(Adds new quotes)
MOSCOW Dec 23 The following are highlights from
Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual end-of-year news
ON U.S. POLITICS
"The party that is called the Democrats has clearly
forgotten the original meaning of that name."
"The use of administrative resources (by the Democrats) is
"Outstanding figures in American history from the ranks of
the Democratic Party would likely be turning in their graves.
Roosevelt certainly would be."
"They (the Democrats) are losing on all fronts and looking
elsewhere for things to blame. In my view this, how shall I say
it, degrades their own dignity. You have to know how to lose
ON WHAT HE WOULD ASK DONALD TRUMP
"It's hard to say. The U.S. President-elect should first
have the opportunity to form his team in an orderly way. Without
that, simply having unprepared meetings is not productive. What
will the questions be? Questions about the normalisation of our
relations. Mr Trump did after all say during the election
campaign that he thought it right to normalise U.S.-Russia links
and said it would not get worse. Because they cannot get any
worse, I agree with him on that. We'll think together about how
to make the situation better."
ON DONALD TRUMP AND THE MILITARY
"In the course of his election campaign he (Trump) spoke
about the necessity of strengthening the U.S. nuclear arsenal,
and strengthening the armed forces. There's nothing unusual
here. To be honest, I'm a bit surprised by the words of certain
other official representatives of the current administration who
have for some reason set about proving that the armed forces of
the United States are the most powerful in the world. No-one
"If anyone is unleashing an arms race it's not us ... We
will never spend resources on an arms race that we can't
ON PARTICIPATION IN ELECTIONS IN 2018
"When the time is ripe (I'll say). I will look at what is
happening in the country and in the world, and based on the
results of what we have done and what we can do the decision
will be made on whether I will participate in upcoming elections
for the Russian president."
ON THE ECONOMY
"(Economic) growth is happening thanks to certain sectors of
the economy - machine building, chemicals, manufacturing and
"We saw some economic growth in November ... This year we
will probably have minus 0.5-0.6 percent (economic growth)."
"This year (inflation) will be significantly less than 6
percent ... most likely in the region of 5.5 percent - this is a
record low inflation rate, and gives us cause to expect that we
will be able to reach our target and very soon get to inflation
of 5 percent and then 4 percent."
ON THE BUDGET DEFICIT
"The budget deficit will be a bit bigger .. 3.7 percent. In
my view this is an absolutely acceptable amount because, among
other reasons, we have preserved a positive external trade
balance - more than 70 billion dollars (and) we have preserved
our reserves ... the central bank's gold and forex reserves have
even grown, and are now a little over 385 (billion dollars).
Judging by that measure everything is fine. It's a good safety
ON OPEC AND OIL PRICES
"We think that in the second half of 2017 the surplus of oil
in the market will disappear and the oil price will stabilise.
We are counting on a stabilization (of prices) at today's
"It (Russian oil production cuts agreed with OPEC) will be a
smooth reduction that will hardly affect our overall output.
This is perfectly acceptable to us, and we are counting on a
rise in prices, which has already happened ... a difference in
the oil price of $10 will mean extra revenues to the budget of
1.75 trillion roubles ($28.65 billion) and an extra 750 billion
roubles of income for oil companies, despite lower output. So at
the end of the day everyone ends up winning."
"In this area transparency is absolutely essential ...
Undoubtedly there is a certain political element in all these
issues. Sport should be cleansed, along with culture, of any
sort of politics. Sport and culture are things that should unite
people and not divide them."
ON UKRAINE AND CRIMEA
"I am sure that sooner or later there will be a
normalisation of relations with Ukraine, and it (a bridge
between Russian and Crimea) will be very beneficial to the
development of Russia-Ukraine relations and future commercial
and humanitarian links."
"All the necessary money is in place next year so we can
from Feb.1 increase pensions in line with the rate of inflation
"The president of Turkey and the leaders of Iran (also)
played a huge role in this (managing the situation around
Aleppo). I don't know if this will sound immodest, but without
our participation it would have been impossible."
($1 = 61.0790 roubles)
(Reporting by Moscow Newsroom)