Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly





The President of Russia delivered the Address to the Federal Assembly. The ceremony took place at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall.
January 15, 2020
13:15
Moscow
Before the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Before the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.
About 1,300 people have been invited to attend the ceremony, including members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies, members of the Government, the heads of the Constitutional and Supreme courts, regional governors, speakers of regional legislatures, the heads of traditional religious denominations, public activists, the heads of regional civic chambers and the heads of major media outlets.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies, fellow Russians,
The Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly is delivered at the very beginning of the year for the first time. We need to address large-scale social, economic and technological tasks facing the country more quickly and without delay.
Their content and guidelines are reflected in the national projects, whose implementation will require a new quality of state governance and work on the part of the Government and state bodies at all levels, as well as direct dialogue with citizens.
Our society is clearly calling for change. People want development, and they strive to move forward in their careers and knowledge, in achieving prosperity, and they are ready to assume responsibility for specific work. Quite often, they have better knowledge of what, how and when should be changed where they live and work, that is, in cities, districts, villages and all across the nation.
The pace of change must be expedited every year and produce tangible results in attaining worthy living standards that would be clearly perceived by the people. And, I repeat, they must be actively involved in this process.
Colleagues,
Russia’s future and historical perspective depend on how many of us there are (I would like to start the main part of my Address with demography), how many children are born in Russian families in one, five or ten years, on these children’s upbringing, on what kind of people they become and what they will do for the country, as well as on the values they choose as their mainstay in life.

LIVE: Putin delivers annual address to Federal Assembly


Monday, January 13, 2020

CIS informal summit





An informal CIS summit took place in St Petersburg.
December 20, 2019
17:00
St Petersburg
CIS informal summit.
CIS informal summit.
The summit was attended by Vladimir Putin, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, first President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov, President of Moldova Igor Dodon, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Vladimir Putin told the participants about the archive materials on the pre-history of World War II and invited them to tour a specially organised exhibit.
* * *
Speech at the informal CIS summit
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I am very happy to see you. I would like to welcome you once again, in this “very extended” format of CIS heads of state.
We have resolved on events dedicated to the end of the Great Patriotic War between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany and the Victory of the Soviet Union.
Let me stress that for all of us, and I know you agree, it is a special date because our fathers and grandfathers sacrificed a lot to our Fatherland, our common Fatherland back then. In fact, every family in the former Soviet Union in one way or another suffered from what happened with our country and the world.
We have discussed this many times both formally and informally and decided to work together on the eve of the 75th anniversary. I would like to share some of my thoughts on this.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

