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West destroying global economic system – Putin: RT Breaking News Headline
Eastern Economic Forum Plenary Session
Putin’s remarks made during the Plenary Session of the Eighth Eastern Economic Forum held in Vladivostok turned into the above and several other headlines at RT today. A few others: “Africa will never forget that West caged its children” and “Trump charges are political persecution.” Yes, they’re certainly headline grabbing remarks. But there’s more to this event information-wise than what’s reported, and part of that is what transpires prior to the Plenary Session: The meeting with the moderators, or as the Kremlin puts it: “representatives of business, expert communities – moderators of the sessions of the Eastern Economic Forum.” First we’ll go through that and then move on to the Plenary Session. Those only interested in the latter are free to scroll down to its beginning.
Vladimir Putin: Dear colleagues, good afternoon!
Traditionally, on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, we meet with representatives of business, the expert community, as we say, moderators, and colleagues who conduct relevant sessions in certain areas.
This is always important, always interesting, and we do it with pleasure, first of all, because we want to know your opinion on those areas that we consider priority, on those areas that are of interest to you, and you discuss them with your colleagues during various sessions within the forum.
My colleagues and I always listen to your opinion with interest. This is a concrete mutual work to study problems, to find interesting projects and solutions within the framework of joint work between business and the state.
So that we don't waste any time, let's move on to a concrete discussion of those topics that you think are most promising, important and interesting for both government agencies, businesses, and ultimately for citizens, since our common goal is to make life in Russia a better place. In this case, in the Far Eastern region, it is better and has prospects for good development-for citizens first of all.
Please, let's get started. Yuri Petrovich, please.
Yu.: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich,
First of all, thank you for the opportunity to report to you on the key results of our work during the sessions of the Eastern Economic Forum. More than 7 thousand people from 53 countries of the world took part in the work. The work was carried out in 100 sessions. The most important questions we would like to report to you today.
With your permission, I would like to give the floor to Vladimir Pirozhkov. Vladimir Vyacheslavovich is an industrial designer who has lived and worked abroad, creating cars for Citroen and Toyota. Now he has returned to Russia, created and headed the Center for Industrial Prototyping at the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys.
Vladimir Putin: Please, Vladimir Vyacheslavovich.
Vladimir Pirozhkov: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich,
Yesterday I moderated the session " Technological Development of Russia: how to overtake without catching up?" We discussed how to restore Russia's status as a technological superpower.
First, what technologies are we talking about? Quantum computing, computers based on new physical principles. The calculation speed increases many times: whoever has a computer a million times faster will have an advantage in artificial intelligence and everything else.
Innovations in biotechnologies. This is probably already the creation of living cells, organisms and viruses with the specified parameters, and in the future, new forms of life, even if they are still small, will continue to develop very quickly. This is, figuratively speaking, we are entering the territory of God. The only question is - for the good or against humanity?
Then radically new materials appear. Now such newcomers as metamaterials or graphene are opening up completely new horizons in electronics, space, and biomechanics, for example.
Now our country, in fact, protects the basic values of humanity, so new types of weapons, including those based on fundamentally different physical principles, demonstrate the obvious dominance of technological leaders in relation to outsiders.
Polarization is rapidly increasing. Here it is vital to remain leaders and move yourself forward in this key segment for sovereignty. This is the key to a peaceful future. Such developments are traditionally intertwined in the peaceful years of development, and then we build entire technology platforms based on them.
Now new types of energy. Thanks to advances in this field, each of us can already carry a powerful computer in our pocket, and energy transfer is also on the way at a distance. Leadership is given to countries that have harnessed and grounded new types of energy, such as nuclear or hydrogen.
Therefore, now we need to achieve a lot, to achieve it ourselves, and this is where the concrete difficulties begin. To become a leader, the state must concentrate its efforts as much as possible. Now Russia is concentrating, and this is evident. Scientists and engineers feel and actively support this energy, moving, as they say. We can really see that this is happening, I'm from there myself, and I can see the burning eyes of the guys. The main thing here is not to deceive expectations. This is not a slogan at all, but in our particular case it is the inevitability of a new way of life.
What suggestions did our session generate? The main thing is megaprojects, they are an incentive and motivators for young people and for the whole country. It's always been like this: DneproGES, Baikonur, Tselina, BAM, Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP. I saw it recently, it's just impressive. They built the whole world, especially young people. Megaprojects are real magnets for returnees. I myself have worked for 20 years in international companies, designing cars. But 16 years ago he returned under the megaproject "Sukhoi Superjet 100" proposed by German Gref. And then there was the Orel spacecraft, the Sochi Olympics, and pure pride and dignity. I'm very proud.
It's really cool to create our own, develop your own territory. Now, by the way, many specialists who have gained invaluable experience want to return from there, but for interesting, powerful and long-term projects. I have already completely returned two "fierce" ones.
In the technological sphere, a powerful mechanism is needed that can create goals and coordinate efforts, human, financial, and administrative. We don't have as many people as our south-eastern neighbors, and we have a million tasks with a trailer. This means that people must meet the scale of the tasks, and this is advanced science and education. We need such a new Academy of Sciences in its Petrine sense – a mega-tool with mega-powers, responsible to you, the President, the Parliament and, as you have already said, most importantly-to the Russians, a bold system for managing science and innovation.
Our Academy of Sciences has lost its tone and energy somewhere. A new symbol is needed to unite the seekers of living minds, innovators looking to the future. We actually have quite a lot of them.
How it turns out here: defining big goals is a matter for the state, and businesses know better who to invest money in and on what terms, because they go deep into the details of their investments. Business usually invests short-term, and the state needs long-term projects, so the mechanism of control and distribution of investments is fundamental. If a business has found something and invests, conditionally, a billion in this direction, the budget can lend a shoulder, for example, clearly understanding and keeping the tasks set.
Abroad, in critical areas of technology, the level of co-investment by the state and business is now one to one. We need an innovation fund with clear and simple tools – just simple tools. I know that such funds already exist, but at the same time I see that my young and experienced clients have no funds for future prototypes, no funds for research and development. There are some ideas, sometimes even very bold ones, but obtaining and documenting investments is a real pain.
More on the innovation fund. In Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Norway, there are mechanisms for allocating revenues from subsurface development to strategic investment funds. This could also be done here in order to finance breakthrough technological areas.
Now about international cooperation. Now it is difficult to export and it is difficult to establish cooperation chains. As an option, create a Russian technological offshore in a good sense, more freedom for real creators, where transactions will be concluded in Russian law, export centers of the BRICS+ countries will be opened, and an international arbitration court with the participation of representatives of these countries will be opened.
Now about the business. They always rally around the state in crucial times for the Motherland with their competencies and investments, but they also need help from the state. Transparent mechanisms of state procurement and pricing are important for businesses in the technology sector, a balance of responsibility for state procurement is important, and the right to make mistakes for bona fide businessmen should be balanced.
And finally, ensuring competitive procurement. Modern instruments (Federal Law No. 218 and 44) are quite complex. The dynamics of project development really gets bogged down in them. Now the criterion for winning a purchase is the price, which means that we take the cheapest, and this is almost always at the expense of quality. We see this in reality. And you can't buy the same product from the same supplier twice in a short time. And then the leapfrog of suppliers, logistics chains, loss of time and resources begins. This would be worth revisiting and lightening in favor of creativity and dynamics.
As a start, a restart of work on technological breakthroughs, you can launch several national projects on key technologies of the future-that's what I listed. By analogy with the recently adopted program on unmanned systems and new energy. These national projects, in fact, can become mega-projects. We will raise our own people under them, and our people will return, and we will work.
Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Vladimir Vyacheslavovich, for your message. I was very interested in listening to you. And the turnovers are so lively. As for the "returnees"- we had "returnees" at one time with the easy suggestion of some of our writers-it became common-I haven't heard about the "returnees" yet, but the trend is good, we can see it.
You know, I am very pleased that you and your colleagues are noticing, as you said, that the movement has started, and Russia is concentrating. This is very important – a sense of belonging, understanding what is happening, belonging with your Homeland. And if some of the people who work in other places make a decision, an internal decision, this can only be so, to return and work here, to assert themselves here, to achieve results and work for their country, then this is very great.
I've noticed many of the things you've mentioned. About mega-tools and creating big, big projects. Yes, we are just thinking about it. And national projects are also in the same area.
As for new funds, some tools related to technological developments, I think you are right, here the Academy of Sciences should be treated carefully and, without breaking anything, it is certainly possible to create something that, perhaps, will work more effectively in the application plan. This, of course, should be considered, you are right.
About funds for innovation. We are creating appropriate tools, such as a Science Support Fund and so on. But maybe this is not enough, we still need to think about it. We also use the National Welfare Fund for the same purposes. A significant amount of funds is allocated just for various specific projects. You probably need to think about some additional tools.
You mentioned the creation of a Russian technology offshore, and I will definitely consult with my colleagues. Andrey Ramovich Belousov is also involved in business here, with our large state-owned companies, as you probably know, in order to encourage these companies to invest, perhaps even in areas of activity that are not typical of them, but are very important for the state, and for them, in the end, interesting. Work is underway here. Not as fast as we'd like, but there's still some movement.
As for the 44th law, it is complex and was aimed at ensuring equal conditions for companies to work in the markets, ensuring the interests of the state related to prices, and so on. It partially fulfills this task, but you are right, it is complex and sometimes becomes an obstacle to effective work. The lowest price is not always better, because it comes at the expense of quality. But that's not the worst of it.
Even worse is when this price is driven down somewhere, and then, when they start implementing the project, it turns out that the price is actually quite different. There are certain flaws here-this is understandable. There are already a lot of exceptions to this law, but we will continue to work on improving this tool.
But what you said is extremely important, because indeed, even if we look at the security sphere, weapons based on new physical principles will ensure the security of any country in the near historical perspective. We understand this very well and are working on it.
But in general, thank you for your suggestions. thank you.
You are welcome.
Yu. Trutnev: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich,
Ruslan Sulimovich Baisarov, head of Bamtonnelstroy-Most, one of the largest construction companies operating in the Far East, will speak on the development of the Eastern landfill. The company only commissioned the Nizhneleninskoye – Tongjiang and Blagoveshchensk – Heihe bridges this year. I beg.
Vladimir Putin: Please, Ruslan Sulimovich.
R. Baisarov: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich,
I have a report on the results of the session "On increasing the carrying capacity of the Eastern landfill". Please pay attention to the slide: development of the Eastern landfill, stage III, up to 255 million tons. On the left side of the slide, cargo owners ' requests in the west – east direction are indicated, which amount to 353 million tons, and the deficit in carrying capacity is 173 million tons.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the capacity of the Eastern Landfill in 2024 will be 180 million tons, of which 131 are located on the Trans-Siberian Railway, which is completely double-track. BAM accounts for three times less – only 48 million tons. This difference is caused by the limiting sections of the BAM, where single-track artificial structures are located – the so-called "bottlenecks".
On the map from Taishet to the Severomuysky tunnel, two-track tunnels are marked in green. However, the Severomuysky tunnel, which is marked in red, is single-track and, taking into account the bypass route, this section can only pass 51 million tons.
Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, on your instructions, together with the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, Russian Railways, the Ministry of Eastern Development of the Russian Federation, Gazprombank, leading banks and private investors, we have developed an action plan for the development of the third stage of the Eastern Landfill with an increase in carrying capacity to 255 million tons per year. In particular, we propose to build second artificial structures that will remove the infrastructure restrictions of BAM: the second Severomuysky tunnel, the construction of which will increase the carrying capacity from 51 to 156 million tons, the second Kodar Tunnel, the bridge over the Amur River and the Kuznetsovsky tunnel.
I would like to note that we have built all the tunnels on the BAM, including Severomuysky, which is the most difficult tunnel in the world and the longest in Russia. And today, under the leadership of Russian Railways, we are building the second Dusse-Alin tunnel on the BAM in permafrost conditions.
Please note: at the bottom of the slide – the effect of implementing the third stage using the public-private partnership mechanism. Additional revenues to the Russian economy over 10 years due to an increase in cargo exports – at least 11 trillion rubles. additional revenue of Russian Railways for 10 years is not less than 2.3 trillion rubles. rubles'. About 100 thousand jobs will be created in the Far East. The implementation of the third stage of the Eastern Polygon will give a new impetus to the socio-economic development of Siberia and the Far East, as well as trade and economic relations between Russia and the Asia-Pacific countries.
Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, together with the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, Russian Railways, and Gazprombank, we signed an agreement on the construction of four of the above-mentioned artificial structures without budget funds by attracting private investment. We, investors, are ready to invest money with a return period of about 20 years. To reach the target of 255 million tons in 2032, it is necessary to start simultaneously designing and constructing long-term facilities by the end of 2023.
I would like to emphasize that the construction of new artificial structures will not affect the current traffic of the BAM.
Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, we ask you to instruct the Government of the Russian Federation to make a decision by the end of 2023 on the implementation of the third stage of the Eastern Landfill – up to 255 million tons, taking into account the construction of the four above-mentioned artificial structures under a deferred payment agreement for 10 years after completion of construction.
I finished my report. Thanks for attention.
Vladimir Putin: Dear Ruslan Sulimovich, we do not meet very often, but we do meet regularly to discuss the issues that you are currently raising. You know my position: I want our Eastern Polygon to expand as quickly and as efficiently as possible. We are well aware of the quality of your companies ' work and experience, and we will support you in every possible way. As far as I remember, you also mentioned this just now: we need to build three second tunnels and bridge structures there. As far as I understand, these concession agreements are almost signed, or rather, they are under consideration, and indeed, they are planned to be signed by the end of the year.
This is not an easy process. It is also related to financial conditions, it is related to determining the fair distribution of orders, that is, it is a market-based work. The government is considering all this, and we are all well aware of how important this is right now.
We will work hard, and I hope that by the end of the year these agreements, which are being prepared for signing, will be signed and the work will take on an even more extensive practical character. We planned it a few years ago. Unfortunately, not everything was done, and the decisions taken were not implemented in a timely manner. Now we are all determined to do so. I have no doubt that this will be done, but we need to sign the relevant documents.
I just don't want to go into details, we discussed these details recently at a regular personal meeting. We will do everything.
We thank you, your company, and other participants in this process for their willingness to work together. I wish you every success.
R. Baisarov: Thank you very much.
Yu. Trutnev: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich,
Mikhail Viktorovich Khomich, Director for Special Projects of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, will speak on financing investment projects.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, please.
Mikhail Khomich: Good afternoon, Vladimir Vladimirovich!
These days, in fact, I would say that for several months the investment teams of VEB, Sberbank, the Far East Development Corporation, the Ministries of the Far East, and the regions have been working to select projects and attract investors.
At the forum these days, we discussed how to attract investors and implement projects in the Far East in order to achieve the most effective results. We had such an investment marathon.
What can we say about the results? The word "movement" has already been used. Probably, it will also be suitable here, because there are hundreds of projects that we have considered, and this is not an exaggeration, there are a lot of investors, and private investors, in projects in all regions.
I read the transcript of your master plan meeting. There is a position that master plans are mostly state money or almost no private money. We see a huge interest of private investors in the implementation of projects in the Far East. Just in a day, yesterday there was a beautiful figure, we signed and agreed to implement investment projects worth more than 1 trillion rubles. And this is not a beautiful metaphor, a beautiful figure, every project has jobs, these are implemented business projects.
Why did we manage to reach this figure? The key point is that the vision up to 2030 was created thanks to master plans. Any investor thinks that it is necessary to understand how the territory will develop, to start the so-called positive investment spiral. We can see how territories are developing. A good example of Moscow is the MCC. Investment projects immediately appear nearby. They are implemented, taxes are returned, and then this is again invested in the development of master plan projects. Therefore, master plans have become a key, if you'll excuse the expression, trigger that really attracted private investors to project implementation.
Now we have joined forces with Sberbank, VEB,the Far East Development Corporation, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support investment. We believe, and we are definitely united here, that the Far East should have the most effective measures to support investment projects, as well as taxes. You need to run not to the puck, but to where the puck will only be. Here it is a good analogy to support investors.
So what are these measures? There is already a working mechanism for supporting investment projects in VEB-money at 2 percent, and we see a really high demand for this money. 1 ruble of preferential money is 10 rubles of market money. Moreover, some of the funds are already being reinvested, which means that this is the clearest proof that the tool is working.
We suggest focusing this measure – money at 2 percent-on master plan projects. I repeat: the master plan is a compass for an investor right now, and it is really very important. You can also scale this tool if necessary.
There is another working tool – this is an Equity Investment Fund, when people, private investors want to participate in the implementation of projects, and if they are successfully implemented, they will become owners in general. We also offer to supplement its capabilities with investments in master plan projects. These are two suggestions, two working tools. Really complement their capabilities, focus on master planning.
I would like to say here that although the forum is Far Eastern, we invite other regions to join in this work, to engage in systematic work to attract investors.
And thank you for your attention. Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: What can I say? Igor Ivanovich Shuvalov and I met yesterday on other issues, but we will also talk about these issues. You yourself mentioned this tool-money at two percent. As far as I remember, VEB has allocated almost 200 billion rubles for this purpose, in my opinion. And we need to use these funds as well.
