Saturday, January 21, 2017

Meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev.

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev to discuss the socioeconomic situation in the district’s regions and Far East development plans.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Trutnev, the Far Eastern Federal District accounts for over 36 percent of the Russian Federation’s territory.

Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev:

That is correct.


Vladimir Putin:

What is the situation in the area of your responsibility? What have you accomplished there over the past year and what do you plan to do?

Yury Trutnev:

Mr. President, we continue working to fulfil your task to accelerate the socioeconomic development of the Far East. We prioritise the creation of system-critical conditions.

Last year, five federal laws were adopted that are designed to improve people’s lives and the investment climate. I would like to mention the tariff unification law as the most important development. We have created four new free ports, improved the mechanism for regional investment projects and made the decision to provide people one hectare of land free of charge.

This work is continuing. We have 11 draft laws pending this year, including a bill facilitating the issuance of visas to enter the free port of Vladivostok, 22 Government acts, including such comprehensive ones as the development of Komsomolsk-on-Amur – that is with regard to legislative activity.

On the practical level, 24 new enterprises opened and over 1,000 jobs were created last year within the framework of state support mechanisms. Five priority development territories and four new free ports were created. The total number of investment projects underway now is nearing 500.

Mr. President, you made a critical comment at a Security Council meeting about the need to pay more attention to high-tech projects.

Vladimir Putin:

It was not criticism. I believe it’s what we should do.

Yury Trutnev:

We are very attentive to your comments.

We have analysed the situation. At present, high-tech projects account for 24 percent of all projects implemented in the Far East in terms of investment volume. We have a list. We understand that this is not enough. We are currently working with the Far East Development Fund and the Russian Venture Company to create a new instrument that will help support the development and introduction of new technology in the Far East. We expect to finalise this instrument in the first quarter of the new year and report to you.

Projects that were frozen are slowly beginning to get off the ground again. This includes the Nizhneleninskoye-Tongjiang bridge. We will put it into operation in June 2018. Work is in full swing. All the required financing has been provided. Work got underway on the construction of the Blagoveshchensk –Heihe bridge. The Elga coal project is being revived. On your instructions, work is in progress to build housing for people who will work at the Zvezda shipyard. Financing was provided by the Far East Development Fund at an annual interest rate of 4.5 percent. The Kimkano-Sutarsky mining and processing works has been put into operation. There were also some problems there, but now everything is running smoothly.

One of our major responsibilities this year is probably related to the construction of infrastructure for priority development territories and investment projects. Work is underway at 107 sites simultaneously. Over 500 kilometres of power transmission lines, about 300 kilometres of railway lines, motorways, water pipelines and essential infrastructure are being built. We are convinced that this infrastructure will not only help the projects that are already in progress but will also create conditions for the implementation of new projects.

Now regarding the plan for 2017. In 2017, we will open about 50 new enterprises. In all, within the framework of new instruments, there will be 76. In addition, more than 2,000 jobs will be created. We put the number of investment project at 900 by the end of year.

We are preparing for the Third Eastern Economic Forum. We very much hope that political dialogue will also continue there. We are counting on your participation, Mr President.

We are continuing to work on the One Hectare initiative. So far, we have received over 30,000 applications. Ten days from now, starting February 1, it will launch on the entire territory of the Russian Federation. Interest is very high, and we are doing our best to properly ensure this interest. We believe we need to create the proper instruments to support the people who have received this land. Forty-seven percent of the people who received land are saying that they don’t have sufficient access to financial resources. All they need is a loan.


Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Trutnev, what about the demographics? How does the process look?

Yury Trutnev:

The current demographics are the best they have been in the past 25 years. The out-migration is down, but it is still there. Mr President, I think we will completely resolve this issue in 2018. In 2017, we will be close to resolving it.


Vladimir Putin:

We were planning – you know how – to resolve tariff issues in certain regions of the Russian Far East.

Yury Trutnev:

The law was passed, and the Ministry of Energy and RusHydro are now developing a mechanism to make it happen. This will probably take about three months, but we will recalculate the amounts so that people can start enjoying the benefits provided by the law beginning early this year already. In accordance with your decision, the tariff will be set at the national average throughout the Far East.

Vladimir Putin:

The average for Russia is probably about…

Yury Trutnev:

3.19 [rubles per 1 kilowatt-hour].

Vladimir Putin:

Good.

Why does it take so long, three months?

Yury Trutnev:

Mr. President, this is a fairly complicated mechanism. I am monitoring this work, because we must provide subsidies to all energy suppliers. We need to make sure that the money effectively reaches the intended recipients without any cheating or other associated problems.

Vladimir Putin:

Ok.

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Putin.BLOG - PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin with Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev.
Vladimir Putin and Yury Trutnev.

Vladimir Putin. Meeting with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.

The CEO of Gazprom reported to the President Putin on the company’s performance in 2016.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Miller, tell me about the company’s 2016 performance results and your plans for this year.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller:

Mr. President, in 2016 Gazprom produced a little over 419 billion cubic metres of gas. We delivered 2.3 percent more gas to the domestic market than over the previous year. I would like to note that the sectors of the Russian economy that required larger supplies were such fundamental industries as the power industry. Household gas supplies have increased by 5.7 percent. The growing energy consumption and, particularly, gas consumption are an indicator of the economic growth in the country in 2016.

We have achieved record-breaking figures in gas exports to non-CIS states. In 2016, total supplies amounted to almost 180 billion cubic metres, with a 12.5 percent increase compared to 2015. These are historic figures. We have never seen such results in the Soviet Union or post-Soviet Russia. Gazprom’s share in the European gas market has increased by 3 percent to 34 percent over just one year.

Our number one market, Germany, showed the highest growth in absolute figures. With an increase of 4.5 billion cubic metres, we delivered a total of 49.8 billion (10 percent more).

We continue to post record numbers even now, at the beginning of this year. In the past two weeks, we have achieved a steady supply of over 600 million cubic metres daily to non-CIS countries. Mr President, yesterday, on January 19, we set a new daily record of 627.2 million cubic metres of gas supplied to non-CIS countries. This is unprecedented.

