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Dmitry Medvedev speaking in televised interview with major national channels

December 06, 2013, 12:34 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The cabinet's main achievements in 2013 and the pressing economic and social issues are the highlights of the Prime Minister's interview
1 pages in this article
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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev before the interview to journalists of five Russian TV channels
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev before the interview to journalists of five Russian TV channels
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev before the interview to journalists of five Russian TV channels
© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Astafyev
TV presenters Sergei Brilev (Rossiya 1), Marianna Maksimovskaya (REN TV),  Irada Zeynalova (Channel One) and Vadim Takmenev (NTV) (from left to right) before the live broadcast with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
TV presenters Sergei Brilev (Rossiya 1), Marianna Maksimovskaya (REN TV),  Irada Zeynalova (Channel One) and Vadim Takmenev (NTV) (from left to right) before the live broadcast with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
TV presenters Sergei Brilev (Rossiya 1), Marianna Maksimovskaya (REN TV), Irada Zeynalova (Channel One) and Vadim Takmenev (NTV) (from left to right) before the live broadcast with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Astafyev
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev answers questions of five Russian TV channels
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev answers questions of five Russian TV channels
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev answers questions of five Russian TV channels
© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Astafyev
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev answers questions of five Russian TV channels
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev answers questions of five Russian TV channels
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev answers questions of five Russian TV channels
© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Astafyev
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev answers questions of five Russian TV channels
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev answers questions of five Russian TV channels
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev answers questions of five Russian TV channels
© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Astafyev
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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev before the interview to journalists of five Russian TV channels
© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Astafyev
TV presenters Sergei Brilev (Rossiya 1), Marianna Maksimovskaya (REN TV), Irada Zeynalova (Channel One) and Vadim Takmenev (NTV) (from left to right) before the live broadcast with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Astafyev
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev answers questions of five Russian TV channels
© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Astafyev
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev answers questions of five Russian TV channels
© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Astafyev
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev answers questions of five Russian TV channels
© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Astafyev

MOSCOW, December 06. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s foreign exchange/gold reserves stand at around $700 billion at the moment, but still there is no relaxing in any way, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in a live interview with Russia's major national television channels on Friday.

 

Situation in Russian economy

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

“The current status of our economy is much the same as in most developed and fast developing economies — as I said recently, it is vinegary,” Medvedev said.

He admitted frankly that “the situation here is rather knotty.”

He indicated that the Russian economy was demonstrating certain growth, although its rate was smaller than initially planned. Specifically, the current growth indicator was about 1.5% instead of 3.0% to 3.5%.

“In addition to growth, we have a small unemployment and a small enough debt measured against the Gross Domestic Product,” Medvedev said.

“We can’t change the situation radically if the world economy continues sliding down,” Medvedev said.”We’ve become an integral part of world economy and we’re experiencing problems, like the rest of the world.”

 

Defense spending

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

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

 

Embezzlements in construction

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said in a live interview with Russia's major national television channels Friday that those who embezzle budget funds in the construction of major facilities and during the preparation of federal-scale events would “get a slap on the wrist” and brought to criminal responsibility.

“The spending should be controlled, and those who may try to plunder the funds will, naturally, get slapped on the wrist,” the prime minister said.

Reporters drew Medvedev’s attention to the fact that such events as the preparation of the Sochi Olympics, large-scale construction of sports and infrastructure facilities, preparation for the FIFA World Cup events often cause the embezzlement of public funds.

“As soon as the ‘big money’ appears, along come those who want to take part in this with an illegal attitude,” Medvedev admitted. “It is also true.” Therefore, he said, “some of them should be brought to criminal responsibility and some - debarred from contracts and construction sites.”

“But construction must go on,” the prime minister added.

All investments in the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Vladivostok summit, the Sochi Olympics and the World Cup were totally justified as the country would not develop without facilities being created, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

“We try to use any major event like the APEC summit not to show the beauties of Russia but to invest money,” Medvedev said.

He called Vladivostok a beautiful city, Russia's showcase in the East, but admitted there had been no proper sewage system there before the summit.

Now, after the gathering, it had such a system, better roads, the largest theatre in the Russian Far East, a university and considerably improved buildings, he added.

 

Political situation

Russia’s prime minister said that there should be no radical changes in Russian government.

He warned against nationalistic moods and stressed that Russia currently needs labor migrants. "Russia unable to do without inviting labor migrants from abroad, but unemployment doesn't grow as a result," Medvedev noted. "Fomenting nationalists tensions in Russia is immoral and suicidal."

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev denies any disagreement with President Vladimir Putin over the law on criminal punishment for tax abuse.

“Between the president and me everything is OK,” Medvedev said in a live interview on several TV channels Friday afternoon.

“The president issued certain instructions. We’ve got to see how the new criminal law works and to create effective criminal and tax legislation,” Medvedev said. “Nothing is forever in this world.”

