Friday, February 03, 2017

Meeting with Kamchatka Territory Governor Vladimir Ilyukhin.

Vladimir Putin had a meeting with Kamchatka Territory Governor Vladimir Ilyukhin. 

The discussion concerned the region’s socioeconomic situation, specifically, the development of the fishing industry and the fulfilment of the presidential executive orders of May 2012. The Governor informed the President about measures to improve seismic safety of residential buildings and public facilities in the region.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

We will cover the whole range of issues today but let’s start with seismic safety in construction.

Governor of Kamchatka Territory Vladimir Ilyukhin:

Mr. President, this programme was introduced in Kamchatka back in 2009 and has proved to be very effective. Since then, we have built and renovated some 200,000 square metres of housing. We have improved safety of 13 public facilities and built an entire new district, Petropavlovsky, with 35 high-rises. More than 1,500 families have moved into those buildings.

The programme is absolutely necessary. It expires this year, and we would like to ask for this programme to be extended. It is very important to us. As you know, Kamchatka lies in a very seismically active zone.

We started building safer residential housing not only in Petropavlovsk but also in the neighbouring cities such as Yelizovo. Overall, we have five programmes currently implemented across Kamchatka. We would like this programme to continue. I think it will benefit other regions as well.

We have very high hopes for it because we still have around 1,500 buildings that must be either reinforced or demolished and replaced by new construction.

Therefore, I want to ask you to issue the necessary instructions to the Construction Ministry, the Economic Development Ministry and the Finance Ministry in order to extend this programme in Kamchatka Territory.

Speaking about the general situation in the region, it is quite stable.

Vladimir Putin:

How about last year’s performance? What are the results?


Vladimir Ilyukhin:

Yes, I wanted to report on that.

There have been no failures as far as heating is concerned this season. There were some challenges, but all the services have been up to the task.

Last year’s results were quite positive. The region’s economy has been growing for several years now. In 2016, the industrial production index was equal to about 112 percent, which is a substantial figure.

Fixed capital investment totalled some 20 billion rubles last year, and this indicator has reached almost 180 billion rubles over the last five years.

Regarding the fishing industry, which is a key sector for the regional economy, in 2016 our fishermen caught more than one million tonnes of biological resources. For the last eight years, Kamchatka has been the leading Russian region in terms of catch volumes.

By the way, we have also achieved substantial results in the salmon segment with production at 230,000 tonnes, which is more than 50 percent of all salmon produced across the country.

Having said that, I would like to take this opportunity to convey to you the gratitude of our fishermen for taking the decision to ban drift netting, as this resulted in more salmon coming closer to the shores.

We are actively supporting and developing this industry. We invested some 17 billion rubles in developing on-shore production facilities, and built 16 new plants along the western and eastern coastlines. That goes to say that the fishing industry is willing to invest in this segment.

Vladimir Putin:

Are we talking about state-of-the-art facilities?

Vladimir Ilyukhin:

Absolutely, these are state-of-the-art facilities, the most advanced plants in Russia. The region is eager to attract and implement all the recent innovations.

Last year, the fishing industry invested about 1.5 billion rubles in upgrading plants and building new ones. This is a vibrant segment. I do hope that with support from the local government it will become a growth driver for the regional economy.

Vladimir Putin:

What about the social sector?


Vladimir Ilyukhin:

We are on track to meet all the criteria as per the presidential executive orders of May 2012, so everything is quite stable. Wages have declined, however.

In fact, we increased wages in accordance with the relevant norms, but the increase was eaten up by inflation. The overall purchasing power has decreased.

Nevertheless, if we look beyond statistics, there are other indicators that show us how people actually live. Kamchatka has a population of 315,000 people, while the number of registered vehicles stands at 211,000.


Vladimir Putin:

You should still keep an eye on these indicators. This year, you have the opportunity to not only regain your positions, but even improve them.

Vladimir Ilyukhin:

Yes, certainly.

<…>

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53809

PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin at the meeting with Kamchatka Territory Governor Vladimir Ilyukhin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kamchatka Teritory Governor Vladimir Ilyukhin.
Kamchatka Territory Governor Vladimir Ilyukhin in Kremlin.



Thursday, February 02, 2017

President Putin. Russian-Hungarian talks.

In Budapest, Vladimir Putin held talks with Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban.


Following the restricted attendance consultations, Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orban held a joint news conference, followed by talks involving members of the delegations.

The talks were focused on economic cooperation between Russia and Hungary and specific steps to boost trade and investment. The sides discussed expanding cooperation in high-tech industries and developing cultural and humanitarian contacts. Particular attention was paid to cooperation in the energy sector.