The Nord Stream main pipeline is operating to its full capacity. For over ten days, we have been transporting 167.4 million cubic metres, which is 11.1 percent more than its design capacity.

We tested the pipeline, received technical verification, and the current capacity is even higher than the projected one. No doubt, this means that the Nord Stream 2 project is in demand by consumers, and they vote for it.

Gas supplies to Russian consumers this winter have been stable. By the start of the autumn-winter period, Gazprom pumped the maximum possible volume of 72.1 billion cubic metres of gas. The daily output is the maximum in the history of the gas industry, amounting to 801.3 million cubic metres of gas. At the same time, average temperatures during the October, November and December were really low, below normal.

But we have not been hitting the maximum peak volume of pumping, including the extraction and selection of gas from underground storage facilities. We have good reserves: our annual production capacity exceeds the average annual output by 150 billion cubic metres of gas.

In 2016 we continued to carry out your instruction under the gas infrastructure development programme. Over 1,800 kilometres of gas pipelines were built, gas infrastructure was built in over 270 towns and villages, and as of January 1, 2017, the programme is 67.2 percent complete. We will continue this work in 2017.

Vladimir Putin:

What are the plans for building gas infrastructure in the country?

Alexei Miller:

We plan to maintain the same numbers. Last year, we invested 25 billion rubles in the gas infrastructure development programme. In fact, we can allocate more money, as we invested 27, 29 and 30 billion rubles in the past. Of course, this depends on the Russian regions, as the gas infrastructure development programme is implemented as part of synchronisation programmes.

Currently, we are finishing up our work to coordinate the programme for 2020 with the Russian regions. The figures will at least remain the same as in 2016. Hopefully, they will increase.

Vladimir Putin:

I would like to congratulate you once again on the Bovanenkovo project. It was a big job and the results have been very good.

Alexei Miller:

Thank you very much, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin:

The work was started seven years ago, in 2009, after the Russian Government resolution was signed.

Alexei Miller:

For these seven years, we have gradually increased the volume of production at the Bovanenkovo field. As you know, the first gas supplies began in 2012 and amounted to only 4.9 billion cubic metres of gas. The Bovanenkovo – Ukhta gas pipeline was built. We gradually increased our production capacity and now we extract 264 million cubic metres per day at one field.

We will continue or work and create Bovanenkovo gas field no. 3 by 2019 and will extract 115 billion cubic metres of gas per year by 2022.

The Yamal gas extraction centre is becoming the main one in Russia. The Bovanenkovo gas field accounts for 4.9 trillion cubic metres of gas. As I reported to you, the field will be used for the next 70 years in accordance with the extraction plan.

In accordance with the plan to synchronise extraction and transport capacities, the Bovanenkovo – Ukhta 2 gas pipeline was put into operation. A critically important point is that the streaming scheme of gas supplies to the Russian regions is changing: the northern corridor is becoming the main one for supplying gas to the European part of the country, and the Bovanenkovo – Ukhta gas pipeline is becoming part of the new main route to supply Yamal gas across the Baltic to Germany.

As for our obligations to create transport capacities and a resource base for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, we are meeting these obligations on time.

Vladimir Putin:

Good.


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Vladimir Putin and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.
Vladimir Putin and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.
Vladimir Putin. Meeting with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.
Vladimir Putin. Meeting with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.
Gazprom CEO, Alexei Miller.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.

Vladimir Putin. Meeting with Mintimer Shaimiyev.

Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev met with First President of Tatarstan, State Adviser of the Republic of Tatarstan and Chairman of the Regional Foundation for Rebuilding the Republic of Tatarstan’s Historical and Cultural Monuments Mintimer Shaimiyev on the eve of his 80th birthday.


Mr. Putin thanked Mr. Shaimiyev for his collaboration over past years and for his active efforts to study and preserve the Russian and Tatar cultural and historical heritage.

The President presented Mr. Shaimiyev with a map of ancient Tartary made by 17th century Dutch cartographer Willem Blaeu.

“I would like to thank you for working together over these past years and for all you have been doing recently, including to study our common culture and history”, Mr. Putin said. “This is very important work, perhaps one of the most important tasks we have before us”.

Mr. Shaimiyev spoke of the work of the foundation he heads to rebuild the Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of Our Lady in Tatarstan’s capital, and to build the Bulgar Islamic Academy.

A ceremony to lay the cornerstone and place a capsule in the foundation of the renovated cathedral took place in 2016, attended by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill. The project will see the reconstruction of the original cathedral, destroyed in 1932, which will become the base for rebuilding the Kazan Virgin Monastery.


The Bulgar Islamic Academy (located in the town of Bolgar) will be completed in the spring of 2017 and aims to continue the traditions of Tatarstan’s theological heritage and become one of the country’s leading religious, educational and spiritual centres.


Putin.BLOG - PHOTO:
Vladimir Putin. Meeting with Mintimer Shaimiyev.
Vladimir Putin presented Mintimer Shaimiyev with a map of ancient Tartary by 17th century Dutch cartographer Willem Blaeu.
Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Medvedev, Mintimer Shaimiyev.
Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev met with First President of Tatarstan, State Adviser of the Republic of Tatarstan and Chairman of the Regional Foundation for Rebuilding the Republic of Tatarstan’s Historical and Cultural Monuments Mintimer Shaimiyev on the eve of his 80th birthday
Vladimir Putin, Dmity Medvedev, Mintimer Shaimiyev. Moscow, Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin, Dmity Medvedev, Mintimer Shaimiyev. Moscow, Kremlin.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Telephone conversation with Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande.

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel and President of the French Republic Francois Hollande.


