Putin’s Question and Answer Session… (December 2012)

On Khodorkovsky jail term reduction:

“I have never influenced activities of the law enforcement agencies.

We do not have any personal persecution here [Khodorkovsky case]. It’s a purely economic crime. Have a look at US. They sentence people to 99 years of imprisonment or even 100 years. Head of one of the funds: he committed suicide and his members as well. It’s the same with us: we should not politicize these issues.

If everything was fine, Khodorkovsky would be free.”

Putin may meet Georgia’s PM Ivanishvili:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced he didn’t rule out the possibility that he might meet with Georgia’s PM Bidzina Ivanishvili.

There’s been no official invitation so far, the Russian leader told reporters at the big press conference Thursday.

President Vladimir Putin has vowed that Russia will deliver on its promise to allow Georgian imports, a ban it was forced to revisit in exchange for the WTO membership.

Georgia’s Targamadze caught on tape instructing opposition activists; this objective evidence requires legal assessment – Putin

President Putin has accused a top Georgian politician, Givi Targamadze, of trying to rally Russians against the government and inciting terrorist attacks.

As much has been proven by a video tape that has fallen into hands of the Investigation Committee, he said during the Thursday press conference.

“Without the Magnitsky case, the US would have found another pretext for anti-Russia sanctions” – Putin

Putin does not link the falling ratings of the government with corruption scandals or the Dima Yakovlev bill.

Russia to boost shipping along Northern Sea Route:

Russia is going to boost shipping along the Northern Sea Route, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the Moscow press conference Thursday.

The Russian leader underscored that the Northern Sea Route was much more profitable than any other shipping lane.

Putin says that he would like to write a book but he lacks the time and strength even to dictate the material.

Crime rates still high in Russia:

President Putin has called to reduce Russia’s high crime rates through better education, positive media propaganda and boosting the prestige of police.

Mr. Putin confirmed that crime rates are still at a high in Russia and urged to fight crime in all spheres.

He also proposed to improve laws and make punishment “unavoidable,” instead of “indefinitely increasing jail terms.”

Protesting shouldn’t be punished with jail terms, but attacks on police officers are inadmissible – Putin

President Putin has denounced jail terms for political protests as excessive but stressed attacks on riot police were inadmissible.

“I don’t think that participation in a mass rally – even an illegal one – should be punished with real prison terms,” Putin said at today’s press conference.

“But it’s equally inadmissible to assault police officers,” he added.

Putin condemns political speculations about Pres. Kaczyński’s death:

Russia’s Vladimir Putin has criticized attempts made by some people to politicize the death of Polish President Lech Kaczyński.

He also vowed the Russian investigation committee would answer all questions the public might have about the crash of the presidential plane near Smolensk.

“We must offer objective answers to any questions that will be posed by our and Polish public. It’s a task for the Investigation Committee and I’m going to talk to them about it,” the president said.

The Tu-154 plane carrying President Lech Kaczyński and many Polish high-ranking officials crashed near Russia’s Smolensk on April 10, 2010, killing eight crew members and 88 passengers, including the president and the first lady.

Putin offers strategies to curb capital flight:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed to curb capital flight to offshore tax havens with “civilized” methods.

Speaking at the huge press conference on Thursday, Mr. Putin stressed the importance of making offshore zones disclose information on tax evaders. He added that agreements to that effect had already been enforced on offshore tax havens and end-beneficiaries like offshore companies by many European countries.

The Russian leader added that, in order to attract investors to the country, it needed to have a positive investment climate.

“We have developed a plan on how to improve the country’s investment climate,” Mr. Putin said. “It’s worth noting that we are doing well in some aspects. For instance, we have moved up by 30 notches in tax administration, which is higher than that of the US,” he added.

“On average, our [Russian] tax burden is even less than in other European countries.”

“We must pay more attention to the territorial development, regional development. We cannot extend Moscow for good.”

