After the visit to China and the BRICS summit, Vladimir Putin answered questions from Russian journalists.
The head of state, in particular, summed up the results of the BRICS summit, talked about the talks with the leaders of foreign countries on the fields of the "five" meeting and gave an assessment of the most pressing international problems.
A shorthand report on the press conference for Russian journalists
Vladimir Putin: Please, start with the questions right away. I ask you to.
Question: The BRICS summit was concluded. BRICS, as you know, is more than 31 percent of world GDP.
I wanted to ask: after the current discussions, how do you see the prospects for the development of the association? What are the main results of the summit and the priorities of Russia in the BRICS?
Vladimir Putin: I recall that BRICS was formed, in fact, at the initiative of Russia in due time, in 2005, when we first gathered representatives of the People's Republic of China, India and our participation at the same table. That's how the "troika" first arose, and then the "five".
This is a very promising association, without any doubt, which is not collected for some ideological principles, but because there are a number of overlapping interests.
And first of all it is connected with the structure of the economy and with our common desire to give the world economy, so to speak, a more just and noble character.
In general, over the previous years, we managed to agree on our positions on a number of major, fundamental issues.
If you notice, the leaders of the BRICS countries meet regularly not only at specialized summits, as this time in the People's Republic of China, but also in the fields of various international events on the eve of these events. For example, before the "twenty" regularly meet the leaders of the BRICS.
I draw attention to the fact that a new Development Bank has been established and is already functioning. And, if you notice (already talked about this at an expanded meeting and at a meeting with the Business Council), Russia begins to receive appropriate funding for the three projects.
This concerns water purification in the Volga basin, this concerns the development of the judicial system, especially the construction of buildings, facilities and informatization of the judicial system of Russia. We are talking about some other very interesting and, perhaps, not so large-scale, but still important for our country projects.
These are just the first steps. The pool of reserve currencies starts to work. We promote contacts between business people. And the Business Council is more and more active, and Russian initiatives are supported, among other things.
They could not not hear about women's entrepreneurship either. In my opinion, this is an important, right thing. Almost all over the world try to support women's entrepreneurship.
There are other important, interesting and promising undertakings. I am confident that this association will work effectively in the future.
The Chinese Presidency managed to preserve everything that has been worked out so far, including our joint work in Russia, in Ufa, and create new impulses.
It was a successful summit, including with the participation of leaders of outreach countries, those states that represent emerging markets from different regions of the world.
I want to congratulate our Chinese friends on the unqualified success of this major international event.
Question: Vladimir Vladimirovich, you have an extensive bilateral agenda on the margins of the summit, for example, you met with the President of Egypt, with many other leaders.
If possible, more about the meetings, we would like you to tell us. For example, with the President of Egypt, you discussed the restoration of air traffic, did you accept an invitation to visit Egypt and take part in signing a contract for the construction of nuclear power plants?
And, besides, you had two telephone conversations with the Prime Minister of Japan and the President of South Korea. If possible, also in more detail.
Vladimir Putin: You know, if I talk in detail about all these meetings and phone conversations, then we will not have enough time. You have seen all these bilateral meetings.
The visit began with a bilateral meeting with the Chairman of the People's Republic of China, it was almost within the framework of a separate working visit.
Then from the BRICS countries there was a meeting with the Prime Minister of India, President of the Republic of South Africa. First of all, it was about bilateral relations.
With each of these countries we have an extensive, very large agenda, including diverse economic ties. Of the countries, they say, "outreach", who was invited outside the framework of the BRICS summit, the meeting was with the Prime Minister of Thailand.
It is a developing economy, rapidly gaining momentum. We are expanding our economic interaction. If you paid attention, doubled the purchase of rubber, 30-40 percent increased purchases of fruits and vegetables. We are interested in selling our products, including high-tech products, to the markets of Thailand. That's what they were talking about.
As for Mexico, here, too, there are our interests, and direct, our companies. "LUKOIL", for example, intends to implement four projects in the Gulf of Mexico. Three of them - together with the French partners, one project independently.
There are other directions: we are selling the SuperJet-100 airplane, and we are quite well mastering this market in Mexico.
