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7 Ежегодная большая пресс-конференция Part 18 В.Путин (Putin)

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Uploaded on Nov 12, 2008

7 Annual Big Press Conference Part 18
February 14,2008
President of Russia V.Putin
The Kremlin,Moscow

VLADIMIR PUTIN: On the surface the price freeze does look like an anti-market decision. But I am not so sure that this is actually the case. Rising food prices are a result not just of rising prices on the world markets. People say that the Chinese are now consuming greater quantities of foodstuffs and that consumption has also increased in India, that oil prices have gone up and therefore prices for everything else also rise accordingly. These are objective circumstances, and Russia is a part of the global economy. But there are also other circumstances, things such as customs regulations, monopoly deals, relations between the different economic sectors, between the fuel and energy sector and the agriculture sector, for example. There is also the question of relations with our partners in Europe, from whom we receive a large part of our imports. In big Russian cities imports account for up to 70-80 percent (and in some cases even 85 percent) of foodstuffs. This is an enormous figure. Much therefore also depends on how this situation is regulated. After the price agreements that were made with the main producers and distributors come to an end prices will not necessarily jump up. This could happen in theory. But I do not think that this was a purely anti-market measure. It was an anti-monopoly measure, but can we call it an anti-market measure? The agreements reached with foodstuffs producers and sellers, with the wholesalers, had an anti-monopoly component. Yes, foodstuffs prices are rising on world markets and prices will probably increase in Russia too, but this does not automatically mean that we are in for sudden sharp jumps in prices.
VESTI-24: Do you not think that we are resolving our poverty and demographic problems too slowly? You said more than once that these problems are of primary concern for you.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: As far as the demographic situation is concerned, we are now seeing something of a baby boom, and this makes me very happy. The reason why we began taking action only last year and the year before is that we simply did not have the necessary resources for tackling this problem earlier. Even now when we have decided to index benefits in this area, to be honest, this was my personal decision and I am glad to say it now, there were doubts in the Government about the wisdom of doing this. But I said, I promised publicly that we would index these benefits and so we have to do this. You will just have to make the effort, find money by cutting back ineffective spending, of which there is sufficient, but we have to keep our word. We promised our citizens and they believed us, and now we have a duty to fulfil this promise.
The number of families giving birth to a second or third child has increased by almost 10 percent. This is a sign that people do have confidence in us. I think this is one of our biggest achievements over these last eight years. Overall, of course, not everyone has seen the benefits in their own lives yet. Not everyone in the country has felt the effects of economic growth in their own lives and on their own incomes yet, but overall, people do see that we are doing what we promise. I do not think, therefore, that we are resolving the demographic problem too slowly.
As for the fight against poverty, the biggest issue in the immediate future is that of pension reform. This is an area in which we need to make important decisions and take action that will lead to a real increase in pensioners incomes.
At the moment the correlation between the average wage and the average pension is very low and we need to make it higher, to bring pensions closer into line with wages.
We have several objectives in this respect. We need to ensure that the decisions concerning the personal pension account system are implemented. The state must guarantee that for every rouble a person puts into his personal pension account, the state will add a rouble of its own. This is being done to close the gap between the incomes of working people and pensioners. This is one of our main goals for the coming decade. I think that this is entirely within our power if we act responsibly and move forward calmly and steadily with every year towards this aim.
Pension reform, education and healthcare are among the main issues discussed at all meetings with the Government, and we will continue our work in all of these areas to find solutions and resolve the problem of poverty.
ALEKSEI GROMOV: There are a significant number of journalists from Finland here please go ahead.

QUESTION: We also listened carefully to your speech at the State Council. Could you be more precise about exactly what kind of conflicts and diplomatic policies smell of oil and gas?

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