A MUST READ -- Putin’s Hour Is At Hand



Putin’s Hour Is At Hand
Paul Craig Roberts
Vladimir Putin is the most impressive leader on the world stage.  He survived and arose from a Russia corrupted by Washington and Israel during the Yeltsin years and reestablished Russia as a world power.  He dealt successfully with American/Israeli aggression against South Ossetia and against Ukraine, incorporating at Crimea’s request the Russian province back into Mother Russia.  He has tolerated endless insults and provocations from Washington and its empire without responding in kind.  He is conciliatory and a peacemaker from a position of strength.
He knows that the American empire based as it is on arrogance and lies is failing economically, socially, politically, and militarily.  He understands that war serves no Russian interest.  
Washington’s murder of Qasem Soleimani, a great Iranian leader, indeed, one of the rare leaders in world history, has dimmed Trump’s leadership and placed the limelight on Putin. The stage is set for Putin and Russia to assume the leadership of the world.  
Washington’s murder of Soleimani is a criminal act that could start World War 3 just as the Serbian murder of the Austrian Archduke set World War 1 in motion.  Only Putin and Russia with China’s help can stop this war that Washington has set in motion.
Putin understood that the Washington/Israeli intended destabilization of Syria was aimed at Russia.  Without warning Russia intervened, defeated the Washington financed and armed proxy forces, and restored stability to Syria. 
Defeated, Washington and Israel have decided to bypass Syria and take the attack on Russia directly to Iran.  The destabilization of Iran serves both Washington and Israel.  For Israel Iran’s demise stops support for Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that has twice defeated Israel’s army and prevented Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon.  For Washington Iran’s demise allows CIA-supported jihadists to bring instability into the Russian Federation.
Unless Putin submits to American and Israeli will, he has no choice but to block any Washington/Israeli attack on Iran.  
The easiest and cleanest way for Putin to do this is to announce that Iran is under Russia’s protection.  This protection should be formalized in a mutual defense treaty between Russia, China, and Iran, with perhaps India and Turkey as members. This is hard for Putin to do, because incompetent historians have convinced Putin that alliances are the cause of war.  But an alliance such as this would prevent war.  Not even the insane criminal Netanyahu and the crazed American neoconservatives would, even when completely drunk or deluded, declare war on Iran, Russia,  China, and if included in the alliance India and Turkey.  It would mean the death of America, Israel and any European country sufficiently stupid to participate.
If Putin is unable to free himself from the influence of incompetent historians, who in effect are serving Washington, not Russian, interests, he has other options.  He can calm down Iran by giving Iran the best Russian air defense systems with Russian crews to train the Iranians and whose presence serve as a warning to Washington and Israel that an attack on Russian forces is an attack on Russia.
This done, Putin can then, not offer, but insist on mediating.  This is Putin’s role as there is no other with the power, influence and objectivity to mediate.  
Putin’s job is not so much to rescue Iran as to get Trump out of a losing war that would destroy Trump. Putin could set his own price.  For example, Putin’s price can be the revival of the INF/START treaty, the anti-ballistic missile treaty, the removal of NATO from Russian borders.  In effect, Putin is positioned to demand whatever he wants.
Iranian missiles can sink any American vessels anywhere near Iran.  Chinese missiles can sink any American fleets anywhere near China.  Russian missiles can sink American fleets anywhere in the world.  The ability of Washington to project power in the Middle East now that everyone, Shia and Sunni and Washington’s former proxies such as ISIS, hates Americans with a passion is zero.  The State Department has had to order Americans out of the Middle East.  How does Washingon count as a force in the Middle East when no American is safe there? 
Of course Washington is stupid in its arrogance, and Putin, China, and Iran must take this into consideration.  A stupid government is capable of bringing ruin not only on itself but on others.

So there are risks for Putin.  But there are also risks for Putin failing to take charge.  If Washington and Israel attack Iran, which Israel will try to provoke by some false flag event as sinking an American warship and blaming Iran, Russia will be at war anyway.  Better for the initiative to be in Putin’s hands.  And better for the world and life on Earth for Russia to be in charge.
Paul Craig Roberts


New Year Address to the Nation





December 31, 2019
23:55
The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Citizens of Russia, Friends,
The year 2020 is just around the corner. We are on the threshold of the third decade of the 21st century. We are living in turbulent, dynamic and contradictory times, but we can and must do everything for Russia to develop successfully, so that everything in our lives changes only for the better. In excited anticipation, we are awaiting the chiming of the clock, and we believe and hope that all our wishes will come true.
Our personal plans and dreams are inseparable from Russia. Our present and future, and the future of our children depend on the efforts and the contribution of each one of us. Only together will we be able to resolve the tasks facing our society and country today. Our unity is the foundation for achieving the loftiest goals.
These values were passed on to us by our ancestors, the heroic and unbending generation of victors. Next year, we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. With all my heart, I would like to extend my New Year greetings to battle front veterans and home front workers, people of the older generation who have gone through many trials for the sake of us all and the future of our Motherland. I bow down to you.
Friends, we always prepare for the New Year in advance and, despite being busy, we believe that the warmth of human relations and companionship are the most important thing. We strive to do something important and useful for other people and to help those who require our support, to make them happy by giving them presents and our attention.
Such sincere impulses, pure thoughts and selfless generosity are the true magic of the New Year holiday. It brings out the best in people and transforms the world filling it with joy and smiles.
Uplifting New Year’s feelings and wonderful impressions have been living in us since childhood and come back every New Year, when we hug our loved ones, our parents, prepare surprises for our children and grandchildren, decorate the New Year tree with them and unpack once again paper cut-outs, baubles and glass garlands. These, sometimes ancient, but beloved family trinkets give their warmth to the younger generations.
Of course, each family has its own New Year traditions, but everyone is united by an atmosphere of kindness and care. May the happiness of mutual understanding be in your home forever, helping to overcome all difficulties and bringing different generations ever closer. May your parents be blessed with good health and always be the focus of your attention, and may each child know that he or she is the best loved ever.
Friends, New Year is knocking at our door. Let us wish each other and our Motherland peace and prosperity.