I know, and you also said about Sberbank, that Herman Oskarovich pays great attention to this, works with the industry, and works very successfully and on a large scale. We will discuss master plans with our colleagues. I think you are right, of course, this is a good push to create favorable and comfortable conditions, to be sure that any business plan will be accompanied by good support from the state. Of course, I know that our companies are ready to take an active part in this work.
So my colleagues and I will talk, and I don't see any contradictions here at all. In principle, we do this. We will just keep in mind that this is in the field of view of business interests, and we will continue this work.
Thank you for noticing this.
Mikhail Khomich: Thank you very much.
Vladimir Vladimirovich, may I?
I can't help but take this opportunity: you recently met with growing brands at the Agency for Strategic Initiatives. The guys found out about this meeting and gave instructions to thank you, because they all have double-digit growth, who expanded sales, who appeared in other regions. I am following their instructions and thank you separately from the agency for supporting growing Russian brands – we have supported more than a thousand.
Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: To be honest, I am very happy that this process continues in such a positive way, and your colleagues and our colleagues have such a positive result. This is very cool. I have no doubt that it will develop in the same way and at the same pace. I just don't doubt it. They haven't filled the market yet, so there's a lot to work on. We need to move actively, and we will do everything possible to support them.
Yu. Trutnev: Mr President, allow me to give the floor to the rector of the Far Eastern Federal University, where we are located, Boris Nikolayevich Korobets.
Boris Korobets: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich,
You once made a historic decision for the entire Far East. Here, on Russky Island, a unique center of science and education has appeared, which has passed through a path that many universities have been following for centuries in these 12 years.
Today we have almost 20 thousand students from 85 regions of our country. It is very important to note that 35 percent of our students are new residents of the Far East, who came here from the central regions.
I would like to pay special attention to our international students. At a time when many people are talking about isolating Russia in the face of unprecedented sanctions, we have been able to increase the number of our foreign students by one and a half times since 2020.
Today we have students – 3,500 foreigners – from 89 countries of the world. What does this mean? The guys can't be fooled, they vote with their feet and connect their lives with the Far East, because they see that this is the most dynamically developing region of our country.
Your strong decision, which required a huge amount of will 12 years ago, is now truly opening up the Far East to the whole world.
I was entrusted to moderate a session devoted to a vital topic for our country – the education of young people. Our schoolchildren and students took part in the session along with experts, heads of ministries and departments. And we had a very frank and in many ways sincere conversation, he kept returning to one topic: how to educate our youth today. Everyone understands that this should be done, but it turned out to be much more difficult to answer the question of how to do it.
Vladimir Vladimirovich, here in the Far East, a technology has been developed and implemented, an absolutely applied technology for the education of modern spirituality and patriotism. It is based on three stages: this is informing children, engaging them, and motivating them to take action. As Chairman of the Council of Rectors of the Far East, I can say that this technology works here. Today, a patriotic club has been created at each of our universities, and thousands of children are working every day to prove that they live together with our country. They build houses in the liberated territories, they help in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, and they are engaged in engineering work for the benefit of our victory.
The system of patriotic education is now gaining momentum. During the session, we touched on three very important topics that I would like to report to you now.
The first one is about protecting our Motherland. I will start with a quote from the session participant, our student, member of the patriotic club "I am Proud" of the Far Eastern Federal University Vladimir Mikhalev. He said so: "I love Russia and, of course, I want it to have peace. But if someone encroaches on our security, then I understand that I, as a man, will take up arms and go to defend my country. The problem is that I don't know how to do it. They don't teach us this at school, and only a very small number of guys go through the military department at the university. That is, military training in higher education institutions today has become the lot of the elite."
Vladimir Vladimirovich, it is true that today only a small number of children can enter military training centers. Thanks to your decision, starting from 2024, the compulsory discipline "Fundamentals of Military Training" will be introduced for all students, which was developed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Ministry of Defense.
During the discussion, we came to the conclusion that it would be good to add good practical training to this theoretical course – mandatory military training camps. That is, in fact, to make a mechanism similar to the production practices that have long been used at the university. This will allow our young people to be confident in the ability to protect themselves, their homes and, most importantly, their Homeland.
But here the second important topic arises – this is a special infrastructure. In order for each student to pass such fees, universities need: a parade ground, a shooting gallery, modern classes for controlling unmanned aerial vehicles, and much more. Unfortunately, the vast majority of universities in the Far East do not have such an infrastructure.
A proposal was made at the session, and I personally ask you to support it: as a pilot project for the Far Eastern District, to create a Far Eastern patriotic center on the basis of our university.
Vladimir Vladimirovich, if you support this proposal, we will create a methodological center for all those responsible for military-patriotic education in the Far East in universities and schools, and together with existing hotels, sports and educational infrastructure, we will be able to ensure high-quality implementation of military training camps.
We will create a modern museum, a park of heroes of the Far East, cyberclasses, and a robotics laboratory, and we will be able to make this center not only educational, but also popular with children and adults. I am sure that such a complex will become a good and correct place for family recreation and youth education.
The third. About our international students. Our student from Indonesia spoke at the session. She said that she fell in love with Primorye as soon as she entered FEFU. Now she wants to stay here to live and work.
In fact, there are hundreds of such stories as we heard at the session. Children receive a good education, they are ready to continue working for the benefit of our country, but they are faced with a bureaucratic machine and a huge number of documents that need to be processed. They don't always succeed.
We have come to the conclusion that we need to continue working to simplify the acquisition of citizenship by foreign students who have received their education here in the Far East. In particular, a proposal was made to make sure that the work of a student during his training could be counted as labor activity, in order to obtain citizenship faster.
And for the most popular professions for the region's economy, in which our foreign graduates have received their education, they should be granted citizenship without a residence permit if they continue to work at enterprises in the Far East. On the one hand, this will help solve the personnel issue for the enterprises of our region, and on the other hand, it will increase the attractiveness of the Far East for the youth of friendly countries.
Vladimir Vladimirovich, concluding my report, I would like to say that hundreds of thousands of true patriots live and work in the Far East, and we, for our part, will do everything possible to educate our young people in love and respect for Russia and this beautiful region. This is our mission.
Thank you for your attention.
Vladimir Putin: Boris Nikolaevich, as for obtaining Russian citizenship in a simplified regime, this is a sensitive issue for our country. It concerns, of course, the bulk of migrant workers. There are many issues that we need to take into account, including the adaptation of these people to life in Russia, to respect for our culture, our traditions, and so on. Of course, the authorities should also constantly work on this issue.
But the contingent you are talking about is a different one. These are people with specialized secondary or higher education. Here we have already made certain decisions to simplify their obtaining citizenship. We ourselves are interested in getting such specialists who are willing and able to work in Russia, especially since people have received an education here: they know the language, have entered our environment, understand where they live, and everything connected with this makes it easier for them to adapt to life in Russia. These are the people that our economy needs, that's for sure: they have a certain education, and with a Russian one at that.
I agree that we need to think about improving these procedures and de-bureaucratization, including the calculation of study time within the time frame that is necessary for obtaining citizenship. Let's think about it and thank you very much for these ideas and suggestions.
Now about patriotic education. Of course, educational institutions, including higher education institutions where young but still adult people study – of course, working with young people on patriotic education is extremely important, especially since this work, as you said, lies on fertile ground. People themselves want to take part in the life of the country, including in the defense of the Motherland.
Of course, for students today, the main task is to study and get an education. But this does not mean that it is not necessary to accompany studying and acquiring knowledge in the specialty with patriotic education, especially since people themselves want, as you said, to be closer to this issue, to this topic.
Yes, you can think about creating a patriotic center. Just to make it work properly, we need not only technical facilities, but also specialists who would properly, competently, and at a good professional level train those people who want to take part, or future students of these centers. Let's think about it. I agree, if, of course, we do not have military departments in all universities, then the creation of such centers will probably benefit. The only question is how to organize it. I believe that this is not difficult, and we will work on it with the law enforcement agencies, the Ministry of Defense, and universities, of course.
It's a good idea. Thank you for this idea.
And I would like to address you as the rector of the university where we are located. Boris Nikolaevich, it is really becoming more and more important. It is very gratifying that applicants come here from all regions of Russia, in fact, both from the European part and from abroad. This means that the level of teaching here is consistently high. I hope that this will be the case, and it will only get better.
But I would also like to draw your attention to the so-called materiel, as we have just discussed the quasi-military component of education. It should not only be in good working condition, it should "shine", this materiel, and this also matters for students, for those who come to study.
The Far Eastern Federal University is an outpost of our education, it is a "signboard" in the good sense of the word. Therefore, I very much hope that this economic work here will be organized at the highest level.
Yu. Trutnev: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich,
The session dedicated to the development of tourism in the Far East was led by Bogdan Bulychev, a well-known traveler in the Far East and the Arctic. His nature films are watched by millions of people. You are welcome.
Vladimir Putin: Please, Bogdan Yuryevich.
Boris Bulychev: Good afternoon, dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, Yuri Petrovich [Trutnev], colleagues!
At the session "Discovering the Far East: Tiger and Leopard Trails", my colleagues and I discussed not only nature conservation, but also how to develop territories and businesses sparingly without harming the environment.
Vladimir Vladimirovich, the other day I returned from a rally in the Far East organized by the KRDV and the Ministry of Eastern Development.
The owners of tourist businesses on Lake Baikal talked about the same problem: today it is impossible to build capital infrastructure on land where its status does not allow, and the transfer of land to the desired status is almost impossible there today.
One of the proposals is to speed up the introduction of amendments to the legislation of the Russian Federation aimed at simplifying the requirements for carrying out economic activities.
Another problem is the stay of unorganized groups of tourists without proper infrastructure. This is becoming one of the factors that pollute Lake Baikal.
To change this situation, it is necessary to comprehensively review the regulation of relations in the field of protection of Lake Baikal.
For 10 years of traveling, I have traveled through all regions of Russia, including new territories, where I have already visited many times as a volunteer, even participated in the awarding of our fighters on February 23 together with Yuri Petrovich Trutnev near Ugledar.
In many regions of our country, I managed to go exactly on foot, and in many places, including the Far East, there are practically no marked trails and infrastructure.
Our next proposal is to create a pilot project "1000 trails of the Far East". The essence of the program is not so much in the construction of trails, but rather in the formation of an integrated approach to the development of territories and the construction of tourist accommodation facilities.
Every winter we organize an expedition to the Arctic. This winter, we decided to drive around Russia in an old Moskvich from 1975, an almost 50-year-old car. We started on Red Square and finished in Magadan. We drove through the cold pole and found the temperature minus 57 degrees.
With this run, we showed our million-strong audience that it is possible to travel around the country even on an old Moskvich. Now, by the way, it has become a trend: there are followers who began to travel on "Moskvich" everywhere-even in the Arctic.
All federal roads in our country are really in good condition, but in the Far East the infrastructure is sometimes missing for thousands of kilometers: there are no gas stations, cafes, hotels, even warm restrooms. For the development of auto tourism in the Far Eastern Federal District and in Russia as a whole, this is really a big problem.
The third proposal is to develop a program to create roadside infrastructure and road tourism safety. As an experienced traveler, I am ready to take control of this project. To implement a pilot project in the Far Eastern Federal District, of course, subsidies will be required to support roadside service projects.
It is very important to open the country to its citizens from the window of your own car. It should be comfortable and, most importantly, affordable.
We have a proposal to develop and approve the project "Beautiful Road Route", which includes standards and rules for the formation of national automobile routes, including road infrastructure, as well as the procedure for branding them.
Automobile tourism is a powerful incentive for the development of the economy and has a huge potential for the development of our country. Of all the federal roads I have traveled in Russia, the Kolyma highway requires special attention. This is the only remaining almost completely unpaved federal highway in the whole of Russia. It also has no year-round traffic due to the fact that there is no bridge over the large Aldan River. Accordingly, when there is a freeze-up or ice drift, there is a huge traffic jam during this period.
Vladimir Vladimirovich, I love our country as much as you do, so I ask you to help show the beauty of our country to all the people, not only on the Internet and through social networks, as we do. At one time, we all watched on TV about the travels of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Yuri Senkevich. But there is a new format. Our country and the world are developing, and people want to watch new educational content. Today, my Pro Travel team and I are making interesting films and releases about our country, people, nature, the Arctic, the Far East, enterprises and large-scale projects implemented throughout our country. Our videos on social networks were viewed by hundreds of millions of people in Russia and, most importantly, abroad, which indicates the popularity and demand for the new format. People want to know more about Russia, the Arctic, and the Far East, and that's a good thing.
Thanks to this format, we can show millions of people positive and patriotic films and photos about our country. This year we are going on a unique expedition, during which we will be the first in the history of our country to pass around Russia along its land borders, including new regions. The route will pass through the entire Arctic along the strategic Northern Sea Route, through the entire Far East, along the coast of 13 seas and two oceans washing our country. The result of the expedition will be a multi-part film.
I ask you to support our large-scale educational and patriotic project "Around Russia "and" Russia 360 " and help us show films about Russia, about people, and about the nature of our country on federal TV channels.
I also propose to show on federal TV channels the video of the winners of the All-Russian contest "Far East - Land of Adventure", which is held on the initiative of Yuri Petrovich Trutnev.
The winners of this contest made really unique content about interesting tourist routes around the pearl of our country – our beloved Far East. Such videos will definitely be useful for the development of tourism and attracting a new tourist flow from the central regions to the Far East, and we really have something to be proud of and have something to show about our great Russia.
I will also add that as a person born in the Far East, in Magadan, I see how the Far Eastern Federal District is changing from year to year. The 90s, the early 2000s and our days are, of course, heaven and earth, and the positive changes in all directions are simply colossal.
I would like to personally thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich, and you, Yuri Petrovich, for the tremendous work done here in the Far East.
And I just want to ask you, Mr President, not to slow down the pace of development of our beloved region, and we, in turn, will help you in every possible way.
Thank you. I finished my report.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
We will definitely not reduce the pace of development of the region, because I said this quite deliberately a few years ago: the development of the Far East is an absolute priority for Russia, not for me, not for Yuri Petrovich [Trutnev], or even for the Government, but for Russia as a whole – for the entire XXI century. Because this is a huge region with a small population, with a huge potential. Of course, this is a strategic interest of the country: not just to keep it, but to develop this region and put its resources to the benefit of the state.
Here we need to talk not only about the development of minerals, as Yuri Petrovich reported yesterday, and colleagues from business launched enterprises. Here we need to build as many enterprises for processing industrial raw materials as possible, and increase the added value. We will work on this: we will strengthen the aircraft industry and shipbuilding, and we will develop the industry in various areas. There is something to work on here, there can be no doubt about it, do not doubt it.
As for your route "Russia 360", did you say which borders to follow?
B. Bulychev: "Russia 360", completely on the edge of the country.
Vladimir Putin: In my opinion, no one has ever done this before, so it will be interesting for millions of people. We will be happy to help you with the organization. You only need to specify if you need help with something. We can do this through various channels, including, I think, the Russian Geographical Society.
Yuri Petrovich will then tell you what you need to do in order to provide support in the information sphere, please. Just state your specific wishes.
Now about ecology, the idea of "1000 trails" in the Far East, and so on. Of course, it is clear that such a huge territory requires special attention, special investments. Actually, that's what we're doing. Surely you know about the highway "Russia", which should run from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok. In a certain sense, we will also get to the route you mentioned, the Kolyma highway.
Of course, you don't just need to put everything in order, in fact, you need to build everything anew. We need to work on the infrastructure, of course. When modern highways are built, infrastructure development is immediately envisaged, or the second stage is infrastructure development. We will definitely do this.
As for Lake Baikal, as for other specially protected areas, here, of course, you need to act very carefully. And I am inclined to agree with those colleagues who say that industrial development, industrial development of territories, more precisely, in those places that are both our property and the property of all mankind, like Lake Baikal, should be done very carefully, so as not to harm. But at the same time, we should not prevent people living in these territories from living a full life, on the contrary, we should help them do this using modern technologies. Of course, everything can be done, and we will do it.
And I want you, as well-known authors said, to properly hit your off-road rally and sloppiness. And we will be watching with interest this not just entertaining, but very useful event.
I wish you every success.
Boris Bulychev: We will do it in the best possible way, Mr President. Thank you.
Yu. Trutnev: Mr President, the final speech of today's meeting is devoted to the prevention of emergency situations, which the Far East often encounters.
Alexander Tevyevich Becker, Professor, Scientific Director of the Polytechnic Institute of the Far Eastern Federal University, speaks.
Alexander Becker: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich,
At the session "How to prevent so as not to eliminate", we discussed what can be done today to prevent damage in the future from such phenomena as floods, fires, and environmental accidents.
Statistics of recent years show that the Far Eastern Federal District, which was previously subject to systematic natural disasters, and taking into account climate changes, began to be exposed to natural phenomena that lead to emergencies, even more often. At the same time, the largest number of emergencies occurred in the territories of Primorsky, Khabarovsk and Trans-Baikal Territories.