The discussion dealt with progress toward implementing the Minsk agreements, including the outcome of the Normandy format summit in Berlin on October 19, 2016. Dissatisfaction was expressed with the general situation surrounding the settlement of the Ukraine crisis. In particular, the deterioration of the situation along the contact line in Donbass was noted, as well as the inadequate results of the Contact Group’s efforts.
There was an emphasis on the importance of stepping up joint efforts to de-escalate tensions in southeastern Ukraine and ensuring consistent implementation of the Minsk-2 provisions, including an ”all for all“ exchange of detained persons as soon as possible.
It was agreed to give an additional impetus to the Normandy format activities. In this regard, plans are in place to hold a series of meetings at various levels in the near future.
President Putin briefed his colleagues on steps to implement the Russian-Turkish-Iranian agreements on a ceasefire in Syria and to prepare a meeting with the representatives of Damascus and the opposition to be held in Astana on January 23.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53747

Putin.BLOG - PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande.
Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Vladimir Putin. Meeting on economic issues.

Vladimir Putin held a meeting on economic issues.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon colleagues.

We hold regular meetings in this format. True, I invited Alexei Kudrin to join us today, as he is drafting a programme for our future economic development.

This is our first meeting this year. I hope we will have the chance to compare notes, assess where the country’s economy stands today, and the problems before us, as well as what we need to do in the different agencies, working within their areas of responsibility – the Government, the Central Bank, and the Presidential Executive Office – and discuss what we need to do to ensure economic growth.

We are aware of the positive trends that emerged at the end of last year. At the same time, though, we must recognise that these trends are unstable and we need to decide what is most important to consolidate them.

In this respect, I would like to stress that the most important task is undoubtedly maintaining general macroeconomic stability. We must preserve the stability of our state finances, keep inflation and unemployment at acceptably low levels, and ensure response measures for potential risks. We will discuss this today as well.

At the same time, I would like to stress that we must provide new stimulus for developing the economy and support small and medium businesses, particularly through financial instruments for supporting business initiatives and bringing in investment. We need private investment, and we should not forget about state investment either. By private investment, we mean both Russian and foreign investment.

Let us have a good calm discussion on all of these different matters now.

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Putin.BLOG - PHOTO:

Секретарша, та самая женщина, убившая экономику РФ.
The woman who destroyed Russian Economics.

Vladimir Putin meeting on economic issues.
Vladimir Putin meeting on economic issues.

Launch of Bovanenkovo-Ukhta 2 gas pipeline and Zapolyarye-Purpe and Kuyumba-Taishet oil pipelines.

Vladimir Putin via videoconference launched the Bovanenkovo-Ukhta 2 gas pipeline and the Zapolyarye-Purpe and Kuyumba-Taishet oil pipelines.


The Bovanenkovo oil and gas condensate field developed by Gazprom is the biggest on the Yamal Peninsula.

Transneft’s new oil pipelines will make it possible to ship oil from new fields in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District and Krasnoyarsk Territory.

Also taking part in the launching ceremony of the new facilities were Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee Alexei Miller and President of Transneft Nikolai Tokarev.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: 

Good afternoon, friends.

We have a good day today, filled with positive events. We continue developing Russia’s pipeline transportation system. I believe that not only professionals but also people perhaps far from the energy sector are well aware that the facilities we are launching today are not just pipelines, but complicated, large-scale industrial facilities.

Let me add that we are bringing online today three large industrial facilities – the Zapolyarye-Purpe and Kuyumba-Taishet oil pipelines and the second leg of the Bovanenkovo-Ukhta gas pipeline.

Their launch will substantially expand our oil and gas sector’s possibilities and will have tangible benefits for the entire Russian economy. This is indisputable. What is particularly important is that they will contribute to the regions’ development as well.

I would like to thank everyone who took part in these important, large-scale projects. Obviously, as we all know, the work was carried out in difficult, if not severe natural and climatic conditions. New technological and technical solutions were used in the construction process, our most advanced Russian-made equipment was used, and the projects meet the strictest environmental standards and comply with all environmental norms.

Overall, these projects were carried out to the highest professional standards. I hope very much that you and your teams will continue to work just as responsibly and with the same positive results.

There is still a lot of work ahead. Transneft has projects to build the second legs of these new facilities. There are also plans ahead to develop and bring into operation promising new oil and gas fields, continue developing a modern pipeline system and concentrate on establishing high-tech refining and processing facilities.

Comprehensive resolution of these tasks is decisive for strengthening Russia’s energy security and continuing the work to connect all regions to the gas network. Of course, it will also contribute to reliable, guaranteed compliance with commitments under export contracts.

Let me conclude by thanking once again the large teams of Gazprom and Transneft for their work. I would like to congratulate you on your achievements.

I wish you good health and success. I hope that your teams will efficiently resolve the immediate and mid-term tasks facing them.

I give the floor to Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee Alexei Miller.

Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee Alexei Miller:

Mr. President, we are speaking today from the Bovanenkovo field gas compressor centre, at latitude 70 degrees North.

The launch of new capacity at the Bovanenkovo field at our new gas production base in Yamal, and of the mainline Bovanenkovo-Ukhta 2 gas pipeline play a crucial part in developing Russia’s gas sector over the coming decades. The Bovanenkovo field’s reserves come to 4.9 trillion cubic metres of gas. The project for the field’s development has made provisions for its operation until 2087, over the next 70 years.

Today, we are bringing on two 160-megawatt booster stations and 88 development wells. The Bovanenkovo-Ukhta 2 mainline gas pipeline is 1,265 kilometres long. This was one of the biggest and most complex gas transportation projects in the Russian gas sector’s history. More than 450 kilometres of gas pipeline were laid in the harsh natural and geological conditions of the Far North. At the same time, this pipeline is one of the most modern mainline gas pipelines in the world. It was built in compliance with the most stringent environmental and technical demands and was designed for a working pressure of 120 atmospheres. The launch of these new facilities today will make it possible to deliver 264 million cubic metres of Yamal gas a day into the country’s unified gas network.

Also very important is that the development of the Yamal gas producing centre and expansion of the northern gas transport corridor will change the gas supply flows to consumers in Russia and on the export markets. The northern gas transportation corridor will become the main supply route for shipping gas to regions in European Russia, getting more locations connected to the gas supply network and boosting socioeconomic development. At the same time, the Bovanenkovo-Ukhta 2 gas pipeline and the northern gas transportation corridor are part of the new export route taking Russian gas to Europe from Yamal across the Baltic Sea to Germany using the Nord Stream 2 project, which is progressing according to schedule.

