Davos Annual Meeting 2011 – Dimitry Medvedev
Ladies and gentlemen, before I have the
honor to introduce President Medvedev, please stand up as a sign of solidarity
with the victims of this terrible tragedy which happened in your
country two days ago. Please, let’s observe a minute of silence.
Thank you. Mr. President, it’s a very special honor, particularly given the terrible tragedy in
Moscow, to welcome you here in Davos and I should say to welcome you back to Davos. Many of us remember so vividly when you
made your impressive speech which by the way was called “Modern Russia in 2007.” After a decade of post-Soviet economic
and political turmoil, Russia has reasserted itself as a leading global player,
as a member of the G8, as a member of the G20, and as a so-called
BRIC country. Under your leadership Russia has successfully
overcome the consequences of the global financial crisis and has
undertaken significant steps towards ensuring long term economic stability, actively pursuing a modernization plan
to diversify the economy, develop small and medium sized enterprises, and investing in
human capital, science, and technology, and also advancing important sector
reforms in housing, healthcare, and education. Since your election, Mr. President, you have cut the knife to innovation
revolution in your country. Major investments have been made, also by
many of us here in the room, in a project to develop a high tech research and production hub that will become
Russia’s Silicon Valley. This initiative which you championed personally
will create pathways to bring technologies in industry, launch high
tech startups, and facilitate the growth of regional innovation ecosystems. Mr. President, in addition to promoting
and accelerating Russia’s social integration into the global business
and economic communities you also have overseen major evolutions in Russia’s
foreign policy with great progress made in particular on relations
with the United States. …with the US has delivered a number
of successful outcomes including the establishment of a new START Treaty
on the Control of Nuclear Weapons. President Medvedev, we are all eager to
hear from you Russia’s vision of the new reality and your plans for addressing
the world’s biggest challenges and risks, terrorism being foremost amongst them. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome
the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev. Dear Mr. Schwab, ladies and gentlemen, indeed the day before yesterday in Moscow
at International Domodedovo Airport, a terrorist act was committed that took
lives of dozens of innocent people — citizens of various countries fell victim to terrorist act; citizen of Russia, United Kingdom,
Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Germany, Austria, Kyrgzstan, Uzbekistan. More than 100 persons were injured.
They are now at hospitals. That tragedy indeed shook the
entire Russian society. Although our country even in the past
was subjected to serious tests, that act caused indignation throughout
civilized world. I received numerous messages, telegrams,
telephone calls from the leaders of foreign states, leaders of international
organizations expressing their condolences and solidarity.
I am grateful for the condolences and for the words that I just heard from you and
from other participants in the forum. Together we mourn the loss of life.
The pain from the loss of human lives of course will stay in our hearts for long
but what has happened only strengthened our resolve to find an effective protection
against international terror and I believe this to be
of utmost importance. Those that committed that heinous act by
aiming their blow against the citizens of various countries expected that their
act would bring Russia to its knees would force us to be defensive. They expected and hoped that the President
of Russia will not come here to attend the forum, among
other things of course. This is the criteria used to choose the
time and place for committing that act of terrorism but they miscalculated. Russia is aware of its place in the
world, Russia is aware of its responsibilities to its citizens and will
comply with them, and its responsibility to the world community. This is the reason why on this day
I’m speaking from this roster. Terrorism negates the most important
thing, the value of human life. It tramples upon any rights and freedom
no matter ideological rationale is it generates fear and hatred. It is an obstacle to the efforts
to improve our world. The situation is also dramatic in that
the terrorist acts in a cardinal way disrupt the normal current of life and such acts very often force us
to take very tough decisions. Those terrorist acts radically change the
way of thinking not those who fall victims but also the way of thinking of
everyone living on the planet. Unfortunately, no state in the
world is immune to terrorism. The reality is such that terrorist acts
like the one that has just happened in Russia, unfortunate enough, but the first
time that happened at any time and at any place in the world, no one
is immune to that today. There are no universal recipes t combat
that evil but one thing can be said in a definitive way. Our success in conquering this common
threat depends very much on our solidarity and concerted action, particularly during
the period when globalization has made our world much more interdependent than it
was some time ago and we have to enhance and build it on our own efforts in our
joint struggle against terrorism. We have to do all we can to influence if
not the ideology then at least the social and economic roots of terrorism,
poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, parentlessness. And we have to ensure
that global development is stable, safe, and just and fair. Once again let me sincerely thank you for
the manifestation of your feelings. Our forum is conducted during the time
when many tend to speak of the end of the world financial crisis but at the same
time it’s quite obvious that it is not all that simple.