The discussion also touched on the international agenda, the situation in Ukraine and the Syrian crisis.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53805

PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orban. Hungary.
Vladimir Putin with Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Putin's meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

Vladimir Putin met with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and congratulated him on the anniversary of his enthronement.


The President thanked the Patriarch for his contribution to developing dialogue between church and state, and wished him further success in these endeavours.

Mr. Putin presented the Patriarch with a collection of 17 engravings, Mediaeval Fortresses and Monasteries of Russia, by Russian graphic artist and engraver Igor Zadera.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53803

PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin, Patriarch Kirill.
Vladimir Putin with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
Vladimir Putin, Patriarch Kirill.
The President presented the Patriarch with a collection of engravings, Mediaeval Fortresses and Monasteries of Russia, by Russian graphic artist and engraver Igor Zadera.

Vladimir Putin, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

President's meeting with Government members.

Vladimir Putin met with Government members to discuss possibilities for further developing treasury monitoring of budget spending, the situation with co-funded housing development, and a number of other current issues.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon colleagues.

Today, we will discuss the results of work and further development for treasury monitoring of budget spending. Before we start though, I would like to hear a few words on recent decisions, particularly on an issue that is very sensitive and painful for many people – co-funded housing construction projects.

We know there have been many problems, as well as numerous and justified complaints that the state authorities did not ensure sufficient oversight in this sector. But new decisions have been taken, and since the start of 2017, the rules have changed considerably for developers attracting household funds to finance construction.

I ask Mr. Men to give us some more details on this matter.

You have the floor.

Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities Mikhail Men:

Mr. President, colleagues,

The Government took a number of measures to act on the instruction you issued following the State Council meeting examining strategy in the construction sector. A number of changes were made to the law on participation in co-funded housing construction and came into force on January 1, 2017. These amendments aim to better protect people taking part in co-financing of apartment block construction projects.

One of the key changes is to set requirements regarding developers’ financial resources, namely, their charter capital, depending on the housing construction project’s area. The supervisory bodies in Russia's regions have gained new powers; they examine the situation, and without their report concluding that a developer meets the new law’s requirements, the developer cannot register a shared construction participation agreement and therefore cannot start raising money from the public.

The new law also makes important changes increasing the information transparency of developers working with citizens’ money. The law sets mandatory requirements regarding the content and accuracy of information disclosed. The law also regulates mechanisms for banking project financing for construction projects, involving the opening of accounts and escrow accounts for holding the funds of those taking part in co-funded construction projects.

Following your instructions after the State Council meeting, amendments were introduced and bylaws were passed to establish and begin the operation of a state compensation fund. Developers will make mandatory contributions to this fund of one percent of the shared construction participation agreement’s sum. If a developer goes bankrupt, money from the fund will be used to cover the problem building’s completion, or to repay the losses of those taking part in the project.

The Government has drafted additional amendments to a number of laws, which will be submitted soon to the State Duma, in order to ensure this state fund’s effective operation and establish a common mechanism for protecting shared construction participants’ rights exclusively through this compensation fund. I hope that our Duma colleagues will give these amendments their priority attention. We ask for your support on this. 

The fund began operation on January 1.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

In this context, there is a second question.

Housing mortgage loans have increased by around 30 percent compared to 2015–16. Overall, more than 6 million citizens have made use of housing mortgage loans to improve their housing conditions over 2005–2016. What measures do you plan to develop this process further?

First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov:

The Government is working on the mortgage issue, keeping in mind the target figures set by the Presidential Executive Order of May 7, 2012. The target was to have at least 815,000 new mortgage loans a year. We had a good year in 2014, with more than a million new mortgage loans. Then we went through a difficult year in 2015. The Government briefed you and got your support for including in the anti-crisis programme measures to subsidise interest rates of mortgage loans to buy newly constructed housing.

This programme was quite effective and some people even consider it one of the anti-crisis plan’s most effective measures. As regards our commitments, we think for now that total spending on this measure will not come to more than 17 billion rubles, with a total of 25 million square metres of new housing purchased.

Considering the low inflation we had in 2016, and seeing that the financial market has stabilised significantly now, the Government has decided not to continue this programme, because the commercial banks are already offering mortgage loans at 12 percent or less interest. Our goal under the anti-crisis plan was precisely to give borrowers a rate of not more than 12 percent. At the time when we took the decision on subsidised rates, banks were offering loans at 20 percent interest. There was practically no hope for such a product on the market.

The measure has fulfilled its task and we have already stopped it. We hope that over 2017, along with the drop in the key interest rate, Sberbank, VTB Bank and other commercial banks will also lower their rates and mortgages will become more affordable for the public.

