6 December 2013, 14:14

Medvedev's interview: Russian economy, Uralkali case, Ukrainian political crisis, Russian constitution and relations with Putin

The Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, in the traditional year-end interview, speaks about the work of the Russian government in 2013, Russian-Belarus relations, in particular the Uralkali case, criticizes the role of European ministers in the Ukrainian political crisis, calling it "interference in domestic policy", and advises US President Barack Obama not to be afraid of wiretapping via iPhone. Some important domestic issues like the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution and the upcoming amnesty were also discussed.

It is unacceptable for constitution to give preference to any one faith - Russian premier

Any constitutional amendments that would give preference to any one religion are unacceptable, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.  "The adoption of any special preferences is unacceptable. Our constitution guarantees freedom of conscience. People are free to choose their church in accordance with their views, or refer to themselves as atheists," Medvedev said in an interview with Russia's central television stations.

Prime Minister Medvedev has no resignation plans

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says he will head of the government "as long as he can." "I want to tell you that I like what I am doing. This is an interesting job and I will be doing it for as long as I can, as long as there is a presidential decision to that effect, because this is an extremely important and complex job, although it is not very popular," Medvedev said during an end-of-the-year interview with leading Russian television channels.

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Photo: RIA Novosti

Some State Duma deputies' exotic initiatives don't reflect Russian administration's course - Medvedev

Unusual legislative initiatives sometimes arise in the Russian State Duma, but such initiatives are normal for every parliament and they do not reflect the policies of the president and the government, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

"Our parliament, like any other parliament, is structured into factions and parties, but they are people, living people, they are not cogs in machines, they may have their own ideas about morals, about what's good and what's bad, and the exotic initiatives they sometimes propose reflect their attitudes toward life," Medvedev said in an interview with Russia's leading television channels.

Medvedev said this does not mean that he backs all parliamentary initiatives.

"Such things happen all over the world. The parliament is a place where the opinions of many people come together," Medvedev said. "Our policy is to develop our country, not to get mired in particulars," Medvedev added.

"Potash scandal" has not affected Russian, Belarusian relations - Medvedev

The Russian-Belarusian dispute surrounding potash maker Uralkali has not affected relations between the two countries in any way, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the national television networks.

The entire affair was overly politicized, he said. "The political portion here was excessive; there was no reason to get worked up about it. We should have been informed of the claims against the company, and we would have handled it in the spirit of partnership. I hope in future that will be how it is done," Medvedev said. 

"In the final analysis, this has not affected our relations with Belarus in any way," he said.

Read Dmitry Medvedev's interview on Russia's burning topics live updates here

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Photo: http://instagram.com/damedvedev

Ukraine should clear out its problems on its own

Ukraine should clear up its problems on its own, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday in a live interview with the major Russian television channels. "It’s not foreigners or Russia that should clear up all of these problems, it’s the Ukrainian leadership and Ukrainian society," he said. "As for other countries, it’s import to act respectfully".

Medvedev cited instances of rather inappropriate conduct.

"Our partners, at the rank of foreign ministers go there and begin to communicate not only with the leaders or the opposition, which is absolutely normal, but with the crowds right in the midst of political events," he said. "They attend  mass actions that contravene existing rules for organizing rallies and they take part in them".

"How would our German partners feel if the Russian foreign minister visiting Germany went to attend a gathering held in contradiction of Germany’s regulations?” Medvedev asked. “I don’t think they would sum it up as a friendly or correct step".

"A decision on where Ukraine should be and what it should do is to be taken by the Ukrainian people and Ukrainian leadership as well as the government, which the people created," he said. "It’s their prerogative and let them resolve it all on their own."

"However, what’s happening in Ukraine doesn’t leave us indifferent because people very close to ourselves live there and Ukraine is a very important trade and economic partner for us, as much as we are for Ukraine," he said.

Investigative Committee powers' debate does not influence his relations with Putin - Medvedev

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that the debate on the designation of tax crime investigative powers for the Russian Investigative Committee did not cause tensions in his relations with President Vladimir Putin.

"We are good with the president, there is no tension," Medvedev told Russian television channels in reply to a question about whether the debate had stretched the relationship between the president and prime minister.

Foreign participation in Kiev's protests 'interference' - Russian PM Medvedev

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday described participation by foreign officials in the political events unfolding in Ukraine as "interference", rebuking the German foreign minister for a visit to an opposition protest camp.

In the televised interview, Medvedev said it was fine for foreign officials to meet Ukrainian opposition leaders "but to participate in such events has, excuse me, a very simple name: interference in internal affairs".

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Photo: RIA Novosti

Situation in Russian economy

The situation in the Russian economy is not worse than in other countries and there are many things to work at but radical changes are scarcely possible if the world economy continues to stagnate, Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday in his live interview with major national television channels.

"The current status of our economy is much the same as in most developed and fast developing economies, as I said recently, it is vinegary," Medvedev said on a program titled 'Prime Minister Speaking'.

He indicated that the Russian economy was demonstrating certain growth, although its rate was slower than initially planned.

"We can't change the situation radically if the world economy continues sliding down," Medvedev said.

Defense spending

Russia's high defence spending stems from the current situation in the world, Dmitry Medvedev said.

"The general opinion is we have a militarized budget. Some say we spend too much on defence and other budget items are affected. Possibly, it is true it would be far better if we had to spend less effort on armaments and defense but that's how this world is arranged," Medvedev said.

"Russia is unable to do without inviting labor migrants from abroad but unemployment doesn't grow as a result," Medvedev noted. "Fomenting nationalist tensions in Russia is immoral and suicidal".

Citizens of CIS countries should enter Russia on foreign travel passports - Medvedev

Russia does not plan to introduce visas with the CIS countries, but citizens of CIS countries should cross the border on foreign travel passports, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

"We now have visa-free relations with the CIS countries and we don't plan to introduce any visa regimes with such countries, unless some sort of situation emerges," Medvedev said in an interview with leading Russian television channels, summing up the results of the year.

At the same time, he added that "we plan to make the crossing of the border civilized."

"It should not be some papers, because that is not right. We are different countries ad we are developing differently, therefore, be so kind and produce foreign travel passports," Medvedev said.

Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev describes govt as effective

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev believes that the country's government has proven to be quite effective and does not require any drastic changes.

"Our government is an absolutely functional team. It has been effective. On the whole, I think that there should not be any radical changes. All the members are in their places. They are all working," Medvedev said in an interview with Russia's leading television stations.

Medvedev to sum up 2013 results in televised interview on Friday

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will sum up the results of the outgoing year in a televised interview on December 6, the press service of the Russian government said on Thursday. The interview to start at 12 00 Moscow Time (08 00 GMT).

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will sum up the results of the outgoing year in a televised interview on December 6, the press service of the Russian government said on Thursday. The interview to start at 12 00 Moscow Time (08 00 GMT).

The traditional year-end interview will be dedicated to the results of the work of the Russian government in 2013. The interview that is scheduled to begin at noon will be aired by Russia's leading television channels: Russia1, Russia 24, Russia HD, Dozhd, and the radio station Vesti FM. You can also follow the translation and live report on the Voice of Russia radio station and the Voice of Russia web site.

The topics will include the 2013 economic results, the development of the Russian economy, challenges and tasks of further economic development, and the political situation in the country.

Read more:

- Russia's economic diversification high on agenda – PM Medvedev

- Dmitry Medvedev: on air with five major channels

- Medvedev may run for president again

- Russia to remain peaceful despite rising military spending

- Dmitry Medvedev's interview to Russia's major TV channels

Voice of Russia, TASS, Interfax, Reuters 

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