Putin on anti-American rhetoric: fight back:

Russian President Vladimir Putin considers himself “a bad Christian” because he doesn’t think it’s right to “turn the other cheek” and prefers to fight back, including when it comes to international relations.

“When it comes to anti-American or anti-Western rhetoric, I don’t think we need any anti-rhetoric actually. Maybe I am a bad Christian, but I am not ready to turn the other cheek, so to say. I think if we are challenged, we should fight back, otherwise we’ll keep getting hurt,” the President said.

Sergei Magnitsky:

“Magnitsky wasn’t tortured, he died because of heart attack.”

Euro ABMs wipe Russia’s nuclear potential out:

The deployment of the US anti-missile defense system in Europe threatens to wipe out Russia’s nuclear potential, the country’s President Vladimir Putin said during his press-conference Thursday.

Putin added that the US rejected all Russian proposals to adopt legally binding guarantees that the system is not targeted against Russia, so the country could have to resort to countermeasures.

Patriotic upbringing in Russia:

“Look at how other countries deal with the patriotic education, patriotic upbringing. They raise flags. We should approach it with imaginativeness, with creativity. So much depends on you. It’s not about politics, any of your colleagues can have different political views on international affairs. But there exist fundamental principles, and patriotic upbringing of our children is among them. They shouldn’t be politicized at all, I agree.”

Russian Security Council to discuss crimes against journalists in 2013:

At the start of next year the Russian Security Council will discuss measures to intensify investigative work and security in the cases of crimes committed against journalists, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated at a press conference on Thursday.

We will hold a special meeting on the issue of investigating crimes against journalists, the President said.

Putin pledges support for people with disabilities:

Mass media for people with disabilities should receive specific support from the state, President Putin said.

As he spoke at his news conference in Moscow on Thursday, Vladimir Putin said that mass media that deal with disability issues was entitled to all kinds of support.

The Russian president reminded the participants in the conference that Russia had joined the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and would implement it.

A barrier-free environment should be introduced everywhere, Putin said.

Even though it requires funds, he added, the sums needed are not super large.

Russia and G20:

“There are two major things: ensuring economic growth and preserving and creating more jobs. Certainly, we’re going to agree on this with all the participants of the G20, with all our partners.”

US-Russian relations:

“One of the journalists at the press conference claimed that the anti-Western rhetoric can have a negative effect on the US-Russia relations. “Are we going to have the reset of the reset?” she said.

Putin answered that ballistic missile defense and Magnitsky Act are the two stumbling blocks in the US-Russia relations.”

Russia-US relations spoilt by Iraq conflict

Russian-US relations have been spoilt by controversies over Iraq, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin stated at the press-conference Thursday.

“We had normal relations with the US but failed to agree on Iraq and things got worse”, the President said.

Speaking about the “reset”, Putin said that the term was invented by Washington and bilateral relations had nothing that needed a reset.

Russia’s Navy General Staff to stay in St.Pete:

Russia’s Navy General Staff will stay in St.Petersburg and there has been no discussion on returning it back to Moscow, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin stated at his press-conference Thursday.

Rumor had it that the Navy Staff could move back to Moscow after the Defense Ministry reshuffle when the Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was replaced by Sergey Shoigu.

Putin said that he, as the country’s Supreme Commander, would consider the issue if the new Defense Minister decides to relocate the Navy General Staff back to Moscow.

“Ukraine should have leased out its gas pipeline”:

Ukraine was wrong to decide against leasing out its gas pipeline network, President Putin said during his news conference on Thursday.

It was a strategic error on the part of Ukraine to turn down an offer by Russia and its European partners to lease its gas pipeline network without breaching the Ukrainian legislation and providing for it to remain Ukrainian property, – Putin said.

If Ukraine had agreed to the offer, Russia would have undertaken to develop and fill the Ukrainian gas system with fuel, the president said.

Russia is still ready to continue a gas dialogue with Ukraine, even though control of Ukraine’s gas transportation grid has become a stumbling block in Kiev’s talks with Gazprom.