As you noted, the mortgage loan portfolio grew in 2016, and we have reached the target figure – the statistics agency confirms a figure of 862,000 mortgage loans in 2016. We hope that the figure will pass the 1-million mark in 2017.

(Mr. Shuvalov went on to brief the meeting on the work of the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending, its cooperation with the Central Bank and commercial banks, and on measures to get housing onto the market).

Vladimir Putin:

We all know that today’s oil price is linked to plans to reduce oil production. Mr Novak, what is the situation with this production reduction plan?

Energy Minister Alexander Novak:

Mr. President, colleagues,

On December 10, 24 countries, the leading oil producers, reached an agreement on stabilising the situation on the oil market and the need to start reducing oil production as from January 1 by a total of around 1.8 million barrels a day. The OPEC countries (13 countries) account for 1.2 million barrels a day of this reduction, and the 11 non-OPEC countries for 558,000 barrels a day. Russia will take voluntary part in this agreement and will potentially reduce production by up to 300,000 barrels a day.

The agreement will be in effect over the first half of the year. We agreed to establish a monitoring committee at ministerial level. The committee met for the first time on January 22 in Vienna to discuss two issues: first, the mechanism for monitoring implementation of the agreement, and second, the situation with the agreement’s implementation in January.

Regarding monitoring, we agreed that five countries’ ministers would sit on the committee. They include two non-OPEC countries – Russia and Oman – and three OPEC countries – Kuwait, Algeria, and Venezuela.

We agreed to set up a technical committee for the monitoring process. It will meet monthly at the OPEC secretariat and collect information on production in the countries party to the agreement and pass on this information to all participant countries. The ministerial level monitoring committee will meet twice a month to review the results.

Another two meetings will take place before the agreement ends. The production information’s source is data from the main analytical agencies, Platts, Argus, CERA and the International Energy Agency. At the meeting, we noted that although we have yet to receive statistics for January, we saw that all parties were serious about implementing the agreement and most had already begun. Preliminary data shows that production dropped by around 1.4 million barrels a day in January, and some countries had reduced production by more than planned and were ahead of the schedule.

As of the end of January, Russian production had fallen by 117,000 barrels per day, which is also more than double the amount initially planned by our companies. Our companies participate in this on a voluntary basis.

We have noted that the effectiveness of the agreements and decisions is already visible, since the price has stabilised at $55 per barrel. According to leading analytical agencies, the price is much closer to a fair price, about 10 to 15 barrels higher than it would have been without the deal.

Vladimir Putin:

10 to 15 dollars?

Alexander Novak:

Yes, 10 to 15 dollars per barrel.

We also see a decrease in the speculative pressure on prices, because at the beginning of the year, when prices fell hard, there was an all-time high number of traders shorting oil. Now, the situation has stabilised.

We also see a decrease in price volatility. The statistics for January show that price fluctuated within $5 relative to the median value of $55. We can now talk about the gradual recovery of the investment appeal of the industry. This year, for the first time in the last three years, all market participants expect an increase in investments in the industry, which will help avoid a collapse in production in the future.

In general, I must say that the Vienna meeting showed that all countries intend to properly execute the agreement, as it is in the interests of both the producers and the consumers. We believe that rebalancing the market, subject to full compliance with the agreements in the first half of the year, will allow us to reach the level of leftovers equal to the average over the last five years for oil by mid-2017. This is the outcome, the goal that was set in order to balance and stabilise the oil market.

Vladimir Putin:

This volume, the conventional excess amount of oil on the market, when do you think it will run out – by around mid-2017 or so?


Alexander Novak:

By the middle of 2017. It’s 300 million barrels, which is above the multi-year average of stored oil leftovers.

Vladimir Putin:

Are our companies facing any problems in that regard?


Alexander Novak:

Our companies are operating under the agreement, and do so on a voluntary basis, as it really is beneficial both for the companies and the budget in general. About 70 percent of additional revenue that we have today go to the budget.

Vladimir Putin:

Good. Thank you.

The first 2018 FIFA World Cup fan passport was issued on February 1. How is this work organised, and where will it go from here?

Mr. Nikiforov, please go ahead.


Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov:

Mr. President,

Indeed, we issued the first fan passport in Moscow today. Admission to stadiums for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup will be granted upon presentation of two documents: a fan passport and a ticket. Registration on www.fan-id.ru is required to obtain a fan passport. This can be done by both Russian and foreign fans.

Moreover, once registered, that person can enjoy visa-free entry to Russia under our government guarantee, which we issued when organising the World Cup. This electronic document, plus a mark in an appropriate database.

Our key goal is to make visiting the event as safe, convenient and comfortable as possible. This eliminates the need to do additional checks when fans enter the stadium. Therefore, we recommend that everyone who has already bought a ticket or plans to attend matches register in advance.

Fan passport centres are open and already issuing passports in four Confederations Cup host cities, namely, Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi. We are talking about thousands of applications. We think the closer we get to the summer, the more applications we will process.

It’s Russian technology. We used something similar at the Olympic Games in Sochi, and we plan to use it again in 2018. Probably, we will use this standard procedure during the 2019 Student Games as well.

Overall, we believe that it should become a standard solution to ensure safety, convenience and comfort. I believe Mr Mutko is better positioned to talk about the place of the fan passport in the overall organisation concept.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Mutko, please go ahead.

Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko:

Mr. President, Mr. Nikiforov has already mentioned that this is an important step in our preparations for the World Cup and the Confederations Cup. I just wanted to add that this component of the security concept approved by you will, of course, allow us to bolster security measures and create a more comfortable environment.

This will also provide several additional services for our foreign guests and Russian fans, including visa-free entry, free mass transit rides in the World Cup host cities for fan passport holders, and the opportunity to see matches in other cities upon presentation of a ticket.

So we hope that we now have all the necessary capabilities in terms of information. Regardless of where they live, a fan can register and receive confirmation, and Russian Post will deliver a passport to his home. As such, we believe that this work is already underway.

We think about 700,000 tickets will be sold for the Confederations Cup. More than 100,000 applications have been filed already. About 10,000 people are in the process of obtaining their fan passports. It’s very convenient. We will think through all the ins and outs. If needed, such centres will be built near the stadiums in case someone loses or forgets their stuff. We will take care of everything.

Mr. President, we have little time left before the Confederations Cup. The overall preparations are going at a good pace, and the first match in St Petersburg will be held on June 17, which will mark the opening of the Confederations Cup.

Vladimir Putin:

Who will be playing?

Vitaly Mutko:

Russia and New Zealand.

Vladimir Putin:

Good.

<…>

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53804

PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin in Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin at meeting with Goverment members in Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin, Russian Goverment.
President's meeting with Goverment members in Kremlin.
Arkady Dvorkovich, Vitaly Mutko and Alexander Khloponin.
Left to right: Deputy Prime Ministers Arkady Dvorkovich, Vitaly Mutko and Alexander Khloponin.
Denis Manturov, Sergei Prikhodko.
Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov (left) and Deputy Prime Minister – Chief of the Government Staff Sergei Prikhodko before a meeting with Government members.
Andrei Belousov, Igor Shuvalov.
Aide to the President Andrei Belousov and First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov before a meeting with Government members.



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Putin's meeting with Norilsk Nickel CEO Vladimir Potanin.

Vladimir Potanin updated the President on Norilsk Nickel’s performance in 2016 and current operations.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Potanin, please report on your company’s performance last year.

Norilsk Nickel President and Chairman of the Management Board Vladimir Potanin:

It was a complicated year, but we did well. We have launched a long-term development programme to 2023, which is designed to increase ore mining by 50 percent and enrichment by nearly 100 percent. It also provides for modernising production capacities to make Norilsk Nickel the world’s largest company with cutting-edge equipment in its sphere. We plan to become the most effective mining and metals company.

Moreover, modernisation will help us resolve long-term environmental problems. We plan to reduce emissions by the projected 75 percent by 2023.

Mr. President, we will also maintain social stability while working towards these goals. To maintain employment stability and honour collective agreements, Norilsk Nickel will create an additional 3,000 jobs so that our modernisation plans do not result in social problems. This calls for investing some 1 trillion rubles, out of which 250 billion will be spent on environmental protection.

We hope to be able to implement these plans with support from the government, which is unavoidable in case of large and super-large projects.

When it comes to ecology, we are not sitting on our hands either. Last year, we shut down the nickel plant in Norilsk, which allowed us to reduce emissions within city limits by 35 percent. It was the first step towards our goal, which we hope to achieve by 2023, as I have said.

Vladimir Putin:

What is the current employment situation in the company? Are you laying off or hiring personnel? How is this connected to technological modernisation and the new equipment you plan to install? How will the situation on the labour market change with the introduction of new technologies?


Vladimir Potanin:

Mr. President, it is a very important question, and we are giving much attention to it. Our workers have changed radically over the past 10 or 15 years. They have become more demanding: they need broadband internet access, certain municipal services, sports, entertainment and movies. We are working on this.

Besides, technological modernisation implies the retraining and advanced training of personnel. For example, we have redistributed some 1,600 workers from the nickel plant we shut down. Out of these, 1,000 attended advanced training courses and about half of them received new qualifications.

Vladimir Putin:

What relations do you have with the regional government and the federal authorities in this connection? Do you have a joint action plan?


Vladimir Potanin:

A joint plan regarding personnel?