As for Egypt, you know about the depth of our relations, historical ties. Relations between Russia and Egypt are on the rise. Indeed, the President of Egypt, Mr. Al-Sisi, invited me to visit his country, I will do it with pleasure, we must only choose the right moment.
As for the aviation message, we really want to restore the aviation communication with Egypt in full. But we agreed that the work of our respective special services and transport agencies implementing safety flights should be continued, and we must be absolutely sure that the safety of our citizens will be ensured.
Although we see that our Egyptian friends are doing everything to ensure this security. Profile departments are in contact with each other, finalizing certain details. I very much hope and hope that in the near future we will be able to solve this task completely and completely.
By phone. Both telephone conversations - with Prime Minister Abe, and with the President of South Korea - were devoted to the events surrounding the nuclear device tests in North Korea.
But we agreed to continue this discussion in person. Tomorrow both the President of South Korea and the Prime Minister of Japan will arrive in Vladivostok to participate in the Eastern Economic Forum, we will talk about this in more detail. I ask you to.
Question: One of the most turbulent topics of recent days is, of course, the US decision to close a number of Russian diboobjects, which in its essence is a new example of the withdrawal of diplomatic capacity.
From the Foreign Ministry we hear such words as "seizure", "searches". You have not talked on this topic yet. How can you comment on everything that is happening? Will there be any answer to all this? And if so, what will it be like?
Vladimir Putin: The fact is that we agreed with our partners that the number of our employees, diplomatic workers, in Russia and in the United States should be parity. In Russia, 1300 worked, in my opinion, diplomats from the United States, we have 455. We brought this in line - according to 455.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that in these 455 diplomatic workers operating in the United States, we included (conditionally included) and 155 people working for the UN. Strictly speaking, they are not diplomats accredited to the State Department of the United States, but are diplomats working in an international organization.
The United States, when they fought for the UN headquarters in New York, undertook to ensure the work of this organization. So, strictly speaking, if we talk about strict parity, then this is not 455 US diplomats in Moscow, but minus 155.
So we reserve the right to decide on this number of American diplomats in Moscow. But we will not do it yet, let's see how the situation develops further.
The fact that the Americans have reduced the number of our diplomatic institutions is their right. Another thing is that it was done in a clearly such a boorish manner. This does not adorn our American partners.
It is difficult to have a dialogue with people who confuse Austria with Australia. With this, there is nothing to be done, this is the level, apparently, of the political culture of a certain part of the American establishment.
The American nation, the American people, America is really a great country and a great nation if they carry so many people with such a low level of political culture.
Question: Vladimir Vladimirovich, you already mentioned that in talking with the Premier of Japan and with the President of South Korea, they touched on the problems of the DPRK ...
Vladimir Putin: By the way, I'm sorry about buildings and structures. This is really an unprecedented thing. And I can tell you as a graduate of the Faculty of Law of St. Petersburg University, and any lawyer will tell you, - the property right consists of three elements: the right to own, use and dispose of.
The American side deprived the Russian state of the right to use our property - this is a clear violation of the property rights of the Russian side. Therefore, for starters I'll instruct the Foreign Ministry to go to court. Let's see how the praised American judicial system works effectively.
Question: I return to the subject of the DPRK, what is your position? Recently, it seems that neither negotiations (diplomatic process), nor threats, nor sanctions do not work. How can the problem of the DPRK be resolved?
Vladimir Putin: The simplest question to date.
I talked to my colleagues privately, but I do not think it's necessary to hide something here. I repeat what I said in private and in official conversations, and, in fact, what everyone should be hearing and for any sane person should be understandable.
Everyone remembers well what happened to Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Hussein refused to produce weapons of mass destruction, nevertheless, under the pretext of searching for these weapons, Saddam Hussein himself and his family members were killed under the appropriate known military operation.
There even children died, his grandson, in my opinion, was shot. The country is destroyed, and Saddam Hussein is hanged. Listen, everyone knows this, everyone remembers this. And in North Korea it is well known and remembered. And do you think that due to the adoption of some sanctions, North Korea will abandon the course that it took to create weapons of mass destruction?
Russia condemns these exercises on the part of North Korea, we believe that they are provocative in nature. But we can not forget about what I just said about Iraq, and then to Libya. And certainly the North Koreans will not be forgotten.