The period of extra rapid development has resulted in many people becoming euphoric
but the crisis has sobered up every one. But we have proved with only one part of
the symptoms of the crisis and so far we have not found a model for growth and
economic development therefore is bound to be slower than we would like it to be. At the same time we have learned serious
lessons not only from the economic experience. Present day… technologically is well developed
at least if we compare it with what it was like 100 and 200 years ago but
one natural disaster or technological mistake would be enough for entire regions
to be brought to the brink of environmental catastrophe and continents
would be cut off from each other as in previous centuries. The eruption of the volcano in Iceland,
major oil spill at… in the Gulf of Mexico, the nebulous heat in Russia last
year, catastrophic floods and snowfalls that happened in various corners of the world –
all these things make us think once again about the fragility of
human power on earth. I believe that further procrastination
would be dangerous. The thing is not only that we have
to complete long lasting climate talks – although that must be done by all means – what is at issue is also the establishment
of a common monitoring system for the environment and hazardous facilities and
the common system for early warning and alleviation of emergencies.
Russia has advanced that initiative and I hope that our partners too will agree
that this question is long overdue. Today we need very much new ideas capable
of changing the world for the better, ideas that would require the force
of requirements to practical policy and would be a standard for states, for the
business, for public development, and relations between countries. Speaking of security, Russia sometime
ago expressed its specific proposals for concluding a new treaty on European security
and I believe that such topics can be discussed everywhere that would
be useful including here at the economic forum in Davos. Today the actions by politicians,
international relations and the principals of settlement are lagging behind – ever
more lagging behind the technological developments.
At the same time some politicians, some people continue to live by the phantoms of
Cold Wars, terrorist acts of Cold Wars, and they’re carried away by primitive
ambitions, forced ambitions but during this particular time, great amount of
people, almost one billion people let us think about by using social networks.
For the first time in the history of mankind, millennium-long history, people
are communicating with each other directly being located on various continents
and this is mind-boggling indeed. Our present day world is ever becoming –
has become increasingly flat and borders and barriers are expanded.
Thanks to internet, people get united and they are united by a single cause,
a single idea, and no national government can claim to have full degree of influence
on such communities – perhaps that’s for the better. Business also faces similar factors but
there is a dangerous dimension to these processes.
Sometimes they serve as a very important instrument for extremists, extremists
who fuel ethnic and religious hatred. They serve as an instrument for traffickers
and drugs and arms and for terrorists. These problems are getting worse and
we cannot fail to notice that. At the same time the general interconnection
should become a major boost for economic growth and it
aims to cut off those ties. For example, attempts to limit the freedom
of internet or the spread of innovation – I believe everyone would
understand that – would result in stagnation for the world.
Russia will not support initiatives that come in question the freedom in internet, of course freedom which is based on
the requirements of moral laws and legislation.
Dear colleagues, I would task these to use all the possibilities in order to make our
new world a much more fair and just world as believed by many citizens of our countries,
a world where success will be determined much more by talent and work
rather than by the place of birth or the family circumstances, a world where
billions of people will be directly communicating with each other, a world
where people are not afraid of authorities and international relations are free from
double standards and hypocrisy, a world where it is much better and much more
efficient to work together, to work jointly, all the more so since in
many countries where a new generation of leaders that come to power, a new generation
that came to being after the end of the Cold War, and we – and
I’m referring to Russia – can discuss and implement our dreams together.
We are prepared and willing to do that. All that should compel us to move ahead
towards a greater level of transparency and coordination.
