Details of Putin's Annual Q&A, In Short
December 14, Vladimir Putin held his 13th annual Q&A conference. He has summed up the results of his third presidential term. Russiangate offers the man tips of the President’s speech
ABOUT CORRUPTION AND PRESSURE ON BUSINESS
“Another issue is activity of law enforcement agencies. Not audit organizations, but law enforcement agencies. And I agree with you: we don’t see any changes in this sphere. Of course, this is connected with corruption at different levels, with poor management, and lack of proper control over this sphere. It is a difficult question, I agree. And I cannot say that I am satisfied with their work.
A year ago, I invited Bortnikov as the FSB Head. I provided him with materials I got from my channels on an agency. He looked at these papers and said: "Vladimir Vladimirovich, six months ago we conducted investigative actions in this structure, initiated criminal cases, and then transferred them to court. All the defendants are in prison. Everyone. The whole agency. Six months ago, we recruited new employees and it all started again."
Honestly, I don’t know how to solve this problem. Nevertheless, there’s an example of a solution, something that we have in the army. We have a constant rotation in the army, <...> After 3-5 years’ service in one place, they transferred to another place. Maybe we need to have similar practice in law enforcement structures.”
During the press conference, several journalists asked the President about Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin.
"As for Sechin and his absence in the court. If there is any violation of the law, the measures will be taken. As far as I know (and I made a research on the issue after the public’s reaction), there is no violation. According to the investigation, a sufficient number of materials have been collected, including testimony of Sechin. But I agree with you and believe that Sechin could have come to court. Why not? He could repeat everything that he had said during the preliminary investigation and interrogations," the President said commenting on Sechin's absence during the trial on the case of ex-Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukaev.
Answering the question why Rosneft was the only company that received tax privileges (350 billion rubles), and was this somehow connected with Sechin, the Russian President answered:
"It’s not Sechin, but Novak Alexander Valentinovich. Because such decisions are not made in a rush; they are taken after discussion in the government and analysis of the profitability of wells. The Ministry of Energy prepares such decisions. Yes, I sign them, but the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Energy prepare solutions based on objective data. It is profitability – the main factor," Putin summed up.
“You know, it’s all a fiction of people in opposition to Trump. They made it in order to make his work look illegitimate. For me, it's strange. People who do this also harm domestic political situation in the country. They devaluate capabilities of the elected head of state. This means that they do not respect voters who chose him.
And how do you imagine any elections in the world are held? What? To ban all contacts at all? Our ambassador was accused of meeting someone. But this is a common worldwide practice: when a diplomatic representative, members of the government meet with candidates, their teams, discuss issues, prospects for development, they want to understand what certain people would do if they come to power. How to react to this? Why do people consider this extraordinary? Why is this spy mania?!”
PUTIN ON NEMTSOV’S CASE, KASHIN’S CASE, SEVENTH STUDIO’S CASE, OLEG NAVALNY, PRISON TERMS FOR REPOSTS AND SMS
The President ignored this part of Ekcho Moslvy journalist Tatyana Felenguauer's question.
OLYMPIC GAMES, IOC AND WADA
"It is absolutely obvious to us that the scandal is developing on the eve of the domestic political calendar. People can say different things, but I know for sure this is the truth. But at the same time, we are to blame for this too, as we gave a reason for this. Indeed, real cases of doping use have been established. But it was reveled in other countries too, it's just that there is no such politicized hype around these countries," the President said.
He also said that Russian athletes’ rights to be represented in civil courts. Speaking about the main informant of WADA, Rodchenkov, Putin noted that it’s not right to make decision on exclusion of Russia basing on testimony of a person who tried to commit suicide. In addition, Rodchenko works under control of the American special services: "What are they doing with him there? What kind of drugs do they give him, so that he says what they need?".
(In 2011, a criminal case over illegal distribution of steroids was initiated against Grigory Rodchenkov. He tried to commit suicide later. In November 2015, WADA accused Rodchenkov of intentionally destroying more than a thousand samples for doping: he tried to hide the use of illegal drugs by Russian athletes, the organization concluded. In November of the same year, he left his post as the head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.
At the end of January 2016, Grigory Rodchenkov left Russia for the United States. On February 5, 2016, the former head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), Vyacheslav Sinev, died. Nine days later, the former executive director of RUSADA, Nikita Kamaev, also died of the heart attack, Russiangate ed.).