So, over the past five years, 82 natural emergencies have occurred on the territory of the Far Eastern Federal District. In addition to an increase in the frequency of emergencies, their nature has changed, the intensity of their parameters has significantly increased – this is the rate of precipitation, and accordingly, the rate of water level rise, as well as cases of a significant increase in wind speed.
Vladimir Vladimirovich, the participants of the discussion came to the conclusion that to prevent emergencies today, changes in the regulatory framework are required both in the field of construction and in the field of emergency prevention and response.
It is necessary to review the regulatory framework for the design of engineering protection structures in terms of assigning them to the category of "high-responsibility structures", which will increase the level of control over the entire life cycle of such structures and, as a result, increase their reliability.
In this situation, it is obvious that it is necessary to reduce the duration of the climate norm, which is now equal to 30 years, and the rate of climate change has increased significantly.
Representatives of the Ministry of Emergency Situations proposed to allow the use of those resources and activities that can be used not only when declaring an emergency mode, but also when declaring a high-alert mode.
A good example: some flood-prone regions of the Russian Federation – Yakutia, Khabarovsk Krai, Sakhalin Oblast, and the Jewish Autonomous Region-have sets of mobile water-filling bag flood control dams in their material reserve. Currently, their release from the reserve and their use are possible only when an emergency situation is introduced, when the territory will already be damaged due to rising water in riverbeds.
The use of such dams at the initial stage of rising water during the introduction of a high-alert regime would prevent an emergency situation, as well as reduce possible damage.
The issue of a complete ban on construction in flooded and flooded areas was discussed. However, during the discussions, risks were identified, since many localities fall into this category.
We came to the conclusion that the allocation of land and permission for new construction in such areas should be impossible without introducing appropriate measures in the projects. This proposal requires a comprehensive study at the Government level.
The next proposal is to transfer part of the risks of emergency situations-the transition to mandatory housing insurance.
Currently, Russian legislation provides for housing insurance against emergencies, according to which the homeowner is recommended to pay 350-400 rubles a year annually, but in case of damage to the home, he receives an insurance payment of 450 thousand rubles, and in case of destruction of the dwelling, he receives new housing according to social norms. These payments allow you to restore or build housing at the expense of insurance companies and significantly reduce the costs of various levels of budgets for damage compensation.
However, housing insurance is only advisory in nature and is practically not implemented. Therefore, the session concluded that it is necessary to develop at the level of the Government of the Russian Federation a mechanism for compulsory housing insurance in the subjects of the Russian Federation subject to large-scale natural emergencies.
An important topic of our discussion was a proposal to develop and strengthen forecasting and early warning systems for emergencies. As a result, we came to the conclusion that it is necessary to strengthen interdepartmental interaction and information exchange, and develop the forecasting institute.
To this end, it is proposed to consider the possibility of creating a single open information system for zoning territories on the risks of emergencies of various origins. Creating such a system and keeping it up-to-date can be entrusted to an interdepartmental group and create a center for scientific and technical support of territorial development projects with the involvement of leading scientists.
Such a center can be created on the basis of the Far Eastern Federal University, which will be based on the ground-based complex for receiving and processing space information of the state corporation Roscosmos, created at FEFU.
Further development of this system is possible by involving our partners from the People's Republic of China and other neighboring countries in order to exchange monitoring and forecast information.
At the session, the participants of the discussion were generally convinced of the need to create a federal comprehensive program aimed at solving problems related to forecasting, preventing emergency situations and countering natural threats.
I am a native of Vladivostok and have already spent a long life here. And indeed, in the 70s, 80s, and even 90s, the period between floods – and they always were – was about 8-10 years. Now it is already difficult to predict: two or three years or every year.
Mr President, I am very grateful to you for the opportunity to participate in this kind of discussion. I believe that the involvement of specialized science and the expert community will make the Russian Far East safer and more attractive.
Vladimir Putin: Alexander Tevyevich, thank you very much for your suggestions. They are thorough, systematic and timely. Of course, we will consider suggestions related to the mode of using reserve funds or reserve resources. Today, you can only use something when an emergency occurs, and it is better to use them so that serious consequences do not occur.
Of course, the colleagues who suggest this – in my opinion, are absolutely justified. I will simply ask Yuri Petrovich [Trutnev] to summarize it and present it in the form of written proposals. Of course, we will meet them halfway. What not to do? That's right. To be honest, I didn't even know about these administrative and technical restrictions. It doesn't make any sense.
Now about the complete ban on building on flooded land. We've been discussing this for a long time. And today this is also a recommendation, although in practice, when I communicate with the heads of regions and even municipalities, I always tell them that it is impossible to give permits on flooded land-only problems. It's not even about budget expenditures, these are problems for people.
On the one hand, it seems like it would be nice to live by the water, by the river, to look at the water, but if every year or – now the frequency is two or three years – some emergency situations occur, why take the risk? It's not just the loss of property, it's also the risk to life. Sometimes there are situations that endanger the very life and health of people. Of course, it is better not to give permission, in any case, for new construction where it is dangerous, on land that is flooded.
A complete ban – as you said yourself, there are certain difficulties. We need to deal with this slowly. We need to pay attention to this, of course, and consider all administrative issues related to the development of these flooded lands, which, unfortunately, is still ongoing.
Now about compulsory home insurance. This is absolutely the right thing to do, you need to insure your home. But, Alexander Tevyevich, no matter how strange it may seem to you, my position so far has been that this should not be made mandatory. I need to do this, but I can't order people to pay from now until tomorrow, because this is an additional cost for people. This leads to the fact that budgets of different levels pay for recovery after emergencies. Yes, it's true. Except in Russia, no other state in the world takes on such expenses.
I think we should continue to do this for a while, oddly enough. The incomes of citizens are growing today, and real wages are growing this year. It is true that the real incomes of the population are growing, but in general they are still quite modest. Therefore, I can't make it mandatory for people to insure their homes. But we need to move towards this gradually, it's true.
Now, about forecasting and creating a unified rating system. Only yesterday we met with the Governor of Primorsky Krai. He made the same suggestion and explained everything in the same way. In recent years, as he said, and you have just confirmed it, we have regularly-if earlier it was in Primorye, in general in the Far East once every few years, these floods are large, now, he says, we face this almost every year; therefore, of course, we need some centers Organizations that operate on a permanent basis and are engaged in forecasting and timely development of recommendations to authorities, management and citizens should warn citizens about possible climate events.
We will consider this suggestion, it is correct. And we will do it together with the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the scientific community. Perhaps, in this case, it is possible to do this on the basis of the Far Eastern Federal University.
Thank you so much for your suggestions.
All. I want to thank everyone. Thank you very much. Good luck!
President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sergey Katyrin (left) and Chief Executive Officer of Ladies In The Frontline Slauzi Zodva before the plenary session of the eighth Eastern Economic Forum. Photo: Alexey Danichev, RIA Novosti
As the above photo proves, people from all over the planet come to this event. Ms. Zodva is from South Africa. Many Arab potentates occupied seats in the front row of the filled to capacity auditorium, while the West wishes they would stay away. And now for the event most readers clicked to read: The EEF’s Plenary Session:
Igor Doronov: Hello, everyone! Good afternoon, good evening, good morning!
It's very nice to see more people this year than last year. It seems to me that last year the seating arrangement was such-wider, now all together.
Welcome to the eighth Eastern Economic Forum. I was planning to start with one thing, but the news that is coming right now makes me start with a completely different one. You may have just read that the plane that was flying from Sochi to Omsk landed in a field in the Novosibirsk region. There were 159 people on board and no one was injured. Only one person had what I read was high blood pressure. So let's applaud the pilots.
There's another problem with airplanes, but maybe we'll talk about it later.
So, this forum and this plenary session are not very ordinary. Why? Because exactly 10 years ago, it was announced that the Far East and the Arctic are a priority for us. Yuri Petrovich Trutnev became the envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District just 10 years ago, and Vladimir Vladimirovich said in December in an address to the Federal Assembly that the Far East is a priority.
That is why I now give the floor to the President of the Russian Federation and ask him to tell us, as we said before, what has been done during these two five-year plans.
Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, dear friends, dear Mrs. Pani Yathotu!
I want to greet our guest and ask the audience to do the same.
Our host just greeted the audience and said "good afternoon, good morning, good evening": here, when you come to the Far East, everything really gets confused in your head, it's not clear whether it's day, morning, or evening. But we won't get confused about one thing: the Russian Far East is a strategic priority for the entire twenty-first century.
I would like to welcome the participants and guests of the eighth Eastern Economic Forum, which traditionally brought together business leaders, experts and government representatives from our country and dozens of other countries to discuss together the promising and strategic directions for the development of the Russian Far East, the Arctic and the entire Asia-Pacific region. In the course of today's speech, of course, since this is part of the general national economic complex, I will have to address other regions of the country in one way or another. We are going to assess the main trends that determine the dynamics of international business relations.
We are well aware and see how the global economy has changed and continues to change in recent years, including due to the fact that some countries, primarily Western ones, of course, are destroying the system of financial, trade and economic relations with their own hands, which they themselves created and built up in many ways.
It is very important that against this background, the world is expanding the space for genuine business cooperation between states that do not submit to any external pressure, but follow their own national interests, and such states are becoming more and more numerous, and in different regions of the world.
They put at the forefront of their activities and policies not just any current political issues, but the promotion of their own projects in the field of transport, energy, industry, finance, in the humanitarian sphere, projects that can and do bring direct long – term benefits to the peoples of these countries.
In fact, a new model of relations and integration is being born, but not according to Western patterns, for the elite, for the elite of the "golden billion", but for all of humanity, for the entire functioning and developing multipolar world. It is in this model that creative energy, openness, and focus on concrete results become a powerful competitive advantage of the Asia-Pacific region, a key factor that determines and, I am sure, will determine its global leadership in terms of economic growth for a long time to come.
I would like to note that last year Russia's trade turnover with the Asia – Pacific countries increased by 13.7 percent, and in the first half of this year it added another 18.3 percent: for the whole of last year – plus 13.7, and for the first half of the year-already 18.3.
I hope that our trade with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region and economic relations in general will continue to develop, because Russia, our Far East, is open to strengthening trade and cooperation ties, and the potential of such cooperation simply cannot be overestimated.
The Far Eastern Federal District is 40 percent of the territory of the Russian Federation. Almost half of our forests and gold reserves are located here, more than 70 percent of fish, diamonds, over 30 percent of titanium, copper, and so on. The most important strategic enterprises, seaports and railways operate. In short, the role of the Far East for our country, for its future, and for Russia's position in the multipolar world is extremely important. We are well aware of this. That is why I would like to repeat what I said in my Address to the Federal Assembly ten years ago, in December 2013, and what I said at the very beginning: advancing the development of the Far East is our absolute priority for the entire XXI century, shared responsibility and work of the Government, regions, and major domestic companies both with state participation, so it is absolutely private.
Over the past years, a serious regulatory framework has been formed for organizing such work, and solid modern approaches have been laid to the economic and social development of the Far East, as well as the Arctic – another of our strategic priorities.
What are the results? The moderator asked what results we have achieved together in this region over the past ten years. First of all, this concerns, of course, the economy. For the development of industrial complexes and high-tech industries, for the creation of new jobs, we have proposed special tax, administrative and customs preferences in the Far East, we have taken on the construction of infrastructure, connecting networks to industrial sites. Such business support is carried out in the territories of advanced development and the free port of Vladivostok, although other territories have already been added to this port as such.
Since last year, a special preferential regime has been launched in the Kuril Islands, and with even more preferential conditions than in the territories of advanced development: there, the duration of benefits is higher, and the tax reduction itself is larger, and so on. I won't go into details now, so as not to waste any time.
Thanks to state support for Far Eastern projects, investment agreements worth more than 7.7 trillion rubles have been signed, of which 3.4 trillion rubles have already been invested. 125 thousand jobs were created, and about 700 new enterprises started working. In particular, such landmark projects are being implemented as a gas processing plant – one of the largest in the world, and a gas chemical complex in the Amur region, the Nakhodka Mineral fertilizer plant and the Zvezda large – capacity shipbuilding shipyard-here, very close by. Deposits of copper and other minerals are being developed: Udokan, Baimskoye, and Malmyzhskoye.
Important projects have also been launched in the agro-industrial sector. These include greenhouses in the Sakhalin Region and Primorsky Krai, fish processing in Kamchatka and Magadan, pork production in the Amur Region, and increased soybean production in the Amur Region. All these are also promising areas for both supplies to our domestic market and for export.
In general, the dynamics of investment in the Far East, I want to emphasize and emphasize this, is three times ahead of the national indicator. If from 2014 to 2022 the growth of investment in fixed assets across the country was 13 percent, then in the Far East – 39 percent.
This is also reflected in production volumes. Industrial growth rates in the Far East also exceed the national average.
According to the results of the last five years, most of our eastern regions – the Magadan and Amur regions, the Trans-Baikal Region, the Jewish Autonomous Region, the Amur Region, Chukotka and Kamchatka-are among the top twenty subjects of the Federation in terms of gross regional product growth, and the Magadan Region tops this rating altogether.
Here are some figures that speak for themselves. Over 10 years, cargo turnover at Far Eastern seaports has increased 1.6 times, housing commissioning – 1.3 times, electricity consumption – 1.2 times, annual gold production in the east of the country has increased 1.6 times, coal-2.8 times. Dear colleagues, you understand what we are talking about-not a percentage increase in growth, everything is growing at times.
Here I will note that the percentage of mineral resources studied in the Far East, on average for the regions, is now 35 percent. You understand, only 35 percent of the studied subsurface resources. What does this mean? This suggests that there is still room for multiple growth in the extractive industries, including those in short supply of strategic raw materials that are in demand in the future economy.
All this is not only a guarantee of the country's resource sovereignty, but also the basis for the production of new materials, microelectronics and promising energy sources, for promoting domestic environmental and nature-saving technologies and scientific developments, for creating high-quality jobs, and realizing the natural competitive advantages of the Far East and the whole of Russia at a new level.
To increase the volume of exploration, we have launched a frontal strategy, it is called so beautifully: "Geology. Rebirth of a Legend". I ask the Government to provide for a separate section dedicated to the study of the subsurface resources of the Far Eastern region, and to start preparing the same section for Siberia.
The prospects of the Far East, as well as the Arctic, of course, are connected not only with the development of deposits of natural resources, which, of course, are in demand, but also in the domestic industry and abroad.
I repeat: the powerful raw material base of economic development that we are building allows us to move forward, increase the depth of resource processing, as experts say, and increase added value at domestic enterprises, including, first of all, in the Far East. This is the main thing.
To do this, it is necessary to constantly improve the conditions for doing business in the macroregion, keep them at a globally competitive level, and ensure long-term and cheap financing of investment projects, accessible to both small and medium-sized businesses and large manufacturing companies in all spheres and industries, territories and districts.
As you know, we have launched a cluster investment platform at the federal level. This mechanism is designed to finance large-scale, systemically important projects primarily for the production of materials, components and finished products in the manufacturing industry.
This year, this investment platform should finance projects for the production of priority products in the amount of at least two trillion rubles. I ask the Government to additionally target this tool specifically for the development of the Far Eastern economy, so that more complex industries with modern, well-paid jobs appear here. It is necessary to move forward projects that require large, multibillion-dollar investments, and they, in turn, become points of attraction for related sectors, for the construction industry, service companies and equipment manufacturers, and for small businesses.
I would also like to emphasize that oil and gas chemistry, metallurgy, mechanical engineering, and other manufacturing sectors are all energy-intensive industries. However, and this should also be said, today most of the Far Eastern regions, which, as I have already said, are building housing, opening new production facilities and industrial sites, still face a shortage of energy capacity. And this, of course, is a problem.
The scale of the projects that we are implementing in the Far East requires the same large-scale renewal of the Far Eastern energy system. At the same time, there are truly unique conditions for the development of environmentally friendly hydro, nuclear and renewable energy.
I ask the Government, together with our major energy companies and business circles, to prepare a program for the development of energy capacities in the Far East. It should be designed for a long time – until 2050, in order to maximize the economic opportunities of our Far Eastern territories. I also ask the Government to develop mechanisms for project financing of this strategic program.
Our plans are to link the Power of Siberia and Sakhalin–Khabarovsk–Vladivostok gas pipelines, and then integrate them into the country's unified gas supply system. In other words, to solve, in fact, I will not be afraid of this word, a historic global task for our country – to integrate the gas transmission networks of the west and east of the Russian Federation into one whole.
Along with the construction of the Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline, this will allow us not only to work flexibly in the global energy markets, which is in demand today, as we know, but first of all to significantly expand the gasification program of Buryatia, the Trans-Baikal Territory, and other Far Eastern regions, to give industry here in the Far East additional resources, to provide cities and settlements with environmentally friendly fuel. At the same time, the gasification of Kamchatka will use the capabilities of the liquefied natural gas terminal, which one of our companies has already created.
We are actively developing this area, including in the Arctic. After the successful launch of the Yamal LNG project, a new large-scale project for the construction of liquefied natural gas in the Arctic Region has been launched, I mean the first technological line of the Arctic LNG-2 project. It is already located in the mining area, commissioning works are underway-yes, this is what is happening? Great.