In return for lowering gas prices, the Russian gas holding wants control of the system that guarantees gas transit through Ukraine to Europe.

Ukraine seeking cooperation with Customs Union:

Ukraine has not filed any formal requests for membership in the Customs Union which consists of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia, but it is looking for other suitable ways of cooperating with the organisation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference on Thursday.

Syria won’t benefit from military coup:

A military coup in Syria won’t benefit the nation or the region as a whole, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the Thursday press conference.

“I don’t think that agreements coming out of a military victory would be appropriate and effective,” Mr. Putin said. “It all depends on the Syrian people,” he added.

“We’re not concerned about Assad’s regime. We’re interested in stability in the region. We don’t have any special economic ties with Syria. Assad hasn’t visited Moscow a lot during his ten-year term. We’re advocating solutions that will prevent a civil war. Our proposition is about how people will live further. But the development will depend on the Syrian people themselves.”

Putin promises objective probe into Defense Ministry frauds:

Russian President Putin has vowed to see to it that the probe into the country’s chief military agency, Rosoboronservice, is objective and fair.

“I assure you that both the investigation and the trial will be perfectly transparent,” Mr. Putin pledged on Thursday.

“We don’t want to blanche over anyone, and no one will. You can rest assured. Only a court can tell if someone is guilty or not, if they are thieves or not,” he added.

Putin speaks up for Russian courts:

President Putin has waved off allegations that Russian courts were corrupt and totally under the government’s control.

“I can’t agree with the claim that there is no independent court system in Russia, because it’s right here for everyone to see,” the Russian leader said at today’s press conference.

He stressed that at some point experts even feared that courts had broken out of the government’s and society’s control and become too independent.

“I will repeat once again: We are for direct government elections. It’s high time for a transfer to this system. If people elect their government they feel responsible for its deeds.”

No major mistakes in my work:

President Vladimir Putin does not see any major mistakes in his work that he would have liked to correct, he said at a press conference on Thursday.

However, the President admitted that he had made mistakes, although in his opinion they were only minor ones.

Russia will profit from WTO entry:

Russia will gain more than it will lose from joining the World Trade Organization, President Putin has said during today’s media conference in Moscow.

Russia has been admitted to the WTO after 17 years of negotiations, he reminded. “Experts have worked through every detail during the admission talks,” Putin stressed.

“Our customs threshold has reached 5.5-5.7% since the WTO entry,” the president added, comparing it to EU’s 2.8% and Ukraine’s 2.7%, and vowed to increase the customs rate to 15.9% over five years.

He said Russia’s WTO membership created a favourable investment climate in the country and better treatment of Russian exporters by WTO member states in third-country markets.

“There aren’t that many threats,” Mr. Putin assured the timid business community and stressed Russia was provide with a “wide range of mechanism to secure its interests.”

Russia sees fewer terrorist attacks:

Russia is recently seeing fewer terrorist attacks, especially in the Republic of Chechnya, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin stated at his press-conference in Moscow Thursday.

Putin also positively assessed the fight against crime in the Caucasus praising the local government for its anti-crime efforts and measures to boost economic growth in the region.

Minister of Defence Serdyukov dismissal: “I justified no one. As regards reforming the military, it should be done.These people should be treated with due respect. I fired him [Serdyukov] because the investigating committee had some doubts about him.It’s up to the court to decide whether he is guilty or not.”

“To develop GLONASS navigation system was my idea, quite an ambitious system having 28 operating satellites on orbit.”

Russia’s Skolkovo won’t host G8 summit:

The upcoming G8 summit will most probably be held at a different venue than it was previously announced, President Putin has told reporters today. Russia’s hi-tech hub Skolkovo had earlier been named to host the meeting in 2014.

Putin said it would be wrong to organize a conference of this size at a construction site, since Skolkovo would be finished only by 2016.

