Thursday, March 02, 2017

Russia to take action to improve its anti-doping monitoring system.

Speaking at a meeting on preparations for the 2019 World Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Vladimir Putin said that Russia must acknowledge established cases of doping, carry out the needed investigations, and identify those responsible.


The President said that doping is a completely unacceptable practice and the existing monitoring system in place in Russia has not worked effectively.

The President noted the latest assessments from WADA and IOC officials regarding the McLaren Commission’s report, and stressed that Russia has never had and will never have a state system supporting doping.

Mr. Putin said he hopes the new anti-doping monitoring system the Moscow State University is currently developing will in the future put an end to any shady activity in this field. The President said that this system should be as strict and effective as possible, and that the Russian authorities must organise effective work with all partners, including the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee.

Vladimir Putin at a meeting on preparations for the 2019 World Winter Universiade.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:


Another issue I wanted to raise has to do with clean sport. I am referring to the anti-doping programmes. Mr Vitaly Smirnov [Honourary Member of the International Olympic Committee, Head of the Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission] and I just had a conversation on this issue. I would like to thank him for the efforts undertaken by his commission in this area.

We know the latest assessments from the officials at WADA and our colleagues from the IOC, who note that the McLaren Commission had inaccurate translations or inadequate evidence. Let me say again, and we said it repeatedly, that Russia has never had, and I hope never will have, a state system supporting doping. On the contrary, Russia will only combat doping.

Of course, and naturally enough, there is this issue of claims regarding scratches of some kind on some of the test samples. We do not understand what kind of evidence can we talk about because when we provided the test samples there were no complaints. If there was a problem with scratches of whatever kind, this should have been noted in the relevant reports, but there was nothing of this sort.

In other words, these samples were stored somewhere, and we cannot be held responsible for the storage conditions. But let me come now to my main point. The main point is that we must pay heed to what this independent commission says, despite the shortcomings in its work. We must pay heed to its work and its results, and to WADA’s demands, because we need to acknowledge that there are established and identified cases of doping here, and this is a totally unacceptable situation.

What this means is that our existing anti-doping monitoring system has not worked effectively, and this is our fault, and is something we need to admit and address directly. I hope very much that the Investigative Committee will see the needed investigation through to its completion and will identify all those responsible for this situation.

As you know, we are putting into place a new anti-doping system. It will be transferred from the Sports Ministry and Government oversight to an independent organisation, as many countries have done, and not in any figurative sense, but quite literally. The laboratory will be located on premises belonging to Moscow State University, and we will help them to obtain the modern equipment, technology and specialists they need. I hope that we will no longer have any swindlers, who organise doping programmes themselves and then flee abroad. I hope that our independent specialists and foreign specialists will help us to develop a strict and effective anti-doping system.

I hope too that Vitaly Smirnov’s commission as a public organisation will continue its work to supervise the anti-doping organisations’ work here in Russia. Of course, we must also work to ensure that doping does not arise in youth and student sport. These young people are just at the start of their sports careers. Let me say once more that we will do everything needed to organise positive, active and effective work with all our partners, including WADA and the International Olympic Committee.

<…>

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53973

Meeting on preparations for Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019.

Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting on preparations for the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019.


Before the meeting, the President was shown the layout of the facilities under construction for the 2017 Universiade, including mock-ups of a new airport complex, a sport training centre, a sport arena and a downhill skiing centre.

The President also visited Biathlon Academy sport complex and met with the winners of the 28th Winter Universiade 2017 that took place in Almaty.

Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin at the meeting on preparations for the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

Today we will be discussing preparations for the 2019 Universiade that will take place here in Krasnoyarsk. This will be the second time that Russia has hosted a Universiade and the first Winter Universiade for the country. Of course, this will not only be a major sports event for the Siberian region, but for the whole country.

We already know that holding sports competitions of this scale and magnitude provides a powerful incentive for infrastructure development and investment in the host region. The Olympics in Sochi and the Universiade in Kazan changed these cities, creating opportunities to upgrade not only the sports infrastructure, but also the transport, tourist, cultural and social infrastructure.

It is important to note that all funds invested by the government and all our efforts have paid off. There were many doubts about the post-games use of the sports facilities in Sochi and even in Kazan, but they are probably more effective than similar facilities in the other global cities that hosted such events.

All these facilities are working to full capacity. And the transport infrastructure, communications, water supply and discharge systems, purification facilities and electricity networks are working to the benefit of the people. I hope they will continue working in the future.

Krasnoyarsk, the easternmost million-plus city in Russia and Siberia’s largest economic centre, deserves to be given a new image and new development resources. It has proved its right to become a major sports centre by successfully holding large international competitions.

