19 December 2013, 12:19

Putin holds press conference with over 1000 media outlets

Putin holds press conference with over 1000 media outlets

Russian President Vladimir Putin has held a major news conference with 1,300 journalists from Russia and abroad. This is Putin's ninth Q&A session as the head of state.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has invited journalists to the traditional annual press conference December 19. Long since, these meetings are reasonably called 'big', because they gather over a thousand media representatives and last for more than 4 hours.

The record was set in 2008, when Putin was finishing his second presidential term: 4 hours 40 minutes. The record was about to be broken in 2012, when Putin became president again: 4 hours 30 minutes.

All in all, during the eight previous meetings the president spent more than a day in direct conversation with journalists: 24 hours and 59 minutes.

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© Photo: RIA Novosti

Impression of "manual control" over Russia is deceiving - Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has disagreed with the opinion that Russia is controlled in "manual regime" by the chief of state.

"You are mistaken that the chief of state is dealing with the bulk of governance issues. Questions, which catch the public eye one way or another, come up and there is an impression that everything is being done in the manual regime. This is not so," Putin said at a press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

He cited as an example the active work of the government and said that the work of the prime minister "was the most difficult."

"I was the prime minister for four years. You cannot imagine the colossal amount of work the Russian government has to do. Even the prime minister is not aware of some work done by the ministries. It is simply impossible," Putin said.

"The worst job that we have is the job of the prime minister. This is daily hard labor; it's like standing under a waterfall, [the work] keeps rolling over you and never stops," the president said.

"Some questions pop up in the public mind as keynote" so they frequently have to be solved on the level of the prime minister or the president and there is an impression that everything is being done manually," he said.

Putin warns about dangers of amending constitution clauses on gov't agency creation

Russian President Vladimir Putin considers it unacceptable to amend the constitution in order to change the system of forming government bodies in the country.

"We have the Constitution of the Russian Federation, and the bodies of government are formed within the framework of this constitution. In this sense, we will not change anything. I think this is inappropriate and dangerous to stability of the Russian state," Putin said at a press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

"In any case, [it is inappropriate] in terms of the formation of the government bodies," he said.

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© Photo: RIA Novosti

Putin about Snowden and NSA surveillance

I have never met with Snowden, but I'd like to - Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is not personally acquainted with former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden but that Snowden looks interesting to him as a personality.

"No, I am not personally acquainted with Mr. Snowden, and I have never met with him. I have a lot of routine to do," Putin said at a press conference on Thursday.

"I can admit he is not uninteresting to me. I think it is thanks to Mr. Snowden that a lot has changed somehow in the minds of millions of people, including in the minds of major contemporary political figures," he said.

Moscow never inquired into US intelligence operations in Russia – Putin

Russia has never questioned the fugitive National Security Agency's contractor Edward Snowden on details of US intelligence operations in the country, President Putin told reporters today.

"We have never worked with him in terms of [intelligence] operations," Putin said. "We are not accosting him with questions about the missions his former employer ran in Russia."

This came today at a big news conference in Moscow.

Putin says NSA intelligence targeted terrorist threats

President Putin has suggested that the US online spying agency NSA was guided by security concerns when it organized total surveillance. He said their programs apparently targeted terrorist threats.

"And still, the aim was to curb terrorism," Putin said. The president added however that the NSA should have followed "clear rules."

Putin stressed the US intelligence should have checked its moral compass when spying on masses of people worldwide and stressed there was a need for "a general agreement" on where to draw the line in public surveillance.

Putin says he 'envies' Obama's spying impunity

Russia's Vladimir Putin has confessed to journalists he was envious of his US counterpart Barack Obama after America's intelligence contractor Edward Snowden blew the lid off the government's global surveillance effort.

"I envy him [Barack Obama]. I envy him because he can do something like this and get away with it," Putin explained.

Speaking before a vast audience of Russian and foreign reporters in Moscow, the Russian president admitted that espionage had always been there.

"It is one of the most ancient among the existing trades," he joked.

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© Photo: RIA Novosti

Russian foreign policy

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Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad 'but one of defense options' – Putin

President Vladimir Putin has said that the deployment of Iskander missile systems to Russia's westernmost region of Kaliningrad is only one – and not the most effective – option to counter the European defense shield.

"Iskander is not the only defense option at our disposal and not the only reaction to the challenges we are facing," Putin said at today's news conference. "Iskander is but one of defense options, and not the most efficient one, despite being the world's best weapon of its kind."

Western media reported earlier this week that Russia had pulled advanced missile systems to Kaliningrad in Russia's west.

A Russian defense ministry source confirmed that its "Iskander operational-tactical missile systems" had been commissioned by the Western Military District's missile and artillery forces. He added, however, their deployment did not violate any international agreements.

Iskander missiles not yet deployed to Kaliningrad region - Putin

Russia has not yet deployed Iskander missiles to its western exclave of Kaliningrad in response to an anti-missile shield the United States is building in Europe with help from NATO nations, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

"One of the possible responses is to deploy Iskander complexes in Kaliningrad ... but I want to draw your attention to the fact that such a decision has not yet been taken, let them be calm," he told a news conference.