“Even aproximate estimates have shown we’d have to block off a Moscow district with a 400,000-strong population to ensure the safety of delegations and provide those residents with IDs so that they could come and go,” Putin stressed.

Skolkovo to be one of several research hubs supported by government:

President Putin said at the Thursday press conference that the Skolkovo innovation center will get support from the government.

I think that overall it is a great idea that should be developed further. But of course, there’s always the question of how much money to allocate, Putin said.

At the same time Putin noted that Skolkovo is not the only research hub in Russia. According to him, there are a lot of research centers that were created back in the Soviet Union and that have proven their effectiveness. Those centers will continue to get support from the government, the President stressed.

“It is not I who entrusts the country to someone, it’s the Russian people who do it. I’m not indifferent to who is going to rule the country. We’ve almost doubled the GDP of the country, we haven’t had such good indicators for many years. I’d like the forthcoming leaders of the country to be even more successful. This period was not the worst, it was not the best of course but not the worst. I love Russia.”

“I don’t agree that we don’t have a fully independent court and judiciary system. There are no taboos at all, we’re prepared to have discussion with the public about this. I don’t agree that all officials are corrupt and take bribes. We should of course think about some improvements, so let’s think about it together.”

Kuril Islands and Territorial integrity: “There’s no need to name one of the islands after me. We can name it after Tolstoy or Pushkin.”

Russia won’t fall in China steps:

Russia is not going to copy the Chinese political system, President Putin has vowed, adding the country still needed more stability.

“This doesn’t mean we need a system similar to the Chinese one. Still, we must provide more stability,” Mr. Putin said at the media conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

The Russian leader praised the Chinese government for its stability that has attracted huge investments in its economy.

He said investors could rely on the Chinese in that “their money won’t melt away during some political crisis in 5-10-15 years.”

Russia and China:

“Russia and China are at unprecedented level of interaction in relations right now.

In economy, we should focus on strengthening the cooperation in high technology area and nuclear energy area. We should also focus on aviation, helicopter making for example.

We have a lot of attractive assets.”

Russia ready for dialogue with Tokyo:

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has positively assessed peaceful intentions by Japan’s new government and said that Moscow has received the peace signal sent by Tokyo.

On December 17, Japan’s future PM and the head of the Liberal-Democratic party Shinzo Abe spoke about intentions to solve the Kurils issue and sign a peace treaty with Russia.

Japan claims ownership of the Southern Kuril Islands that were attributed to the USSR after WW2.

Russia not deaf to peace signals from Japan:

Japan has dropped a clear hint it was willing to strike a peace deal with Russia, President Putin has said at today’s media conference in Moscow.

“As for territorial rows, we hope for a constructive dialogue with our Japanese colleagues,” Mr. Putin said.

He said the ruling Japanese party had been sending signals that its leadership wanted to enter peace talks with Moscow.

“It’s a very important signal, and we highly appreciate it,” Putin added.

National reserves of Russia: This is the question of development vs nature conservation. It’s clear the limitations are to protect natural reserves that are our national wealth. Economic activities are permitted in national reserves, not the agricultural activites, but business – small and medium enterprises.

“Russia’s regime is not authoritarian”:

Russia’s political system is not authoritarian, the country’s President Vladimir Putin stated during his press conference Thursday.

“I cannot call the current regime authoritarian, I cannot agree with this,” Putin said.

According to a Voice of Russia correspondent reporting from the site, Putin said that he would have changed the Constitution back in 2008 and run for the third term if he considered an authoritarian system preferable.

The President’s press conference is broadcast live by all major channels and is attended by some 1,200 foreign and Russian reporters.

Putin says his daughters are OK:

President Putin assured the participants in a grand press conference on Thursday that both his daughters are studying and working in Moscow and are doing well.

The Russian president said that his daughters have successful professional careers and happy private lives and that he is proud of them.

Putin lauds Mordovia for 2018 World Cup preparations:

President Putin has praised Mordovia’s leadership for its efforts to promote sports and get ready for the 2018 World Cup.