Today we had another look at the construction plans, and I really liked the layout. All the facilities will be located in a compact group within walking distance from each other near the city, in fact, just a few kilometres from the city centre. It will be very easy for the people to use these sports facilities. And they will give a powerful boost to the development of Siberian Federal University.

One large event – the World Ski Orienteering Championships – will begin in Krasnoyarsk in a few days, on March 5. Winter sports are extremely popular in Siberia, including Krasnoyarsk, and we also know about the sports victories of people from Siberia and Krasnoyarsk, victories that added to Russia’s sports glory.

I have no doubt that this demand will help create a strong volunteer corps in time for the Universiade, the more so that the event organisers have at their disposal the faculty and students of Siberian Federal University, which will be the central base of the upcoming competition and will take over many sports and social facilities after the Universiade.

I would like to say that our plans for Universiade have an additional and very important element. The people of Krasnoyarsk expect us to build not only modern sports facilities but also new roads, hospitals and residential blocks, which will be used by athletes during the games and by city residents later, as well as a new airport.

They – I mean city residents – have reasons to hope that their urban environment will become safer and more comfortable. I want to say yet again that we must live up to these expectations. We cannot disappoint the people, as we agreed more than once.

Fulfilling our obligations to the international sports community is no less important. We are working to prepare the Universiade in close cooperation with the International University Sports Federation (FISU). FISU President Oleg Matytsin, who is our compatriot, will tell us his opinion of the preparations for the games.

I would like to stress that the authorities are closely monitoring preparations for the World Student Games and have earmarked considerable funds for them. Federal budget allocations for the planning, construction, renovation and major repairs of sports facilities amount to over 14 billion rubles. In addition, we have designated 3.6 billion rubles for transport infrastructure, 7 billion rubles for healthcare facilities, and 6 billion rubles for the games village.

Allocations equalled 8.9 billion rubles in 2014–2016 and 22.2 billion rubles in 2017–2019. In all, the aggregate budget of the Universiade is 40.5 billion rubles and includes not only the construction and renovation of sports facilities but also a cultural programme and the training of volunteers, as I said. This is a great deal, and so we expect a proportionate result from these investments.

We have two years left before the Universiade, which is not that much given the scope and diversity of the objectives we have set. We need to understand how, to what extent and how well all the initiatives under this project are being implemented, and whether all the deadlines are being respected at every stage, which is also important.

On a sadder note, so far there are questions regarding the progress of these efforts. Of 34 facilities, 12 are two to four months behind schedule, including some sport and medical facilities. Specifically, there are delays in the construction of facilities at the regional clinical hospital, two transport infrastructure locations and a number of sports facilities.

Let’s discuss all this in detail today. Of course, I have all this information in my files, but I would still like to hear your perspective. We need to go through all these issues and look at the situation with tenders and how these projects have been organised. We need to catch up and most importantly prevent projects from falling behind in the future.

Let me draw your attention to the fact that, according to preliminary estimates, delegations from 50 countries, as many as 3,000 delegates, are expected to take part in Winter Universiade 2019. We must do everything it takes for this celebration of student sports to be held at the highest level, once again showing Russia’s openness and hospitality, our readiness to establish constructive partnership ties with all our friends.

Another issue I wanted to raise has to do with clean sport. I am referring to the anti-doping programmes. Mr Vitaly Smirnov [Honourary Member of the International Olympic Committee, Head of the Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission] and I just had a conversation on this issue. I would like to thank him for the efforts undertaken by his commission in this area.

We know the latest assessments from the officials at WADA and our colleagues from the IOC, who note that the McLaren Commission had inaccurate translations or inadequate evidence. Let me say again, and we said it repeatedly, that Russia has never had, and I hope never will have, a state system supporting doping. On the contrary, Russia will only combat doping.

Of course, and naturally enough, there is this issue of claims regarding scratches of some kind on some of the test samples. We do not understand what kind of evidence can we talk about because when we provided the test samples there were no complaints. If there was a problem with scratches of whatever kind, this should have been noted in the relevant reports, but there was nothing of this sort.

In other words, these samples were stored somewhere, and we cannot be held responsible for the storage conditions. But let me come now to my main point. The main point is that we must pay heed to what this independent commission says, despite the shortcomings in its work. We must pay heed to its work and its results, and to WADA’s demands, because we need to acknowledge that there are established and identified cases of doping here, and this is a totally unacceptable situation.

What this means is that our existing anti-doping monitoring system has not worked effectively, and this is our fault, and is something we need to admit and address directly. I hope very much that the Investigative Committee will see the needed investigation through to its completion and will identify all those responsible for this situation.