Happy holidays and a Happy New Year 2020!

Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference






The news conference was broadcast live by Rossiya-1, Rossiya-24, Channel One, NTV television channels, as well as radio stations Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii.
December 19, 2019
16:20
Moscow
 Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference.Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference.
2 of 50
Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
We are holding our traditional end-of-year meeting to summarise the year’s results, to see what we have achieved and what we could not achieve and why.
I will refrain from lengthy opening remarks. As I see, there are many people who would like to ask their questions, and during today’s discussion, today’s meeting, I will try to use these questions to talk more about what is happening in our country and how.
Thank you for your keen interest in such meetings. Let us begin.
Please.
Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov: Thank you, Mr President.
Traditionally we give priority to the ‘veterans’ of the Kremlin pool of journalists, who have covered the President’s work for many years. I will continue this tradition.
Valery Sanfirov, Mayak. Please, pass the microphone.
Valery Sanfirov: Hello, Mr President. Valery Sanfirov, Mayak radio station.
Initially, I had a different question, but I changed my mind when I heard today’s weather forecast: there will be no snow until the end of December. And I wondered where you would tape your New Year address to the nation.
My question is not about the New Year tree but about climate change. Everyone is talking about it, but it looks as if nobody knows what to do about it. What are the risks? How can climate change damage Russia?
One more thing: Russia has joined the Paris Agreement this year, if I am not mistaken (the Government has adopted a resolution to this effect). Under the agreement, Russia must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25–30 percent by 2030.
However, you said at the recent VTB Russia Calling! forum that we would reduce the emissions by as much as 60 percent by that deadline. I wonder if you have made your first mistake or if you have something special in mind.
Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: You have trapped me, you really have.
Indeed, Russia has joined the Paris Agreement. In fact, we announced our intention to do this much earlier, but this year we have formalised our decision by adopting a Government resolution. It does mention the reduction of 25–30 percent compared to the base year 1990. This is what all countries, including EU member states, do, they compare their reductions to 1990 or use it as the base year.
But if… How can I get out of your trap? If we take [the base figure] as 100 percent and subtract 30 percent from it, the remaining figure will be 70 percent, and bearing in mind the absorption capacity of our forests, the ultimate figure will be 60 percent of the base figure. Let us assume that this is what I had in mind. This is my first argument.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Joint news conference following a Normandy format summit






Following a Normandy format summit, Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Vladimir Zelensky gave a joint news conference.
December 10, 2019
02:20
Paris
* * *
Joint news conference following the Normandy format summit.
Press statement and answers to media questions following a Normandy format summit  


