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Vladimir Putin talked with writers

September 29, 2011, 12:23 UTC+3

The prime minister noted that thanks to new amendments introduced in the Tax Code the book publishers will be able to minimize the losses from unsold copies

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MOSCOW, September 29 (Itar-Tass) — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited a congress of the Russian Books Union on Wednesday. He stated that literature should be supported. The prime minister noted that thanks to new amendments introduced in the Tax Code the book publishers will be able to minimize the losses from unsold copies. He also stated the popularity of reading among Russians should be revived. The premier was speaking with the writers about the freedom of creativity, about censorship and the right of authors to give recommendations to the country’s leadership.

Speaking on the problem of electronic piracy in Russia, the premier regretted that the country is losing the status of the most reading nation in the world and offered to support serious literature, the Novye Izvestia writes. Vladimir Putin noted that the bookstores and publishing houses buy and print the books, which will be bought for sure, that is mainly the boulevard literature, in order not to sell and not to publish loss-making unsold copies. Therefore, the prime minister noted that the book publishers and sellers should be stimulated through tax benefits.

Russia is ranked among five countries with mostly developed book publishing, but the readers are becoming fewer and fewer, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta notes. Many speakers dwelt on the problem how to attract young people to reading. Chairman of the Audit Chamber Sergei Stepashin, who heads the Russian Books Union, was the first to raise the problem. “The interest to reading in our society is really falling,” he stated. “The books, which the teenagers were eager to read 20-30 years ago, are forgotten long ago. Their heroes are the supermen from foreign cartoons,” Stepashin pointed out. Stepashin offered to recognize the book publishing industry as socially important and to bring down the VAT on the children’s literature and to restore beneficial rental rates for the bookstores.

Russia lost the status of the most reading country, the Moskovsky Komsomolets cites Vladimir Putin as saying. From the very top we dropped to the 43rd position in the rating of 65 positions, even with Azerbaijan being ahead of us. Meanwhile, Darya Dontsova, with whom Putin was speaking among other writers, named the prime minister as one of those to blame for this failure, “We saw you behind the steering wheel, in the submarine, with a fishing rod, with a rifle, but never at the opening of a bookstore.”

The peculiarities of national patriotism were in the focus of a meeting between the prime minister and well-known writers after the congress, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta notes. Russia lacks patriotic literature that is quite bad. “We even do not have toy soldiers,” Putin regretted. He meant Russian toy soldiers. Russian toy soldiers can be bought only abroad.

Zakhar Prilepin asked Putin why a businessman Gennady Timchenko has taken Finnish citizenship, the newspaper writes. The premier responded that he has nothing in common with the business of the owner of the largest oil trader Gunvor, “All that is related to business interests is his personal business. I have never interfered in this and am not going to interfere. I hope that he will not poke his nose in my affairs either.” Meanwhile, Putin confirmed that he was acquainted with Timchenko “back from the period of his work in St. Petersburg,” “He worked with my friends and colleagues in Kirishinefteorgsintez.” When the privatization was launched, they separated, engaged in the oil exports and established a private company.” Timchenko “engaged in business not yesterday or the day before yesterday, but from the very beginning when the privatization was permitted,” the premier remarked. “I would like to assure you – I know that it is highly publicized - that it was done absolutely without my participation,” Putin underlined.

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