As you know, we are putting into place a new anti-doping system. It will be transferred from the Sports Ministry and Government oversight to an independent organisation, as many countries have done, and not in any figurative sense, but quite literally. The laboratory will be located on premises belonging to Moscow State University, and we will help them to obtain the modern equipment, technology and specialists they need. I hope that we will no longer have any swindlers, who organise doping programmes themselves and then flee abroad. I hope that our independent specialists and foreign specialists will help us to develop a strict and effective anti-doping system.

I hope too that Vitaly Smirnov’s commission as a public organisation will continue its work to supervise the anti-doping organisations’ work here in Russia. Of course, we must also work to ensure that doping does not arise in youth and student sport. These young people are just at the start of their sports careers. Let me say once more that we will do everything needed to organise positive, active and effective work with all our partners, including WADA and the International Olympic Committee.

Let’s start our work.

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Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53972

PHOTO:
Igor Levitin, Vitaly Mutko.
Presidential Aide Igor Levitin (left) and Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko before the start of a meeting on preparations for the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019.
Maxim Sokolov, Vitaly Mutko.
Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov (left) and Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko before the start of a meeting on preparations for the 29th Winter Universaide Krasnoyarsk 2019.
Pavel Kolobkov, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Alexander Bortnikov.
Before the start of a meeting on preparations for the 29th Winter Universaide Krasnoyarsk 2019. From left to right: Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, and Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov.
Vladimir Putin, Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019.
Ahead of the meeting on preparations for the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019 Vladimir Putin was shown a layout of the facilities under construction.
Vladimir Putin, Krasnoyarsk.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was shown a layout of the facilities under construction for the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019.
Vladimir Putin in Krasnoyarsk.
Vladimir Putin in Krasnoyarsk. Preparations for the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019.
President Putin in Krasnoyarsk.
President Putin watching a layout of the facilities under construction for the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019.
Vitaly Smirnov.
Honorary President of the Russian Olympic Committee and Chairman of the Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission Vitaly Smirnov before the start of a meeting on preparations for the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019.
President Putin in Krasnoyarsk.
Ahead of the meeting on preparations for the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019 President Putin was shown a layout of the facilities under construction.
Preparations for the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019.
Meeting on preparations for the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019.
Yevgeny Vaganov, Oleg Deripaska.
Rector of the Siberian Federal University (Krasnoyarsk) Yevgeny Vaganov (left) and Chairman of Base Element Group's Supervisory Board Oleg Deripaska before the start of a meeting on preparations for the 29th Winter Universiade 2019.
Vitaly Mutko.
Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko before the start of a meeting on preparations for the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019.
Maxim Sokolov.
Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov before the start of a meeting on preparations for the 29th Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Meeting with the winners of Winter Universiade 2017.

Vladimir Putin visited Biathlon Academy multipurpose sports centre in Krasnoyarsk and met with the winners of the 28th Winter Universiade 2017. The President toured the sports complex and talked with Universiade medalists.

Vladimir Putin in Biathlon Academy.
Vladimir Putin visiting Biathlon Academy multipurpose sports centre.

Winter Universiade 2017 took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan between January 29 and February 8 under the auspices of the International University Sports Federation (FISU).

The Universiade competition schedule featured eight statutory and four supplementary disciplines. Russia dominated the medal tally with a total of 71 medals, including 29 gold, 27 silver and 15 bronze medals.

The President thanked Russia’s national student sports team for the high achievements at Winter Universiade 2017.

Earlier, the President sent a congratulatory message to Russia’s national student sports team saying that the athletes were worthy representatives of Russia at this prestigious international competition, earning a record-high number of medals at a winter Universiade.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53971

PHOTO:
Vladimir Putin, sportsmen.
Vladimir Putin at a meeting with the winners of Winter Universiade 2017.
President Putin, sportsmen.
Russian President with winners of Winter Universiade 2017.
Putin, sportsmen.
President Putin and winners of Winter Universiade 2017.
Russian President, sportsmen.
Russian President with the winners of Winter Universiade 2017.

Joint news conference. Presidents of Russia and Kyrgyzstan.

Vladimir Putin and Almazbek Atambayev held a joint news conference in Bishkek.

Vladimir Putin, Almazbek Atambayev.
Vladimir Putin and Almazbek Atambayev. A joint news conference following Russian-Kyrgyzstani talks.

President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev:

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,

We have finished Kyrgyzstani-Russian talks in the framework of an official visit by the President of Russia.

This is a landmark event, because this visit is being held ahead of the 25th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. We will mark it on March 20.