I would like to note that this line itself is, in fact, a floating plant for the liquefaction of natural gas. It has no analogues in the world - we can safely say this-and relies precisely on Russian technologies and capacities. Produced by the Murmansk Center for the construction of large-capacity offshore structures.
By 2030, LNG production in the Russian Arctic zone is expected to triple to 64 million tons per year. In this regard, a fundamental decision was made to launch new LNG lines based at the Murmansk center for operation in Arctic fields. Of course, this will make a huge contribution to the development of our northern regions and to strengthening Russia's technological sovereignty.
A powerful LNG production center is planned to be created in the Murmansk Region itself. I have to say this too, although it doesn't seem to apply directly to the Far East, but the Volkhov–Murmansk–Belokamenka gas pipeline will be built to supply it.
I very much hope that our companies, I will not go into details now, will agree among themselves through the mediation of the Government on who and how this important infrastructure facility will be built. It is very important for the city of Murmansk, and the settlements of the Murmansk region and Karelia.
Transport projects are important for supporting business initiatives and for the economy of the Arctic and Far East as a whole, as well as for their residents. We need to expand existing logistics routes and open new cargo transportation corridors.
A special place in this series, of course, is occupied by the development of the Northern Sea Route. Last year, 34 million tons of cargo passed through it, and in the coming years the cargo flow of this global transport corridor will only grow, which requires the advanced construction of a modern icebreaking fleet, the modernization of Arctic ports and their infrastructure.
By 2030, we expect to double the total capacity of seaports in the Arctic basin. If last year it was 123 million tons, then by the end of the decade it should reach the level of 252 million tons, including through the construction of new terminals and the expansion of railway approaches. By 2027, it is planned to significantly increase the capacity of the Port of Murmansk from the current 56 million to 110 million tons per year.
We will continue to modernize the BAM and Trans-Siberian Railway. The pace here should certainly be increased, including through concession mechanisms and attracting private capital for the construction of bridges, tunnels and overpasses. We have just discussed this issue with our colleagues who moderated the relevant sessions.
In this regard, I would like to note that the Pacific Railway is being built on the initiative of private investors, and a new port is being built on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk. This will make it possible to use the resources of Yakutia and the north of the Khabarovsk Territory, and provide direct access to the Asia-Pacific markets.
Our major companies are currently building a new seaport in Taimyr and upgrading the Pangody-Nadym railway in Yamal. There are many such examples when businesses invest, as they say, for a long time in logistics, transport, energy projects, in the construction of railways and highways, sea terminals and airports.
I ask the Government and colleagues in the regions to actively rely on this resource, so that both public and private investments will give a synergistic effect for the renewal of infrastructure, the social sphere, the spatial development of the regions and the country as a whole.
I have already addressed our entrepreneurs, many of whom have faced certain pressure from individual partners, and I want to repeat again today: it is certainly safer and better to invest in Russia-both in large-scale, ambitious infrastructure projects, and in local, but equally important urban development and tourism projects. We can see what is happening with capital, how and where it is moving. Don't step on the same rake twice.
Just recently, we opened a section of high-speed road from Moscow to Arzamas. By the end of this year, the route will reach Kazan, and then Yekaterinburg and Tyumen. I would like to say today that we will certainly continue this large-scale project: high-speed highways will pass through Siberia and the Far East to the Pacific Ocean. A single transport corridor "Russia" from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok will be formed. It will serve as a basis for the development of tourism, for connecting logistics, agricultural and industrial centers, and will give an impetus to entrepreneurship and the renewal of cities and towns.
A separate topic is the development of air communication between the Far East and the European part of Russia, as well as increasing direct connectivity between the Far Eastern regions, so that people do not have to fly to their neighbors through Moscow or Siberian airports.
For this purpose, as you know, we have created a single Far Eastern airline. Its most important routes are subsidized by the state, so the price of tickets becomes more affordable for citizens, and there are additional opportunities to explore new flight destinations, including local ones.
I propose to support this important work and put it on a systematic basis. I ask the Government to prepare a comprehensive plan of measures for the development of air transportation within the Far Eastern region by March 1 next year. It should cover the construction of new and modernization of existing airports, improvement of standards for small aircraft operation, delivery of domestic aircraft and helicopters, and, of course, increasing the availability of air travel primarily by reducing the cost of airlines for leasing aircraft.
The exact parameters and targets have yet to be determined, but I think it would be correct to set the bar so that by 2030 passenger traffic on domestic flights in the Far East will grow to at least four million people a year.
The most important and integral goal of our plans, which we are implementing in the economy, transport and infrastructure of the Far East, is to improve the quality of life of citizens, create comfortable and modern conditions for studying and working, for recreation and raising children, and achieve sustainable population growth in the Far Eastern regions of Russia.
For this purpose, a number of mechanisms have been launched, including the Far Eastern Hectare program. More than 119 thousand people received land plots for doing business, opening production facilities and tourist facilities, and building their own homes.
Let me remind you of the task at hand: this fall we need to prepare a regulatory framework to support individual housing construction across the country, we are talking about the use of escrow accounts – as in the construction of apartment buildings. This will additionally protect the funds of citizens, as well as create opportunities for attracting a mortgage loan for the construction of your own home.
I would like to draw the attention of my colleagues from the Government: mechanisms should be developed by the end of this year, and, I repeat, throughout the country, including the Far Eastern regions.
I note that the Far East offers special conditions for mortgages: the amount is up to six million rubles, the term is up to 20 years, and the rate is two percent. Using this tool, more than 78,000 families have already purchased or built new housing.
I propose to adjust the parameters of the Far Eastern mortgage, to increase its attractiveness, as my colleagues and I also discussed yesterday, namely, to raise the upper limit of the loan to nine million rubles for those who want to buy their own housing with an area of more than 60 square meters. Thus, families will have more opportunities to choose an apartment on the primary market or to build their own house.
I will add that initially the Far Eastern mortgage was designed only for young families, but since last year, all teachers and doctors working in the Far East can get such a loan.
I propose to take the next step and once again increase the coverage of this program, to make a mortgage at two percent available to employees of the Far Eastern enterprises of the military-industrial complex. I emphasize that it is for all defense industry workers in the Far East, regardless of their age and marital status, just as we did for doctors and teachers.
Further. We have proposed special mechanisms for the development of housing construction, including the so-called "Far Eastern Quarter", when companies engaged in complex development receive benefits from residents of advanced development territories. As a result, even at the design stage, a comfortable urban environment and social infrastructure are laid along with housing: kindergartens, clinics, sports complexes, and so on.
In particular, the satellite city of Vladivostok is being built using the mechanisms of the "Far Eastern Quarter". About 80 thousand people will live here in modern conditions.
I would like to add that the so-called presidential subsidy has been introduced for the comprehensive development of social infrastructure in the Far East. As part of this program, more than 1.5 thousand facilities have already been built, repaired and equipped in all the Far Eastern regions. What is it? These are schools, hospitals, sports halls, sports and recreation complexes, cultural centers, and so on.
I will name a few properties that were commissioned recently. These are the cardio-vascular center in Yakutsk, the nuclear medicine center in Ulan-Ude, and the game sports and martial arts center in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Housing for social workers was built in Chukotka. Mayak Park opened on the shore of the Sea of Okhotsk in Magadan.
A separate, large area of work that we have launched concerns the renewal of 25 agglomerations and cities in the Far East. I won't list them now, as we discussed this issue publicly yesterday. Cities should get a new look based on high-quality development of master plans, taking into account the problems and advantages that each city has its own. The master plans have been prepared in general, and we discussed this yesterday. We need to finalize them, identify sources of funding, and move forward as quickly as possible.
In the renovation of cities, the mechanism of the Far Eastern concession should be actively used. In addition, I suggest that additional resources be allocated to priority master plans in the next three years, and yesterday I instructed the Government to finalize all these mechanisms. In the future, we will look at the possibilities of increasing this funding for the period up to 2030.
And of course, we need to pay special attention to municipalities, including small ones. So, within the framework of the "1000 yards" program, 1,245 public spaces were equipped last year, and 562 more will be added to them by the end of this year. Of course, we need to continue this work.
What would you like to emphasize here? At the time, we decided to include a special Far Eastern section in all our key development programs. Due to this, a good pace of state investment has been gained in the projects of the Far East. This level, such dynamics, such Far Eastern priorities of state investment must be preserved.
And more. The Far East should not only be a territory of advanced development of the economy, social sphere and urban environment. These plans and projects should not lose sight of the concern for unique ecosystems and the preservation of hundreds of rare plant and animal species. By the way, within the framework of the current forum, for the first time, the international forum "Day of the Falcon" was held, dedicated to the conservation and increase of the population of predatory and rare bird species.
I would like to thank our friends and colleagues from the Middle East, who pay so much attention to this topic. And, of course, we will work with you, dear colleagues,on this purely humanitarian, but very interesting topic.
There are more than 60 specially protected natural territories of federal significance in the Far East. Many of them are Natural World Heritage Sites: These are Lake Baikal, Lena Pillars, Wrangel Island Nature Reserve, Kamchatka volcanoes, and so on. All this is our inherent national wealth, but at the same time it is the property of the entire planet, and we must preserve it and at the same time provide opportunities for scientific research, education and recreation for children and young people, so that Russian tourists and our guests from abroad can get acquainted with the beautiful nature of the Far East.
I have already said that the Russian Far East should become a platform for the "new economy" industries, including the development of tourism in the national parks of Primorye, Khabarovsk Krai, Yakutia, Buryatia, Kamchatka, the Kuril Islands and other regions.
On September 1, a law came into force that creates civilized conditions, a regulatory framework for ecotourism, and forms the basis for revealing the scientific and tourist potential of protected areas. It is important that they are provided with infrastructure.
In this regard, I propose to allocate additional resources to the national parks of the Far East next year. I would like to emphasize that not by redistributing funds from other natural objects, but by adding what is called a "top-up" bonus to the planned financing.
And a few more words about the formation of new industries in the Far East. At the end of May, the exhibition "Development of the creative Economy in Russia" was held. Then a substantive discussion was held, interesting proposals were made from young entrepreneurs, including those from the Far Eastern regions.
So, in Yakutia, thanks to the efforts of regional authorities and the initiative of businessmen themselves, one of the best practices for the development of creative industries has developed, for example, programming, architecture, industrial design, and so on. This experience will form the basis for preparing a regional standard for the development of creative industries, which will then be extended to all regions of the Federation. The most important task here is to make our Russian brands more recognizable.
I have just met with my colleagues and moderators. I have already mentioned this meeting, and they told me the good news that this process is proceeding at a fairly rapid pace and is yielding good results.
It is necessary to support the demand for domestic products and services, for example, through exhibitions, fairs, and so on. Of course, we will continue this process.
The first such fair of creative industries was held in Novosibirsk in August. It was attended by 70 Russian manufacturers. In three days, it was visited by 17 thousand people.
The second fair was hosted by Vladivostok just a few days ago, and the event was included in the cultural program of our forum. I think that these initiatives will be taken up by other regions of our country.
As for the Far East specifically, another decision has been made here, which concerns the development of new industries in the economy, culture, and sports. We have agreed that an annual esports tournament will be organized in the Far Eastern Federal District.
This direction has already gained great popularity all over the world, and our esports players are in the leading positions. Holding high-level competitions in Russia, I am sure, will serve to promote computer sports both in our country and abroad.
The first tournament will be held at the end of the year. I ask domestic IT companies and companies with state participation to pay attention to this sport and support it.
Over the past 10 years, a lot has been done for the Far East and the Arctic. A powerful vector for the development of the economy, social sphere, and infrastructure has been set, and unique conditions for doing business in our country have been created. I will not be afraid of this word: it is unique conditions. Major landmark projects have been launched in the extraction of natural resources and the manufacturing industry, in housing construction and in the renewal of the transport network. Plans to improve the appearance of cities and towns have been drawn up and are being implemented.
A huge, key contribution to achieving these results belongs to the residents of the Far East and those whose families have lived here for many, many generations, and those who recently came here from other regions of Russia to work, study or run their own business.
I would like to express my special gratitude to all those who believe in the future of the Far East, in its huge opportunities and potential, and contribute to its development.
And I repeat: the Far East is our strategic priority for the entire twenty-first century. I finish my speech where I started. Its role, as well as the role and significance of our entire country in the world, I am sure, will only grow.
Thank you for your attention.
Igor Doronov: Madam Vice President, I will give you the floor later, if I may.
And now I would like to ask a few questions immediately to the President of Russia about the speech that took place just now.
Vladimir Vladimirovich, it is very nice that you mentioned the priority of the Far East, because many people might have thought that our priority now lies in a completely different part of the world, in the West, and we are investing all our efforts there.
Vladimir Putin: We have many priorities, but the Far East is one of the main ones.
I. Doronov: This is the third time, so we will remember that this is indeed the case.
You mentioned the M-12 highway, and I can't help but thank you and Marat Shakirzyanovich [Khusnullin], who is sitting here. I'm from Vladimir, 180 kilometers between Moscow and Vladimir, for example, on some May holidays-six or seven hours by car. It was simply impossible. Now we will try to drive on the new highway and see how it will actually be.
And immediately a few questions.
There were words in the speech just now, I even wrote them down for myself: "A historic global task" - as far as the Far East is concerned. In general, an analogy occurs to me that the plans that were announced can probably be compared with what Stolypin did about the development of Siberia, or with the industrialization plan that was in the USSR.
But I have a question: if the sanctions had not been imposed first in 2014, then in 2022, if the borders had not been closed, if it had not been impossible to place our capital in the West, how do you think these global plans could have been implemented within the country?
I will give statistics to confirm my words, my question, statistics on the Russian Island special administrative region: for the year – plus 43 residents, now only 60 residents, that is, an explosive growth after the introduction of sanctions.
Vladimir Putin: First of all, we started this work ten years ago. You asked me about it yourself, and I said this: we started working long before all the events that have taken place in recent years, starting in 2014, and we started it because we saw the trends in the development of the global economy. We have seen the growth of new centers of influence, new centers of economic development. I probably don't need to name these countries, because they are obvious to everyone. We understood what was unfolding, how and where, and we see it today, these trends are continuing, even, moreover, gaining momentum.
But what happened after 2014, after Western countries supported the coup d'etat in Ukraine and started a war in the Donbas, of course, many processes began to accelerate. Here we can only regret that we did not implement in a timely manner the plans that we had for the development of infrastructure, including the railway network to the Far East.
Because, to be honest, the Government made a little mistake, they thought that there would not be such a volume of cargo transportation, but even in recent years it has turned out to be more than one could imagine. But never mind, we are managing, we have plans, they were laid out earlier, so it will be easier for us to implement them even in a short time.
Right now, we have only discussed the development plans for the Eastern Polygon with the moderators and our colleagues. Investors have the means and desire, because there is a market, they are ready to invest their own money, because they see the return from such a huge flow, from such a large cargo turnover. Return on investment is provided with a good rate of return. That's why we started a long time ago, and in recent years, what is happening in the global economy, of course, has stimulated our work in this Far Eastern direction.
Igor Doronov: Nevertheless, the phrase that sounds like" don't step on the same rake " has been repeated twice. It hasn't reached everyone yet, has it?
Vladimir Putin: You know, if you are interested, and probably many people from the business community are also interested, there is such a trend: before, many of our entrepreneurs created some kind of platforms for themselves, but then they faced problems-the withdrawal of legally earned funds. This, you know, is not my money, but the money of our companies, our entrepreneurs, but it just goes beyond all bounds. The people who do it and have done it, they don't even understand the negative consequences for themselves, in my opinion, they still don't appreciate it.
Restrictions on payments in dollars, for example. Where does this lead? To the fact that all countries have thought about creating their own instruments, about creating new settlement systems, about whether it is worth storing their savings and savings in the same States or somewhere in Europe, whether it is worth investing their savings in the securities of these countries.
I guarantee you, I know this is happening. Of course, everyone will think about it. The fact that our gold and foreign exchange reserves have been frozen means that we have already earned twice as much. It's not about these 300 billion dollars, but it's about undermining trust in those who do it: they destroy trust in themselves. The same thing happens in trade, in restrictions related to trade.
Therefore, God knows they are to blame for the fact that such negative consequences will inevitably come for them, they are already coming. We did not aim for this, but it is still an objective process associated with the growth of new fast-growing economic centers.
Igor Doronov: And those who come here, who return to Russia…
Vladimir Putin: I'll tell you about the rake.
Nevertheless, we can see that today the logistics chains and the supply of goods have almost recovered, and everything has returned to normal. We see that this is also related to the exchange rate of the national currency, including the restrained return – I will put it mildly – of foreign currency earnings, the desire to place something somewhere else-abroad… We see it, we understand everything. We need to somehow reach an agreement with businesses, and they should understand and assume that it is more reliable to work here. Therefore, do not step on the same rake. I am sure that I am understood by those to whom I address myself.
Igor Doronov: My next question concerns the relationship between the state and business – those who return here, those who come to Russian Island, and so on.
I had an interview with Andrey Ramovich Belousov before SPIEF, and I asked him how the state and business should function together. He says: as partners, but the state is the senior partner, and the business is the junior partner.
Vladimir Putin: Did he say that?
Igor Doronov: Yes, that's what he said.