Mr. President, I suggest we watch this brief presentation of the new projects.

Alexei Miller:

Mr. President, we have the Gazprom Transgaz Ukhta dispatch centre on the line. They are the ones responsible for operating the Bovanenkovo-Ukhta and Bovanenkovo-Ukhta 2 mainline gas pipelines. I would like the dispatch centre duty operator to report on the pipeline’s work.

Ivan Kaplin:

Head of the dispatch service Ivan Kaplin reporting. All systems are working as normal. Pressure in the pipelines is 120 atmospheres, and gas is coming through at a rate of 264 million cubic metres a day.

Alexei Miller:

Mr. President, delivery of Yamal gas to the Bovanenkovo-Ukhta 2 mainline gas pipeline has begun.

Vladimir Putin:

Congratulations!

Mr. Tokarev, you have the floor.

Chairman of the Board and President of Transneft Nikolai Tokarev:

Good afternoon Mr. President.

I am speaking from the Transneft central dispatch office, and we have on the line the oil pumping stations and control centres of the Zapolyarye-Purpe and Kuyumba-Taishet oil pipelines.

In accordance with the Government resolution, Transneft has completed these two major oil pipeline projects – the Zapolyarye-Purpe and Kuyumba-Taishet pipelines.

Essentially, the Zapolyarye-Purpe pipeline is the final stage in the unified Zapolyarye-Purpe-Samotlor oil pipeline system, which is almost 1,000 kilometres long. The Zapolyarye-Purpe pipeline really is unique in that it was built in extreme climatic conditions and there was no previous experience in the world of building such facilities in these conditions.

More than 8,000 specialists took part in the project and more than 4,000 pieces of heavy machinery were engaged. We used only Russian-made equipment. The group of specialists at Transneft who developed the engineering and technical solutions used in the project were awarded the State Prize by the Government, and 22 of their developments have received international patents.

We have resolved important production tasks and opened up access for the oil workers to rich oil fields, and at the same time, we also took care of social issues. We built 16,000 square metres of housing, created 1,500 new jobs, built 7 bridges, and energy facilities, while budgets at different levels have received around 3 billion in taxes.

Along with the Zapolyarye-Purpe pipeline, the Kuyumba-Taishet is becoming equally important because it opens access for the oil producers to a rich oil production region.

We have created 800 new jobs and built 11,000 square metres of housing, social infrastructure facilities such as hospitals, schools, kindergartens and sports facilities, and energy sector facilities. The project has brought 1.5 billion rubles in tax revenue to the budgets at different levels.

Mr. President, I would like to present a brief video on the Kuyumba-Taishet and Zapolyarye-Purpe projects.

Nikolai Tokarev:

Mr. President, with your permission, we will check readiness and launch the oil pipeline’s operation.

Vladimir Putin:

Go ahead.

Nikolai Tokarev:

Transneft-Siberia, is the oil pipeline ready to begin operation?

Viktor Bronnikov:

Good afternoon.

General Director of Transneft-Siberia Viktor Bronnikov reporting. We are at the mainline oil pumping station on the Zapolyarye-Purpe oil pipeline, located in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District.

Construction of the mainline oil pipeline’s facilities has been completed. Oil is in the system and comprehensive test runs have been conducted. We have received the permits for operation to begin. The Zapolyarye-Purpe mainline oil pipeline is ready to start operation.

Operator of the Zapolyarye main oil pumping station, launch the oil pipeline’s operation.

Operator of the Purpe oil pumping station, report on oil coming into the tank farm.

Dispatcher: This is Purpe oil pumping station on the line. The oil pipeline has started operation. The parameters are normal. Oil is coming into the Purpe oil reservoirs.

Nikolai Tokarev:

Thank you, Transneft-Siberia.

Transneft-Vostok, is the oil pipeline ready to start operation?

Alexander Puzikov:

Good afternoon.

General Director of Transneft-Vostok Alexander Puzikov reporting.

I am speaking from mainline oil pumping station No 2 on the Kuyumba-Taishet pipeline, located in Krasnoyarsk Territory.

Construction of the mainline oil pipeline’s facilities has been completed. Oil is in the system and comprehensive test runs have been conducted. We have received the permits for operation to begin. The Kuyumba-Taishet mainline oil pipeline is ready to start operation.

Operator at oil pumping station No 2, start the oil pipeline.

Operator at Taishet oil pumping station, report on oil coming into the reservoirs.

Dispatcher:

This is oil pumping station Taishet on the line. The oil pipeline has started operation. The parameters are normal. Oil is coming into the reservoirs.

Vladimir Putin:

My congratulations.

Colleagues, a Government resolution on Gazprom was approved in 2009 and on Transneft in 2012.

We are well aware of what is happening on the global energy markets. However, we all see clearly that energy demand will grow, both in Russia as the economy develops, and around the world, and this will increase demand for hydrocarbon resources.

In order to be ready for the market’s expansion, we need to take timely investment decisions, as we did for these projects. As we see, it took 7 years to carry out one project and 4–5 years to complete the other. In our future planning, we therefore need to be very careful not only about responding to events on the global energy markets, but also about keeping up with developments in our own economy so as to avoid any future bottlenecks due to insufficient energy resources or lack of necessary infrastructure.

I congratulate you on today’s events and I hope that your companies’ plans will meet these demands and that we will see timely decisions taken in coordination with the Government.

I congratulate you all and your teams, and wish you further success.

Thank you. All the best.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53745

Putin.BLOG - PHOTO:


Vladimir Putin videoconference new oil and gas pipelines.
Vladimir Putin via videoconference launched the Bovanenkovo-Ukhta 2 gas pipeline and the Zapolyarye-Purpe and Kuyumba-Taishet oil pipelines.

