass, I know that you all are patriots and do not want to leave even when your cities are being shelled.

      We might find some provisions that will help to restore the single political space.

      The ultimate right to decide the future of Donbass belongs to the people who live there.

      Don't worry, a war between Russia and Ukraine is impossible.

      Live broadcast with Vladimir Putin
      © Sputnik / Michael Klimentyev
    • 13:53

      Putin on Russian foreign policy in Ukraine

      Yes, we helped Ukraine, even when it was a difficult time for ourselves. This was a real economic aid, dozens of billions of dollars. We had very close cooperation. I hope it may be recovered in the future.

      What happened is: people were tired of poverty, fraud, embezzlement, corruption. When people find themselves in such a situation, they try to find a way out. Sometimes they turn to simple solutions, nationalism. Nationalist forces took advantage of the situation in Ukraine.

      There is no alienation of Ukraine. It is a sovereign, independent country. In 1990 we liberated them from ourselves. We can't meddle into their affairs.

      The significance of the Eurasian Economic Union is to improve the lives of people living in the area. Our goal is not to rebuild an empire. Why can't we have an integration? We want people living in neighboring countries to lead a decent life.

      Live broadcast with Vladimir Putin

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    • 13:46

      Questions from Russian politician Irina Khakamada on the murder of Boris Nemtsov, on Russian troops in Ukraine

      Putin: Opposition has the right and possibility to participate legally in the political life of the country. In the long run, it's up to the people to decide, who should be in the parliament.

      I used to have a pretty close relationship with Nemtsov in the past despite the fact that he often critisized me.

      Just 24 or 36 hours after the killing, the FSB and the police investigators knew the names of perpetrators of Nemtsov's murder. The only question was how to arrest them. On the whole, the matter was taken care of within a few hours.

      On Russian troops in Ukraine: There are no Russian troops in Ukraine. The Ukrainian chief of staff himself openly confirmed that.

    • 13:43

      Russian President Putin on normalization of relations with Ukraine

      Russia doesn't expect anything from Kiev authorities except from one thing - treat us like equal partners. Of course, it is important for us that they respect rights of ethnic Russians.

      I repeat - we are interested in normalization of relations with Ukraine and we will do everything possible for that.

    • 13:36

      Question on relations with Poroshenko, Ukraine

      You can chose your partners. In our work we should not have likes or dislikes. We should be guided by national interests.

      The current leadership of Ukraine makes a lot of mistakes. But it is their choice.

      Poroshenko had a chance to use peaceful methods to resolve the crisis after he had been elected. I asked him not to resume hostilities. But he resumed hostilities. It is a tremendous mistake.

      The situation is now in a dead end. There is an only one way out - abide by the Minsk agreements, a constitutional reform. We can express our opinion and we expect all our partners to implement the Minsk agreements. The political situation can change, but the people will be there. I make no difference between Ukrainians and Russians. They are basically the same nation.

      We want to see the Ukrainian economy come out of the crisis. We are interested in having a stable situation on our borders.

      We are trying to do our best to rebuild relations with Ukraine.

      Independence supporters take their positions on a street, during an anti-terrorist drill in Donetsk, March 18, 2015

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    • 13:34

      Putin on Ukraine crisis, Minsk agreements

      We talked about reviving the economy in Donbass. The current Kiev leadership is not eager to rebuild the social sphere in Donbass. They are not doing anything. Those things were laid out in the Minsk agreements.

      Donbas is currently under an economic blockade. I talked to Mr. Poroshenko about that.

      The Ukrainian leadership cuts off Donbass with its own hands, that's the real tragedy.

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    • 13:32

      A woman via a MMS message asks the president to tell the husband of her friend Boris that he should allow her to take a dog

      Putin said that the woman should simply ask Boris to do it at the right time.

      Putin offers to work out an action plan. "Let's ask Boris together to allow the wife to buy a dog. Be a good husband."

