Vladimir Putin held a traditional meeting with the heads of the world's largest news agencies. On the one hand, both questions to the president, and his answers were largely predictable. On the other, a few curious statements still sounded. Attention was also drawn to the absence of the representative of the French agency Agence France Presse.
The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum over the years has not only become a truly large-scale world event, but also has gained a lot of traditions, including the participation of the Russian president from it.
One of such customs is the meeting of the head of state with the heads of international news agencies. 1 June in the SPIEF-2017 held another similar summit of journalists with Vladimir Putin.
Such Putin's meetings with world media giants usually do not bring sensations, but they allow you to keep track of the information background, issues that are relevant both for the global media sphere and for individual countries.
However, this time not a sensation, but a notable event still happened. The representative of the French news agency France Press was not invited to the current meeting. The presidential press secretary gave a more than convincing reason: at these meetings with Putin "there are first persons or at least a second person in exceptional cases. The format of the meeting does not provide for participation at a different level. "
However, if we recall the recent extremely harsh statements by French President Emmanuel Macron against the Russian media, RT and Sputnik, and at a joint press conference with Putin, the question arises whether there is any relationship between the two events.
As you know, Russia invariably reaffirms its commitment to the "principle of reciprocity" in the international arena. However, Moscow has formed a reputation for someone who also knows how to find asymmetric answers to abandoned challenges. What became the absence of the representative of "France Press" at a meeting with Putin, can only be assumed.
As for the topics raised by foreign agencies, they turned out to be standard and reflect the topics currently dominant in the media sphere related to Russia: relations with the countries of the West, Asia and Turkey, Russian hackers, the Kuril Islands, etc. The answers of the Russian president were also traditional.
Extremely revealing in this respect was Putin's commentary on relations with the German leadership and their prospects in the light of early elections. After the standard formulation "we, in general, do not care who to work with", the Russian president turned to the review of cooperation between Russia and Germany, in which there has been a sharp rise since the decline of previous years.
Putin bluntly said that even disagreements with Angela Merkel are not universal and there are many points of contact, especially in the field of economic interaction. In fact, the head of state pointed out that, despite the seeming confrontation between Russia and Germany, the German elites show common sense and pragmatism when it comes to national economic interests.
This could be an important message for the dependent Eastern European satellites, who often make decisions that directly harm their own countries. However, it is unlikely that Putin expects that his words will change something in their position. So it's more like just a statement of reality.
Putin's answer about the notorious "Russian hackers" was somewhat more unexpected. The Russian president said, almost for the first time, that some hacking could be the result of the work of some Russian hackers with patriotic convictions. However, Putin categorically rejected involvement in this activity of the Russian state, and also doubted the possibility of influencing the election results by such methods.
True, this is unlikely to change anything.
Moreover, it is possible that the words of the head of state about patriotic-minded hackers acting on their own initiative will be regarded as an indirect recognition, and they will find similarities with his comment of 2014 on Crimean self-defense, which bought the form in the military commissariat.
Extremely interesting was the exchange of remarks with a representative of the Japanese news agency Kyodo. In the issue of the Japanese journalist, the most noteworthy was that he began talking about the hypothetical transfer of Japan by Russia to the two islands. But in fact officially Tokyo insists on the transfer of four islands - in defiance of the Moscow Declaration 1956 year.
Recently, there have been accurate movements that suggest that the Japanese authorities began preparing public opinion for a possible change in this fundamental position of Tokyo, which was a stumbling block in Russian-Japanese relations over the past decades. The statement of the head of the agency "Kyodo" hints at the same thing.
Putin's answer turned out to be interesting. He briefly answered on this point of the issue, and then gave his detailed vision of the general situation in the region, which, in fact, stimulates Russia to strengthen its military presence on the islands.
Moreover, he, in fact, bluntly stated that, while the US and NATO will strengthen their military presence at Russian borders, Russia for its part will also increase military power. He made a direct parallel between the deployment of US missile defense in Europe and Asia. All this is perceived by Moscow as a military threat, which causes - and will cause - retaliatory actions on its part.
Apparently, it is here that one of the main problems for the Kremlin is hidden, which, among other things, the head of the country tries to solve with the heads of world news agencies: Moscow is not heard.
From year to year, at every summit meeting and with foreign journalists, the country's leadership says in full force that Russia is legitimately seeking "to ensure its national interests", citing appropriate arguments in each case. However, the farther away, the clearer the feeling that the Kremlin is talking to the impenetrable wall.
But, apparently, Moscow stubbornly believes in the rightness of the saying "the water is sharpening the stone".