Vladimir Putin via videoconference launched new gas and oil pipelines.
President Putin via videoconference launched new gas and oil pipelines.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Joint news conference with Presidents of Moldova and Russia.

Vladimir Putin and Igor Dodon gave a joint news conference following the Russia-Moldova talks.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin: 

Mr. President, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

Our talks with the Moldovan President were held in a constructive and I would also say friendly atmosphere. They were concrete and covered issues of mutual interest.

We have discussed the entire range of bilateral issues first in a narrow format and then in the presence of the heads of Russian ministries and agencies. We have outlined the goals and tasks for the further development of Russian-Moldovan cooperation.

We also held a detailed discussion of regional issues. I welcome our partners’ intention to further develop bilateral relations. I would like to say that Moldova is an important partner of Russia in the post-Soviet space. Russia has always stood firmly for maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the republic and its non-aligned and neutral status.

This year Russia and Moldova will mark 25 years since the establishment of  diplomatic relations. Mr. President and I have agreed that we will celebrate this event.

Our talks focused on the development of mutual trade. Unfortunately, our bilateral trade has decreased by more than 50 percent in the past few years, largely due to objective factors such as fluctuating prices of raw materials. Also, we must say that Moldova’s mutually beneficial ties with Russia deteriorated due to attempts to boost the republic’s rapprochement with the European Union.

As a result, Moldovan goods have almost lost their traditional place in Russia and have not gained a foothold in other markets. On the contrary, statistics show that Moldova’s trade with the EU countries has declined.

The bilateral intergovernmental commission is now working to remedy this situation. During a recent meeting, it has adopted a joint action plan for 2016–2017, which includes practical steps to bolster mutual investments and trade, including in industry, high technologies and agriculture.

Incidentally, Russia is not opposed to Moldova developing relations with its partners anywhere, including Europe, as we pointed out at the talks with the Moldovan President. However, we would like this joint work to proceed in a coordinated manner, so as not to damage what we have created but to help us move forward, improving our economies, the social sector and the quality of life for our people.

The energy sector is a key aspect of Russian-Moldovan economic cooperation. Russia regularly provides Moldova with oil and gas and completely meets the country’s demand for natural gas. After the talks, we instructed experts to draft proposals on addressing issues in this area.

Russia and Moldova have substantial experience of inter-regional cooperation. Sixty-seven Russian regions maintain contacts with their Moldovan partners. Moscow, St Petersburg, Belgorod and Bryansk regions lead the way in this respect. Russian regions are also actively expanding their ties with Gagauzia.

We have agreed to take action for expanding bilateral cooperation in humanitarian areas.

Naturally, we discussed the Transnistria peace settlement in great detail. Some improvements in the negotiating process that manifested themselves in 2016 will certainly help enhance trust between the parties to the conflict. It is necessary to search for a mutually acceptable state legislative model for resolving the conflict on the basis of generally recognised norms of international law. As before, Russia is ready to continue acting as mediator and to guarantee compliance with agreements that may be reached by the parties.

During our talks, we devoted attention to Eurasian integration processes. As the incumbent CIS president, Russia praises the desire of the President of Moldova to expand Moldova’s involvement in the work of CIS organisations.

I know that Mr. President has met with Tigran Sargsyan, chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s Board, earlier today. I hope very much that we will also be able to reach certain agreements in this area, so as to remove all possible concerns in the economic sphere and to expand the base of our cooperation.

In conclusion, I would like to thank President of the Republic of Moldova Mr. Dodon and all our Moldovan colleagues for the detailed and fruitful exchange of opinions. I am confident that the latest talks will help expand equitable Russian-Moldovan cooperation.

Thank you for your attention.


President of Moldova Igor Dodon: 

Mr. President, friends,

Today is a historic day for Moldovan-Russian relations. Unfortunately, the past seven years were not the best period in our relations, which date back hundreds of years. As we know, strategic partnership with the Russian Federation has disappeared from the majority of government documents and strategies of the Republic of Moldova.

This is the first visit by a Moldovan President in the past nine years. Until now, Moldovan leaders did not come to Russia but made official visits to Brussels.

Last year Moldovan citizens cast their votes for the values the President of Moldova will uphold. They opted for maintaining our statehood and neutrality, for reintegration, for settling the Transnistrian issue and preserving our traditional Orthodox Christian values. These three aspects are of fundamental significance and cannot be protected or promoted outside strategic partnership with the Russian Federation.

I would like the citizens of Russia to know clearly without any doubt that the majority of Moldovans want to be friends with Russia, regardless of what some politicians may claim. We are set for strategic partnership with Russia, and I am convinced that we will turn a new page in our bilateral relations today, the goal we have discussed in detail during my visit.

Of course, we discussed very many issues that have accumulated over the past years. One of them concerns trade. We understand that it will be difficult to resolve all problems in our bilateral trade while retaining the free trade agreements we have with other countries, including the EU, but we have agreed to move towards this goal.

Of course, there is the issue of our migrants. Almost 500,000 Moldovan citizens officially work in the Russian Federation, several tens of thousands are in Moldova and cannot enter Russia due to various administrative violations. This issue was among those discussed. We hope that in the very near future a solution for our citizens can be found.

Transnistria is another very important issue. Transnistria is a part of the Republic of Moldova. For the first time in the past nine years, I paid a visit to the left bank, Transnistria. Earlier this year, also for the first time in the past nine years, there was a meeting between the leaders of the right and left bank. This produced a concrete result: the Joint Control Commission started working.

I do hope that with the active involvement of our strategic partners from the Russian Federation, we will make progress in solving the problems that our people face on both banks of the Dniester.

We learned our lessons from the mistakes of the early 2000s when it comes to the Transnistria issue and I am certain that we will not repeat those mistakes again and will move forward.

Therefore, Mr. President, our citizens have great expectations and I am sure they are justified. I hope that from now on, the citizens of Moldova will feel that we have resumed our friendly strategic relations.

Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: 

Thank you.