Vladimir Putin: He sounds like a former employee of the State Planning Committee. We must be equal partners.
Igor Doronov: I'll have to ask him for his opinion after you've said that.
Vladimir Putin: He knows I joke like that all the time. This is a joke.
Igor Doronov: Nevertheless, you have already said that there should be equal partners. And in principle, don't you think that the state is becoming too much in the economy and business?
Vladimir Putin: We hear about it, they talk about it all the time. That's not so. Yes, we have large companies, especially in the energy sector, but private structures are developing rapidly, and we support them, including here in the Far East.
Look, we accompany all investments in the Far East with our infrastructure investments from the state. Over the past three years, we have already invested in infrastructure to support businesses, in my opinion, 15 billion, or something, I don't remember the exact figure. And this year it's already 8.5 billion, this year alone – 8.5 billion, and for the next three years, 33 more, in my opinion, we will invest, and so on in many areas. We also provide benefits for our companies, especially here in the Far Eastern region. Let's stay here, in this territory.
I mentioned the Torah. There you can calculate how many benefits for paying social contributions, for income tax, for property tax, and if you take the Kuril Islands, then everything is even twice steeper in terms of benefits than for the territories of advanced development. Therefore, cooperation between the state and business brings good results. We will continue to do this.
Do you know what else is very important? I think it is important that there has been a very good dialogue between the Government and the business community for a decade, or maybe even a couple of decades. The Government practically does not make any decisions in the economic sphere without holding preliminary consultations with business associations. We always strive to take into account the opinions of our business partners, as well as trade unions.
Igor Doronov: You mentioned the Torahs, special economic zones, and tax incentives – all very well. But I talked to experts in this field, they say that this is not the only thing that is needed. We also need to build infrastructure for this area, such as gas, electricity and everything else, but this is not enough.
Vladimir Putin: That's why I said it.
By the way, I remembered this figure: 25 billion rubles have been spent on infrastructure in recent years. For the first half of this year – 8.5 [billion], and 33 more are provided. This is how we do it, and we will continue to do it. We understand that investing in infrastructure should be our support for business – we do and will continue to do so.
Igor Doronov: I wanted to ask you about the ruble exchange rate.
A year ago, when we were sitting on this stage, the dollar was about 60 rubles per dollar. This summer it went up to 100, in my opinion, even went over 100, now – I looked before the session-93 rubles. The volatility is very, very high, and by the end of 2022, the Russian currency has become the most volatile in the world.
How can you predict something in such conditions when you don't understand what will happen to the national currency?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, this is, of course, a question that requires a painstaking researcher in the form of the Central Bank and the Government of the Russian Federation, the so-called financial authorities. In general, I don't think that there are any absolutely insurmountable problems and difficulties here.
This is due to many factors, including the return or non-return of partial foreign currency earnings from our largest exporters. This is due to the fact that at the first stage, which you mentioned, when the dollar was 60 rubles, logistics chains for import were not established. Now more and more imports are coming to our market, which means that foreign currency is more and more in demand. There are other factors, but in general they are manageable factors. We see them, understand them, and the Central Bank sees them.
The Central Bank was forced, of course, to raise the key rate to 12 percent, including because inflation began to rise slightly. How much we have now-5.4 percent, 5.2, I don't remember – about 5.2 on an annual basis. Therefore, the Central Bank reacted to this, it could not help but react. And I think I did the right thing in a timely manner. Yes, this reduces the opportunities for lending, slightly constrains the economy and economic development, but it is a significant factor for reducing inflationary risks. Everything must be done in a timely manner.
So this is a manageable situation, and I won't go into details right now, because it's a subtle area, but it's manageable.
Igor Doronov: Nevertheless, as I understand it, the state is going to regulate or introduce some restrictions? Why do I ask, the previous time when the ruble was completely weakening, Presidential aide Maxim Oreshkin had to write a column, and then on the same day the ruble slightly strengthened. Or Andrey Leonidovich [Kostin] gave an interview to RBC yesterday and also said that there are loopholes in how money is withdrawn from the country.
Vladimir Putin: What do they do? They scare us and say, let's do this and that in a peaceful way, otherwise we will introduce some restrictions, mandatory refund of revenue, and so on. But no one will make any sudden movements.
Igor Doronov: About the Central Bank and the key interest rate of 12 percent. On Friday this week there will be a new meeting, and there is such a possibility that the rate may be raised even more, respectively, loans are becoming more expensive. And how, in this case, to develop the industry, how to take out new loans? Money becomes much more expensive.
Vladimir Putin: I have already said that the key rate affects, of course, the cost of money, loans from commercial banks, and this, of course, constrains lending to the economy, and therefore its growth. But in general, we see that lending is at a fairly high level. First.
Second. We also see a faster growth of consumer loans. Here, too, there is a set of tools for managing these risks. I'm not going to go into any more details right now either, just talk to Nabiullina and she'll tell you.
So, of course, it is necessary to influence this, but if we miss a situation that will lead to an uncontrolled increase in inflation, in the end it will be even worse for the economy. Because then, in conditions of high inflation, it is almost impossible to build business plans. There are no good or very good decisions here, there are complex decisions here, but they need to be made in a timely manner. Both the Central Bank and the Government have done this so far, and they have done it very effectively.
Igor Doronov: I also want to ask you a question about the mortgage…
Vladimir Putin: Yes, I'm sorry, I need to add it here.
Understanding that the cost of credit is increasing – we have a whole set of tools created for the most important industries, for the most important projects related to the interests of the entire economy of the country. We also have a whole set of support for obtaining loans. They are also provided with benefits, certain preferences are provided, and a whole set of tools is created to support companies that make large-scale investments, this is done jointly with the state. I won't repeat them now – industrial platforms and so on. Businesses are aware of this, and they will continue to do so.
What is the question here? Question: if the cost of credit increases, then, of course, the Government will need to think about increasing funds for funding these instruments, probably. These are, however, additional expenses, and there is another side of the coin, namely, the sustainability of the budget, its balance, and so on. But these are all working moments.
Igor Doronov: I also wanted to ask you about the mortgage. I started to ask a question, you said about the program for expanding preferential mortgages here in the Far East. The Central Bank probably blinked at this, because our Central Bank several times expressed the opinion that preferential mortgages are too bloated in Russia, they see the risks. Do you see any risks in this or not?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, there are certain risks, but we see them and stop them.
As for the Far East, we have a total of 12.5 million people living in the Urals, so this is not such a burden for the whole country, for the entire economy.
Igor Doronov: One last question in this section before passing the floor to the Vice-President. The question that concerns businesses is: will taxes be raised or not raised, or is it not necessary?
Vladimir Putin: The Government does not see the need for this yet.
I. Doronov: This is an important answer for the entire business.
(To Pani Yathot.) I will now give you the floor. But first, I would like to give the audience some interesting facts about Laos so that they can understand. I think it's important.
First. Diplomatic relations between the USSR and Laos were established in 1960 on October 7. We found another reason to celebrate this day, right?
Vladimir Putin: We will celebrate together.
Igor Doronov: We agreed.
Since 2011, Russia and Laos have developed a strategic partnership in the Asia – Pacific region.
The second fact I found is that Laos is the country that suffered the biggest bombardment in the world. More than 200 million bombs were dropped by the United States on Laos during the Vietnam War, and 350,000 Laotians died during these bombings.
The third. The ruling Lao People's Revolutionary Party remains committed to socialism.
Fourth. There is a pioneer movement in Laos. To be honest, I didn't know anything about it when I was preparing for the session.
Fifth. Laos still loves baguettes and white bread. Such a good legacy of France remained.
Lao coffee is considered one of the best in the world, if I read it correctly.
One last thing: for us, for Russians, it is important that you can stay in Laos for 30 days without a visa, so welcome to Laos, and you are welcome here, to the rostrum.
Please have the floor, Madam Vice President.
:(as translated)P.Many thanks to Yathot.
I am pleased to participate in the eighth Eastern Economic Forum, and it is a privilege for me.
Laos is a member of ASEAN. This is one of the countries with only seven million inhabitants.
Our country is rich in natural resources, water resources, energy resources, natural resources, and timber, plus we have many attractive tourist destinations.
As for what Russia means to Laos and what our relations with Russia mean. Since the Soviet era, we have maintained traditional strong relations, and later they reached the level of strategic partnership in the field of security in Asia and the Pacific.
We cooperate in many areas: in the economy, in tourism, in the development of human capital, and both countries exchange information and experience in many other areas of mutual interest.
Cooperation between Laos and Russia has also allowed us to support each other and help each other. We build our cooperation on the basis of mutual interest.
At the same time, Laos is a developing country, so our Government attaches great importance to social and economic development. To do this, we attract investments from many other countries, including Russia. Our countries invest in such important areas as energy and hydro resources, as well as hydrocarbon resources.
We also received Russian support in the mine clearance process. This assistance was not conditional on anything, we are still suffering from unexploded mines and ammunition. These unexploded ordnance have a negative impact on the lives of our people.
With the support of Russia, we were able to clear more than 20 thousand hectares of our territory from mines. After the mine clearance, we returned these 20 thousand cleared hectares to the people living in our country. Thus, by clearing our land of unexploded ordnance, we are solving the most important task for us: we are eliminating this danger that comes from unexploded ordnance.
Igor Doronov: In Laotian, "thank you" means "kop t'ai". Here, I got it.
Vladimir Vladimirovich, a question for you. (To Pani Yathot) Then I'll ask you a question, too.
The 90s. We have stopped being friends and supporting many other countries, such as Cuba and Laos. In your opinion, how difficult is it for us to restore these relations now, and can they be brought to the level that they were during the Soviet Union?
Vladimir Putin: In the 1990s, we gained a lot, I mean first of all emancipation and freedom, but we also lost a lot, unfortunately, we thoughtlessly spent or squandered what we had accumulated over the previous decades during the existence of the Soviet Union.
But, as you know, the historical memory of those peoples with whom we were friends, with whom we communicated, who were often helped in their development, people have preserved it. And it is not difficult for us to restore relations based on the new principles, because people in these countries want it. This also applies to Laos, where we see many friends, the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, and Africa as well.
Most recently, the Russia – Africa summit was held. You know, to be honest, I was once again surprised by the openness of the Africans and their desire to work with us. You see, it's not just that we did something for Africa, helped people find freedom, independence, fight colonialism, although this is very important, they remember everything, but they also remember other things.
In my opinion, what is the main thing? That we were never colonizers anywhere. Our cooperation has always been based on an equal basis or on the desire to help and support. And those countries that are trying to compete with us, including now, they just pursued a completely different policy. When people compare what happened in former times in cooperation with Russia, with the Soviet Union, as it was then called, and with other countries, of course, everything is in favor of Russia, of course, we must take this into account and keep it in mind today.
If you look at the same Africa, our cooperation. Yes, we helped. What did the former colonialists do? Back in 1957, a photograph was shown to me recently, when people in cages were brought from Africa to European countries, for example, to Belgium. It is impossible to watch without tears: children are sitting in cages, they were exposed for show.
Igor Doronov: Yes, it was an exhibition. The village was built there.
Vladimir Putin: Yes. People were brought in cages, shown, paraded, including whole families, and children were kept separately in cages! How can you forget that? No one in Africa will forget that.
And now they are still trying to command and carry out their generally neo-colonial policy there. We have burdened all the countries of Africa – they owe trillions in dollar terms. In other words, we have created a credit and financial system with African countries, under which African countries cannot, by definition, pay off their loans at all. This is not even a credit relationship, as an indemnity of some kind. Do you understand?
But we have had and still have completely different approaches, and this gives us certain advantages in working with our partners: both with those with whom we had special relations back in the Soviet era, and with those with whom we are building relations anew now. Our friends also feel this.
Therefore, I do not see any major difficulties here, including in restoring our previous positions.
Igor Doronov: If we have already touched on this topic, may I ask this question: what about those who do not think so? For example, these are the Baltic states, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, who say that Russia behaved like a colonizer when it introduced tanks, for example, to Prague or Budapest.
Vladimir Putin: We have long recognized that this part of the Soviet Union's policy was wrong and only served to strain relations. You can't do anything in the sphere of foreign policy that goes in clear contradiction with the interests of other nations, that's all.
But it is precisely on this rake, if we talk about the rake, that the leading countries of the West, and above all the United States, are attacking today. They put pressure on both their allies and their so-called partners, they have no friends, they have only interests. This is a continuation of the famous British formula.
Igor Doronov: Thank you.
Madam Vice President, a question for you: what does cooperation with Russia give Laos? And, for example, why did you decide to resume Russian language studies in Laos? It's not because the President of Laos speaks Russian, is it?
:(as translated)P.Yathotu As Mr. President has already rightly pointed out, the Lao People's Democratic Republic has indeed maintained very good and reliable relations with the USSR and the Russian Federation. We intend to use this successful and fruitful cooperation, which was in the past,to move forward.
Of course, this also applies to the humanitarian aid that we receive; this is the growth that we see in trade turnover between countries, a certain increase in investment. We also expect an increase in tourist traffic from Russia.
Of course, we really appreciate all the benefits that we get from this relationship. Of course, one of the most important achievements, which should be noted separately, is the cooperation that existed during the Soviet Union in the field of human resources. As you correctly pointed out, many of the leaders who led the Lao Republic were educated in the Soviet Union in one way or another.
As you may know, we have built the China-Laos railway. It should be noted that this is a strategic project that we would like to use, among other things, to expand this railway in the future [with supplies] all the way to Australia, because we believe that such an extension of the railway to the territory of the Russian Federation can be extremely useful for the development of trade and investment between the two countries.
Of course, this will facilitate passenger transportation from the Lao People's Democratic Republic through Russia to China. This is an issue that we would like to discuss in more detail in order to use it in trade and investment relations between our two countries. I very much hope that our countries will be able to explore this opportunity, and it will bring concrete results.
Vladimir Putin: You have just mentioned the pioneers who function as an organization in Laos. Now Mrs. Vice-president was in our children's camp "Ocean" and was pleased to note that there are children from Laos on vacation. We have established excellent relations with our Russian peers in very good conditions.
But I can add to this that children from Laos not only have a rest in the Okean children's camp, they also study at Suvorov schools in the Russian Federation.
I. Doronov: The Lao Suvorov soldiers are getting better.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, Lao Suvorov soldiers. For foreign guests, I can say that these are such military schools for children, and children study there and feel very comfortable.
Igor Doronov: Thank you.
Now that we're talking…
Vladimir Putin: So we are gradually doing all this slowly and will continue to do it, to restore our relations with our friends.
I. Doronov: It is wonderful.
If you're talking about logistics, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Chinese project "One Belt, One Road". We had and still have a project – the Great Eurasian Partnership. But after the G-20, it was immediately announced that-I will list the countries – the United States, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Jordan and India had completed work on what was said to be a historic agreement on the new India – Middle East – Europe economic corridor. Russia is not there, China is not there. How do you think this initiative will affect the implementation of both the Chinese and our project, and what does it mean for us in general?
Vladimir Putin: I believe that this is good for us, and it will only help us develop logistics.
First of all, this project has been discussed for a long time, already for, in my opinion, several years. However, the Americans jumped on this train at the last moment. But for them, I don't see much point in being in this project at all – only, perhaps, purely from the point of view of some business interest.
Meanwhile, the additional movement of goods along this corridor is, in fact, an addition to our North–South project. We don't see anything here that could interfere with us in any way.
"North-South" - we go through this corridor to the Persian Gulf, then to India. If there is another route, and I think Israel is still involved, we can then go through the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and use this corridor.
I do not know, colleagues who presented this project, they should, of course, take a close look. This is just a memorandum of intent.
Igor Doronov: Yes.
Vladimir Putin: But we need to look at the economics of this project, because first the goods and cargo must reach the sea by rail, [then] reloading from the railway to sea vessels, then coming to the shore-either to the United Arab Emirates or to Saudi Arabia; once again, we need to reload from ships to the railway. And this double overload is important for the economy of the entire project, it should be considered.
The head of our leading company "Russian Railways" Oleg Valentinovich Belozerov nods his head, apparently, I got to the right place, and this is really such an economic substance, where you need to carefully read the economics of the project.
And in terms of time, it will be – if we talk from Northern Europe, from St. Petersburg to Mumbai-about the same as we plan: the North–South route. I don't know about economics, but I repeat, we must count them. I think our route will be more efficient.
And the interest in using the Suez Canal will not go away. I think that those who believe that this will somehow cause damage to the Suez Canal, I doubt it. In my opinion, this will not happen.
And finally, the last thing. The volume of traffic is growing, increasing every year, and, in my opinion, the more these routes, the better.
Igor Doronov: Thank you.
Now a few questions – let's go back inside the country. We are located in Vladivostok, a city where there are many right-hand drive cars. Now I will explain why I ask, and the audience will probably be divided into two equal or unequal parts: some will probably already think what to do, what to do, and others will think it's good that this will pass them by.
I'll tell you right away that you were lucky: you have Aurus, Niva and Volga, but many Russian officials were not lucky, probably because you said that you would need to switch to domestic cars.
In the 90s, such an attempt was-failed. Where is the guarantee that everything will work out now? And which cars should they transfer to?