Vladimir Putin:

Yes.

Vladimir Potanin:

Frankly speaking, we have not yet developed an effective joint plan.


Vladimir Putin:

Well, you should do this.


Vladimir Potanin:

I fully agree, Mr. President, but so far we have been recruiting personnel from across Russia. We employ people from all regions and offer them good living conditions in Norilsk, either at an employee dormitory or a flat, trying to keep the market flexible. In the past, people came to Norilsk for three to five years to make enough money to settle down in some other region, but it turned out that many of them have come to stay. We want to create conditions for people to work in Norilsk as long as they want without restricting their choices, so that they can find a new job or relocate to another region for family or some other reason.

We have a special relocation programme, and we invest considerable sums every year in relocating up to 500 people and helping them receive new flats.

Vladimir Putin:

What is the average pay in the company?

Vladimir Potanin:

The average pay in the company is over 90,000 rubles, one of the highest in the country.


Vladimir Putin:

You should maintain direct contacts with the regional and federal governments on the issues of relocation and employment of the released personnel.


Vladimir Potanin:

I fully agree with you, Mr. President. We will develop such contacts.


Vladimir Putin:

I will talk with the governor about this too.


<…>


Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53796

PHOTO:


Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Norilsk Nickel CEO Vladimir Potanin.

Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Potanin, Kremlin
Vladimir Putin with Norilsk Nickel CEO Vladimir Potanin.
Vladimir Potanin
Vladimir Potanin, Norilsk Nickel CEO.


Putin's meeting with Mikhail Fradkov and Leonid Reshetnikov.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon.

Mr. Reshetnikov, I would like to begin by thanking you for the work you did as head of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies. A great deal has been accomplished over the past seven years. I hope that Mr. Fradkov will carry on this good work and will not just stand at the head of a very effective agency, but will also do his best in this position. 

(Addressing Mikhail Fradkov)

I am confident that you will be able, using your past experience, to organise the work so that the institute will provide support to the Presidential Executive Office, the Government and other agencies, which need relevant and objective open information and analyses.

I would like the institute to have close, strong and stable ties with the media and to provide them with reliable, full and relevant information and analytical materials.

Director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Mikhail Fradkov:

Mr. President, thank you for these directions and for the trust you have yet again invested in me and the agency I currently head.

I am taking over a very good agency from Mr. Reshetnikov, an agency that has won high prestige and has implemented important projects. We are ready to work to fulfil the tasks you set for us. Frankly speaking, these are difficult tasks, but we can fulfil them with your support. I hope that we will continue to receive material, financial and moral support from you. We are ready to work hard.

I would also like to express gratitude to Mr. Reshetnikov. We worked together for a long time before. Considering Mr. Reshetnikov’s current possibilities, I believe that the institute stands to gain from the new position he is assuming.

Leonid Reshetnikov:

Mr. President, thank you very much for the attention you have given to the institute. I would like to say that we did our best for nearly eight years to implement your foreign policy concept. The policy of Russia and the policy of the President of Russia have been the cornerstone of our operation. I am sure that the institute staff, who worked hard these past years, will continue to provide analytical support for the implementation of the country’s foreign policy under Mr. Fradkov’s guidance.

<…>

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53793

PHOTO:


Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Fradkov.
Vladimir Putin. Meeting with Mikhail Fradkov and Leonid Reshetnikov.
Leonid Reshetnikov in Kremlin.
Leonid Reshetnikov. Meeting with Russian President.

Mikhail Fradkov in Kremlin.
Mikhail Fradkov. Head of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies.

Vladimir  Putin, Mikhail Fradkov, Leonid Reshetnikov.
Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Fradkov, Leonid Reshetnikov.

Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Fradkov, Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin and Mikhail Fradkov in Kremlin.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Condolences to Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau.

Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau following the tragic events in Quebec.


The Russian President said, in particular, in his message:

“This murder of people who had gathered at a mosque to pray is staggering in its cruelty and cynicism.”

Mr. Putin passed on words of sincere sympathy and support to the victims’ families and wished the injured a swift recovery.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53790

PHOTO:

Map, canada, Qebec
Canada, Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre.

President's meeting with Chairman of the Board of Rosselkhozbank.

Mr. Patrushev briefed Vladimir Putin on the bank’s results for 2016, in particular, with regard to lending to the agribusiness sector and small and medium-sized enterprises. Other matters discussed included the situation on the agricultural risk insurance market.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Patrushev, what results did the year bring for the bank? What change has your portfolio structure undergone, and what tasks and difficulties do you see ahead this year?


Chairman of the Board of Rosselkhozbank (Russian Agricultural Bank) Dmitry Patrushev:

Good afternoon, Mr President. Thank you very much for this chance to meet.

I would like to start, of course, with the bank’s results for 2016. Allow me to show you this presentation we have prepared. It gives a clear summary of what we have accomplished.

First of all, our bank is slightly ahead of the sector in terms of lending to the real sector of the economy. Rosselkhozbank is among the leaders in lending to the agribusiness sector in 2016. We accounted for more than 29 percent of lending to the agribusiness sector, and more than 70 percent of loans for seasonal work. We are in second place in terms of lending to small and medium-sized enterprises, and in second place too for our branch network’s reach. We have branches in 80 of the country’s regions.

Vladimir Putin:

Are you referring to small and medium-sized enterprises in the agribusiness sector, or in general?

Dmitry Patrushev:

In general, in the agribusiness sector and in other sectors too.

We are in third place in terms of the size of our loan portfolio to the general public. We are respecting the target figures set for lending to the real sector of the economy. As of January 1, 2017, our total loan portfolio came to 1.7 trillion rubles.

The agribusiness sector remains our main strategic client and partner. We extended more than 1 trillion rubles in loans to the sector under the state agriculture sector development programme in 2016. This is 60 percent more than in 2015. We extended 260 billion rubles in 2016 for seasonal work, which, as you know, has decisive importance for the harvest success. This figure was up 37 percent on the figure for 2015.

We place particular emphasis on work with small and medium-sized enterprises, and our loan portfolio in this sector now comes to more than 500 billion rubles. We offer specially tailored products to customers in this sector, including in partnership with the state institutions supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. Rosselkhozbank has extended loans to close to 300,000 self-employed farm people, farmers and private plot owners.

Over these last years, we have expanded considerably our customer, resource and capital base. Customer liabilities increased by more than 400 billion rubles in 2016, up by 35 percent, which is substantially higher than the market average.

As was planned, we replenished our fixed assets by placing ruble-denominated irredeemable bonds for the first time on the Russian market, in two tranches, for a total of 15 billion rubles. Last time we met, I told you that we were preparing this placement, and now we have carried it out. It turned out a bit expensive, but it was nonetheless the first time a Russian bank organised such placement.

We operated with a profit in 2016. Our operating profit hit a record with 55 billion rubles. At the same time, we put practically all of this revenue into our reserves in order to clear our balance of toxic assets. Our assessments show that the most difficult period is behind us now, and in 2016, we achieved a net profit after creating reserves that came to more than half-a-billion rubles.

Our banking group also includes the insurance company RSHB Insurance, which enables us to include in our package of services from agriculture sector customers the possibility of insuring harvests and collateral. This company insured 17 percent of all crops insured under the state support programme, 40 percent of all pigs, and 20 percent of all poultry stock in the country. Since 2012, farmers have received 1.5 billion rubles in insurance payouts from RSHB Insurance, of which 800 million rubles was in 2016.

We do encounter difficulties in our work, of course, but we make an effort to overcome them. At the same time, a number of issues demand the shareholders’ involvement and support, and we are in constant contact with the Government and the Central Bank, and we receive their support and understanding. The federal budget’s strict limits do have an impact on the bank’s work though, of course.

Let me conclude by saying that we will continue to complete the tasks you set for lending to our main partner, the agricultural sector, and the real sector of the economy in general.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

Tell me please, I see here in the diagrams that the amount of money you put into reserves and asset regulation was less in 2016 than in 2015?

Dmitry Patrushev:

Yes, Mr. President, it was less. In 2015, unfortunately, we operated with a loss, on which I briefed you, and in 2016, we had a profit of half-a-billion rubles. This is not a big figure, but it is nonetheless a profit. We earned 55 billion and put around 53 billion into the reserves.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Patrushev, what about insurance, how do you evaluate the insurance market in the agribusiness sector?

Dmitry Patrushev:

There are some problems, but we think they can be resolved. Most important is that the companies working on this market must not deceive those who want to work with them. If they have received insurance premiums, they must be in a position to make the payouts if an insurance event occurs. This issue requires very thorough study and constant attention.

We established RSHB Insurance five years ago, and it has worked quite well so far. I gave you several figures: We have paid our 1.5 billion rubles over this time, and we paid 800 million rubles in 2016 to clients hit by circumstances covered by insurance and obliged to turn to us for reimbursement.

I think that RSHB Insurance is now among the top six companies working on the agricultural sector insurance market.


Vladimir Putin:

Good. Let’s discuss this in more detail.

<…>

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53788

PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Patrushev, Kremlin
Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Chairman of the Board of Rosselkhozbank (Russian Agricultural Bank) Dmitry Patrushev.
Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Patrushev in Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Patrushev meeting in Kremlin.
Dmitry Patrushev, Chairman of the Board of Rosselkhozbank.
Chairman of the Board of Rosselkhozbank (Russian Agricultural Bank) Dmitry Patrushev.
Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin, Russian President at the meeting with Dmitry Patrushev.

Telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump.

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump.


Vladimir Putin congratulated Donald Trump on taking office and wished him every success in his work.

During the conversation, both sides expressed their readiness to make active joint efforts to stabilise and develop Russia-US cooperation on a constructive, equitable and mutually beneficial basis.


Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump had a detailed discussion of pressing international issues, including the fight against terrorism, the situation in the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, strategic stability and non-proliferation, the situation with Iran’s nuclear programme, and the Korean Peninsula issue. The discussion also touched upon the main aspects of the Ukrainian crisis. The sides agreed to build up partner cooperation in these and other areas.


The two leaders emphasised that joining efforts in fighting the main threat – international terrorism – is a top priority. The presidents spoke out for establishing real coordination of actions between Russia and the USA aimed at defeating ISIS and other terrorists groups in Syria.


The sides stressed the importance of rebuilding mutually beneficial trade and economic ties between the two counties’ business communities, which could give an additional impetus to progressive and sustainable development of bilateral relations.


Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump agreed to issue instructions to work out the possible date and venue for their meeting.

Donald Trump asked to convey his wishes of happiness and prosperity to the Russian people, saying that the American people have warm feelings towards Russia and its citizens.


Vladimir Putin, in turn, emphasised that the feeling is mutual, adding that for over two centuries Russia has supported the United States, was its ally during the two world wars, and now sees the United States as a major partner in fighting international terrorism.


The two leaders agreed to maintain regular personal contacts.

The conversation took place in a positive and constructive atmosphere.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53787

PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump
Vladimir Putin telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Videoconference with Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG.

During a videoconference with Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG, Vladimir Putin was briefed on the start of flight tests of the new multipurpose MiG-35 fighter.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, friends,

Let me start by congratulating you on this important event – the start of our new MiG-35 light fighter plane’s flight tests. My congratulations go, of course, to the designers, engineers, workers, and pilots, to everyone who has worked and continues to work on this big and important project to put a new aircraft in the skies.

I note that the new multipurpose MiG-35 fighter has enhanced flight and technical characteristics and is equipped with the very latest weapons systems. You know this better than I. It can follow from 10 to 30 targets at once, and can operate over land or sea. This is a genuinely unique and promising aircraft, 4++, you could say, very close to being fifth generation.

I hope very much that this fighter will contribute substantially to bolstering our Air Force and Aerospace Forces. The plane also has good export potential, given that more than 30 countries actively operate another model, the MiG-29, and these countries have a good infrastructure for using these fighters and have the trained personnel. At the same time, of course, industry and everything related to these planes’ operation must be ready so that we can offer potential partners the best possible maintenance and servicing available in the world today.

Another point to which I want to draw attention is that one of the MiG facilities plans to manufacture a civilian aircraft for which there is great demand in the national economy and from the public. This is the medium-haul propeller plane for use on domestic routes.

I hope that this work will progress according to schedule, all the more so as we have decided on financing sources, and we will gain a modernised aircraft that will be widely used on domestic routes.

Please, begin your report.

Yury Slyusar: 

Mr. President, colleagues,

Director of United Aircraft Corporation [OAK] Yury Slyusar reporting. Here at my side is Chief Designer of the OAK Sergei Korotkov and Chief Pilot of MiG Corporation Mikhail Belyayev.

Mr President, today, we started flight tests of the new light multipurpose MiG-35 fighter. The fighter was designed specifically for combat in high-intensity conflict and dense air defence conditions.

The plane’s excellent results were achieved through using a new on-board defence system and new infrared search and track. The plane’s radar visibility has been reduced by a several-fold factor. We have increased from six to eight the number of suspension points, which will make it possible to use current and future airborne weapons systems, including laser weapons.

The plane’s range has been more than doubled. This was achieved through bigger capacity of internal tanks and mid-air refuelling functions, which can be done in tanker regime with aircraft of the same family too.

All systems used in the MiG-35 are Russian designed and made, including the newest systems – the inertial system and helmet-mounted targeting system.

The plane was planned as part of the state arms programme with mass production starting in 2019. Tomorrow, here in Lukhovitsy, we will present this aircraft to prospective customers from other countries. We have great hopes that the plane will sell well on markets abroad and we already see a lot of interest in it. Of course, we hope too that the orders the Defence Ministry places and the orders coming in through military-technical cooperation, will keep the plant busy.

But, as you noted, here in Lukhovitsy, we are using the MiG production facilities to develop in parallel production of a regional propeller plane, the Il-114. We have started work on the decisions taken at the meeting you chaired six months ago. The resources have been allocated and we have received them.