Question: Mr. Putin, I have a question for you. A lot of things are happening in Moldova for the first time now. We had a nationwide presidential election for the first time. Also for the first time since 2008, as someone mentioned today, we had a meeting at this level here in the Kremlin. And a meeting of the two leaders, the newly elected president and the Transnistrian leader took place on the right bank, in the town of Bendery, also for the first time.

Reasonable political forces in Moldova now understand that improving the protracted situation in the Transnistrian region is impossible without the active participation of Russia. In your view, what might happen and how, and what could drive this process? Perhaps, the revival of the ”Kozak plan,“ or some other road map? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: 

First of all, I want to say that we welcome the courage showed by the newly elected President Igor Dodon, who travelled to Transnistria, because it is definitely a demonstration of the desire to restore not only relations, but also the country’s territorial integrity. It is also a clear manifestation of respect for the people who live in Transnistria. I think that this will create proper conditions for the start of constructive and serious talks on the Transnistrian settlement.

You know, in 2003, we came as close as ever to reaching a final settlement to this issue. Unfortunately, the Moldovan authorities abruptly changed their mind then, and the plan drafted by all the parties to this process fell through. I hope very much that we will return to this issue not in words but in deeds, and find a compromise solution taking into account the interests of all the people who live in that region. If such a compromise is found – and it can be found only among Moldova and Transnistria – we will definitely act as guarantors of the fulfilment of all agreements that are made.

Question: I have a question for both of you.

I will continue the theme of the many firsts today – not only the first visit or the first high-level talks. As we know, the Russian-Moldovan Intergovernmental Commission met recently for the first time in four years.

Based on the results of today's talks, do you think it will be possible to move toward restoring intensive cooperation? Will it be possible to restore economic cooperation between Russia and Moldova? For example, will Russia open its market to Moldova? And if so, when can it happen? Thank you.


Vladimir Putin:

I think we will eventually get there. We must proceed from realities, though, including the reality of Moldovan politics. We know the competence of the Moldovan Government, the competence of the President. Some issues are not within the President’s competence according to the country’s constitution. But we will work with the Government and with the President, we are ready for it. I already mentioned this in my opening remarks.

Much will depend on how Moldova will build its relations with the European Union, I mean the association agreement between Moldova and the European Union that has been signed and entered into force. There are certain risks for us, similar to the risks that we faced after a similar document was signed between Ukraine and the European Union. We said so openly and quite convincingly, I believe. We always said so to our partners in the CIS countries, and to our European partners. Much can and should be done in the trilateral format, of course, if our European friends and our partners (Moldova, I mean) are willing to do so. Many plants in Moldova have reopened already, and their products are being delivered to the Russian market.

We agreed that a number of plants will be further inspected by relevant Russian agencies, and I do not rule out, actually I am almost certain that the number of companies allowed to supply products to the Russian market will increase.

The same applies to labour migration issues. Mr. Dodon has raised this issue today in a variety of formats. Well, what can I say? Moldova is certainly less of a threat in terms of undesirable migrants infiltrating Russia than other areas, bearing in mind a number of factors that the President of Moldova just mentioned. We will think about how to resolve this problem, considering that many Moldovans are really economically dependent on working in Russia. We understand this and are willing to help them. I think a solution will be found.

Igor Dodon:

Regarding the resumption of full-scale economic cooperation, I will say this. Of course, we would like it here and now but we understand that Moscow was not built in a day. We understand that what was destroyed over years cannot be restored overnight.

We are pragmatists and we understand that there is an association agreement with the European Union. By the way, I have repeatedly come out against signing the agreement. I believe that the agreement has done Moldova no good. We have lost the Russian market and, strangely enough, our exports to the EU have also fallen. In other words, we have received nothing from signing the agreement. And I cannot rule out that after the next parliamentary election, this will be the position of the parliamentary majority and I will support that position. There is the Socialist Party and I hope they will get a parliamentary majority and the agreement will be repealed.

Regarding cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union, it is very important. Mr Putin has spoken about this. In the morning I had a meeting with the leadership of the Eurasian Economic Commission. Today I put forward an initiative to sign a framework memorandum on cooperation with the EAEU. We agreed to begin consultations within the next few weeks and sign this memorandum in the next few months. It is not at odds with the agreements that Moldova has signed at this point with other partners, but it is the first step toward rapprochement.

I asked Mr. Putin to consider the possibility of Moldova getting observer status in the Eurasian Economic Commission. I believe this is a good step for us to see what needs to be done and how, as well as to gather information from both sides.

Insofar as trade and economic ties are concerned, I believe we are at the beginning of our path. At this stage, enterprises from Transnistria, Gagauzia, and dozens of companies from the rest of Moldova are already supplying their goods to the Russian market. I hope that in the next several weeks (we have discussed this) the list will be expanded for our manufacturers to return to the Russian market.

However, the full-scale opening of the market should, of course, be considered also within the framework of the agreements that Moldova has signed with other participants. In early February I will visit Brussels and naturally we will talk about this with our EU partners, citing figures. Two years have passed and so far, there have been no results either in the economy or in other sectors. We will have to decide what to do next.

Question: I have a question for Mr. Putin. Labour migration is a key concern in Moldovan society. Do today's talks provide any hope for resolving this issue? What specific steps is Russia prepared to make in order to positively resolve the migration issue?

Vladimir Putin:

I have just mentioned this. I can only repeat what I said earlier.

About half a million people from Moldova work in Russia. We don’t have any major issues with the people who come to work in Russia from Moldova. About 50,000 Moldovans can’t enter the territory of Russia because they violated certain laws. There will not be a positive outcome for those who have committed felonies. For all others, we will seek a solution. I repeat: I am confident that we will find one.

We need to build such relations with a wide range of our partners. This does not apply to Moldova, because if we make certain decisions with regard to Moldova, we will have to make decisions with respect to other countries. In this sense, Moldova is hostage to our relations with other countries, but I repeat: we have no problem with Moldova and Moldovans of all ethnicities who come to Russia. I am referring to a variety of favourable factors. We need to do more work on this issue.