Vladimir Putin: You know, there were no cars then, but now there are. Yes, they may look somehow more modest than Mercedes or Audi, which in the 90s began to be purchased in huge quantities, but nothing. I think we need to follow the example of many of our partners in this regard, for example, our partners in India. They mainly focus on the production and use of vehicles manufactured in India. Here, Prime Minister Modi is absolutely, I think, doing the right thing by promoting the idea of "Do in India". Right.
We have this transport, and it is absolutely normal to use it. This does not violate any of our obligations under the WTO, absolutely does not violate. This is public procurement. You need to build a certain chain, who is supposed to do what, and drive domestic cars.
As you probably know, there were offers to continue these purchases. This is easy to do, and logistics are well established.
Igor Doronov: Purchases of foreign cars, do you mean?
Vladimir Putin: Yes. But I said that I have big doubts – whether it is necessary to continue this practice, to put it mildly.
Everyone, the Government and the Presidential Administration have built up this chain – let those who are supposed to drive domestic cars.
Igor Doronov: When will we see the first officials?
Vladimir Putin: Now. They'll be buying it now.
The question in practical terms is about procurement. They'll be buying it now. I honestly don't know when it will start. Right now.
Igor Doronov:I'll ask you more about Chinese cars.
Imports of Chinese cars this year increased by 543 percent. According to forecasts, almost half a million Chinese cars will be imported to our country this year. Are we not afraid that they will "sweep away" all our cars, and we will now become dependent on the Chinese car industry?
Vladimir Putin: No, we are developing this work together.
The Great Wall machine, it started [assembling] where? Somewhere near Moscow.
Igor Doronov: Haval is going to Tula.
Vladimir Putin: In Tula, yes. The governor presented it to me.
Nice car. We are developing our own car industry. Thank God that we are developing more and more on our own base, increasing the level of localization. Then Moskvich will also be produced. Recently, only the mayor of Moscow reported to me on how the work is going. And Lada will continue to develop. You need to do this on your own database.
Of course, when our cars were produced with almost one hundred percent assembly of the car from foreign spare parts, what is different here? Localization will be raised. Yes, it takes time, but it is right from the point of view of developing the automotive industry in the country on its own base.
We're not going to shut down completely, we're going to do something on our knees here.
"Aurus" made? Made.
Igor Doronov: But how much does it cost?
Vladimir Putin: Yes. It costs because they don't produce much. It will go into the series for real – and everything will be twice as cheap. Yes, it takes time, but it will be your own development. This is the acquisition of competencies, the restoration of these competencies, these are taxes within the country, these are jobs - but what can I say, everyone understands how many components there are. But at the same time, we intend to cooperate with those who want to work with us.
Igor Doronov: I'll ask you…
Vladimir Putin: And officials should definitely drive domestic cars.
Igor Doronov: The topic related to cars is fuel prices. You took this under personal control, but the latest data shows that diesel is already more than 61 rubles, and gasoline is also getting more expensive. Many people, I see, already have a question in their eyes: what is happening? And I see this in all sorts of house chats, where people started discussing fuel prices.
Why is this happening? And will we correct this situation?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course, the Government is doing this. I think that our producers, those who produce petroleum products, are right, and the Government should respond in a timely manner. Relevant decisions were taken, as we know, but not so long ago, in order to maintain parity between the prices of the foreign market and the domestic market. Then these mechanisms were canceled. But the Government did not respond in a timely manner to these changes in the global market due to rising oil prices.
But this is a regulated position, we only talked with Igor Ivanovich Sechin yesterday, he has his own position. But in general, manufacturers and the Government agreed among themselves how they will act in the near future.
It is very important for us to provide agricultural producers with diesel fuel.
Igor Doronov: Yes, the Ministry of Agriculture has already sounded the alarm.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, she was simply physically missed. But now it has physically appeared, the issue is price regulation.
There were many mechanisms. In 2009, when I headed the Government of the Russian Federation, a decision was made – a thick one, a whole folio – on our interaction with companies in the country's fuel and energy sector, and everything was described in detail there.
Now it is valid, by the way, this resolution, but is not applied. Other tools are used here – the so-called damper. I have already said what it means: a balance between external prices and internal ones. But it was also halved there, and it did not work as efficiently as it did before.
The tools are well-known, but there are agreements. I hope that this will affect the real state of affairs.
Igor Doronov: I would like to ask you about the Accounts Chamber – it has been without a head since November last year. What is the reason? Alexey Leonidovich Kudrin was so good that they can't find a replacement for him? And then why did they let him go to Yandex?
Vladimir Putin: First of all, we don't have a slave – owning system-he wanted to go to work in a business, we can't keep him there by force. Although he was, of course, in his place, he was also a good Finance Minister.
The Accounts Chamber is working, it is working efficiently – a thousand inspections have already been carried out there. I don't remember, but I think they found violations worth 1.6 trillion rubles.
There is an acting [chairman], but this does not affect the quality of the chamber's work. I think that when the situation matures, when the parliament and the Government select the appropriate candidates, this personnel issue will be resolved. It is not something that interferes with the work of the ward.
Igor Doronov: I mentioned Yandex for a reason. Recently, the official website of Arkady Volozh was created, it says the following, I will read the quote specifically: "An Israeli entrepreneur born in Kazakhstan, the founder of one of the largest Internet companies in Europe, Yandex. Let me remind you that Volozh was born in 1964, when Kazakhstan was part of the Soviet Union, but now there is no mention of the Soviet Union in his biography.
We also have other businessmen who publicly express their position, including the position in relation to the special military operation.
For you, the line that cannot be crossed, where is it located? And even this line cannot be crossed by those who, for example, created a national treasure like Yandex?
Vladimir Putin: Listen, this line should not be in my hands, but it should be in the minds and consciences of those who make certain statements.
As a rule, I want to emphasize this, this is due to the desire of these people to keep their business, to keep their assets, especially if they have moved and decided to connect their lives with another country.
He lives in Israel, I can imagine: in order to live there at a good standard and have good relations with the authorities, he is forced to make certain statements. I sat in silence for a long time, then decided to make a statement. God grant him good health, let him live well there. To be honest, this doesn't particularly affect us.
In general, if you look at how a person grew up on this soil, got an education, and became successful in something, there should be a sense of conscience about the country that gave him everything. I don't mean Volozh right now, he's a talented person, created a really good company and picked up a team, I don't mean him, but in general.
Yes, one can imagine that a person does not agree with what the current authorities are doing. Does he have the right to express his position? Sure. But here, too, there are many nuances.
You can take the position of our geopolitical opponents and play along with them, thereby causing damage to your country, or you can behave differently, there are many nuances here. A person internally determines for himself: who is he? Does he have any sense of national identity? Or does he even want to mimic and feel that he is no longer a Russian person, not born in the Soviet Union, but someone else? A person chooses everything for himself.
I assure you that ordinary citizens of Russia, our people, they feel everything perfectly and understand everything perfectly, you can't deceive anyone. If a person has chosen a new destiny for himself, let him try to declare himself there, show himself and achieve results. Because whoever it is, no matter what results they have achieved, they have achieved [it] here, and it is not a fact that they will achieve the same thing somewhere else. It's their choice.
Igor Doronov: One more question about the new destiny: in July, an article by an independent expert from Glasgow was published in the Russian magazine Voprosy Ekonomiki. Glasgow is Scotland.
Vladimir Putin: I'm aware of that.
Igor Doronov: I am speaking for the audience. I'm sure you know that.
The title of the article is " Non-payments in the Russian economy of the 90s. An unexpected institution." Do you know who the author is? Anatoly Chubais. He is actually represented in this article as an independent British scientist.
I have a question: Do you trust British scientists at all?
Vladimir Putin: You know, I trust scientists regardless of their nationality. If they are serious people, serious researchers – I don't just trust them, I admire their work, their life, the results of their work, because a real scientist is immersed in the topic that he is engaged in, these people spend their whole lives on the work to which they have devoted it, they don't even spare their lives. There are countless examples both in our country and abroad.
If they are engaged in fooling around, they are not scientists, of course, they are quasi-scientists, they are entertaining the public. Also not bad, let them fool around. Although you can go to the circus, there is something to see in the circus
The fact that Anatoly Borisovich is hiding there for some reason… I was shown some photo from the Internet, where he is no longer Anatoly Borisovich Chubais, but Moshe Izrailevich of some kind, lives there somewhere… Why he's doing this, I don't understand why he ran away.
You see, it may also be due to the fact that there are complex processes in this structure of nanotechnology, which he headed for many years, and there is a big hole, a huge financial hole, though. I won't even mention the numbers right now, big numbers. But, thank God, there are no criminal cases or prosecutions there. Maybe this is due to the fact that he is afraid that in the end all this will lead to the emergence of some criminal cases, so he moved, in Israel he even moved to an illegal position. Why the hell does he need it, I honestly don't understand.
Igor Doronov: The opinion of a person who worked in Dresden, right?
Vladimir Putin: Well, that's nonsense. Still writes… Not a stupid person, I didn't read this article, maybe he wrote something sensible. However, apparently, this activity at the head of a large company that was created for the development of nanotechnology – at least from an economic point of view, from a financial point of view-it seems that he clearly failed.
Igor Doronov: The question, oddly enough, is about privatization and deprivation. There is now an idea of a new privatization in Russia, but the topic that is now very much concerned about business and is being discussed both here, on the sidelines of the EEF, and in Moscow they are talking about it – this is deprivation, when the state, as it were, takes assets in its favor. And there are already several such cases.
Business people say that we don't understand: have some rules changed or how do we look at the future in this situation? The topic is quite acute. How would you comment on it?
Vladimir Putin: No, there are no plans for any de-privatisation, there will be no de-privatisation, I can tell you that for sure.
The fact that the prosecutor's office is actively working in certain areas, in certain companies – law enforcement agencies have the right to assess what is happening in the economy in specific cases, but this is not related to any decisions about deprivation. This will not happen, and [Prosecutor General] Igor Viktorovich [Krasnov] knows my position. Igor Viktorovich?
Igor Doronov: Yes, he's nodding his head.
Vladimir Putin: He knows and nods his head.
Igor Doronov: So businesses need to be sure that they won't be" terrorized", as you have said several times?
Vladimir Putin: No one will be "horrified", but everyone must comply with the laws of the Russian Federation. And if they do not comply, then they should be prepared for the fact that the prosecutor's Office, the Investigative Committee, and the Accounts Chamber – all these structures will continue to closely monitor what is happening, including in the economic sphere, and call on everyone to comply with Russian laws. And so, no one is going to pursue someone only on the fact that a person is engaged in business.
Moreover, I would like to emphasize once again, especially in today's conditions: in general, Russian business behaves in a highly responsible manner – it retains its working teams, establishes new logistics chains, and actively behaves. Of course, in many cases the emergence of a new class, a young class of businessmen, is in demand, and this is also true. But no one says that it is necessary to solve the issues of deprivation and redo something. No, that's not going to happen.
Igor Doronov: The head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Alexander Shokhin, also gave us an interview, which appeared today. There is a quote: "There are questions about the new owners of the nationalized assets. If an asset becomes state property, where does it go?" This is an issue that concerns businesses.
Vladimir Putin: If something becomes state property, then there are procedures provided for by law. If it falls into the hands of state structures, they can dispose of it in accordance with the law, but here-only open competitions.
I. Doronov: About business and the development of private initiative. Today, it just so happens, such a date, I will now ask you to applaud too, on September 12, 1959, the USSR launched the Luna-2 interplanetary station. It was the first ever spacecraft to reach the surface of the moon. Let's say thank you to those who made this station.
And as we know, Luna-25 failed.
Therefore, the question is: isn't it time for us to think about the possibility of introducing some kind of private initiative in space? Elon Musk successfully launches. Aren't you upset by the fact that we have started to lose our leading positions in the global space industry?
Vladimir Putin: No. You see, space is a complex and responsible work, connected, of course, with high technologies. We don't just have good practices here, we have excellent competencies.
As for landing on the site where no one has ever landed before, yes, this is a difficult task, of course, an appropriate analysis will be carried out there, and the work will continue. It is a pity, of course, that the lunar landing did not take place, but this does not mean that we will complete this program – we will continue to work. And what, haven't there been any similar emergencies in other countries, even more severe ones, with severe consequences? Of course, this is always associated with the unknown. Therefore, there is nothing unusual here, although I would like to see everything succeed this time.
But we will continue this work, we will even strengthen certain areas.
As for private business, Elon Musk, he is certainly an outstanding person, I must admit this, and I think this is recognized all over the world. He is an active, talented businessman, he does a lot of things, including with the support of the American state. For our part, we also intend to develop this work. Roscosmos has already made decisions and supported the Government on what we will attract, and we are already attracting private investors in this area of activity, and quite successfully.
Igor Doronov: There is news that you will go to [the cosmodrome] Eastern. What can I expect from this visit?
Vladimir Putin: I have my own corresponding program there, and when I get there, you'll find out.
Igor Doronov: All right, that's settled.
The problem of demography. It concerns both Russia and the Far East, as you have just said yourself: we have 12 million people living in the Urals. There are statistics, it is official: according to Rosstat, last year the country's population decreased by 555 thousand people.
How do you think, and why, despite all the measures that the state is taking, we are not able to reverse the situation in demography?
Vladimir Putin: In general, in my opinion, it is not possible anywhere: if there is such a negative trend, then it is very difficult to overcome it. This is due to a huge amount of introductory information, which is even difficult for non-specialists to understand.
This is due to the standard of living, with many priorities that arise for families, women of childbearing and reproductive age. Because you want to get an education, then start a career, the first child appears at the age of 30, the second one is no longer visible, and so on. There are a lot of components here.
As for Russia, I have already said this many times, and experts know it: we have two huge recessions, which have given us a relatively small number of people who can reproduce new offspring. This is 1943-1944, when there was a sharp drop in the birth rate, and the beginning of the 90s, unfortunately.
The beginning of the 90s, including when Anatoly Borisovich Chubais and his team were actively operating. You know, you can laugh here – they have done a lot to take steps towards a sharp transition to the market rails of the Russian economy. It's hard to say who could have done better and how. It's always easier to criticize.
In any case, they did it with harsh measures, which led, among other things, to the collapse of the social system – almost complete, to the impoverishment of the people and a sharp drop in the birth rate: the same as during the Great Patriotic War, as in 1943-1944.
So these two big dips keep coming in waves, from time to time, in a few years – in ten, in my opinion, or whatever it is, 15 years-we again fall into this demographic hole: there are people who reach childbearing age, but by definition they are getting smaller, and now we are in this phase we are located.
Nevertheless, much is being done to achieve this goal. There was a time when our birth rate increased and became positive.
What we should pay attention to here is life expectancy, which is growing in our country. In 2021, it was 71 years, the average life expectancy in the country, and now it is more than 73, in my opinion, 73.6 even. There was a moment, in my opinion, in June of this year – it was even a little 74, if you count it from year to year.
Second, we need, of course, to reduce the death rate and raise the birth rate. There is another way – this is a migration influx. Therefore, we need to work on each factor.
You mentioned that we carry out a whole range of activities to support families with children, to support motherhood and childhood. I won't even list them now, this is a whole large set. We have introduced maternity capital, are increasing its volume, introduced maternity capital for the first child, and so on. We need to step up these measures, and we need to work in the healthcare sector to support motherhood and childhood. We will do all this.
Even quite recently, we recorded natural population growth. Unfortunately, we were unable to maintain this trend. We need to work hard in all areas, including, by the way, in the information sphere – with the support of the public and the media, to raise the prestige of motherhood and fatherhood, to do everything possible.…
I. Doronov: To encourage.
Vladimir Putin: ... to encourage people, yes, to have a good and healthy family, to strengthen our traditional values, including, by the way, religious values. This is a large complex of works. We will work, but this should be done, of course, by the whole society.
Igor Doronov: My grandmother, who is 96, was the tenth in the family. Now you will not find such families practically.
Vladimir Putin: I do know why. We try to support large families with ten or more children.
Igor Doronov: This is a question that comes out of the topic of demography.
Demographers of the Higher School of Economics calculated that to keep the population of Russia at 146 million people, 390 thousand migrants should be imported every year for 80 years. A negative scenario would require 1.1 million migrants per year.
Do you see any danger in this? Will we, like some areas in the United States or Belgium, now have something going on in Antwerp related to migrants, when it will be impossible for the police to enter this area, for example?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course, we must keep this in mind and in no case allow such a development of events in our country. This is a very sensitive moment in the life of the Russian state. The economy, of course, requires the use of migrant workers in certain sectors, most of all in the construction sector. In my opinion, 33 percent of all working migrants are there.
In general, we do not have so many migrants working in the labor market – this is 3.7 percent, if the total number of employees, and we have somewhere, I don't remember how many, more than 12 million. Therefore, this issue is very sensitive, related to the economy, the social sphere, and the moral state of society.
By the way, it is easier for us than for European countries or the United States, because after all, we have an influx from the former republics of the Soviet Union. First, it is easier for us to work with them, the leaders of these countries understand everything and are ready to cooperate with us.