    • 13:27

      More than 2 million questions have been collected in 1.5 hours

      The center has also received over 40,000 video-questions.

    • 13:20

      Putin on the rates of foreign currencies, loans

      Overall, the government exists to help people. But this specific case is all about the following: when you take a loan in a foreign currency, then you have to get a salary in a foreign currency.

      If you take a loan in a foreign currency and your salary is in rubles, there are certain risks due to fluctuations. It's the borrower's risks.

      Perhaps, the government might think of a way to help these people. But this aid should not be higher than the aid to those who took mortgage in rubles.

    • 13:14

      Putin on business

      We have a series of programs supporting small and medium businesses. It's not enough. They are quite right to want more. One of the goals is to have a range of small and medium business under the umbrella of large corporations.

      President Putin Holds Annual Q&A Session
      © Sputnik / Mikhail Klementiev
    • 13:08

      The rector of Moscow's State Institute of International Relations, Anatoly Torkunov, asks a question on the S-300 delivery deal with Iran and talks on Tehran's nuclear program

      Putin: We indeed signed the contract back in 2007. In 2010 then-president Medvedev suspended the deal. It was related to Iran's nuclear program.

      Today, we have clear sign of this, Iranian partners are eager to find compromise on the nuclear issue. All parties confirmed that the deal would be reached. That's why we have made the decision.

      Maybe our counterparts are not aware of the fact that the UN sanctions do not include military equipment. It was a goodwill decision on our part.

      As for the sanctions list, we will abide by the UNSC resolutions. Our enterprises produced this equipment. No one has compensated these losses.

      When we supply our military equipment to a country of a certain region, we take into account the situation there, especially in the Middle East. The US supplies a lot more equipment to the Middle East. Israeli PM Netanyuahu has voiced concern regarding the S-300 delivery to Iran. It [S-300] is not a threat for Israel, it is a defensive equipment.

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    • 12:59

      Farmer John asks a question on his business

      Putin: How did you end up here? Was it a woman?

      John indeed has a Russian wife. They got married 23 years ago.

      Putin: I trust the figures.The question is what can we do to improve the situation. The government decided to increase subsidies for loans. I have already mentioned this measure. If everything were so bad, you would have given up years ago.

      We, the government will have to increase the support specifically for the dairy industry. Milk productivity is low in the country. We are not very efficient. Of course there are some farms.

      John says dairy production is critical.

      Putin: You may think that we are not familiar with the real situation but we are familiar. We have to maintain the balance between different sectors. Agriculture is one of our priorities.

    • 12:49

      Farmers from Stepanovo village ask question on the agriculture sector

      Putin: Our consumers want to have high quality goods. That's why our goverment has adopted measures to support agriculture producers: measures of tax support, increased subsidies for loans taken by agricultural manufacturers.

      We have also special support measures for small businesses in the agriculture sector.

      President Putin Holds Annual Q&A Session
      © Sputnik / Alexei Druzhinin
    • 12:45

      Question on food embargo, import substitution

      Putin: I would like to know in person those customs workers who skip "gray" imports of agricultural products.

      We do our best to fight this [illegal import of EU goods]. We need to support our own agriculture sector. Otherwise, our markets will be conquered by foreign goods.

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    • 12:43

      Putin on program of Russian development

      The 2020 program is a guideline for our development. We still use it.

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    • 12:33

      Question from former Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin

      Kudrin: What should be done to create a new economic model?

      Putin: Firstly, you [Kudrin] were one of the authors of the model of development, the program 2020. We haven't change it radically. We have to create better conditions for businesses, private investment, improve monetary policy, administrative system, law enforcement and judicial systems. It's easier to say it than do but someone has to do this.

      As you know, inspite of our difficult conditions, we take certain steps in direction recommended by you [Kudrin]. This year the government froze some of the social benefits. Your coalleagues will say, this is not sufficient. We should rise the retirement age.

      If we need people to trust us, we also need to have a heart. You have to feel how people live.