Today we discussed nearly all issues of bilateral cooperation in the narrow and expanded formats. I will not speak in detail about these issues, but I would like to say that we have come to an agreement on nearly all issues. We discussed economic and security issues, military and technical cooperation and, of course, integration within the Eurasian Economic Union.

We also exchanged opinions on other issues, including international ones. I would like to say that our countries have similar or identical views on international issues.

We also discussed the implementation of our agreements, because we expect the Prime Minister of Russia to visit us in early March. We have outlined measures that will facilitate the further work of all the EAEU prime ministers and heads of government.

It should be said that I and all other members of the Kyrgyzstani delegation are satisfied with the results of these talks, and we are grateful for this to the Russian delegation and Mr Putin personally. We have signed a Joint Declaration following the talks, and I hope that a number of other important agreements will be signed in the future during my visit to Russia.

Mr. Putin, in conclusion I would like to again express our gratitude to you for this visit and for your support to our country, and to give the floor to you.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Thank you very much.

Mr. Atambayev, ladies and gentlemen, friends,

Our talks with the President of Kyrgyzstan were held, as usual, in a business-like and constructive atmosphere. We talked in detail about all aspects of our cooperation and outlined practical plans for strengthening our interaction in the future.

I would like to stress that Kyrgyzstan is a strategic partner for Russia. We are united by friendship and truly allied relations that have passed the test of time. As Mr President has said, in March we will mark 25 years of our diplomatic relations.

Our countries are working to deepen their multifaceted and mutually beneficial cooperation. We are resolved to join hands to overcome current difficulties, including a decrease in trade, and to work out a practical set of measures to achieve this goal. We have agreed to make fuller use of the advantages of Kyrgyzstan’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union. By the way, Kyrgyzstan holds the rotating EAEU presidency this year, and Bishkek will soon host a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.

The lifting of customs, sanitary and phytosanitary barriers will promote, and is already promoting the development of close integration ties in trade, industry and agriculture. I would like to say in this connection that Kyrgyzstan reported very good results last year, including thanks to the effective use of these advantages. Despite economic difficulties, Kyrgyzstan’s GDP has grown by over 3 percent and industrial production by over 4 percent.

Russia is actively helping Kyrgyzstan adjust to the EAEU requirements. We have earmarked $200 million for its projects, including modernisation of its customs infrastructure and the improvement of border checkpoints.

The work of the Russian-Kyrgyzstani Development Fund has been launched, and Mr Atambayev and I exchanged opinions on its operation. The Fund is a unique instrument that was established in 2014 with the starting capital of $500 million. At present, the Fund is co-financing projects worth over $200 million in Kyrgyzstan.

Russia’s assistance to Kyrgyzstan is designed to help it stabilise its budget. The aggregate volume of these grants has reached $225 million.

We are gradually writing off Kyrgyzstan’s national debt, which is reducing the financial burden on the country’s financial system, improving the balance and releasing funds for the country’s development programmes, including social ones.

Assistance is also provided to our Kyrgyzstani partners in the form of duty-free delivery of Russian petrochemicals. In 2016, we delivered over one million tonnes of petrochemicals to Kyrgyzstan under these schemes.

Russia’s Gazprom is implementing a large project to expand Kyrgyzstan’s gas supply network and connect more users to it by 2030. Total investment in the country’s gas transmission network will amount to 100 billion rubles and will increase the connection of users to the gas supply system from 22 percent to 60 percent.

Money transfers by Kyrgyz nationals working in Russia constitute a major contribution to the country’s economic development. The volume of such transfers has grown 18.5 percent since Kyrgyzstan joined the EAEU. In January through September 2016, these transfers amounted to $1.3 billion, or nearly 30 percent of the country’s GDP. And these were only wire transfers and postal orders. In fact, the volume is much bigger. Kyrgyz nationals have equal employment rights with the citizens of other EAEU countries in Russia.

Humanitarian contacts, cultural, scientific and educational exchanges are of particular importance for our cooperation. In 2016, Kyrgyzstan successfully hosted the Russian Culture Days and the Russian Film Week. Kyrgyzstan’s representatives have expressed readiness to reciprocate with the Kyrgyz Culture Days in Russia this year.

Russian universities are training more than 16,000 Kyrgyzstani students, including 5,000 whose tuition is sponsored by the Russian Government. This year, we admitted more than 420 Kyrgyzstani students at no charge.