We agreed that we will create a corresponding Security Council committee in Russia, and effectively it has already been created upon my instruction. In the course of today’s talks, the Deputy Interior Minister reported to us their plans for the near future. I just don’t want to get ahead of events, but I want to assure you that we will find a solution.

Question: Sorry, this is a bit off-topic for today’s meeting, but it is an international issue. I’m referring to the flare-up of American passions.

It is an important issue. How do you feel about the fact that Barack Obama, whose term will end in days, has introduced new anti-Russian sanctions, without waiting for the previous sanctions to expire? A bill is pending in Congress and if it is adopted, it will be more difficult for Trump to lift them if he so decides.

And another point. You have never commented on the report claiming that we in Russia gathered compromising materials on Trump, among other things, during his visit to Moscow. It has been alleged that he partied with prostitutes at a Moscow hotel. Is that true? Have you seen those files, videos, footage?

Continuing on the topic of America, some of Trump’s remarks have displeased Ms. Merkel and     Mr. Hollande, and America’s relationship with the EU is worsening. How do you feel about this?

Vladimir Putin: 

We have a news agency. It is called Life. Everyone is trying to prod us closer to life. (Laughter.)

You know, there is a category of people who leave without saying goodbye, out of respect for the situation that has evolved, so as not to upset anything. And then there are people who keep saying goodbye but don’t leave. I believe the outgoing administration belongs to the second category.

What are we seeing in the United States? We are seeing the continuation of an acute internal political struggle despite the fact that the presidential election is over and it ended in Mr Trump’s convincing victory. Nevertheless, in my opinion, several goals are being set in this struggle. Maybe there are more, but some of them are perfectly obvious.

The first is to undermine the legitimacy of the US president-elect. By the way, in this regard, I would like to point out that whether deliberately or not, these people are causing enormous damage to US interests. Simply enormous. The impression is that, after a practice run in Kiev, they are now ready to organise a Maidan in Washington to prevent Trump from taking office.

The second goal is to tie the new president’s hands as he works to fulfil the campaign promises he made to the American people both at home and abroad. Well, think, how can anything be done to improve Russian-US relations if red herrings such as interference by hackers in the election campaign are trotted out? Although to reiterate, hackers – whoever they are – did not compile anything; they did not make anything up; they only disclosed material. Or, especially, if Russian special services have some compromising material on the president-elect.

Look, I am not acquainted with Mr. Trump. I have never met him. I do not know what he will do in the international arena, so I have no reason either to attack him or criticise him for whatever reason or to defend him, no matter what. We will not even ask the Nobel Committee to give him a Nobel Prize for mathematics or physics or any other subject. I have absolutely no grounds for that. However, these leaks are obviously fabricated.

When Mr Trump came to Moscow a few years ago – I don’t remember exactly when – he was not a politician. We were unaware of his political ambitions. He was just a businessman to us, one of the wealthiest men in America. Does anyone think that our special services are chasing after every American billionaire? Of course not. It's nonsense. That’s my first point.

Second, concerning the allegation that Trump arrived in Moscow and the first thing he did was meet with Moscow prostitutes. First, he is an adult and, second, he has for many years sponsored beauty contests and had the chance to meet the world’s most beautiful women. Why would he run to a hotel to meet up with our girls of limited social responsibility? Although they are, of course, the best in the world. But I doubt that Trump fell for it.

Finally, there’s one more consideration. Prostitution is an ugly social phenomenon. Among other things, young women engage in it because they cannot make a decent living otherwise. To a great extent, the guilt lies with society and the state.

People who order these kinds of fabrications, which are now being used to smear the US President-elect, and use it to advance their political agenda are worse than prostitutes. They have no moral constraints at all. By the way, Russia is constantly dealing with such people, our opponents. The fact that such methods are being used against the President-elect of the United States is certainly unparalleled and has never happened before. This indicates the significant level of degradation among political elites in the West, including the United States.

But I very much hope that common sense will prevail. This applies to relations between the United States and its allies, including in Europe. After all, it is the current outgoing administration that has involved many European political leaders in the US domestic political fight. Today's problems are the result of these activities.

I am sure that major mutual interests will set things right. Of course, there may be nuances, and it might leave a bad aftertaste, but still things will fall into place eventually. By the same token, I am sure, we will eventually be able to return to normal state-to-state relations in the interests of both the peoples of Europe and the peoples of Russia and the United States, which will contribute to advancing the global economy, stabilising the international situation and providing security.


Igor Dodon:

Thank you very much.


Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

Putin.BLOG - PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin, Igor Dodon, Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin and Igor Dodon. News conference at Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin, Igor Dodon.
Presidents of Moldova and Russia. News conference at Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin and Igor Dodon.
Vladimir Putin and Igor Dodon. News conference at Kremlin.
Russian President. Vladimir Putin.
President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.
President of Moldova, Igor Dodon.
President of Moldova, Igor Dodon.



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Putin talks with President of Moldova Igor Dodon.

Vladimir Putin held talks with President of Moldova Igor Dodon in the Kremlin.

The talks focused on prospects for bilateral trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation and current regional issues, primarily a settlement in Transdniester.


***

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Dodon, colleagues,

I am happy to welcome you to Moscow.

Moldova is an important regional partner for Russia. Unfortunately, you and I know that relations between our countries have recently declined, as evidenced by falling trade, which has plunged almost 50 percent in the past few years.

However, I strongly hope that your first visit to Russia – in fact, it is your first foreign visit as President – will give a powerful boost to our interstate relations in all spheres.

My colleagues and I, all of us once again congratulate you on your election as the President of Moldova and on assuming office.

President of Moldova Igor Dodon:

Mr. Putin, colleagues,

First, thank you for your congratulations and the kind words you had for me late last year and for the past few years.

I certainly believe that our relations have entered a new era. Unfortunately, strategic partnership with the Russian Federation was not even mentioned in Moldovan strategic documents in the past seven years. But last year the people in Moldova voted for a new President and his programme. The majority of Moldovan residents voted for maintaining our statehood, for neutrality and strategic partnership with the Russian Federation, for settling the Transdniester issue and for preserving our traditional Orthodox Christian values. We strongly hope, and the Moldovan people hope, too, that 2017 will open a new era when we will be able to relaunch our strategic partnership in the main areas.