The Russian president touted Mordovia’s authorities for achieving impressive results in preparing the international football championship which is scheduled to take place in Russia in 2018.

Effective organization and a good performance at the 2018 World Cup has become a national priority, Putin said.

In the light of this, Mordovia’s efforts to develop physical culture and sports in the republic deserve respect, Putin said.

Kudrin still on the team:

Alexei Kudrin is still on the team, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the press conference of Thursday.

Putin declared that he still takes the former Russian Finance Minister’s opinion into account. Kudrin has not disappeared, he hasn’t moved anywhere.

I regularly meet with him, his opinion is important to me as before, he is part of the team, Putin added.

Are there any changes in Vladimir Putin number 4 and number 2?

“My working day started at 10 am yesterday and finished at 10 pm. I got used to that. There are number of changes in me, everything is changing, evolving. I can also change for the better.”

Putin content about his tenure as prime minister:

President Putin spoke highly about his tenure as prime minister as he addressed a grand news conference in Moscow on Thursday.

Putin became prime minister in 2008, after two consecutive terms as president.

Vladimir Putin believes that four years in the capacity of prime minister did him a lot of good, even though it was a challenging time as the country grappled with an acute financial crisis and he was faced with difficult choices and had to take important decisions.

“There was no getting away from that”, – Putin said at a press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

“Regional agglomeration can’t be tackled without the permission of local authorities”:

Russia and Georgia: The relations between two close nations should be normalized, but it’s a very difficult matter and I don’t have a ready answer on how to do it.

Russia ready for dialogue with Georgia, won’t go back on S. Ossetia, Abkhazia recognition:

Russia is open for improving ties with Georgia, President putin has said at today’s big press conference. However Moscow will never go back on its decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, he added.

“I’d like to draw your attention to the well-known problem of a dead-end [in Russia-Georgia relations], which the incumbent Georgian president [Mikhail Saakashvili] has been most instrumental to,” Mr. Putin said.

“Russia can’t go back on its recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. We can’t do it. Full stop. And Georgia can’t recognize their independence either. I don’t know what we can do about it. We’d love to have better ties with Georgia, we do, although Georgia seems to be even more interested in it economically that us,” he said.

Putin grateful for foreign effort in outing corrupt officials:

President Putin has thanked foreign governments for their effort in outing corrupt Russian officials.

“We’ll be only grateful if our foreign colleagues dragged those who violate [Russian laws] over the coals. I’d even pay them for it,” Putin said.

He said the Russian government has recently moved to bar Russian white-collar workers from having foreign assets.

“Tougher measures against corrupt officials”:

The government should step up sanctions against corrupt officials, President Putin said.

During his speech at a large news conference in Moscow on Thursday, Vladimir Putin called for a consistent struggle against corruption.

Our priority, Putin said, is to impose tougher sanctions for corrupt practices and ensure that corrupt officials receive appropriate punishment.

Moscow-St. Petersburg road issue: construction of the road is suspended

Loosing French partners is very dangerous, it would result in total failure.

When dealing with environmental issues, we should be thinking about developing the country and the infrastructure. Development is always intertwined with this contradiction between the environmental activities and development issues.

“If Gérard Depardieu really wants to obtain a Russian passport, he can count on a positive response from the Russian authorities.”

“End of the World: In 4 or 5 billion years the world will end. The ‘sun reactor’, so to speak, is going to exhaust its fuel and life is going to end. So if you look at it from this point of view…I’m not frightened by that.”

“We should be working as one team and see the results. I didn’t dismiss anyone. The Minister who resigned simply understood that this is not the place for him to be.”

President, gov’t must work as a team:

Russian President Putin has stressed that the government should team up with the president to choose the same key targets.

“There should be no split between social and economic objectives presented as key aims during the presidential campaign and the targets pursued by the government,” Mr. Putin said.