Starts at 2:14:34

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
In principle, I agree with what the participants of these talks have said today.
We adopted a final joint document, which has reaffirmed the absence of any alternative to the strict observance of the Minsk Agreements signed on February 12, 2015 and highlighted the importance of launching a direct dialogue between the conflicting parties.
The participants in the talks welcomed the disengagement of forces and weapons in three pilot areas, as my colleagues have said. As we see it, this is indeed a major step towards a continued de-escalation in the southeast of Ukraine and a comprehensive ceasefire. We hope that the disengagement process will continue and that mine-clearing and de-fortification processes will be launched in the disengagement areas.
We also need to coordinate the reconciliation process in Ukraine with the political reforms that are stipulated in the Minsk Agreements.
First of all, the Ukrainian Constitution must be amended to formalise the special status of Donbass on a permanent basis. Of course, the duration of the agreement on the special status of separate Donbass districts must be extended and ultimately made permanent, as it is stipulated in the Minsk Agreements I have mentioned before. Certain amendments should be made to the agreement, primarily those related to the implementation of the Steinmeier Formula. There should be no delay in the implementation of the other commitments either, primarily regarding amnesty and a statutory ban on the persecution of persons in connection with the events that took place in the southeast of Ukraine.
The parties to the talks have supported the idea of coordinating the exchange of detainees based on the “all for all” principle.
It is important to increase the number of checkpoints on the contact line and to create the best possible conditions so that the hundreds and thousands of local residents, who have to wait in line for hours now, can cross of the border quickly. We tend to discuss large projects and major humanitarian issues, but we must not forget about the people who live there, and all our agreements must be aimed at improving their lives not in a distant future, but now.
Ultimately, I believe, as we all agree, that this meeting was useful. I would like to express gratitude to President Macron for his initiative and to thank him and Chancellor Merkel for paying so much attention to this matter, which is not one of their direct duties, but they believe that it is important for all of us, for both Ukraine and Russia, as well as for our European neighbours. We greatly appreciate it that they are paying so much attention to this and doing so much to attain a final settlement. For its part, Russia will do everything in its power to contribute to these efforts.
Thank you.
<…>
Question (retranslated): Good afternoon, Messrs Presidents, Madame Federal Chancellor,
Can we say this evening that a real thaw has started in Europe? Or is there still a risk that the conflict will continue? Will we have yet another frozen conflict in Europe?
Mr Putin, do you think we are witnessing a détente or thaw? Do you think that we can move forward towards real peace?
I would like to take advantage of Mr Putin’s presence here in Paris to ask one more question. WADA has decided today to ban Russian athletes from the Olympic Games in Tokyo and Beijing. This is certainly a significant decision. Will you appeal it? Do you think, just as Prime Minister Medvedev, that there is a serious problem with doping in Russia? Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Speaking about a thaw, yes, I do believe that it has started. What else can I say? First, there has been an exchange of detained persons. It has taken place. We have brought about disengagement in three areas. It has taken place. We have met in the Normandy format and discussed a broad range of very important issues, and we have achieved progress on many of them. It has taken place. Taken together, all of this is reason to believe that the process is moving in the right direction.
As for Russia’s position, I said in my opening remarks that Russia will do everything in its power so that all problems are solved and all questions settled, and the conflict ultimately ends. However, I would like to point out that it is very important, as I have said before, that the conflicting parties talk to each other, that they engage in a direct dialogue. This is what matters. No conflict was ever settled without a direct dialogue between the conflicting parties.
Regarding doping, the WADA decision and Russia’s potential appeal against it.
First of all, we need to analyse this decision. Here is the obvious part, which I can see immediately. For example, there are no complaints to the National Olympic Committee. If there are no complaints, the country must be able to take part in competitions under the national flag, according to the Olympic Charter. This means that this part of the WADA decision contradicts the Olympic Charter. Therefore, we have good reason to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
There are also some other arguments, but first our experts and lawyers should analyse everything so that we can talk with our partners competently. However, I believe that the main thing, and everyone seems to accept it, is that punishment must be individual and based on the acts committed by an individual, as it has been since the Roman Empire. Punishment must not be collective, that is, applied to the persons who have no connection with a given crime. Everyone is aware of this. I believe that the WADA experts are aware of this as well. But if they take decisions on collective punishment, I think this is a reason to believe that these decisions do not seek to keep sports clean but are based on political considerations, which has nothing to do with the interests of sport and the Olympic Movement.
Question (retranslated): Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
Madame Chancellor, you held a bilateral meeting with President Putin before the summit today. I would like to enquire whether you discussed during that meeting the assassination in Tiergarten, Berlin, because it had exerted a very strong influence on relations between Russia and Germany. One had the impression that Russia was willing to cooperate with the investigation into this assassination.