This is my first official visit in my new capacity and the first visit by a Moldovan President since 2008. None of the Moldovan leaders have made an official visit to Russia in the past nine years. Therefore, the majority of Moldovans, in fact, Moldova as a whole is following my visit closely, hoping that it will help settle the problems that have accumulated in my country.

Vladimir Putin:

Welcome.


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Putin.BLOG - PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin with Igor Dodon.
Vladimir Putin and Igor Dodon.

Vladimir Putin and Igor Dodon at Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin talks with President of Moldova Igor Dodon.

President of Russia and President of Moldova at Kremlin.
Meeting of the Presidents of Russia and Moldova at Kremlin.


Igor Dodon, President of Moldova.
Igor Dodon, President of Moldova.

Putin's meeting with Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov.

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov to discuss support measures for certain industrial sectors, in particular, for agricultural engineering.

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov to discuss support measures for certain industrial sectors, in particular, for agricultural engineering.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, Mr. Manturov.

You wanted to discuss the agricultural engineering sector. Please, go ahead.

Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov:

Mr. President, I would like to show you the information I have prepared. In 2008, the agricultural engineering sector was in a very serious predicament. You visited the Rostselmash enterprise in December. The plant was effectively standing idle at that moment and 2,000 people had been laid off.

Vladimir Putin:

Yes, I remember. The machinery was standing idle on the factory floor.

Denis Manturov:

There were 1,500 combine harvesters waiting in the warehouses and the workers had gone over to 3-day working week.

You decided then on systemic measures that changed the future not only of Rostselmash but that of the entire sector.

Vladimir Putin:

People said the sector was not very ‘market-oriented’.

Denis Manturov:

This was the case at that moment, Mr President, because the equipment and technology were developed during the Soviet era, but new technology and models have appeared since then and are competitive not only on the Russian market but on markets abroad too, and not only in neighbouring countries, but on markets further abroad, including North America.

We bought a business in Canada, and some models (Versatile) have had their production moved here and localised. They use engines from the plant you visited in Yaroslavl, YaMZ (Yaroslavl Motor Plant). This machinery is well adapted and suitable for use here and production has increased 2.5-fold over the last three years.

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Implementation of a package of systemic measures last year made it possible to support development of new models and produce new combine harvesters for grain and fodder, and new high-energy tractors from the Petersburgsky Traktorny Zavod (Petersburg Tractor Plant).

Vladimir Putin:

The sector posted good production growth results in 2016. What was the figure?

Denis Manturov:

The picture varies from one segment to another, but output was up by more than 30 percent for grain combine harvesters, more than 60 percent for combine harvesters for fodder, 60 percent for high-energy tractors, and 37 percent for trucks.

This positive trend has continued over the last three years. The Government accorded more than 11 billion rubles last year to support the sector by compensating for the discounts at which the agricultural machinery producers sell their goods to the farmers, and this made it possible to deliver 15,500 pieces of new machinery.

A preliminary decision has already been taken this year to allocate an additional 13.7 billion rubles to continue this programme that compensates for agricultural machinery discounts. We will also continue the programme to support research and development through the comprehensive investment projects and Industry Development Fund. This is all provided for in the government resolution.

Vladimir Putin:

This is part of resolution 1312?

Denis Manturov:

Yes, that’s right. The support through the comprehensive investment projects and the Industrial Development Fund will ensure production of new combine harvesters for grain and fodder, and we hope to use the export support measures that have been approved to develop our presence on markets abroad. We hope to double exports in this sector by 2018.

Vladimir Putin:

This is very good.

Denis Manturov:

We want to implement a similar programme for food processing machinery, building on the synergy effect we are seeing now in this sector and on the development we see in general now in the countryside.

We are still dependent on foreign suppliers for up to 87 percent of equipment in the food processing machinery sector. This year, we have decided for the first time to carry out a support programme in this sector. We will allocate 1 billion rubles for production of these goods and development of new models, and we hope for at least 25 percent growth this year.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Manturov, we met to discuss support measures for industry at the end of last year and reached agreement with the Finance Ministry on additional resources. What has been decided?

Denis Manturov:

The Government has decided to allocate 107.5 billion rubles this year for key economic sectors. These are above all the automotive industry, which will receive more than 60 billion rubles, including measures to support demand, preferential leasing, vehicle purchase loans at preferential conditions, and purchase of ambulances and school buses for the regions. Other priority sectors include agricultural machinery, as I said, which will receive 13.7 billion rubles. Then there is light industry, which also posted growth last year of more than 10 percent overall for the sewing and textiles segment, and around 16 percent for leather goods. Light industry will receive 2.2 billion. The food processing machinery sector will receive support for the first time with 1 billion rubles, and 2.5 billion rubles will be allocated for road construction machinery.

Vladimir Putin:

This sector had good results as it was in 2016.

Denis Manturov:

The problem is that enterprises are running at no more than 25 percent of their capacity at the moment. We hope that this comprehensive support will boost both research and development work and production and will help to promote Russian-made machinery on the markets.

Vladimir Putin:

Have you settled the total volume of support for the various sectors you mentioned?

Denis Manturov:

Yes, we have.

Vladimir Putin:

Including these additional resources?

Denis Manturov:

This 107.5 billion is a figure already approved by the Government. We will draft all needed laws and regulations to ensure that we provide systemic support throughout the year to industry, including by topping up the Industry Development Fund’s capitalisation by 17.4 billion rubles, and we will do this as last year, working according to a timetable approved with the Finance Ministry.

Vladimir Putin:

Good.

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Putin.BLOG - PHOTO:


Vladimir Putin with Denis Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade, Russian Federation.
Vladimir Putin meeting with Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov.
Denis Manturov with President Putin at Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin meeting Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov.
Vladimir Putin at the working meeting with Denis Manturov.