ON RELATIONS WITH TRUMP
“I wouldn’t like to comment on the work of Trump, his voter will do this - the American people. Obviously, quite serious achievements have been reached during the period of his work. <...> There are things that he would like to do, but he did not manage to do this yet. This is health care reform, some other spheres. He said, by the way, about improving relations with Russia. It's obvious that even if he wanted, he would not be able to do it because of certain limitations. But in fact, I do not know, you should ask him whether he wants it or not. I hope he is. In the interests of the American and Russian people, we will normalize our relations and we will develop, overcome common threats: terrorism, solve environmental issues, fight against weapons of mass destruction, overcome crises in various regions.”
“Opposition should present clear, understandable program of positive actions. You go under the slogan "Against all". Is this a positive program? And what are your suggestions for solving the problems that we are discussing?
Regarding the people, you mentioned (Sobchak spoke of Aleksey Navalny and herself– Russiangate ed.). There has been a question about Ukraine. Do you want dozens of such Poro.. Uh, I'm sorry. Saakashvili running at the squares .... Those who you mentioned are Saakashvili, only in the Russian edition. And do you want such Saakashvili to destabilize situation in the country? Do you want us to survive from one Maidan to another? Do you want coups d'état? We've all been through this already. Do you want these times again? I am sure that the absolute, overwhelming majority of Russian citizens do not want this. And we will not allow this. And, of course, there should be competition. And it certainly will be. The only question is radicalism.
I can assure you that the government is not afraid of anyone. But the leadership should not be like a bearded man who lazily gets cabbage out of his beard and looks at how the state turns into some kind of muddy puddle, from which oligarchs grab and catch a goldfish, as it is in Ukraine now. We do not want the scenario of today's Ukraine for Russia. No, we do not want and will not allow it.”
POLITICAL PRISONERS' EXENGE WITH UKRAINE
"President Poroshenko instructed Mr. Medvedchuk to do this; he was invited by the patriarchate to the New Jerusalem Monasteryand and asked this there. [He arrived] because there has been no exchange for a long time, and in order to influence the leadership of the two unrecognized republics – LNR and DNR. So that they agree to this exchange. We performed this work. Well, you probably know about it. It was the first time I talked with the leaders. They agreed. Then, after approval by the Ukrainian side, Medvedchuk brought the list: 67 people on one side, and about 300 people on the other. It was the Ukrainian list, and they agreed with him. Then suddenly they said it was not good, that we should change the list. And then they just terminated the deal. Well, let's finally do it. We can go further. On the New Year and Christmas eve we should take this good step," Putin said.
Ukrainian journalist Roman Tsymbalyuk also asked about Sentsov and the Crimean Tatars, but the Russian President decided not to mention them in his answer.
“Well, what’s about these decrees? Approximately 93-94% of the declared goals have been fulfilled. In particular, this applies to the level of wages in the budgetary sphere. I am sure that in 2018, everything would be brought to its logical conclusion, as planned. These targets will be reached. “
WHAT HAS CHANGED SINCE 2001
Answering the question about lack of competiveness in the Russian politics, the Russian president started to list his achievements since the beginning of the first term.
During the press conference, the Russian president was told that only after citizens voice their problems during the defect lines with the President, something starts to change. He was asked: How long does it take to solve problems via this "manual control".
“The myth of the manual control is greatly exaggerated. Both in the regions and at the federal level, everything is held in a rural regime. I tell you this as a man who headed the government for 4.5 years. You don’t know what a huge volume of work performed by the government. This is the hardest and most difficult work in the management system. There, it is impossible even to get familiarized, not to interfere in every single issue. And the situation is similar in the regions. We often do not reach regions. We do not know what happens there sometimes. Although this is bad, of course, we need to know everything. In order to do this, we organize this annual event. As well as the lines, despite someone say they are formal. This is not true. This is the feedback - when people can directly reach the top officials of the state," the President said.
During the fourth hour of the conference, a man who introduced himself as a journalist asked Putin about development of the fishery complex. At the end of his speech, the "journalist" admitted that in fact he was the chairman of the board of directors of Murmansk fish factory, and said that he cannot solve his problems at the local level, and has no chances to get to officials of the higher level.