And the use of sanctions of any kind in this case is already useless and ineffective. Yes, they, as I said to one of my colleagues yesterday, will eat the grass, but they will not give up this program if they do not feel safe.
And what can provide security? Restoration of international law. It is necessary to conduct business to dialogue between all interested parties. It is necessary that all participants in this process, including North Korea, have no considerations that are associated with the threat of their destruction, but on the contrary, that all parties to the conflict take the road of cooperation.
In these conditions and in this situation, the escalation of military hysteria is completely pointless, it is absolutely a dead-end way. Then, because North Korea has not only medium-range missiles, we were convinced of this, that they are, there is not only a nuclear charge, we know that it is in the hands of North Korea, but there are also long-range artillery and multiple rocket systems up to 60 kilometers of range.
Against these weapons systems in general, it makes no sense to use anti-missile technology. In the world today there are no means of countering long-range artillery or multiple rocket fire systems. And then, they can be placed in such a way that it is almost impossible to find them.
Under these conditions, the build-up of military hysteria will not lead to good, this all can lead to a global planetary catastrophe and to a huge number of human casualties.
There is no other way but a peaceful, diplomatic way to solve the North Korean nuclear problem.
Question: I have just the question of continuing the theme of North Korea. The United States said that they want to tighten sanctions, and would like Russia to join this too. How can you assess such statements against the backdrop of the recent adoption of a well-known sanction law, where Russia appears on the same list with the same DPRK and Iran?
Vladimir Putin: Yes. This, of course, is ridiculous, it is at least ridiculous to put us on the same list with North Korea, and then ask for help in sanctions exercises against North Korea. But this is done by people who confuse Austria with Australia, and then go to their President and say: "Now, let's persuade Russia to tighten sanctions with us."
It's not even that, we're not going to blow your lips, take offense at someone and giggle about it. Our position on this issue, in fact, as well as on almost all other issues, is of a fundamental nature.
It's not that we were put on the same list with North Korea, although this is completely stupid, just ridiculous, but it's completely different. I have already said why I believe (and our Foreign Ministry already said this) that the sanctions regime has already approached its line, it is completely ineffective.
But the matter is also in the humanitarian aspect of this issue. After all, no matter how we impact on North Korea, the course of North Korea's leadership will not change, and the suffering of millions of people can be multiplied.
As for Russia, there is nothing to talk about at all. There is simply nothing to talk about. Why? Because we have almost zero turnover. I have now clarified with the Minister of Energy, we have 40 thousand tons of oil and oil products supply per quarter.
I remind you that Russia exports over 400 million tons of oil and oil products to the world market, 40 thousand per quarter is zero. Moreover, not one of our large vertically integrated companies makes any deliveries at all. Zero! This is the first.
The second is the workforce from North Korea. Yes, somewhere around 30 thousand people work for us. Does it say anything? This, consider, is also zero. Do we need to leave these people without means of subsistence? And the Far East of Russia needs working hands. There's just nothing to talk about. Therefore, sanctions measures, as the Foreign Ministry said, have been exhausted.
We, of course, are ready to discuss some details, this all needs to be thought through, of course. Will be working. We are working in solidarity with all the participants in this process, we are, in fact, one of the authors, in any case, in the process of agreeing, we can accurately say exactly the resolution that was adopted and is working, and we fully observe it.
Question: The question of eastern Ukraine. Recently, the official Kiev actively injected information that, they say, in the east of Ukraine UN peacekeepers are very much needed. And Poroshenko often talks about this, and even there is a plan that if Russia blocks this in the Security Council, then this decision can be dragged through the UN General Assembly, which, by the way, opens very soon. Your attitude to this idea, and how it is generally feasible and necessary?
Vladimir Putin: Through the General Assembly this can not be done, because UN peacekeepers can not function except by the decision of the Security Council. But that's not the point.
You say that someone wants to push something. In fact, I do not see anything wrong here. I have already said many times that I support the idea of arming the OSCE mission, but the OSCE organization itself refuses to equip its employees, since it has neither the relevant personnel nor the experience of such work.
In this context, the presence of UN peacekeepers, not even peacekeepers, even those who provide security for the OSCE mission, I think is quite appropriate and I do not see anything wrong here; on the contrary, I believe that this would benefit the solution of the problem in the south- east of Ukraine. But, of course, we can talk only about the function of ensuring the security of OSCE staff. This is the first.