We are now working with many countries to implement pre-departure training programs for those people who come to us. What is it about? That they study the Russian language, study the laws of the Russian Federation. We need people to understand that if they have already come to another country, they are obliged to observe our traditions and culture, and so on, there is a lot of work there. Here we need to continue working with them.
This, by the way, is very important for our citizens, the citizens of the Russian Federation, so that there is no irritant from this migration influx. And this is the most important thing. Of course, we must first think about the interests of the citizens of the Russian Federation.
But if we really need an influx of migrants, then we need to choose first of all those who are needed for the development of the country's economy.
There is another way, it is both simple and complex at the same time. The simplicity lies in the fact that we may not need such a large influx of immigrants if we introduce new technologies that do not require a large number of workers.
This means just solving another problem – technological development of the country, updating the production base, and so on. This is the difficulty, because it can not be done from today to tomorrow, it requires a large investment, confident actions and work in this direction. There are many ways to solve this difficult problem, you just need to work. We will do this.
Igor Doronov: I will now ask you a question that every day requires an answer more and more sharply.
To begin with, the regional elections – a single day of voting-have just ended, and this year they were held in three days. Several regions of the Far Eastern Federal District participated in them at once. Congratulations to those who won this election.
Three years ago, when you were asked if you had decided to run in the presidential election, you said that you haven't yet. Now there are six months left before the elections. Are you still thinking?
Vladimir Putin: In accordance with the law, the parliament must make a decision at the end of the year: when the decision is made, the elections will be announced, the date will be announced, and then we will talk.
Igor Doronov: Well, then we can ask again.
Then I'll ask you about the US presidential election. What do you expect from them? They're next year. Moreover, quite strange things are happening there now, and we understand that Trump can be arrested at any time.
Vladimir Putin: And what should we think about it? I think that there will be no fundamental changes in the Russian direction in US foreign policy, no matter who is elected President.
However, we hear that Mr. Trump says that he will solve acute problems in a few days, including the Ukrainian crisis. Well, this can not but please, it's good. By the way, although he was accused of having special ties with Russia, which is complete nonsense and bullshit, but he imposed most of the sanctions against Russia as President. So what to expect from the new, future [It is difficult for us to say who the President is, but it is unlikely that anything will change dramatically, because the current authorities have set up the American society in an anti-Russian way and spirit, that's the whole point. They did it, and now it will be very difficult for them to somehow turn this whole ship in the other direction. First.
Second. They see Russia as an existential, permanent enemy, or even an enemy, and they drive it into the head of the average American. This is bad, because it sets up society. Although, despite this, we have a lot of people in America who want to build good, friendly, business relations with us and, moreover, share many of our positions, first of all, of course, in terms of preserving the so-called traditional values. And we have a lot of friends there and a lot of like-minded people. But, of course, they are suppressed.
Therefore, we do not know who will be elected there, but no matter who is elected, it is unlikely that the vector of the US anti-Russian policy will change, as I have already said.
As for the prosecution of Trump, it is, of course… In my opinion, what is happening is a good thing for us in today's conditions.
Igor Doronov: Why?
Vladimir Putin: Because it shows the rottenness of the American political system, which can't pretend to teach others about democracy.
Everything that happens to Trump is a politically motivated prosecution of his political rival. That's what it is. And this is done in front of the public in the United States and around the world. They simply exposed their internal problems. And in this sense, if they are trying to fight us, it is good, because it shows, as they said in Soviet times, the bestial appearance of American imperialism, the bestial grin.
Igor Doronov: Yes, we remember that.
I want to give you one more quote, if we have already touched on this topic, but I will not specifically say who wrote it, I will tell you at the end. "When studying Chinese, Thai or any African history and culture, it is considered necessary to respect its originality. In relation to Russian millennial Eastern Christianity, many Western researchers feel only contempt and wonder: why did this strange world, the whole continent, still not accept the Western worldview and still not follow such a clearly predominant Western social path? Russia is strongly condemned for everything in which it does not resemble the West."
You just mentioned the existential enemy, and this quote, by the way, is from Solzhenitsyn, who himself left here, lived in the West, and then returned.
What do you think is the reason for this attitude towards us?
Vladimir Putin: First, I want to say that my personal communication with Alexander Solzhenitsyn convinced me that he was a real, true patriot of Russia. To a certain extent, he was a nationalist – in the good sense of the word, in the civilized sense of the word. And so the fact that he said such things is not surprising to me. This is the first one.
Second. Here is everything related to relations between Russia and the West, connected with the geopolitical interests of Western countries. And attacks in all directions, including in the spiritual sphere, are a continuation of this geopolitical confrontation. Of course, the West has long sought to, say, "Catholicize" Russia, drag it there, under the Holy See. And when this failed, they started looking for various tools to present our country as some kind of" evil empire", although Reagan said this, but in practice all this has been going on since the Middle Ages, and maybe even further.
As soon as Russia became stronger, became a real geopolitical competitor - namely, a competitor-the policy of containing Russia immediately began. Just like today, the West is trying to restrain China's development, because it sees that China under the leadership of the CCP and under the leadership of our friend and President of the People's Republic of China is developing by leaps and bounds. This shocks them, and they are doing everything possible to slow down the development of China. But they won't be able to do it, they're too late. That's it, the train's gone. This is an objective process.
And it's not just in China – it's also in India, for example, in Indonesia. New centers of power will develop, and what some Western countries, led by the United States, are doing - these attempts to contain them will only harm them.
Igor Doronov: Can you tell us a secret?
Remember when Xi Jinping visited…
Vladimir Putin: I don't tell you secrets, do you? I worked for the KGB before.
Igor Doronov: All right. Then please share the information if you can.
Xi Jinping came, and we remember all that video when you said goodbye to him, and he said: we have started changes that have not been seen for 100 years. What did he mean by that?
Vladimir Putin: You know, we talked to him face-to-face for four hours. There were a lot of nuances and details.
I can only say that we have indeed reached an unprecedented level of our relations in recent years. This applies to all areas of our cooperation.
We met with the Chinese delegation today, and according to Chinese statistics, the volume of trade turnover is even higher than according to our statistics. We have all the chances – I don't know whether it will work out or not, there are all sorts of conjunctures, both price and currency, we need to see how this will affect – but maybe even this year we will reach a trade turnover of 200 billion [dollars]. Even concrete figures are not important, it is important that we actively develop our cooperation.
We have really amazing relations in the sphere of international security and coordination of our positions. We act in each other's best interests and try to listen to each other in many important areas. And listen, and hear, and respond both at the government level, and at the level of heads of state, at the ministerial level, through the security agencies and through the military bodies. Cooperation has reached unprecedented levels.
But here's what's interesting: we do not create military alliances and we are not friends against anyone, we are friends in the interests of our peoples. So we will continue to work.
Igor Doronov: Everything sounds great in terms of relations with China, but there are also some problems. I talked to businessmen – what do they call it? For example, China is in no hurry to open production facilities in Russia and is ready to mainly supply only finished products; the [Chinese] domestic market for our non-primary goods cannot be called open. In addition, we do not see any demand from Chinese investors for Russian capital market instruments.
What is the "plug"?
Vladimir Putin: You know, China is an independent country, and China primarily proceeds from its own interests. And we also do the same in our own interests.
It's wrong to say that we don't respond to each other's requests. This is one of such sensitive moments as the opening of the Chinese market for our coal miners. China also has problems in the coal industry, they also want their miners to supply their products to the domestic market, but they are opening up the market for our coal industry, and they are opening it up quite decently. Yes, we still can't reach an agreement on pork, but they have their own contracts, and the Government especially doesn't get involved in relations with businesses that have established ties. We need to solve the problem of ASF, swine fever. Well, did we have it? It was. We need to close these problems.
These are all current issues that require working at different levels of interaction. We are moving on each of them, and I am sure that the problems you mentioned will be solved as well.
But we also need to work harder and show our advantages. And our Chinese partners are responding to this. You say they don't open businesses, but what did they open in Tula?
I. Doronov: Automobile plant.
Vladimir Putin: Automobile plant. How come they don't open it? They open it.
But they also need to look at what the market is like, how many investments they will make, and how these investments will pay off. This means that we also have issues on our side that we need to solve and provide investors with good conditions.
We work well in high-tech areas. We continue to build nuclear power plants in China – and in considerable numbers. This is where we are certainly leaders and show very good results domestically and internationally. And the Chinese partners appreciate this and give us this work, give us these sites, even though they themselves are developing nuclear energy. But, given the certain competitive advantages of our offers, they go for it.
We need to agree on, say, wide-body aircraft. This is a difficult job, but we are moving forward, although negotiations have been going on for a long time, but nevertheless. And, for example, in the helicopter industry, where we have obvious competitive advantages in the global plan, we work there together with the Chinese. We will also produce helicopters with a large payload capacity, and there is also an agreement. We work in outer space, where, despite certain problems, we also have competitive advantages. They calmly go to this joint work.
We must recognize that the People's Republic of China, I want to emphasize once again, has achieved great results in the field of high technologies under the leadership of today's leader. We need to discuss all this with them, and this work is underway, see where they benefit from cooperation with us, and also give them good conditions. This is a normal commercial activity. The important thing is that it is based on a very good, solid foundation of mutual trust. I am confident that we will move forward.
Igor Doronov: You mentioned high technologies. You probably don't know, but now the Chinese have scared the United States by making their own chip – 7 nanometers, and putting it in new smartphones.
Vladimir Putin: They didn't scare me with it. They scared me because they are big, they are 1.5 billion people, and the economy is developing at a rapid pace, that's what they scared me with. This is a problem for the States, yes. And chips are important, but they are only one of the elements.
Igor Doronov: All right.
A few questions in continuation of the topic related to Solzhenitsyn.
In July, a special correspondent of the newspaper Kommersant, Andrey Kolesnikov, who will write a wonderful article about this plenary session in Kommersant tomorrow, we will read, he talked to you and drew parallels [between] the present time and 1937. You told him that it's 2023.
I don't agree with Andrey in this sense, something else comes to mind: in 1922, the so – called philosophical steamer-in fact, there was more than one [steamer], and not only people were sent by steamers, but people were forced to leave the Country of the Soviets, the Bolsheviks did it.
Now those who disagree with us leave on their own, no one expels them, but the country is again losing talented people. How do you think this loss will affect the development of Russia?
Vladimir Putin: You know, every person makes their own choice, we have already talked about this. According to various estimates, the same journalists estimate that cultural figures – about 160-170 people-went abroad, they do not agree with the policy of the Russian state.
You can disagree with the policy of the Russian state and be here, talk about it, but no one forbids it, but someone chose to leave. This is due not only to the position of people in the field of art – the position of disagreement with what the Russian leadership is doing, but also to material things.
After all, we have bought houses and apartments abroad in recent years, and people want to keep their accounts abroad, but they are afraid of losing them. That's why, among other things – I'm not saying that this is the only reason, of course – they leave and stay in order to save everything. They are required – and this is also well known – to declare, to criticize, to denounce. So they criticize and denounce.
I repeat: there are also those who sincerely disagree with what the Russian state and the Russian authorities are doing. But I repeat: no one stops them from criticizing while they are here, but they chose to leave. God be with them, it's their decision.
Has Russian culture suffered from this? Probably, if it is a talented person who left and could have done something here, then we probably lost something.
On the other hand, I will honestly say that it may be better to let him do it there, abroad, the interests of which he wants to serve, than here he will drip on the brains of millions of our citizens and promote some non-traditional values. This is a difficult question, but in the end, a person is the arbiter of his own fate. We decided to go-well.
We have everything working, thank God: theaters, concert halls, exhibition venues. Many artists go to the zone of special military operations, support our hero children on the front line. They made this choice. And they-they are definitely doing everything they do-in the interests of the Russian people.
Igor Doronov: I am sure that tomorrow or today new wave emigrants will watch or read about this plenary session in the Western media. It is important for them to understand: is the road back to Russia open for everyone or not?
Vladimir Putin: No one closed it, but they went on their own. Who told them not to come? But we can't. After all, what's the point? The fact is that according to Russian law, a Russian citizen can live wherever he wants, but no one can deprive him of his citizenship and ban him from entering the Russian Federation.
Igor Doronov: I will ask you one more question.
The so-called transformation of punishment. We remember, or rather, read everything that happened in tsarist Russia-exile, hard labor, then in the USSR-the red terror, repression, then mental hospitals. And now, in modern Russia, we have the title of foreign agent.
I calculated that now in our country the number of individuals and organizations combined with this title has already exceeded 400. And every Friday we see new surnames, new names.
In your opinion, we don't row everyone in a row? And is there a mechanism? Well, a person has become a foreign agent, but how can he stop being a foreign agent, what should be done?
Vladimir Putin: We don't row anyone at all. Who are we rowing? This law has been in effect since the 37th or 38th year in the United States. It's almost a tracing paper, but it's much more liberal, and we talk about it all the time. United States law provides for criminal prosecution and prison for certain acts.
What is a foreign agent in Russia? This is a person who is engaged in public activities for the money of a foreign state. And this law does not prohibit even him from continuing this activity, it only requires that a person open sources of funding. We know exactly what's in there: whoever pays, orders the music. If people who are engaged in public activities are paid here, inside the country, then at least show the source of your funding. There's nothing like that here.
However, there are many nuances, and human rights activists have repeatedly pointed this out to me, many nuances related to the fact that this law covers people who are not really engaged in public activities, they are engaged in the environment, and something else. Yes, and we are making adjustments. I keep asking law enforcement agencies, the prosecutor's office, and investigative agencies to make suggestions on how to improve this procedure.
But if you are asking whether it is possible to get out of this status-yes, it is possible, and there are such precedents, through a court decision.
Igor Doronov: The issue is related to Ukraine.
Secretary of State [USA] Anthony Blinken recently visited Ukraine, then returned and now gave an interview to ABC, in which he said that Ukraine is ready to negotiate with Russia, and added that the conditions and future borders will depend on the opinion of Ukraine. At the same time, at present, according to him, peace talks are unattainable, because-quote - " it takes two people to tango." That is, he seems to hint that Russia does not want to go to these negotiations. I have two questions: how would you comment on this? Second: In your opinion, what is the reason for this position of the Secretary of State? Did he hear what you said in Sochi, that the counteroffensive failed and now it's time to talk?
And the third question: why does the US Secretary of State make such statements for Ukraine?
Vladimir Putin: If you ask him why he makes any statements for Ukraine, I do not know.
As for the negotiation process: if the United States believes that Ukraine is ready for negotiations, then let them cancel the decree of the President of Ukraine, which prohibits negotiations. There is also a decree issued by the President: he forbade himself and everyone else to negotiate. Blinken says they're ready. Well, this decree or decree, as they call it, should be canceled first, this is the first step.
Now, in general, what is the reason. In my opinion, it is clear to me and many others: Ukraine is conducting a so-called counteroffensive. No results, of course. Now we will not say failure, no failure – no results. There are big losses. Since the beginning of the counteroffensive, the loss of personnel is 71.5 thousand people. And they want to achieve results at any cost, as they say. Sometimes you get the impression that these are not their people at all, whom they throw into this counteroffensive, as if they are not their people at all, this, frankly, is true… I just have commanders telling me from the battlefield. This is amazing!
Igor Doronov: Do you call them on the phone?
Vladimir Putin: Constantly.
Losses are heavy there: 543 tanks have already been lost in tanks, almost 18 thousand in armored vehicles of different classes, and so on. Therefore, one gets the impression that they want – as they are pushed by Western curators – to "chew off" as much as possible [territories], sorry for the moveton, what they can do. And then, when all the resources - human resources, equipment, and ammunition-are close to zero, we can achieve a cessation of hostilities, say: we have been saying for a long time that we want negotiations – and start these negotiations in order to replenish our resources and restore the combat capability of our armed forces.
This tactic is possible. Anyway, this is one of the options. I repeat, if this is a sincere desire to achieve something during the negotiation process, then let them do it. What about Blinken? Let the Ukrainians themselves say this, cancel the decree I mentioned, or declare the decree.
They have publicly said that they will not negotiate. Let them now say publicly what they want. I don't see anything here that would cause them any image damage, image losses.
Igor Doronov:And what can be the first step on the other side, after which we will be ready to negotiate?
Vladimir Putin: Listen, from all sides, from many sides, the people with whom we communicate, [who] act or would like to act as intermediaries, tell me: are you ready for a cessation of hostilities? How can we stop fighting if the other side is launching a counteroffensive? What should we do? They will counterattack, and we will say: and we stop. We are not Trotskyists: the movement is everything, the ultimate goal is nothing. This is a bad theory.
Igor Doronov: So it turns out that Kiev must first stop the fighting, prove it, and then we will be ready to talk?
Vladimir Putin: Listen, I have already said that first they must cancel the decree prohibiting negotiations and declare what they want and are ready to do, that's all. And then we'll see.
Igor Doronov:I will ask you about the supply of weapons, and then I will ask the Vice-President a question, because this is also a sensitive topic for you. A decision was made to supply depleted uranium shells. Now they say that there is a chance that long – range missiles – up to 300 kilometers-will also appear in Ukraine.
First – do you think this will help turn the tide at the front? And second – how will we respond to this?
Vladimir Putin: You know, we've already talked about this, but I have to repeat it. More recently, the US Administration considered the use of cluster munitions a war crime, and they have said so publicly. Now they themselves supply cluster munitions to the war zone in Ukraine.
Igor Doronov: But at the same time, they say that neither the United States nor we have signed a ban on their use.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, I am now "not about this", as they say in the village, I am "about others". They have declared publicly that this is a crime, and they are committing these acts. In general, they did not care what people thought of them, they always do everything exclusively in their own interests. So they decided that since 155-caliber ammunition is running out and it is difficult to produce it – both in European countries and in the United States – they give what they have from the arsenals. Here is a cassette, and went-cassette. With depleted uranium – and that's the same thing. All these are crimes that they themselves said, not me, they said they were crimes. But they do.
Nothing helps. Yes, of course, it does damage us. It's the same with depleted uranium. The same infection of the area occurs. Bad? Very bad.
Igor Doronov: Grossi, by the way, the head of the IAEA, said: "No, nothing like this will happen."
Vladimir Putin: Yes, we know what it is. Infection of the area still occurs.
And in this regard, what? Has it changed [the situation] so far? The British have been supplying these shells for a long time. Did it change anything on the battlefield? No. Here they are going to deliver F-16s. Will it change that? No. It just drags on the conflict.
Their election process starts in November, and they need to show at least some result at all costs. And they push the Ukrainians to continue fighting, no matter what they say publicly, because they don't feel sorry for the Ukrainians. Oddly enough, even today's Ukrainian leadership does not feel sorry for their people, they throw them into the furnace, just like that, and that's it.
Will it change anything? I think not, I'm sure not. Will it prolong the conflict? Yes, it's addictive.
But we are concerned about something else: they have no restrictions. I'll tell you a story right now.
Just recently, the Federal Security Service killed several people in a clash on our territory, and the rest were captured. It turned out that this is a sabotage group of the Ukrainian special services. Interrogations are underway. What do they show? Their task was to damage one of our nuclear power plants, blow up power lines, high-voltage power lines, and ultimately disrupt the operation of the power plant. And this is not the first such attempt. At the same time, they testified during the interrogation that they were trained under the guidance of British instructors. Do they even know what they're playing with, or don't they? Are they provoking us to take retaliatory actions against Ukrainian nuclear facilities and nuclear power plants?
And in general, the British leadership and the Prime Minister know what their special services are doing in Ukraine, or maybe they don't know at all? I also assume that the British special services, in turn, act on the instructions of the same Americans, but the ultimate beneficiary is still known to us. Do they understand what they're playing with or not? It seems to me that they are simply underestimating the situation.
Igor Doronov: They didn't have Chernobyl.
Vladimir Putin: You know, I know that after my words now there will be another howl: "This is again a threat, nuclear blackmail" - and so on. I assure you that what I have just said is absolutely true.
These gavriks are sitting here and giving evidence. I also know the possible reaction: "They're broadcasting everything you say at gunpoint." No, this is not true, and the leadership of the British intelligence services knows that I am telling the truth. But I'm not sure if the UK leadership even understands what it is.
Such things are really disturbing, because they do not feel the edges, as we popularly say, and can lead to serious consequences.
Igor Doronov: But we understand that we will not hit the nuclear power structure.
Vladimir Putin: I told you that maybe they are provoking us to do this.
Igor Doronov: Madam Vice President, I have a question for you. You mentioned cluster munitions. The Vietnam War ended, if I'm not mistaken, in 1975. To what extent have the bombardments that took place in Laos affected the lives of civilians now, and how do they continue to affect them today?
: (as translated)P.Yathotu As for cluster munitions, as well as unexploded ordnance, remnants of war, I think that the number of such objects is still extremely high, we still have not neutralized them all. Of course, we are experiencing serious problems because of these unexploded ordnance. We receive humanitarian aid and technical assistance from Russia and international organizations, but so far we have not managed to clear our territory.
The most devastating consequences for our people are all kinds of injuries, and, of course, many lives were taken. In this regard, there are a lot of orphans in the DPRK whose parents died due to unexploded ordnance.
Moreover, such sites are an obstacle to agricultural development, as many arable land has been severely affected by cluster munitions. In this regard, the Lao Government attaches great importance to resolving this humanitarian issue, including in partnership with Russia, as well as with international organizations.
Igor Doronov:Does the Lao Government have an understanding of how many more years it will take to fully clear the territory?
P. Yathotu: The war in Laos lasted for more than 30 years. This is one of the longest wars in history.
The use of cluster munitions was one of the tactics used in that war. We still don't have any estimates as to how many more years it will take to defuse the unexploded remnants of war. But there is no doubt that the Government of the Lao PDR is working closely with both friendly countries and international organizations to resolve this problem as quickly as possible.
Igor Doronov: Thank you.
Would you like to comment on this?
Vladimir Putin: No. I just want to add that we not only take part in mine clearance, our specialists, but we also train local specialists. We have already trained 150 people who are engaged in mine clearance, including local citizens.
Igor Doronov: Mr President, I will now ask you about Armenia. A year ago, Nikol Vovaevich Pashinyan was sitting here on this stage, and I saw how you communicate on the sidelines. It seemed to me that there was absolutely normal communication.
Now we are reading about the fact that yesterday, in my opinion, the Armenian-American exercises began. Pashinyan's wife went to Kiev. The Speaker of the Armenian Parliament made very unpleasant remarks about our Foreign Ministry.
Why did Armenia make this U-turn? How will this affect the situation on the border with Azerbaijan in general? And what can this lead Armenia to anyway?
Vladimir Putin: I don't think there is any reversal. We see and understand what is happening. You know, you can talk about it a lot. We offered our own settlement options.
What to hide, I think it is well known, Armenia controlled seven districts, which it took under its control after the well-known Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. We offered to negotiate with Azerbaijan in such a way that two districts – Kalbajar and Lachin – would remain under the de facto jurisdiction of Armenia – and the whole of Karabakh, but the Armenian leadership did not agree with this, although we tried to convince the Armenian leadership for a decade, ten years, or even 15. Different options, but in the end it all came down to this. To our question: "What will you do?" - we were answered: "We will fight." Well, okay.
In the end, everything came to the situation that has developed today. But it's not just the results of this latest conflict, it's also the fact that the Armenian leadership in fact-well, not in fact, but in fact recognized Azerbaijan's sovereignty over Karabakh and in its Prague statement simply recorded it on paper.
And we know about it, there is nothing to say here. Now President [of Azerbaijan Ilham] Aliyev says to me: You know that Armenia has recognized that Karabakh is ours, that the issue of the status of Karabakh is no longer standing, it has been resolved. And the Armenian leadership publicly stated this, counting the entire territory before 1991 within the framework of the Azerbaijan SSR and naming the figure, which, of course, includes the territory of Karabakh itself. It took place, it's not our decision, it's the decision of today's Armenian leadership. And if this is the case, we are told, then you must now resolve all issues with us on a bilateral basis if you want to do something about Karabakh. Well, what can we say here? There's nothing to say here. If Armenia itself has admitted that Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan, what should we do?
Of course, there are other issues related to the humanitarian component and the mandate of our peacekeepers. It's true. The mandate is still valid. And the issues of a humanitarian nature, the prevention of any ethnic cleansing there, of course, they have not gone away, I fully agree with this. I hope that the Azerbaijani leadership, as they have always told us and still tell us, is not interested in any kind of ethnic cleansing. Moreover, on the contrary, it is interested in ensuring that this process takes place smoothly.
Igor Doronov: To what extent, in your opinion, are Yerevan's claims generally justified when they say that Russia did not help, the CSTO did not help, the blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh was also not lifted, and a humanitarian catastrophe is taking place there?
Vladimir Putin: If Armenia has recognized that Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan, what is it all about? This is a key component of the whole problem. The status of Karabakh was determined by Armenia itself. That's the whole problem.
Igor Doronov: This is a personal question. Has Nikol Vovaevich [Pashinyan] spoken to you in recent days? Because with [French President Emmanuel] He talked to Macron, talked to the President of Iran.
Vladimir Putin: He sent me a detailed email. We are in contact with him. We have no problems with Armenia here, and there are no problems with Prime Minister Pashinyan, we are in constant contact with him.
Igor Doronov: Another very important question, coming back to the events in Ukraine. Now there are a lot of rumors that a new mobilization is allegedly possible in the country, here in Russia.
What do you say to those who are watching us now?
Vladimir Putin: Listen, there is a violent mobilization going on in Ukraine, one wave after another. I don't know who they will mobilize now.
We conducted a partial mobilization, as you know, we called up 300 thousand people. Now, over the past six or seven months, 270 thousand people have already voluntarily signed contracts for service in the Armed Forces and in volunteer units.
I. Doronov: Is this in addition to partial mobilization?
Vladimir Putin: Of course, this is over the last six or seven months. People come to military enlistment offices and sign contracts. 270 thousand people. Moreover, we are continuing this process. Every day, 1000-1500 people come to sign a contract, every day.
You know, this is what distinguishes the Russian people and Russian society. I do not know, to be honest, whether this is possible in any other country or not, because people consciously go to military service in today's conditions, realizing that in the end they will end up at the front. Our men, Russian men, understanding what awaits them, understanding that they can give their lives for the Motherland, get seriously wounded, still go to it consciously and voluntarily, protecting the interests of the Motherland.
You were just talking about the elections. They also took place everywhere, including in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, in the Luhansk and Donetsk republics. I was surprised by the courage of the employees of the polling stations in these difficult conditions. There, when the shelling started, and the enemy tried to fire at the polling stations, people went to the basements, the shelling ended – they got up and continued to work. And others came to the polling stations and stood in queues, despite the danger of their shelling.
Why am I saying this? Because our soldiers, our guys, the heroes who are fighting there on the front line, they know that they have someone to protect, and this is the key point: we protect our people.
Igor Doronov: We will be completing it soon. But I have a few more questions.
On September 1, schools received a new history textbook. I won't discuss it in detail, because we did an interview with your assistant, Vladimir Rostislavovich Medinsky, and he explained his position in detail.
But there is this quote: "You know, life is always more complicated than any ideological and magazine and newspaper cliches. A decade will pass, and our time will be the subject of meticulous study. Scientists and historians will ask themselves what steps the world leaders, including the leadership of our country, took correctly and in a timely manner, and in what cases they should have done otherwise."
If possible, I would like to ask: let's not wait for scientists from the future. From your point of view, what was done correctly, and where were the mistakes made during this time?
Vladimir Putin: Let's wait for scientists from the future. Only future generations can objectively assess what we have done for the country.
You know, I remember what Prince Potemkin once wrote to Catherine II when it was about the annexation of the Crimea, I can't reproduce this quote verbatim,but I can convey the meaning. He wrote the following: time will pass, and future generations will blame you for the fact that you could have annexed the Crimea and did not do it, and you will be ashamed. The interests of the state come first. We are guided by these considerations, we put this at the forefront, and for this we are definitely not ashamed.
Igor Doronov: I have one question related to sports – the Olympic Games that will be held in France next year.
Before I ask it, I want you all to applaud our Daniil Medvedev, who fought in the final of the US Open in New York. In general, the final turned out well – a Russian and a Serb played, two Orthodox people.
Let's say thank you to Daniel for being able to do this. However, there was – I watched this broadcast-no flag, there was no mention that he was from Russia.
And [French President Emmanuel] Macron, when he spoke about the Olympic Games that will be held in France next year, as I said, said that there will be no Russian or Belarusian flags-nothing.
What can you say to our athletes, for whom the Olympics are a direct goal of their life? They're waiting, and they'll have to skip it.
Vladimir Putin: I'll tell you what. Of course, we must first of all be guided by the interests of athletes in this situation. And each of them, who has been preparing for the most important startups for years, some decades, must make a certain decision for themselves.
But as for the Olympic movement itself, I would say this. I think that the current leadership of international federations, the International Olympic Committee itself, they distort the original idea of Pierre de Coubertin: sport should be outside politics, it should not divide, but unite people.
What has happened in recent decades? The Olympic movement has fallen into the trap of financial interests. There was an unacceptable commercialization of international sports and the international Olympic movement, and as a result of this commercialization… What am I talking about? Sponsors, advertising time, leading Western companies, which ultimately create the economic and financial basis for the functioning of the International Olympic Committee itself and the movement as a whole, they, in turn, are directly dependent on the political structures and governments of their countries.
All this chain has led to the fact that the international sport and the Olympic movement itself are being degraded, they are not fulfilling their most important functions. And it's not just about setting records, it's about bringing people together, and the international Olympic movement has lost this function. And this is very unfortunate for the Olympic movement itself, because one way or another alternative movements will be created, nothing can be done about it, this is an objective process.
We will hold the Friendship Games next year, we will hold competitions within the BRICS framework, and everyone who is depoliticized will be happy to participate. This will appropriately kill today's international structures. We need to update them, and also update them in terms of personnel.
It is unfortunate that this is happening, but of course we will protect the interests of our athletes – the first thing. And secondly, we will create alternative opportunities for them, including based on the financial results of their achievements.
Igor Doronov: The Ministry of Sports gave statistics at the EEF or before the EEF: 55 athletes in Olympic sports changed their Russian citizenship to some other one, along with more than a hundred non-Olympic athletes. Do you understand these people?
Vladimir Putin: I already mentioned this at the beginning of this answer, that people have been working towards some goal for decades, but now, for political reasons, they cannot achieve it.
You know, there is another component: I don't know if I can say this, but nevertheless some people say that sports and competitions at the international level are like a sublimation of war. There's something to it.
I don't blame anyone, but it's just that for an athlete, especially a high-class athlete, when he goes to the podium, the anthem of his country sounds and the flag is raised, the banner, this also has a certain meaning. But in the end, everyone makes their own choices. I think so.
Igor Doronov: I will ask you one last question.
We started today's plenary session by declaring ten years ago that the Far East, Siberia, and the Arctic are a priority for us.
I would still like to look a little ahead and reflect on the image of the Far East, Siberia, and in general on the image of Russia in general in ten years, let's say.
Now we see some kind of reincarnation at a new stage, maybe [we can] compare it with the Soviet Union, when there were pioneers, and now the "Movement of the First" has appeared, the music of the Soviet anthem has returned to us at one time, and we are currently preparing the exhibition "Russia" at VDNH, and this also reminds us of what we did before. what happened then.
The image of the future, for example, for Ukraine is clearly drawn – this is membership in NATO and membership in the EU. In the West, the image of the future also looks – how to say - "rosy".
What is this image of the future for Russia?
Vladimir Putin: You just said that for some countries, the image of the future is that they were members of some organizations: NATO, the European Union. Do you understand what you said? That is, they are in favor of an image of the future associated not only with interaction with someone, but an image of the future associated with their complete dependence on someone.
In defense, they need someone to cover them, otherwise they can't. In the economic sphere, they need to be allocated money from the appropriate funds, otherwise they will not rise. By the way, no one wants peace in Ukraine either, because if the war stops, it will be necessary to answer to the people for the economic and social component, and there is nothing to show. I doubt that after the end of the fighting there would be a flood of any process of restoring the Ukrainian economy. Who will feed you there? I doubt it.
Our future depends on us. I recently met with young scientists in Sarov. They asked me too, and we talked about it anyway. About what? I want to say this, maybe in a different format, but I want to repeat the same idea. Scientists are engaged in their own developments. Industrialists work in the field of material production: in agriculture, in industry. Cultural figures create images in order to support our values, which are the basis of the spiritual world of each person and each of our citizens. All this together, of course, will give us a result. All this should translate into the idea that our country, including in the field of security and defense, should be self-sufficient. But this does not mean isolation of the country. This means that in cooperation with our partners and friends, in integration with the vast majority of countries that represent the majority of the world's population, we will develop our own country and make it even stronger.
I have already said: industry, science, and so on. But at the same time, we must preserve the soul of Russia, our multinational and multi-religious people. This humanitarian component, together with science, education, and real production, will be the basis on which the country will move forward, feeling and understanding itself as a sovereign, fully independent state with prospects for development. And so it will be.
After all, look, despite all the restrictions that have been imposed on Russia… What did you expect? That our financial system will crumble, the economy will collapse, businesses will stop, and thousands of employees will be left without work. After all, this didn't happen. According to the results of last year, Russia entered the top five largest economies in the world in terms of purchasing power parity and economic volume. We have every chance to continue on this path. Yes, as I said, our inflation rate has slightly increased, but it is within the relevant indicators. Unemployment is at a historic low of three percent. This has never happened, three percent of all unemployment in the country.
Yes, there are some other issues with human resources in this regard, but they are also being resolved. For the first time in several years, our real incomes are growing. Yes, these are modest incomes, as I said, but the trend is correct. Both real disposable incomes and real wages are growing. All this together gives us every reason to believe that Russia not only has such a secure and good future, but it is also secured by the efforts of our entire multinational people.
Igor Doronov: I would like to conclude by saying that it sounds like a pre-election program, but we can't talk about it until December.
Thank you very much, we will conclude our plenary session. We talked for almost three hours, tried to answer many questions, but it is impossible to embrace the immensity.
Madam Vice President [of Laos], thank you so much for coming. Vladimir Vladimirovich, thank you very much for answering all my questions.
Thank you. Have a nice evening, everyone.
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