June 15, 2017 / 9:45 AM / 2 months ago

HIGHLIGHTS-Russian President Putin's comments in annual phone-in

MOSCOW, June 15 (Reuters) - The following are highlights from Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual phone-in on Thursday.

ON OPPOSITION, STREET PROTESTS

"I'm ready for a dialogue with everyone who really aims for the people's life improvement, aims for the country's problems resolution but not exploit the current problems - there are enough problems always and everywhere - for his own political PR... for abusing these difficulties."

"They (opposition) only exploit the problems. One has to offer a solution, not to exploit it. Those who offer solutions, those are the people who deserve the closest attention and they have the rights for a dialogue with the government."

"The street protests always emerge as part of democratic procedures. This is a good way of letting authorities know your point of view. One thing is to organise the protests, another is to use it as a provocation tool. This is not being done to improve the situation in the country."

ON SUCCESSOR

"First of all, I'm still working. Secondly, I want to say that the voter, the Russian people, should choose it. Of course, I myself will make a decision at some point... The bottom line is that, we should not forget about it, that the voter, the Russian citizen, only he is able to decide who will take over the region, the district, the city... or the country."

ON SOCCER WORLD CUP, DOMESTIC LEAGUE

"The international level and class experts say our team will not play (proper) football: there are too many foreign players and too little attention to the youth's football development."

ON MOSCOW HOUSING RENOVATION PLANS

"We are talking about the housing fund which will turn into dilapidated and dangerous housing in 10 to 15 years and the Muscovites will suffer as much as other regions. I hope that it will be performed in line with the (recently) adopted legislation while taking into account of the peoples' interests."

ON SYRIA, CRIMEA BRIDGE

"We aim to establish a political settlement process (in Syria) between all the sides involved. Our task for the near future is to increase the capability of the Syrian Republic army itself, by providing the possibility for it to act on its own effectively."

"The Crimea bridge is being built on schedule and even slightly ahead of it. There is no doubt that all the plans will be implemented according to the schedule and with the due quality."

"It's not enough just to build the bridge. Countries which are interested in it - and there are such countries - should be invited to finance it."

ON EX-FBI DIRECTOR COMEY

"(The) ex-FBI director said that he believed Russia meddled into the voting process. He didn't provide any evidence once again, but says there was an influence on our minds, on how we should act. While this constant American propaganda... direct allocation of money for this, isn't it an influence on our minds, on how we should act on voting campaigns?"

"He suddenly said that he taped his talk with the president, and then passed this conversation to media via his friend. This sounds strange, when the head of special services records his talks with the commander-in-chief and passes this talk to the media. Then what is the difference between the FBI director and Mr Snowden? He is not the director of the special services then, but a rights defender, which defends a certain position. By the way if, in relation to this, a prosecution would be launched against him (Comey), we are ready to provide him with political asylum in Russia. He has to know this."

ON RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES

"I know the mood of our people, we don't see America as our enemy. Moreover, twice in history, when especially hard times fell on us, we joined our efforts and we were allies in two world wars."

"You know better than me, in which spheres we could cooperate with the United States. First of all, this is non-proliferation control, to be precise control over weapons of mass destruction proliferation. We are the biggest nuclear powers, our cooperation in this sphere goes without saying. Second of all, this is the fight against poverty, the fight against the negative impact on the ecology, and so on. We know though the current administration's stance on the Paris accord. However, the president does not refuse to discuss this."

"As far as the flashpoints are concerned... there are positive examples of our cooperation. Syrian problem, Mid-Eastern problem on the whole... There are other flashpoints and we are very hopeful for the United States' constructive role in the resolution of the Ukrainian crisis... We are ready for a constructive dialogue."

ON THE ARCTIC

"The so called non-regional powers are showing their interest to this region. And this is great, we are ready for cooperation with them, but we have to safeguard our priorities."

"We have to ensure... business on these territories, ensure sovereignty over these territories."

"Let's not forget about the military aspect. The region is extremely important from the country's defence point of view. I don't want to stir it up, however, the experts know that the U.S.' submarines stand on duty to Norway's north, the time of delivery for missiles is 15 minutes to Moscow, and we have to understand what is happening there, see what is happening there, we have to defend this shore accordingly."

"We have now returned there, and I hope that's forever."

ON CENTRAL BANK KEY RATE

"I hope the central bank will keep acting carefully when it comes to the key rate, but acting towards key rate decrease."

"Why the central bank is acting carefully? Our economy depends on the hydrocarbons sale. The oil (price) has recently grew above $50, while today it is already at $48... Most important for us is not the key rate per se, but that the rate doesn't change sharply."

ON DEMOGRAPHY, HIS GRANDCHILDREN

"We have to think about incentive measures for young mothers who give birth to their first child."

"A complex of measures is needed (to boost demography)."

"My children, my daughters, live here, in Russia, in Moscow, despite all the rumours. And I have grandchildren. They also live a normal life, daughters are engaged in science, education. They don't try to get into politics, they live a normal, common life. As far as the grandchildren are concerned. Some are going to kindergarten... You know what the matter is? I don't want them to grow as some princes by blood, I want them to grow into normal people. For this, they need a normal interaction among children. Once I reveal their age and name, they will be quickly identified and they won't be left alone... I had a second grandson born recently."

ON WESTERN SANCTIONS

"Now a draft law to toughen up the sanctions has emerged in the U.S. Senate. Why? Nothing extraordinary has happened (in Russia). Why they started to talk about these sanctions out of the blue? This is, of course, evidence of ongoing political infighting in the United States."

"If it wasn't for Crimea, other problems, they would have invented something else to deter Russia."

"As far as the endless extension of some restrictions are concerned: if our partners lift sanctions on our economy, we should do the same, otherwise we will face problems within the World Trade Organization."

ON THE ECONOMY AND INFLATION

"What does the objective data show? It shows that recession in the Russian economy is over. We have moved to the period of growth."

"We have witnessed growth for three consecutive quarters."

"We have seen a decline in real incomes of citizens for the past few years. And the increase in the number of people who live below the poverty line is especially worrisome."

"We have the lowest inflation in (recent years). Today, it's 4.1 percent, we have never seen it. This shows that we have all grounds to believe that we will reach 4 percent inflation target this year." (Reporting by Moscow Newsroom; Editing by Toby Chopra)

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below