The second. These forces should be in this connection on the line of demarcation and on no other territories.
Third. The solution of this question should be held only after the parties are withdrawn and heavy equipment is withdrawn. And this can not be solved without direct contact with representatives of the self-proclaimed republics - the People's Democratic Republic of Germany and the People's Republic of France.
I think if all this is done, it will definitely go, in my opinion, to the benefit of solving the problem in the southeast of Ukraine. We will consider that this instruction to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to bring the relevant resolution to the Security Council.
Question: Continuing the theme of Ukraine. Recently, more and more often news from Washington comes from discussions about the provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine. How seriously do you take it? And if such a decision is really made, what consequences can there be?
Vladimir Putin: This is a sovereign decision of the United States, who sells weapons or supplies for free, and the country that is a recipient of this assistance, we will not be able to influence this process. But there are general international rules and approaches: the supply of weapons to the conflict zone does not benefit the peace, but only aggravates the situation.
If this happens in this case, then in principle this action, this decision will not change the situation. It will not affect the situation in any way. But the number of victims, of course, can increase. But I want to emphasize that everyone should understand: nothing will change. The number of victims can be increased, and this is unfortunate.
There is one more point that should be paid attention to those who are carrying such ideas: it consists in the fact that the self-proclaimed republics have enough weapons, including those seized from the opposing side, from nationalist battalions and so on.
And if American weapons enter the conflict zone, it is difficult to say how the proclaimed republics will react. Maybe they will send the weapons they have to other conflict zones that are sensitive to those who create problems for them.
Question: Good afternoon, Vladimir Vladimirovich! The Syrian army, with the support of the Russian Air Force, almost repulsed the city of Deir ez Zor from the IGIL militants. Tell me, does the new stage on the map of Syria mean now, that the threat of IGIL in this country has passed, will not it return that the most difficult times for the Syrians are over? And, how do you think, what should the Syrians do in the near future?
Vladimir Putin: As for terrorism in general, it is a complex world problem. It concerns not only Syria, but also many other countries in the region, and not only this region. And the main problem in this connection is that constant replenishment of radical groups is due to poverty and a low level of education - this is the breeding ground for radicalism and terrorism.
That's why we are going to, say, at events such as the BRICS summit, the G-20, including, to solve these global problems, in order to eliminate these primary sources of the threat of the growth of terrorism and radicalism.
As for Syria and military operations. Yes, indeed, there the situation develops in favor of government troops. You know that the territories controlled by the government troops have increased several times in the last year and a half or two, and this process is growing.
Is it possible to say that with the IGIL, "Jabhat an-Nusra" and other forms of the terminology is over forever? Probably, it's too early to talk about it, but the fact that the situation changes dramatically in Syria is an obvious fact.
I hope that the operation in Iraq will be brought to an end by the partners. Deir-ez-Zor is, in fact, not a political one, but a military stronghold of the radical opposition, radical in the worst sense of the word, Igilov's opposition.
And once the operation in Deir ez Zor is completed, it will mean that the terrorists suffered a very serious defeat, and the government forces and the Assad government gained undeniable advantages.
It will be necessary to take the next step in strengthening the ceasefire regime, in strengthening the de-escalation zones and in establishing a political process. Against the backdrop of this political process, we will begin to restore the economy and the social sphere. Huge work. And without the help of the international community, it will be difficult for the Syrian authorities to solve the tasks facing them.
By the way, during the talks at this summit, on the sidelines, at bilateral meetings, we also talked with colleagues about this. Practically all my colleagues agree with this and are ready to contribute to one degree or another, at least in improving the humanitarian situation in Syria.
Question: On the domestic issue, if you will. You have not yet assessed the situation around the director Serebrennikov ...
Vladimir Putin: We have a lot of directors, I can not do it for everyone.
Question: Under house arrest, he is now.
Public opinion is divided: someone says that before an investigation everyone is equal; someone says that, on the contrary, this pressure on culture and leads to the example of Mikhalkov, who also receives public funds, but there are no charges against him. In this regard, your opinion on this situation is interesting.