      Now we move forwards modestly, but we still make progress. We take the approach the government and the central bank recommends. I think, this is sufficient at the moment.

      Putin has also commented on the state of US and EU economies.

      We will certainly be guided by considerations of higher growth rates. But we will do it in a way that will not put too much burden on the people.

    • 12:22

      Putin answers question about main threats Russia faces

      There are many threats we cannot forecast but if we maintain domestic political situation, if society remains consolidated, there are no threats dangerous for us.

      People should always critisize the government, the president, Putin said.

      Certainly, the government needed some time to develop and adopt a plan on exit from current economic difficulties. We just need to look back to 2009 crisis.

      The ruble has strengthened, so you cannot say that nothing had been done. I urge everyone to be patient. The government has taken the right way forward.

      We've survived the peak of the problems. Yes, we have problems, but the inflation is lower than in Eurozone. The government has finalized its work on the anti-crisis plan and now is actually implementing it.

      Real wages are down because of inflation. We have to take this into account in our policies. We have to support those categories that are at risk. We will allocate 82 billion rubles to maintain employment.

      President Putin Holds Annual Q&A Session
      © Sputnik / Mikhail Klimentiev
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    • 12:19

      Putin on state of Russian economy

      Russian economy would recover in about two years, maybe even faster. We have taken the right measures. We have enough resources, human capital. I talk to people a lot, I known the sentiment, especially in relation to sanctions. Russians are very determined. We have to take advantage of this time and we can do it.

    • 12:14

      Question on Putin's meeting with businessmen on sanctions against Russia

      Income has shrunk due to inflation. As for sanctions, we had a meeting with intrepreneurs and I said that it's highly unlikely that sanctions would be lifted any time soon, because it is a politicized issue. A lot depends on us domestically. The most important thing for us is to use more sophisticated ways of management. 

      What's the reason for the decline? There's a lot of pressure on the ruble. It depends on oil prices. Unfortunately, our economy is very dependent on oil. It's very hard to change that.

      The Central Bank and the government took the sanctions as a "helping hand". Our economy is getting healthier. We have basic conditions for further growth.

      Russia is not Iran, Russian economy is bigger and far more diverse. So this is not a very good comparison. We have to take advantage of this situation to reach a new level of development.

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    • 12:07

      Putin speaks about the results of the 2014 year

      Results of the year with fresh data: we now have the reunification with Crimea, Sevastopol, we are under difficult geopolitical conditions. Ruble has been strengthening, the stock exchange is growing, inflation has stayed within reasonable limits. Russia saw one of the biggest harvests in its history. Agriculture has been growing. However, there are some problems - direct investment has been down. I'd like to highlight the record amount of construction. Even the Soviet Union was unable to match that.

      We kept the growth of unemployment at a certain limit. Inlataion in the consumer sector was 11.4%. The wages grew, we've adjusted them to inflation. Assets of the Russian banking system grew. For the first time they bypassed the GDP of the country. That's a good sign. Russian banking system has been very stable.

      There is a 0.5 percent deficit of the budget. One of the positive results of 2014 - positive demographic trend. Life expectancy has been growing.

       

    • 12:02

      President Putin's annual Q&A session has begun

      Challenges are the central theme of the ongoing Q&A session.

      Broadcast of Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

      Putin to Hold Annual Live Q&A Session on Thursday

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    • 12:01

      Russian President Putin has already arrived at the Moscow studio where a Q&A session will take place

    • 11:52

      Prominent public and political figures have been invited to the Moscow studio for the Q&A conference

      President Putin is also expected to answer questions asked via live link-ups from across the country.

    • 11:50

      Russian President Vladimir Putin's 13th Q&A session is set to start at 9 a.m. GMT Thursday

      More than 2 million questions have already been collected.

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    Question Marathon: President Putin Holds Annual Q&A Session
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    Direct Line With Vladimir Putin 2015 (27)
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