 

"No preferences to any religion"

Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday he objected the allotment of preferences to whatever religion in the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

“I think the establishment of any special preferences is inadmissible,” he said in a live interview with major national television channels when a reporter asked him to comment on the idea to make a special mentioning of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in the Constitution.

“Our religious feelings shouldn’t in any way be linked to party affiliations,” Medvedev went on.

He indicated that, generally speaking, every person has an identical viewpoint in the sphere of creed.

“Each one of us may have an identical viewpoint — Ms. Mizulina (an MP who proposed the Constitutional amendment — Itar-Tass) is entitled to one kind of position and Mr. Zheleznyak (an MP with a close link to the Russian Church — Itar-Tass) may uphold a similar position and other persons are entitled to having different views.”

Medvedev recalled that Russia’s basic law proclaims the freedom of consciousness - “any person can select a Church in accordance with one’s own feelings or to espouse atheism.”

“This is a civilized approach to these matters,” he said.

 

Medvedev has no intention to retire until 70

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev does not intend to retire on a pension when he reaches the pension age.

"I do not indent to retire on a pension early, as I plan, until I am 70," he said in a televised interview on Friday, when speaking about the pension calculation.

Medvedev said the on-line calculator of the Pension Fund had computed "not a small pension" for him, since he had a high salary as a prime minister and planned to work after reaching the pension age.

The premier refuted the accusations that the new pension formula stimulating for retiring as late as possible was actually secret raising of the pension age in Russia. "We stimulate citizens to work after reaching the age of 55-60 years," he explained.

 Medvedev noted that a number of countries legislatively raised the pension age, but Russia did not take the way.

Every person is an architect of the fortune. It is up to you — to sit in a vegetable garden or be occupied with care for grandchildren. One may retire at the age of 55 or 60, and on the whole the pension will be higher than it was 10-15 years ago. But if one wants to work, the volume of pension rights will be increased, the premier said.

Dmitry Medvedev will make a decision regarding his possible participation in the next presidential election on the basis of a combination of factors.

“I am not denying anything. But I would like to work more for a while, and then, on the basis of a combination of actors, to make a decision I deem right. Nothing more than that,” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in a live interview televised by Russia’s five television channels on Friday.

“I like what I am doing right now. It is an interesting job,” Medvedev said. “As long as I can do it, as long as there is a corresponding presidential decision, I shall keep doing my job, because it is very important and complex, although not a very popular one.”

 

Situation in Ukraine

Medvedev warned against intervention in Ukraine's affairs. Ukraine should clear out its problems on its own, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday in a live interview with the major Russian television channels.

“It’s not foreigners or Russia that should clear out all of these problems, it’s the Ukrainian leadership and Ukrainian society,” he said. “As for other countries, it’s import to act respectfully.”

Medvedev cited the instances of rather inappropriate conduct.

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

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

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

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

 

Uralkali Case too politisized, Medvedev says

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev believes that the affair of the Russian potash giant Uralkali was too politicized, as Belarus had to inform Russia about its claims from the very beginning.

“We are very close allies, the most fraternal countries. We should not overreact, it was needed to inform us at first about the claims, which they have, and we will settle it all together in the fashion of partnership,” the prime minister said in a televised interview with five major Russian television channels on Friday.

“I hope that this will not happen in the future. Finally this did not affect our relations with the Republic of Belarus,” the premier noted.

Medvedev noted that the investigation in Russia over the criminal case against Uralkali Director General Vladislav Baumgertner should be finalized. “All investigative actions should be taken and the objective truth should be found in the criminal case whether he violated something on Belarusian laws, our laws, or he did not violate anything,” the prime minister said in a televised interview with five Russian major television channels on Friday.

Director General of the largest world potash company Vladislav Baumgertner was detained in Moscow in late August. The Belarusian Investigative Committee accused him of abuse of power and office. Then the accusation against him was changed to embezzlement.

In late September Baumgertner was placed under house arrest in Minsk from a detention centre of the Belarusian State Security Committee.

Then the Uralkali general director was convoyed in Moscow from Belarus and was taken to the Russian detention centre. He faced the official accusation of abuse of powers. After that he was questioned as a defendant.

The detectives assumed that “a defendant performing managerial functions in commercial organizations abused his powers, using them despite legitimate interests of these organizations and seeking to obtain benefits and advantages for other people.”

 

Interview format

Medvedev's Press Secretary Natalya Timakova said on Thursday that the show, titled 'Prime Minister Speaking', would be devoted to summing up government operations in the outgoing year.

"The cabinet's main achievements in 2013 and the pressing economic and social issues will be the highlights of the Prime Minister's interview," she said.

Medvedev is addressing journalists in this format for the sixth time. The first event went on air on December 24, 2008, when he was President of the Russian Federation.

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