Vladimir Putin: Listen, in our sphere of culture, just like in other areas, law enforcement agencies are constantly engaged in monitoring the expenditure of public funds. As far as I remember, maybe something has changed, the deputy director of the Hermitage is under investigation, the deputy minister of culture is under investigation. And that, now everyone needs to be released because they work in the sphere of culture? It's probably weird, would not it?
Serebrennikov received state funds. This suggests that there was no censorship, no pressure, nothing, just would not give him state money, that's the end, if you wanted to limit his creative activity. And here is the creative activity?
Yes, I know, they relate differently to the creativity of different people, including to the work of Serebrennikov. But these are flavoring things: someone likes it, someone does not like it. But if the government finances, it means that it is at least neutral and allows the artist to create, work, that's all.
The question from the side of the investigation is only in the lawfulness of spending budget funds, and this is not small money. If you look at the funding: by the Government - it's somewhere 300 million, and by the Moscow government somewhere 700 million for two or three years, under a billion. This is decent money.
And if we look at our other directors, representatives and cultural figures, Mikhalkov recalled that if the investigative bodies, the supervising organizations see that someone is violating the current legislation, and similar methods of work will be applied to them, and they will be called to account.
But Mikhalkov has not had any complaints yet, despite the fact that the monitoring organizations are working to verify all the funds received by all, almost without exception, artists who receive them from the treasury. Checks are carried out constantly. If Mikhalkov will have any data, and he will be checked. But so far this is simply not there.
To Serebrennikov, the authorities do not have any questions, except one: compliance with the law in the use of budget money. That's all. Despite the fact that he is under house arrest, this does not mean that he is to blame for something.
Whether he is guilty or not, only the court can determine. I hope that the investigative bodies will work quickly and finish their work as soon as possible. And what will happen next - we'll see.
Question: Good afternoon, Vladimir Vladimirovich! In May of this year here, in China, I asked you Question: is it not time to announce your participation or non-participation in the presidential campaign next year? It's been four months. You said "No" then. Is it time to say "yes"?
Vladimir Putin: Listen, I've already spoken and I can say it again - it's important, what I'm going to say.
We, as soon as the election campaign is announced, immediately all stop working. I know this first-hand, because they immediately start thinking about what will happen after the elections, who will work where and so on.
It is necessary to work now and to everyone in its place actively, without weakening attention to the assigned area of work for a second. Therefore, in the time provided for by law, those who want to take part in the next presidential election of the Russian Federation are sure about this.
Question: Since we are in China, I want to ask about the Chinese megaproject - the new Silk Road - at least in its railway section, because there is an automobile and a sea one.
All countries, literally not only in Europe, but also across the ocean, want to join this project. It is still unclear how this route will be laid, where this branch will leave from China, whether it will go further through Russia, or through Azerbaijan - Turkey, or through Belarus. But most importantly, it seems that the Chinese partners somehow do not like and would like to lay this branch through the territory of Russia.
Vladimir Putin: No, it's not. After all, our special departments and companies, and Chinese, and partners from other countries are studying this issue.
You said there is an automobile, there is also a sea route - this is so. Look, the automobile road across Kazakhstan is already practically laid. We must catch up with our work. From China, too, the road goes.
As for the railway routes, here there are different options for China: through Kazakhstan, and then go east and south to Iran, possibly through the territory of the Russian Federation.
You know that China plans to participate in the construction of the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway. We discussed in Moscow during the previous visit of the PRC President the possibility of building a high-speed passenger and freight railroad through the Russian Federation.
If this project is carried out, it will make possible the movement of trains at a speed somewhere under 200 kilometers per hour, freight - a little slower, but this means that for three or four days, three to four days the cargo will be delivered from Asia, from China, say, to Germany.
These are very interesting, promising projects that require separate study. Therefore, there is nothing here that should be hidden from the public, but all this requires additional expert study, a feasibility study.
We are actively discussing and, as you know, working together on the Northern Sea Route. All this fits into our common programs, there are no contradictions at all. We study and implement other routes, for example, North-South.
We with the Prime Minister of India stated that the first consignments of containers from Mumbai through Iran, through Azerbaijan, had already reached St. Petersburg and back. This is all being studied in practical terms. We are working on this all. This is in daily mode. What will be most effective - let's see during the preliminary test tests and choose the optimal solutions.