Kyrgyzstan, in turn, pays a lot of attention to the study of the Russian language, for which we have to thank the President of Kyrgyzstan, and all our Kyrgyzstani partners and friends. The number of schools with tuition in Russian is growing; 200 of them offer tuition in Russian only, and 414, in the Russian and Kyrgyz languages. In September 2016, a new school opened in Bishkek, named after Anton Chekhov, with the support of the Russian Peace Foundation and of course, our Kyrgyzstani friends, first of all, the President of Kyrgyzstan.

During the talks, the participants noted the closeness of our countries’ positions on many important issues of the regional and global agenda. At the same time, we have paid special attention to our joint efforts to combat modern challenges and threats in Central Asia, the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, and transnational organised crime.

In this context, we agreed to actively strengthen bilateral military and military-technical cooperation. We reaffirmed a common understanding that the Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan is an important factor in ensuring stability and security in Central Asia.

In conclusion, I would like to once again express gratitude to the Kyrgyzstani leadership and President Almazbek Atambayev for their warm welcome and thorough discussion we had today. I am confident that this visit will undoubtedly further the progressive development of Russian-Kyrgyzstani relations for the benefit of the peoples of Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

Thank you.

Question: This is a question for both presidents on security cooperation. Was the idea of expanding Russia’s military presence at Kant Air Base raised during the talks?

Finally, did Russia get assurances that the transfer of power this fall in Kyrgyzstan will go smoothly? Thank you.

Almazbek Atambayev:

We did not discuss the expansion of Kant Air Base. What we did mention during the talks was strengthening Kyrgyzstan’s army and armed forces, stepping up supplies of weapons, equipment. This is a whole different story. Russia wants to help us strengthen our own armed forces.

As for the transfer of power, Mr Putin did not even raise this issue. I can say that should anyone think about staging a revolution in Kyrgyzstan, just remember that it was Atambayev who was the leader of the past two revolutions. In 2005, I headed the procession that occupied the White House. In 2010, you may recall where people assembled to voice their protest. It was near my office. So, if a third revolution takes place, I will not be the one to stage it.

Let me put it this way, there will be no more revolutions in Kyrgyzstan. We cannot afford to have a situation described in a song: ‘Revolutions have a beginning with no end in sight.’ Mr Putin used to tease me with this song. We have to get down to work. From now on, Kyrgyzstan should be a rank-and-file developing country. The latest developments prove that we are on the right track. Those who want power do not need to stage revolutions or jump the fence at the White House. Go ahead and run in elections, be it parliamentary or presidential. That is why Mr Putin and I did not discuss these issues. We focused on the economy and development of bilateral relations.

Vladimir Putin:

Regarding the Russian military presence in Kyrgyzstan, I would like to remind you or explain how the Russian base was established at Kant. It was established at the request of the Kyrgyzstani authorities in 1999–2000, when Kyrgyzstan had to fend off the attacks of terrorists who entered the country from Afghanistan. At that time, the then Kyrgyzstani authorities asked me personally to deploy a Russian military group, primarily aircraft, in order to effectively fight against the terrorist threat. As you remember, there were also tragedies, people were killed, and neighbouring countries sent in their aircraft. But the Kyrgyzstani authorities concluded that if a permanent group of forces were deployed in their country who would know the situation, hold military exercises and use the army and aviation if and when necessary, these should be highly professional forces that would act in strict coordination with the Kyrgyzstani partners. This is why our base was established here.

When Kyrgyzstan decides that it has strengthened its armed forces so that it no longer needs this base, we will pull out immediately. There is no need for us to have a military group here. It is here solely to protect the security of Kyrgyzstan. Now that we are developing our relations within the CSTO framework, we will continue to strengthen the armed forces of Kyrgyzstan, as Mr President has said. We talked about this today, and it was not the first time we did. We will work calmly and consistently on this at the CSTO expert group.

We did not discuss expanding the Russian military group here. If Kyrgyzstan decides that this is necessary, we will discuss this issue, but you should know that this will entail additional spending for us. We will discuss this within the CSTO and at the bilateral level, if necessary.

As for internal political processes, they are not our business and we never interfere in internal processes of other countries, let alone our allies. But I fully agree with what President Atambayev has said. We believe that we must treasure stability in the post-Soviet space and proceed from the assumption that any change of government must take place in the framework of the Constitution and the law.

Question: Mr. Putin, the EAEU is one of the key issues on your visit’s agenda. Can you name the positive elements of this integration association? Did you discuss the possibility of further developing it or obstacles to this, in particular, in light of the recent moves taken by the Belarusian leadership?

Vladimir Putin:

I will answer your question in parts, just as you have formulated it. I believe that the integration processes in the post-Soviet space are absolutely natural and will greatly benefit all parties. We discussed this and agreed on this many times. We have inherited from the previous generations very many valuable things that we did not value enough in the previous decades.

Take European integration. They need 28 interpreters to be able to talk with each other. We have the Russian language, which is the international language for us. This is not just a technical issue. It also has a major economic element, even though this may sound strange. We also have common infrastructure – transport infrastructure, roads, railways and energy infrastructure – and a very high level of cooperation we inherited from the Soviet period. It would be silly not to value all this, not to raise it to a qualitatively new level and not to make use of it in light of current global developments. I am referring to the active regional integration processes that are ongoing around the world.

What results have we achieved? Look, we have actually opened up our market to our partners’ commodities. We are interested in these goods. We have just returned from Tajikistan, and I believe that this pool of journalists was there too. We are interested in Tajikistan’s exports, primarily fruits and vegetables. We are likewise interested in Kyrgyzstan’s products. They are cheaper and even better than the products we imported from many other countries whose products we have restricted. These [post-Soviet] countries’ economies have grown visibly. Russia’s economic growth has been moderate, while Kyrgyzstan’s GDP has grown by 3.8 percent and industrial production by 4.1 percent. You have some obvious advantages, and these advantages are beneficial for us. Therefore, I believe that integration is an absolutely logical process and it would be silly of us not to use its advantages.

As for the disputes, they are also quite natural. Each party defends its own interests. I just cited some figures that show Russia’s support for the soft adaptation of the Kyrgyz economy to the requirements of the Eurasian Economic Union. But we have disputes with our Belarusian friends as well, and we are looking for solutions. I must say that in Belarus, we are providing far more assistance than in Kyrgyzstan. I just said we have helped Kyrgyzstan with its border infrastructure: we provided 225 million, 200 million as grant support, 500 million to the development fund, including more than 200 million already invested, overall, almost $1 billion, whereas loans issued to Belarus alone exceed $6 billion.

Our market is fully open to Belarusian goods; oil is supplied duty free to Belarusian refineries; refined oil products are further supplied from Belarus to other countries and the taxes go to the Belarusian budget.

If you look at the IMF statistics, you will see the impressive figures of hidden and direct support for the Belarusian economy. But we do not regret it, because it is being done for long-term goals, and the Russian economy benefits and will benefit from this collaboration, because it strengthens our synergies and enhances our joint competitiveness. Therefore, this money is not wasted, but is invested in meaningful actions aimed at future results.

There will always be disputes. I am sure that we will find a way out of any situation, even those that seem too difficult at first glance.

Question: My first question is for Mr Atambayev. Some forces are trying to present the criminal case against Mr Tekebayev as being politically motivated. How do you respond to these allegations? Is Tekebayev actually facing political reprisals? Could you comment on this, please?

Almazbek Atambayev:

You know, I think I commented on this issue back in 2010, when people were dying on the Maidan (here in Bishkek). When people were dying in the south of the country in ethnic clashes, someone was embezzling millions up here. I talked about it in 2010. Afterwards, I said on a number of occasions that all this will resurface sooner or later. Yesterday I saw an interview with this Russian citizen on a Russian website. He was brave enough to testify. He was asked: “Why haven’t you come forward earlier?” What he answered was: “I was afraid and did not believe that the President would take up this case.”

It’s no secret that everyone thought that Atambayev, just like many others, was getting his cut. We all know that after the 2010 revolution in Kyrgyzstan, in Bishkek, there was pillage and racketeering, a lot of filth. This is a hard pill to swallow. Some people died, ordinary people, and those who came to power on their blood started to make money. The fact that not only Tekebayev, but also many others, how should I call them, activists who headed the interim government are shouting on every corner about it shows that they are afraid that their shady dealings will come to light.

Let me reiterate that a thief should be in jail, no matter who he or she is. If someone served on the interim government in 2010 or was a government official, this does not buy you forgiveness. This is the problem for any revolution. Ordinary people die, and someone benefits from it, makes a lot of money. For this reason this case has nothing to do with politics. The fact that many are now afraid that their dealings will come to light is a political issue. They will claim that they are facing repression, and so on. What repression are you talking about? This is just fraud and corruption. If there were only two Russians making such statements, it would make things much easier. First, there will be many more people, since there were a lot of witnesses. Second, for the last three years Omurbek Abdurakhmanov, a former parliament member from the same Ata-Meken Party, has been talking about it. All this will become known. I do not know whether the next President will have the moral courage to see it through to the end, but I will definitely do all I can. When I am no longer President, I will stay in politics.

Trust me, yesterday, when I met with parents of the young men who died, their children were there too, and all they asked for was that those who enriched themselves instead of working honestly pay the full price. I think that these demands are justified. This will teach everyone a lesson not to do such things in the future. Let me reiterate that we must teach a lesson to these marauders, those who covered up their actions, the raiders, corrupt officials, so that no one follows their example. Many people benefited from the hardships people faced.

In 2005 and in 2010 history repeated itself in that there was always someone who made money off it. Trust me, if many more people start offering such testimony tomorrow, arguing that Atambayev was also involved, it will not come as a surprise for me. But Atambayev has never been a thief. He worked hard to earn his money. When Atambayev did become a millionaire, many of today’s millionaires were only starting out. Salambekov was only starting out, and Babanov was a student at the Agriculture Academy in Moscow, but I was already a multimillionaire in dollars by then. I just wanted to make sure you remember that.

Maybe I am too emotional, but it is time to work, to stop these revolutions, because they do nothing but kill people.

What I want to say is that the country has changed, law enforcement agencies have changes, the government has changed and so did the President, who has the trust of the people. We will no longer tolerate any mess in the country. Any attempts to pressure the government by force will be suppressed swiftly. If someone wants power, go ahead, the new president of Kyrgyzstan will be elected on November 19.

Question: Mr. Putin, you have covered the outcomes of your visit to Bishkek in detail, but you visited three Central Asian republics over the past few days. What’s your take on current relations with these republics, and what are the promising areas of cooperation with these countries?

And if I may, a somewhat off-topic question regarding the Syrian settlement. Mr President, what do you think about the current stage of efforts to reach a settlement in Syria? Do UN Security Council sanctions interfere with this process? What do you think about the role of other states in resolving the Syrian conflict? Thank you. Sorry for the long question.

Vladimir Putin:

Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, which I visited, are our strategic partners and allies. In all these countries, Russia ranks first in terms of bilateral trade and, despite current economic headwinds, Russia has retained this position. I've already mentioned the effectiveness of our institutions in the Eurasian Economic Union. The economic growth and increase in industrial output in these countries are the best evidence of this fact. These objective data speak for themselves.

What else is important for us in our collaboration? For example, Tajikistan is not a member of the Eurasian Union, but we have very good bilateral relations, and positive economic results. There are things that we need to adjust on a bilateral basis, such as establishing logistics centres in Tajikistan, which we agreed upon today, in order to ensure the speedy supply of inexpensive products to our market, especially in anticipation of the upcoming season. We agreed on creating logistics centres and continuing to provide reduced rail tariffs. In general, we are actively working on all issues across the board.

Providing security, fighting crime and terrorism are equally important, especially in this region, given that fairly complex if not grave processes, which are a source of shared concern for us, are unfolding in neighbouring Afghanistan. However, all these countries are members of the Collective Security Organisation. We will use this platform to further coordinate our actions and make the necessary efforts, and during the visit we covered this issue in great detail.

With regard to Syria, we cannot but be pleased that the Astana process was very positive through to the end. The consolidation of the ceasefire agreement and the establishment of a mechanism to monitor the ceasefire are its undisputed outcomes. Without this, it would be impossible to continue the Geneva talks. All is not as smooth as we would like, but we always have the Astana platform as a backup, so to speak. We are grateful to the leadership of Kazakhstan for the fact that the President himself was personally involved even in the negotiation process.

With regard to the sanctions, I think it is totally inappropriate in relation to the Syrian leadership because it would not help the negotiation process, and instead would damage or undermine trust during the negotiation process. Russia will not support any new sanctions on Syria.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53964

PHOTO:
Putin, Atambaev.
Vladimir Putin with President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev.
Vladimir Putin, Almazbek Atambaev, diplomats.
Signing of documents following Russian-Kyrgyzstani talks.
Vladimir Putin and Almazbek Atambayev.
Joint news conference with President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev.
Journalists, press, Putin, Atambayev.
Joint news conference with President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev.
Presidents, press.
Joint news conference with President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev.
Diplomats, documents, presidents.
Signing of documents following Russian-Kyrgyzstani talks.
Russian President Mr Putin.
Joint news conference, Russian President.
Vladimir Putin.
Joint news conference, Vladimir Putin.
Almazbek Atambayev.
Joint news conference, President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev.
President Putin, Almazbek Atambayev.
Russian President with President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev.

Russian-Kyrgyzstani talks in Bishkek.

Vladimir Putin held talks with President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev.

Vladimir Putin, Almazbek Atambayev.
Russian President Vladimir Putin with President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev in Bishkek.


The talks featured discussions on political, economic and humanitarian cooperation between Russia and Kyrgyzstan, as well as prospects for expanding cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Union.

Following the talks, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev signed a Joint Declaration. In addition, the two heads of state presided over the signing of the Protocol to amend and supplement the Russian-Kyrgyzstani Agreement on technical assistance to Kyrgyzstan as part of its accession to the EAEU dated March 31, 2015, as well as a Memorandum between Kyrgyzstan’s Healthcare Ministry and the Russian Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) on cooperation in fighting infectious diseases.

Vladimir Putin and Almazbek Atambayev held a joint press conference.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53960

PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin in Bishkek.
Vladimir Putin arrival in Bishkek.
Vladimir Putin.
Russian President in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Vladimir Putin with President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev.
Official welcoming ceremony. Vladimir Putin with President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev.
President Putin, President Atambayev.
President Putin and President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev.
Vladimir Putin in Bishkek with Almazbek Atambayev.
Vladimir Putin in Bishkek. Official welcoming ceremony.
Vladimir Putin, Almazbek Atambayev.
Vladimir Putin with President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Telephone conversation with Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

Vladimir Putin and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon had a conference call with President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

Vladimir Putin telephone call.
Vladimir Putin during a conference call with President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
The President of Russia said that he regretted being unable to visit Turkmenistan as part of his trip to Central Asia due to a tight schedule. Vladimir Putin assured Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of his intention to visit Turkmenistan in the near future at the President’s invitation. Presidential aides and the relevant agencies will be instructed to prepare the visit.

On the eve of the conference call, Vladimir Putin held talks with President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon in Dushanbe.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53958

PHOTO:
Emomali Rahmon, Vladimir Putin, telephone conference call.
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon had a conference call with President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Vladimir Putin, Emomali Rahmon, call Turkmenistan.
Vladimir Putin and President Emomali Rahmon during a conference call with President of Turkmenistan.

Russian-Tajikistani talks. President Putin visited Tajikistan.

Vladimir Putin met with President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon to discuss trade and investment opportunities and bilateral cooperation in culture, science and education.

Vladimir Putin, Emomali Rahmon.
Vladimir Putin and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.

President Putin presented the Order of Alexander Nevsky to Emomali Rahmon, and presented to Tajikistani Foreign Minister Sirodjidin Aslov the Order of Friendship.

Following the bilateral talks, Mr. Putin and Mr. Rahmon signed a Joint Declaration.

The two presidents also witnessed the signing of intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in environmental protection, military courier and postal communications, and using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Other documents signed included an agreement between the Russian Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the Tajikistani Ministry of Labour, Migration and Employment on labour and employment, and the Cooperation Programme between the two countries’ foreign ministries for 2017.

A memorandum between the relevant agencies on cooperation in tourism, physical culture and sports was also signed.

The two presidents made press statements.

Earlier in the day, the President made a working visit to Kazakhstan.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53951

PHOTO:
Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin. Arrival in Dushanbe.

Putin, Dushanbe.
Russian President Putin in Dushanbe.
Emomali Rahmon.
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.
Vladimir Putin, Emomali Rahmon.
Vladimir Putin and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.
President Putin, Emomali Rahmon.
President Putin with Emomali Rahmon.
Vladimir Putin and Emomali Rahmon.
Before the start of Russian-Tajikistani talks. Vladimir Putin and Emomali Rahmon.
Vladimir Putin with Emomali Rahmon.
Before the signing ceremony following Russian-Tajikistani talks.
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.
Press statements following Russian-Tajikistani talks. President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.
Vladimir Putin and Emomali Rahmon.
Press statements following Russian-Tajikistani talks. Vladimir Putin and Emomali Rahmon.
Vladimir Putin, Emomali Rahmon, Sergei Lavrov.
Before the signing ceremony following Russian-Tajikistani talks.
Vladimir Putin, Emomali Rahmon, Dushanbe.
Meeting with President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.
Vladimir Putin with Emomali Rahmon.
Before the official reception in Honour of the Russian President. With President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.
Diplomats, Vladimir Putin, Emomali Rahmon.
Russian-Tajikistani talks. Dushanbe.
Diplomats.
Russian-Tajikistani talks. Diplomats.
Russian President, Emomali Rahmon.
Meeting with President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.
Vladimir Putin and Emomali Rahmon.
Before the signing ceremony. Vladimir Putin, Emomali Rahmon.
Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin. Press statement following Russian-Tajikistani talks.
President Putin.
President Putin. Russian-Tajikistani talks.
Russian-Tajikistani talks.
Press statements following Russian-Tajikistani talks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin at the official reception in honour of the Russian President.
Emomali Rahmon.
Emomali Rahmon at the official reception in honour of the Russian President.