“They should work towards these goals. The country expects them to deliver in these spheres… They must work as a team, or there’ll be no result,” Putin stressed.

Putin happy with Cabinet, PM efforts:

Russian President Putin has said he was pleased with the work of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Cabinet, appointed in May 2012.

“I’m quite satisfied with the PM’s and government’s work as a whole,” he said at today’s press conference.

Putin reminded that Medvedev had some experience as a head of government. “It’s a huge responsibility and a great experience. I’m sure Dmitry Anatolyevich will use this experience in his office,” Mr. Putin added.

“The work of Prime Minister Medvedev is satisfactory. I know this is a very difficult job, and sometimes you cannot assess the situation instantly. You make decisions and they are tangible.”

A high birth rate proves Russians have been feeling more secure about what’s going on in the country despite existing problems:

A high birth rate proves Russians have been feeling more secure about what’s going on in the country despite existing problems, Mr. Putin has said.

“Apart from the maternal capital program, we also have a project aimed at supporting women, whereas next year we are planning to introduce another program to provide large families living in poor areas (Povolzhye, north and Russia’s Far East) with monthly cash benefits,” Putin said.

“Anti-Magnitsky bill: We’re not talking about certain individuals, we’re talking about certain officials involved in human rights violations who don’t even allow observers to monitor children’s condition.”

“The anti-Magnitsky bill: It was an emotional response by the State Duma, but commeasurable.”

Putin slams U.S. Magnitsky law as unfriendly act:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has slammed the U.S. Magnitsky law as an unfriendly act towards Russia. It’s not just a matter of Russian officials who should keep their money in Russian banks and invest in real estate in their own country, it’s a matter of one anti-Soviet and anti-Russian law being replaced by another, the president told a grand press conference on Thursday.

Speaking about child adoption, he said that orphans should be adopted in their own country, a view shared by the overwhelming majority of Russian people.

“We should do it ourselves – support families that adopt children,” he said.

More than 1,200 Russian and foreign journalists have been accredited for Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference broadcast live on all major national TV channels and over the radio.

I need to see Dima Yakovlev Bill before signing:

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will make up his mind whether to sign the Dima Yakovlev Bill or not after he sees the text of the document, he said at a press-conference Thursday.

The bill which is a counter measure to the recently adopted Magnitsky Act imposes a number of sanctions on foreign rights abusers, including a ban on US adoptions. It was approved by the State Duma Wednesday.

Duma will consider anti-Dima Yakovlev Bill petitions:

President Putin has promised to take into consideration any petition against the Dima Yakovlev Bill if it has been signed by at least 100,000 supporters.

The controversial Dima Yakovlev Bill, which is the Russian response to the Magnitsky bill, has triggered a public outcry in the country, with many people speaking up against the provision that will ban Americans from adopting Russian children, close adoption agencies and denounce the Russia-US deal on adoptions of minors.

Mr. Putin said the petition of Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper that has collected 100,000 signatures against the bill would be considered by the parliament.

US stuck in the past:

Russia is angered by the recent moves on the part of the United States to replace one anti-Russian law with another, President Putin said.

“It’s not measures against corrupt Russian officials that make Moscow angry but the adoption of new anti-Russian legislation, Putin said at a grand press conference on Thursday.

Russia would only be grateful if its foreign colleagues helped it to catch those involved in corrupt practices, the president said.

What evokes Moscow’s concern is Washington’s decision to substitute the discriminatory Jackson-Vanik amendment with another anti-Russian law, Putin said.

This decision, the Russian president said, testifies to Washington’s desire to remain in the past and will poison Russian-US relations.

The adoption of the Magnitsky Act by US lawmakers marked a pointedly unfriendly move in relation to Russia, Vladimir Putin said.

Ban on US adoptions – adequate measure:

The Duma proposed ban on US adoptions is an emotional but adequate measure, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said at the Thursday press-conference in Moscow.