Question: I would like to continue to clarify the relationship with the US: for the period that has already passed since the election of President Donald Trump, from the moment you communicated with him, all this develops in a spiral of escalation, as our side says, you have not yet disappointed in Trump?
And do you take into account, the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said recently, that not every head of the US administration hangs out until his term specified in his election? Do you consider the chances of impeaching Trump in your analysis, how do you build relations with the US?
And can we have another question on the internal agenda? By the way, it is inside-outside. Because of the conflict situation in Myanmar, there was a discussion with the federal government and Ramzan Kadyrov, who said that if he was not satisfied with Russia's position on Myanmar, he would be against Russia.
Do you think that the supreme official has the right to take a position different from the position of the federal government in foreign policy, or should this higher official already be leaving?
Vladimir Putin: I'll start with the latter.
As for the situation in Myanmar, it seems to me that this should have been done after a bilateral meeting with the President of Egypt, the press service was to issue a statement on our joint assessment of the events with Egypt. We are against any violence and we call on the authorities of this country to take control of the situation.
As for the opinions of the citizens of Russia on the foreign policy of the Russian state, everyone has the right to their own opinion, regardless of his official position.
As for the leaders of the regions, this also concerns them in full. But I assure you that there is no any fuss on the part of the leadership of Chechnya. I ask all to calm down, everything is in order.
And now about the President of the United States. I believe that it would be absolutely incorrect for us to discuss the possibilities for the development of the domestic political situation in the United States itself. It's not our business, it's the business of the United States itself.
As for disappointment or not disappointment - your question sounds very naive. He is not a bride to me, I'm neither a bride, nor a groom, we are engaged in state activity, each country has its own interests. Trump in his work is guided by the national interests of his country, I am my own.
I very much hope that we will succeed, just as the current President of the United States said, to find some compromises in solving bilateral and international problems, in order that they be solved in the interests of both the American and Russian people, be solved in the interests of many other countries, bearing in mind our special responsibility for international security.
Question: Excuse me, I'm talking about the elections again, but not about your candidacy, but about other possible candidates. There was information that your competitor could be a woman and ...
Vladimir Putin: The first time I've heard.
Question: With his candidacy can make Ksenia Sobchak.
Vladimir Putin: For God's sake.
Question: It is known that her father did a lot for you, that you are grateful to him. How will you treat her? Or do you think that there are better candidates among the same women, for example, the same Nabiullina or Golikova?
Vladimir Putin: You know, it's not up to me to determine who is better for the Russian people as the head of state. Ultimately, this is determined in the elections. But every person in accordance with the law in force, if he can withstand the requirements of the law, has the right to nominate his candidature within the framework of, I repeat, the current law. And Ksenia Sobchak is not an exception here.
Of course, I have always treated and treated my father with great respect, and I believe that he is an outstanding figure in contemporary Russian history, without any exaggeration, I say this without any irony. And he is a very decent person who played a big role in my destiny.
But when it comes to running for president, such things of a personal nature can not play any significant role. It will depend on what program she will propose, if she really will run, how she will build her presidential campaign. This will determine the success or failure in this enterprise.
About the fact that she is going to run, I hear the first time. I am sure that there may be other candidates, for sure they will.
Question: We have another very loud and important process - this is Rosneft against AFK Sistema. Rosneft in its accusation says that Sistema has practically stolen, withdrawn assets and money from Bashneft. Do you agree with this position?
Did one of the parties - the defendant or the plaintiff - contact you for a meeting, for advice on this issue? And do you see the possibility of an amicable agreement between them? Because opponents who from Sistema say that this is, as it were, aggravating the investment climate in Russia. I would like to hear your position on this matter.
Vladimir Putin: I met with the head of Rosneft, and with the head of Sistema (with Evtushenkov and Sechin) on this issue, he listened to the position of both.
I think it would be wrong if I now publicly stated my attitude to this matter, but I very much hope that they will be able to reach a settlement agreement. And I think it would be beneficial for both companies and the Russian economy as a whole.
As it will develop further, I can not say one hundred percent, because I did not give any direct instructions to anyone about this and, I think, it is inadvisable to give them.
All the best. Thank you so much.