At the same time, the design bureau is preparing documentation that will be sent to the plant, and here on the same production floor where the MiG-35 aircraft will be made, we will be building at least 12 Il-114 airplanes a year. This will make it possible, among other things, in keeping with the tasks that have been set, to balance the corporation’s portfolio, increase the share of civilian products and meet our strategic targets to increase the number of civilian aircraft to 45 percent of the corporation’s portfolio by 2025.

Mr. President, we would like to show you video footage of today’s flight, if you will.

Vladimir Putin:

Please.


Yury Slyusar:

I would like to give the floor to the pilot who took this machine on its maiden flight: Mikhail Belyayev.

Mikhail Belyayev:

Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief, comrade members of the Military-Industrial Commission,

As part of the MiG-35UB (two-seat version) trial programme, a crew of Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG – test pilots Mikhail Belyayev and Stanislav Gorbunov – have performed a flight to demonstrate its stability, controllability and manoeuvrability characteristics.

The objectives and results of the flight have been fully accomplished. All on-board systems worked properly. The engine and the integrated aircraft control system worked properly. The crew’s evaluation is positive. The quantitative evaluation will be made following the processing and analysis of the materials received from flight recording equipment. That concludes my report.


Vladimir Putin:

Thank you, Mr Belyayev.

Mr. Korotkov, how do you evaluate the work?


United Aircraft Corporation General Designer and Vice President for Innovations Sergei Korotkov:

Mr. President, members of the Military-Industrial Commission,

We have created a multi-spectrum system that was integrated into the armament system and additionally installed aboard the MiG-35, and along with other systems, we have developed the Generation 4++ complex. We hope that after the trials, the Defence Ministry will buy this machine and that foreign customers will also come to sign contracts with us. I hope this project will have success.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you very much.

Please convey my warmest and sincerest congratulations to the entire staff that has worked on this product, on this machine.

All the best. Good luck.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53781

PHOTO:


Vladimir Putin, Denis Manturov.
Videoconference with Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG. With Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov.
Vladimir Putin, MIG-35
Vladimir Putin. Videoconference with Russian Aircraft Corporation MIG.

Vladimir Putin videoconference MIG.
Videoconference with Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG. With Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (left), Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov (right).

Vladimir Putin watching MIG-35 videoconference.
Videoconference. MIG-35 was introduced to the Russian President.



President's meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Vladimir Putin met with King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, who came to Moscow on a working visit at the invitation of the Russian President.


The discussion focussed on current issues in Russian-Jordanian cooperation and prospects for expanding trade, economic and humanitarian ties, as well as on current international and regional issues.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Your Majesty, friends, welcome to Moscow.

I am greatly pleased that our dialogue steadily continues and that we are always in contact. In the course of your visit today we will certainly talk about bilateral relations and the situation in the region, naturally, with a focus on sore spots, including efforts to reach a settlement in Syria.

At the beginning of our conversation I would like to thank you for supporting the process that began in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana. Thanks to our joint efforts, the process is developing on the basis of a very important decision that was taken – the cessation of hostilities, a ceasefire between government forces and the armed opposition.

I consider it very important to note that the participants in the Astana process have declared that it is impossible to resolve the Syrian problem by military means. And we very much hope that the Astana talks will serve as a sound foundation for the continuation of this negotiating process also in Geneva.

King Abdullah II of Jordan:

Mr. President, I am truly delighted to be back and seeing my brother and my friend again here in Moscow. And I cherish not only the special relationships that we both have, but the special relationship between out two countries.

I am looking very much forward to our bilateral relations and discussions this evening on many issues where Russian plays such a pivotal role, not only internationally but specifically in our region. We fully endorsed and supported the Astana process and we are very grateful for Russia’s role in being able to do this, because this will bring, I hope, an inclusive future to all Syrian people.

Again, we will work very closely with you as we proceed to the Geneva talks and other talks, and the role of Russia can only help advance the challenges, because without Russia we will not be able to find solutions to not only the Syrian problem but other regional problems in the Middle East.

We both said many years ago that the challenge that our countries face, that the world faces, is this war on international terrorism. We have been speaking to many in the world who have not listened to your views and our views. But I am glad that I’m here today in Moscow to share not only the friendship but the same vision of bringing stability to our region. I thank you, Mr President, for allowing us to be here with you today.

Vladimir Putin:


Thank you.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53776

PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin, King Abdulax II of Jordan.
Vladimir Putin meeting King Abdullah II of Jordan.
Vladimir Putin, Abdullah II - King of Jordan.
Vladimir Putin and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Vladimir Putin, Abdullah II.
Russian President and the King of Jordan in Moscow.