Mr Putin, you said two German diplomats would be expelled, and you announced retaliatory measures. When will these measures be introduced? How grave is the crisis in relations between Germany and Russia?
Vladimir Putin: You said that a Georgian national was killed. This is not quite true. I know that a man died in Berlin. And he is not just a Georgian, he is a man who took an active part in combat operations on the side of the separatists in the Caucasus. He is not an ethnic Georgian.
This man was on Russia’s wanted list, and he is a very cruel and blood-smeared man. He killed 98 people during just one operation he was involved in. He was one of the organisers of explosions in the Moscow Metro.
I do not know what has happened to him; this is a criminal milieu, where absolutely anything can happen. But I believe that it is incorrect to expel diplomats who have nothing to do with this matter, solely on the basis of preliminary conjectures.
You asked about retaliation. There are unwritten practical rules, unwritten laws for such cases: you have expelled our diplomats, we will expel yours. That is all. Is this any kind of crisis in relations? There is no silver lining to it, but I do not think that there is a crisis or that one should arise. But I agree with Madame Chancellor that we must investigate this matter. We will do our best to find out the truth and to help our German colleagues.
Incidentally, it would have been good if we had cooperated before these tragic circumstances occurred. The Russian side repeatedly urged our German colleagues to extradite this criminal and murderer. Regrettably, we failed to reach an understanding.
Question (retranslated): I have a question for President Zelensky.
It concerns the next Normandy format meeting, which is scheduled to take place in four months. Are there any preliminary conditions, so that we can see if there is any progress? Are we correct in understanding that although progress has been made regarding the exchange of “all for all”, no agreements of principle have been reached on the local elections in Donbass, which should take place in the autumn of 2020, and no final solution has been coordinated regarding the control of the Ukrainian border? Why is that?
And here is my second question: Will the problem of gas transit after January 1 be settled?
I also have a question for the President of Russia. Why are you so strongly against Ukraine’s desire to control the border with Donbass during the elections? Is this really a stumbling block? Can the settlement of this problem help to launch the peace process in eastern Ukraine? Will you continue to offer explanations for the protection of Russian speakers now that Ukraine has a Russian-speaking president, who is also supported by people in the southeastern regions?
Vladimir Putin: Do you remember a popular children’s poem: “We have gas in our flat. And do you?” And you do have it too, and will have it. But it may cost you much less if we agree to work honestly together. It could cost 25 percent less than the end consumers, primarily industrial facilities, are paying now. Because the price of gas for household consumers is subsidised, and we cannot calculate [export] gas prices based on this subsidised price. This is ordinary economic logic. This is how it is.
As for the border, Mr Zelensky and I have different positions on this issue. Our position is very simple: we stand for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. The Minsk Agreements say – you can read it for yourself – that Ukraine will be able to start restoring control over that territory, over that section of the border on day one after the local elections. This is what it says. And this process should end after the completion of a comprehensive political settlement. This is what the text of the agreement says. Why should the Minsk Agreements be reopened and revised? All the measures set out in that package are interconnected. If we revise one of them, this will lead to the revision of others and we will lose the agreements and create a situation where nothing can be done. This is our logic, and I believe that it is justified.
Regarding Russian speakers. We do want Russian speakers, and not only in Donbass but throughout Ukraine, to have equal democratic rights. I would like to point out that 38 percent of Ukrainian citizens regard themselves as Russian speakers. However, all of the so-called Russian schools will convert to the Ukrainian language starting next year. By the way, as far as I know, the other [national minority] schools – Hungarian, Romanian and Polish – are to start the process in 2023. As if there are more Hungarian speakers than Russian speakers in Ukraine. You must admit that this raises questions to which we have no answers.
But I hope that we will keep our focus on this issue, just as all the other pending problems. This is why we will meet in four months.
Question: RIA Novosti.
A question for President Putin. You spoke about the Minsk Agreements being inviolable and having no alternative. But Chancellor Merkel said just now that the Minsk Agreements are flexible. So have you ultimately reaffirmed the agreements’ inviolability and their non-alternative nature?
Vladimir Putin: You see, any agreement has some degree of flexibility, because some things written on paper can be interpreted by the parties in different ways. And we did have a discussion today on some aspects of the Minsk Agreements. There are things spelled out directly, and it is quite difficult to argue with those. But there are other things, which emerged as compromises during our discussions in Minsk in 2015. And different parties interpret them differently. In this sense, I agree with Madame Federal Chancellor – she is right.
Well, this is what we meet for – to arrive at a common understanding, a single standard in what they call legal engineering. But I also agree that there is no alternative to the Minsk Agreements, and we must make every effort to ensure that they are fully implemented.
See also
December 9, 2019

December 9, 2019

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