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- How do you assess the status and prospects of the strategic partnership between Russia and Brazil? What key issues and specific proposals are you planning to discuss in Brasilia?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Our bilateral cooperation is of strategic importance, as Brazil is a responsible member of the international community whose political influence is steadily increasing; it is also the largest country in Latin America and one of the leading economies in the world. It is enough to mention its active participation in BRICS, the G20 and a number of Latin American regional organisations (CELAC, MERCOSUR, UNASUR).
We support Brazil as a deserving and strong candidate for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. I am sure that this powerful and fast-developing country is destined to play an important role in the emerging polycentric world order.
I want to emphasize that Brazil is one of Russia's key partners in Latin America. We have long-standing relations of friendship, mutual respect and trust. We are actively developing political dialogue, defense, scientific, technological and humanitarian cooperation, as well as economic and investment ties.
Over the last ten years, bilateral trade has grown almost three-fold and reached $5.5 billion in 2013. Our companies maintain close contacts through the Brazil-Russia Business Council. The citizens of our countries no longer need visas to travel. Dozens of Russia's best universities that joined Brazilian educational program Science without Borders are ready to welcome students from Brazil. Cultural exchanges have become a regular practice.
During the visit, we want to discuss areas for further developing cooperation and to outline new joint projects in energy, investment, innovation, agriculture, science and technology. We plan to sign a large package of documents relating to a variety of industries, including between specialised agencies, public and private companies, and research and educational institutions.
- The current level of economic and trade relations between Russia and Brazil is far below the potential that has been proclaimed by the countries' leaders. What steps do you consider necessary to accelerate the realization of this potential? What are the obstacles that slow us down and prevent us from taking bilateral trade to a completely new level?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Indeed, despite the good results achieved, there is still an untapped potential in trade and economic cooperation with Brazil. Moreover, there was a decrease in bilateral trade (3.3% in 2013), caused by global economic instability. In order to address the situation we need to diversify our trade ties by increasing the share of high-tech products and engineering goods, as well as by developing cooperation in aviation, energy and agriculture.
Russian companies are interested in the Brazilian market. Our countries' businesses have launched a number of successful investment projects in energy, engineering and pharmaceutical industries. For example, Russia’s Rosneft and the Brazilian HRT oil and gas company are jointly exploring and producing hydrocarbons in the Solimões river basin. In the state of Santa Catarina, the Power Machines corporation is setting up production of hydro turbines of up to 100 MW for their subsequent delivery to the markets of Brazil and other MERCOSUR countries. BIOCAD is developing a research, education and training center in Brazil, designed to produce modern innovative medicines for the treatment of cancer.
I am sure that such projects will help bring our bilateral trade and economic cooperation to a more mature level, which meets the current and future capabilities of our developing countries.
- Brazil will pass the baton of hosting a world football championship to Russia. Are you following the FIFA World Cup? Which part of Brazil's experience in preparing and hosting the event has attracted your attention and can be taken on board while organizing the 2018 World Cup?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: I try to follow the World Cup as far as my work schedule allows. The Latin American countries’ teams have put on a display of football that has real flare and talent. Unfortunately, our team did not leave the group, but, in my opinion, they tried their best.
At the invitation of Brazil and FIFA Presidents, I am going to visit the final match of the Championship to attend the ceremony of passing the baton from Brazil to Russia. In 2018, Russia will host this most popular global sporting event for the first time in its history.
In February-March, we successfully hosted the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi and know exactly what a challenge it is to organise such a huge event. We are analysing Brazil’s experience very carefully. Your country is yet to host the Olympic Games in 2016. Representatives of several ministries and organisations, including the Ministry of Sports and the Russia-2018 Organizing Committee, are in constant contact with Brazilian colleagues. They have already visited Brazil and I am sure they will go there again more than once.
It is worth noting that Russia plans to take the FIFA World Cup a step further in some areas. For example, we passed a federal law establishing a special visa regime for foreigners who help organise the 2018 Championship, and enabling not only the official participants, such as the athletes, referees, coaches and others, but also the fans to visit Russia without visas right before and during the competition. The history of football championships has never seen anything like this before.
I am sure that the World Cup in Brazil will be a bright page in the history of football. I wish the Brazilian organizers every success in completing it. As for us, in 2018, we will do everything possible to give the world an unforgettable football celebration and show genuine Russian hospitality.
- How much attention will be paid during the talks in Latin America to the issues of the modern world order, which enables some players on the international arena to unilaterally claim significantly more extensive rights, including to spy even on those leaders that they call partners and to hack their phones?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: The 21st century world is globalized and interdependent. Therefore, no state or group of countries can unilaterally tackle major international problems and any attempts to build a separate “oasis of stability and security” are doomed to failure.
In order to meet numerous challenges and threats we have to stop trying to impose development models on other countries. This approach has repeatedly proven its ineffectiveness. It does not just fail to facilitate conflict resolution, but leads to instability and chaos in international affairs.
Today, it is especially important to consolidate the international community’s efforts to ensure equal and indivisible security, as well as to resolve disputes trough the application of international law and with the central coordinating role of the UN.
As for the facts of cyber espionage that you mentioned, it not only amounts to overt hypocrisy in relationships between allies and partners, but also a direct violation of the state's sovereignty, an infringement on human rights and an invasion of privacy. We are looking forward to jointly developing an international information security system.