Poland and Baltic states reacted with alarm to recent media reports saying Russia has deployed Iskanders in Kaliningrad.

Russia may return to visa-free regime with Georgia - Putin

Russia may return to a visa-free regime with Georgia, Russia's President Vladimir Putin told a big annual news conference, answering a question from a Georgian reporter.

"We can see signals from the new Georgian leaders. And, as we understand development of the situation in Georgia, I believe, we could return to a visa-free regime," Putin said.

"We shall consider it at the level of experts," the president added.

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© Photo: RIA Novosti

Iran

US' additional sanctions against Iran are counterproductive - Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes Washington's new sanctions against Tehran will not help advance a comprehensive solution to the Iran nuclear problem.

"As concerns sanctions, I am sure that this is a counterproductive decision. This won't produce anything good from the viewpoint of final agreements on settling the problem," Putin said at a press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

Putin says he will gladly use invitation to visit Iran

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he may visit Iran. He told a press conference in Moscow on Thursday the Iranian leader had invited him to pay a visit.

"I will use it [the invitation] gladly," Putin said.

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© Photo: RIA Novosti

Russian economy

Russian GDP to grow 1.4%-1.5% in 2013 - Putin

Russian GDP will grow 1.4%-1.5% this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference.

"The latest figures are that real GDP is up 1.4% from last year. We'll probably have 1.5% [for the year], or 1.4%," Putin said.

Central Bank must exercise oversight functions extremely carefully - Putin

The Central Bank of Russia must exercise its oversight functions very carefully, going by the Deposit Insurance Agency's (DIA) opportunities to compensate personal account holders, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference.

"The Central Bank has to be very careful in order to guarantee the interests of account holders, based specifically on the Deposit Insurance Agency's opportunities," he said.

Gazprom privatization possible only when foreign, domestic gas prices even - Putin

The privatization of Gazprom (MOEX: GAZP) is a possibility down the road, but only when internal and external gas prices have been brought to a par with each other, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"Generally, here [at Gazprom] there can be movement toward privatization when, and only when, we have evenly defined terms associated with the consumption of the primary energy resource, economic terms most of all," Putin said during a press conference in Moscow.

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© Photo: RIA Novosti

Russian-Ukrainian relations

Russia had to help "brotherly" Ukraine - Putin

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Russia had to act to help its "brotherly" neighbour Ukraine out of economic crisis and that Moscow did not oppose Kiev signing a trade pact with Europeas long as it did not harm Russia's economy.

The substantial economic assistance that Russia should provide to Ukraine in line with the Tuesday agreements between the two countries has been dictated primarily by the fact that Ukraine has found itself in a difficult financial and political situation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"I'll tell you without any sarcasm: we often hear phrases like 'brotherly country' or 'brotherly nation', and we see today that Ukraine is in a difficult situation economically, socially, and politically," Putin said at a press conference on Thursday.

"The situation has been prompted by a number of circumstances and reasons, but this situation is objective. And if we really say that this is a brotherly nation and a brotherly country, we should act as close relatives and support the Ukrainian nation in this difficult situation," he said.

Gas deal signed with Tymoshenko-led govt was economically feasible - Putin

The gas contract signed with the Ukrainian government led by Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was economically feasible, and the deal's price setting formula was the same as the one applied to all of the consumers in Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference on Thursday.

"We actively worked with the Ukrainian government headed by Tymoshenko as well. We worked very vigorously in all the areas. By the way, it was her government that signed the gas contract then. And I have always thought that this contract is absolutely economically feasible," he said.

VTB Capital organizing issue of Ukrainian eurobonds in favor of Russia - Putin

VTB Capital will organize an issue of Eurobonds by Ukraine, which will be placed on the Irish Stock Exchange in favor of the Russian Federation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference.

Putin said this was Ukraine's own suggestion. He said the choice of organizer was not that big a deal for Russia.

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Greenpeace environmental action in Arctic

Russia to toughen liability for attacks on companies working on offshore fields - Putin

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Russia will be toughening liability for attacks on companies working on offshore mineral fields, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"We aren't going to relax anything here. On the contrary, we will only be toughening, and I'd this to be clear and understandable to everyone: we are prepared for discussions and open to them," Putin said at a press conference on Thursday in commenting on the Arctic Sunrise affair.

If there are convincing reasons, "we are prepared to make adjustments to our work, despite financial costs," he said.

Arctic Sunrise crew eligible for amnesty - Putin

The Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise crew accused of an attack against the Prirazlomnaya oilrig will be eligible for amnesty but the amnesty bill was not drawn up especially to free them from punishment, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"As to their possible eligibility for this amnesty, and as I understand they are eligible, we did not do that for their sake," he told a press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

Read more:

Putin never gets weary of questions – spokesman

- Ukraine, amnesty topics, federal issues to prevail in questions to President Putin - Peskov

- 'Unlike other countries, our representatives do not speak at Maidan, Ukraine's accession to CU was not discussed' - Peskov

Voice of Russia, Interfax, TASS

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