Wednesday, the Duma passed the Dima Yakovlev list, which is a counter measure to the recently adopted Magnitsky Act and it imposes a number of sanctions on foreign rights abusers, including a ban on US adoptions.

Putin said that the bill has nothing to do with US adoptive families but it’s all about the US government’s stance.

“The government’s stance is to ignore crimes against Russian orphans adopted by US parents and not to punish the criminals. Russian observers are not even allowed to attend such trials and I find this unacceptable. The US should better not humiliate Russia. I think, this is an emotional but quite adequate measure.”

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will make up his mind whether to sign the Dima Yakovlev Bill or not after he sees the text of the document. Putin added that he supports proposals by PM Dmitry Medvedev to render greater financial and moral support to Russian adopters.

Putin urges to focus on domestic adoption:

We should focus more on domestic adoption not foreign one, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said at the Thursday press-conference in Moscow.

Polls show that Russians are not happy with foreign adoptions of Russian orphans. So we need to stimulate taking children into Russian families, the President said.

Putin also urged to remove bureaucratic barriers in the adoption sphere and render greater support to adoptive families.

Magnitsky Act: an unfriendly act toward Russian Federation

It’s not about officials, they just replaced one anti-Soviet act [Jakson Vanik] with another.

They can’t stick to the past. We should be able to cope with these matters by ourselves. The majority of people who adopt our people are decent people.

The State Duma act is not aimed against the US citizens, but against the position of American powers who allow such crimes against children to happen.

“Guantanamo prison: Tortures are legalized. I wonder what would happen if we had such secret prisons in our country.”

“Russia’s government and Central Bank conduct a balanced monetary policy” – Putin

Russia’s GDP grows 3.7% in January-October – Putin

Russia’s GDP grew by 3.7% in January-October, President Vladimir Putin said during his annual press conference which is underway in Moscow.

According to him, this is slightly less than last year when GDP grew 4.3%, but amid the recession in the euro-zone and slowdown of the economic growth in the US and China this is a good result.

He attributed the smaller GDP growth to global economic problems and crop failure. These factors affected the inflation and hampered the economic growth in the fourth quarter.

The president also said that wages had grown 8.8% in November, which is a good indicator.

All Russian main TV channels and radio stations are broadcasting Putin’s press-conference live. More than 1,200 Russian and foreign reporters have been accredited to the press conference.

Russia expects $200 bln foreign trade surplus

Russia’s foreign trade surplus is expected to reach some $200 billion by the end of 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said at today’s huge press conference.

The Russian leader reminded that last year revenues totaled $198.2 billion and reached $164.6 billion over January-October 2012.

“I think the surplus won’t drop below last year’s total,” he said.

Poor crop harvest triggered price rise:

Russia’s foreign trade surplus is expected to reach some $200 billion by the end of 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said at today’s huge press conference.

The Russian leader reminded that last year revenues totaled $198.2 billion and reached $164.6 billion over January-October 2012.

“I think the surplus won’t drop below last year’s total,” he said.

Russian reserve fund has grown this year – Putin

The Russian reserve fund has grown from 25.2 to 61.4 billion dollars in the past year – Putin

Russian foreign exchange reserves have grown:

The Russian foreign exchange reserves have grown from 468 to 527.3 billion dollars – Putin

Putin concerned over “maternal capital”:

Putin has voiced his concern over the “maternal capital” program that pays mothers to have more children. He said the government will keep indexing it. Maternal subsidies have risen to 387,640 rubles from 365,698 rubles and are expected to edge to 408,961 rubles in January 2013.

“People have started their lives differently, they’ve expanded their horizons. It means people have a feeling of stability and reliability regarding what is being done by authorities.”

“The Russian government to back families with three or more children in 50 regions of Russia in 2013.”

Inflation edges to 6.3%:

President Putin has said the inflation rate in Russia swelled by 3.7% over January-October 2012, which is quite low compared to rates worldwide.

12:00 Vladimir Putin has started his big press conference at the Center of International Trade on the Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment.