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    Putin's 2015 Annual Year-End Press Conference (41)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin held a major end-of-the-year press conference, addressing the nation's economic concerns and issues on the international agenda.

    This is the 11th press conference Putin will have with Russian and international journalists during the three terms he has served as head of state. These large press meetings, held once a year, usually last several hours.

    Almost 1,400 journalists have received accreditation for this year’s event, according to the Kremlin website.

    This year, the questions are expected to center around the Russian economy, heavily reliant on crude, and how it will cope with the continuing slump in global prices, as well as the social rights of citizens and corruption.

    Issues such as Russia-West relations, the Ukrainian crisis, the situation in Syria and Russia’s relations with Turkey are also expected to be high on the agenda.

    Putin introduced the tradition of holding the annual press conferences in 2011. The longest conference of this kind took place in December 2008, with the president answering 106 questions in four hours and 40 minutes.

    Last year, Putin answered 53 questions by 38 journalists from Russia and other countries. Most of the questions were related to the economic issues in the country. Some revolved around the Ukrainian crisis and the president’s personal life.

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    • 12:11

      President Putin wraps up his annual Q&A session.

    • 12:06

      President Putin talks on the role and importance of the city of Sevastopol.

      "We are equipping our Black Sea Fleet with new submarines and the base in Sevastopol is going to be developed further."

      "Six submarines with the most advanced weapons will be deployed at the Sevastopol base."

      "Sevastopol should be developing in various fields though."


    • 11:59

      On the investigation of the assassination of Boris Nemtsov.

      "Regarding Nemstov’s murder, the culprits should be identified and punished not matter who they are. It is up to the investigators to do this."

      "Cases ivolving the opposition leaders should be investigated. There will be no cover-ups."

      December 17, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 11th annual news conference at the World Trade Center on Krasnaya Presnya
      © Sputnik / Grigoriy Sisoev
    • 11:54

      On the state Defense Procurement and Acquisition. Gov’t has said it will increase weapons orders by 10% per year, but given the oil crisis, will orders be affected?

      "The defense industry is a long term project. Freezing projects is more expensive than maintaining them. Yes there are some problems with the budget due to the oil price."

      "The Russian defense program stipulates that these projects should be completed by 2020. All the projects that have been started should be completed, some new ones or not important ones, however, will be postponed."

      "All the objectives that we have put forward should be completed."

    • 11:45

      On Russian tourism to Egypt and Saudi Arabia’s anti-Daesh alliance.

      "The decision to cut Russian tourism to Egypt is not a political one, it is connected with security reasons. When we are sure of the security, we will lift all the restrictions."

      "Egypt cannot currently cope with the terrorist threat. It takes time to do this. As soon as the mechanism is in place to protect our citizens then we can continue tourism. Our representatives should be on the ground to oversee the landing, taking off etc."

      "About Saudi Arabia’s anti-Daesh alliance: we do not think it will be directed against Russia."

      December 17, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 11th annual news conference at the World Trade Center on Krasnaya Presnya
      © Sputnik / Sergey Guneev

      "Turkey is not the only country involved and it is certainly not our adversary. There are many other countries in the coalition. We have regular contacts with the King of Saudi Arabia, we have billions of dollars of cooperation with Saudi Arabia. It is not aimed against us."

      "The US already has an alliance, which includes Saudi Arabia and Turkey, so I don’t know why they need a new alliance?"

      "Probably there are some differences, regional interests in play."

    • 11:35

      On a possible cut of gas transit to Europe by Ukraine. And on the Nord Stream pipeline.

      "Russia has not invested $3,5 billion into construction of a nuclear power plant in Turkey. 
      Continuation of Russia's involvement in construction of Akkuyu nuclear plant in Turkey should be decided on a corporate level."

      On Nord Stream 2: "One route has 50% load already."

      "On South Stream, the EU said it wasn’t in their interests, the project was not allowed. Bulgaria’s decision is surprising; it would have meant lots of money for them."

      December 17, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 11th annual news conference at the World Trade Center on Krasnaya Presnya
      © Sputnik / Grigoriy Sisoev

      "Turkish stream negotiations have not been stopped. But we need guarantees that Brussels will support the route."

      "On Ukraine transit, Nord Stream 2 is more reliable. Can Ukraine offer the same guarantees? If they can, then we can work with them."

    • 11:30

      On mass production of Russian-made aircraft.

      "No doubt, we have to provide for domestic flights by our own means. We must develop the domestic and foreign markets. We must produce competitive aircraft. This means investment, which we have discussed with Chinese partners."

      Putin congratulates the engineers of the new civillian aircraft engine that allows the industry to develop without foreign producers.

    • 11:28

      Putin is talking about further geological exploration of oil reserves in the country.

      "The government needs to be very careful in monitoring the country's oil branch. We are investing in many programs on geological exploration. We never forget about this."

    • 11:18

      On his daughters' work and education.

      Though the president says that he never discusses his family, due to security reasons, he nevertheless said that his daughters live in Russia and were educated in Russia. They continue to study and work.

      "My daughters have never lived in the limelight."


      December 17, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 11th annual news conference at the World Trade Center on Krasnaya Presnya

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    • 11:07

      Putin discusses working pensions, indexation issues and on possible increase of the retirement age.

      The president reiterates that he is opposed to the increase of the retirement age. "The time has not come yet to increase the retirement age."

    • 11:02

      Journalist from Kurgan compliments Putin for staying in great shape, being fit.

      Putin laughs, quips that all his achievements are doping-free.

      ​​December 17, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 11th annual news conference at the World Trade Center on Krasnaya Presnya

      © Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov

    • 10:57

      On doping and corruption in sports.

      "No country has the right to spread their jurisdiction to other countries. Of course, we should fight corruption. It is unacceptable to snatch foreign nationals abroad to bring charges against them."

      "We won the bid to host the World Football Championship in an honest and open battle."

      "Blatter has done much for football. He deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for his work."

      On doping: "We are against any form of doping. It is poison. Also it destroys the principal of fair play."

      ​"These are the principles we stand for. Russia will always be open to all forms of cooperation."

      "The coach, the athlete – whoever is to blame should be punished. Those not involved should not be punished. We are going to be transparent about this."

      December 17, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 11th annual news conference at the World Trade Center on Krasnaya Presnya

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    • 10:51

      What are your expectations of a relationship with the next president of America?

      "We are willing to cooperate with the next president to work on joint issues, we have never tried to isolate ourselves."

      December 17, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 11th annual news conference at the World Trade Center on Krasnaya Presnya. Right: Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov
      © Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov
    • 10:47

      The Wall Street Journal wonders if the time has come to privatize big public companies.

      "We consider the possibility, are the market conditions right to sell a valuable company, for example Rosneft?
      In 2015, we made no decisions about this."

    • 10:43

      Putin discusses the cost of living, average salaries, utility rates and pensions.

      December 17, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 11th annual news conference at the World Trade Center on Krasnaya Presnya
      © Sputnik / Michael Klimentyev
    • 10:31

      On the prospect of Russian-Georgian relations.

      The president says it was not Russia who initiated the deterioration of the relations with Georgia but solely and completely the Georgian authorities. But we are ready to restore those relations, the president says. Russia is ready to abolish the visa regime with Georgia.


    • 10:23

      Regarding high fees for parking in Moscow. The highway from Moscow to St Petersburg is the most expensive road in Europe; parking prices are high. Are the prices fair and just?

      The president explained that the parking fee in most large cities of the world is high. In Russia the fees don't go into someone's pocket but go directly to the road fund and are used to build further roads in the country.

    • 10:12

      The question on the fate of a little boy in the Tula region who suffered in a fire.

      The president says that he is aware of the situation and will keep an eye on it. He knows that several families are engaged in trying to adopt the boy.

    • 10:08

      The question about the anti-Russian sanctions. Does Russia have enough resources to cope with the sanctions, low energy prices and for expansion of its military presence in Syria.

      The president explains that Russia did not allocate any special resources for its military presence in Syria but redirected some of its resources for its military needs.


    • 09:54

      The question is from a Ukrainian journalist. On the possible exchange of Russian servicemen for the Ukrainian prisoners.

      "We never said that there were no people who task themselves with solving certain issues, including in the military sphere, but that does not mean that there are regular Russian troops there. Feel the difference," Putin explained at his annual press conference.

      "On Jan 1, economic relations will deteriorate. The EU asked me not to expel Ukraine from the Free Trade zone. But Ukraine does not comply with its regulations. Ukraine is pulling out of our economic standards. Our goods are not in compliance with EU rules, so will all our goods be thrown out?"

      The president says that Russia is not going to introduce any sanctions against Ukraine. But since January 1 Ukraine won't be subjected to any preferences. But the president stressed that Russia is not interested in a deterioration of the conflict.

      "We must be grown up. Are we going to join EU standards right away? It is impossible. It takes time and investment to do this. We would like to do this, but it takes billions in investment to meet these standards. Now there is zero tariff, soon it will be about 6%."

      December 17, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 11th annual news conference at the World Trade Center on Krasnaya Presnya
      © Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov


    • 09:51

      Yet another question about the Turkish president. Can Erdogan do anything to resolve the problem?

      The president said that he can't answer for other leaders. "If they want to do something, let them do it. As far as the base, do we need a military base in Syria? Who knows, it is expensive and hard work.  I am not sure we need a base in Syria. If we need to reach someone, we will reach them."

    • 09:44

      On the fate of the Syrian president.

      Nobody has a right to impose who should be a country's leader. It is only up to the Syrian people to decide. But we support the initiative of the US on preparing the UN resolution. This shows that the US and EU are concerned with what is going in the Middle East.

      We will never agree to any external force determining who will run the country. It goes against all international law, it is up to the Syrian people. Compromises are possible from both sides. Still work to be done though. We will support the resolution of this crisis.
      A mechanism should be set up for future mechanisms based on democratic procedures.

      ​Another question is whether Russia has a clear plan on the operation in Syria.

      There is no other resolution to the crisis than a political one, the president answers. Syria problem should be dealt with sooner rather than later. Daesh has even reached the US. Our plan matches the US vision.

      Regarding our military operation, the president said that Russia will continue supporting the Syrian amry as long as it oges on with its military operations. We support their efforts of fighting against Daesh (ISIL/ISIS).

      All opposing sides should come together. We support the offensive movement of the Syrian Army with our air strikes.

      People walk through the Damascus General Hospital past a portrait of the President Bashar Assad in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, May 4, 2014

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    • 09:30

      The next question about relations with Turkey. Shall we break all the ties with Ankara?

      The second part of the question is about the head of Tatarstan. Several other journalists asked questions about Turkey and Syria and the fate of Syrian President Assad.

      President says that the incident with the downing of the Russian bomber is not just an unfriendly act but a hostile act. Moreover, Turkey ran to complain to NATO instead of settling it. Had it been an accident they could have apologized. It is outrageous.
      Turkish authorities refused to cooperate with us.

      We offered to cooperate, the channels were in place. No one warned us about the Turkmen. They told us nothing.

      We had no air defense then. We have S-400 now.

      Maybe the Turkish government did the bidding of the Americans, we don't know, maybe there was a deal discussed? But they put themselves in a serious situation.

      ​Whether there is a third party involved, I still don't know. If there were any goals on the Turkish side, they were not achieved.

      It is very difficult, almost impossible to maintain contacts with the current Turkish leadership.

      I see no prospects to recover relations with the Turkish authorities at the highest level.

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    • 09:28

      Right before the start of the news conference the president took off his watch and put it nearby.

      Many wondered would he thus track the time?

    • 09:26

      Third question about the work of the country's government.

      "There is no serious government shuffling to be expected. We have no dramatic plans, but we want to make their work more efficient. I believe they are performing satisfactorily."

    • 09:23

      The second question comes from RIA Novosti. It is about the Central Bank's base interest rate and the borrowing policy.

      Are you concerned that the base interest rate should be lower to support business in the country?

      The president says he supports the policy of the country's Central Bank. Though he says that we all want to see the base rate lower, it is an important factor in economic activity.

      We have to curb inflation risks, if we succeed, then the central Central Bank rate will fall to support the real sector of the economy. But we cannot jeopardize the work of the Central Bank.

    • 09:05

      The first question to the president is on the complicated economic situation in Russia.

      The question is on the further forecast of the economic situation in Russia.

      A similar question was asked last year. Then the president promised that the economic situation will be stabilized by the end of 2016, does this date still stand?

      December 17, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 11th annual news conference at the World Trade Center on Krasnaya Presnya
      © Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov

      The price of oil has fallen significantly and we have to recalculate our plans based on this.

      Russian economy has passed the peak of its crisis, says the president.

      Even though GDP has fallen by 3.5%, the real income of the population has fallen by over 5%.

      There is small growth in the economy now.

      Far East region has growth, and agriculutral harvest was very good.

      Unemployment fluctuating at around 5.6% which is quite good.

      The outflow  of capital has been reduced.

      Balance of trade surplus is good. International reserves are a little down but are ok. Net inflow of capital. This is the other side of the sanctions.

      We have fulfilled all our obligations before our partners. Investors begin to show interest in working in Russia.

      We would welcome access to the refinancing market. Our overall debt has gone down which is a positive indicator.

      Among the major achievements are: electricity production is strong. Sea port infrastructure has received investment. Cargo unloading has grown. Revenue has fallen, but physical growth present. 2.5% more air traffic than last year.

      6.5 mln families now get the maternity capital program. Life expectancy now more than 71 years. Pensions adjusted to real inflation, increased by 11.5% since April 1.

      The gov't is seeking to achieve .positive GDP growth through 2016-2018.


    • 09:04

      President Putin starts his 11th annual year-end question and answer news conference

      President Putin starts right with the questions.

    • 09:01

      Russian and foreign journalists are gathering for the 11th annual year-end question and answer news conference of President Putin

      President Putin is soon to start his 11th annual year-end question and answer news conference.

      December 17, 2015. Journalists before the annual news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the World Trade Center on Krasnaya Presnya

      © Sputnik / Grigoriy Sisoev



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