I believe that the positive trends as referred to Mr. Schwab in relation between
Russia and the United States are good examples of new principles and approaches
in international politics. By the way, I’d like to remind you
that yesterday our parliament definitely ratified the Treaty on the Limitation
of Strategic Offensive Arms. In order to build such a world, we have
to build upon a number of well known principles, some of them we
sometimes forget about. There are a number of such principles
and I list them. First it is a strategic long term approach
to addressing problems — simple and often popular solutions. In nine cases out of 100 are wrong or proved
to be wrong or perhaps even proved to be worst out of all
the possible options. A case, a vivid case in point is tendency
or trying to resolve economic problems through nationalization, including
the nationalization of financial institutions. Indeed in the period of financial crisis
many states paused to think about it and many states took that option including
states with a well developed liberal economy. Our economy is not well enough —
I’m referring to the Russian economy – but we have exercised restraint and we didn’t
resort to that option and I believe we were right in doing that.
I believe that in most cases, crises can be resolved through the efforts of private sectors and in long term perspective.
This is the most effective way of dealing with things.
Secondly, it’s realism and willingness to live according to one’s means.
During the crisis many bubbles were punctured, not just financial bubbles
but also the bubbles of complacency. I believe that everyone understand that
we are not immune, we have no insurance against the emergence of new such bubbles.
The right to risk is part of free economy but that right should be balanced
be relevant responsibility. The right to excessive risk is something
that entrepreneurs should have, citizens should have and no doubt scientists should
have that right, within reasonable limits of course.
But states cannot have that sort of right or the world as a whole, the
right to excessive risk. Present day realities in many developed
countries are such that they face the problems of sovereign debt, budget
deficits, and despite all of that unwillingness to reduce
to cut expenditures. Such a situation is fraught with new economic
and political crises for the world. By the way, very indicative in that regard
is the annual address by the President of the United States addressed to the nation
which spoke of the five-year freeze on budget expenditures.
This is a serious measure. Thirdly, I’m referring to global partnership
and the right way to organize it.
No matter how difficult it is to renounce the practice of individual or narrow group
interest debt is something that needs to be done.
The establishment of the G20, and I’m quite frank in saying that, is
a major huge step forward. On the one hand, the greater number
of countries sitting around the round table, it is – more difficult it is to reach
consensus, more time is required. But on the other hand, the more the
better decisions are that are being taken. In the experience of our work within
G20 has demonstrated that. We are prepared to use all the
instruments at our disposal. The efficiency of work in the
G20 should be enhanced. From general discussions even if
the interesting ones, we should proceed to the implementation of specific tasks.
There are many such tasks ahead of us and we have already achieved
many things, many successes. We have determined the ways to develop
world financial institutions but still there are many things that we haven’t done
yet and there is one topic to which I would like to refer right
not is as follows. I’m positive that the present principles
are not working, principles for regulation particularly in the internet, and that is…
for the entire intellectual property rights system.
And therefore I believe in the next g20 meeting, we should put that on the agenda
and offer new solutions to the world community, solutions that should
be formulated at international conventions. Russia will advance these proposals. At the same time, we should develop
new alliances of leaders. It is important that the breakthrough
as modeled by economists sometime ago has acquired a huge credibility and the status
of really collaborating organizations. At least we intend to expand
in that format. Starting this year South Africa
is joining this format. Now it is BRICS, no longer BRIC but BRICS,
and these are countries that stand every chance to be the leaders for global
development and to shoulder responsibility for that process.
I believe that one of such ideas could be implemented in very shortly, that is to
include the currencies of rich countries in the IMF as…
And fourthly, it is diversity, the fact that various economic models exists,
market economy exists in the world, it is rather an advantage than a disadvantage.
The crisis has demonstrated that the models that were not perfect were shaken
and suffered major losses therefore one format world, no matter what the forma is,
is full of risk and multi-format world is capable of compensating for such risk
and provides an opportunity to adapt to new challenges. A few words about Russia – Russia is very
often criticized, sometimes the criticism is well deserved, sometimes
absolutely not. Russia is rebuked for the lack of democracy
or totalitarian tendencies, weaknesses of legal and judiciary systems. Today we are the way we are and let me
tell you that Russia indeed faces many difficulties: in building the
rule of law, in creating… economy.
Russia in the highest degree has been confronted with the evil of
terrorism and extremism. Russia has many social problems to cope
with although in recent years we succeeded in resolving many of them.
Finally Russia – all the decision makers in Russia are not immune to ordinary mistakes
but one obvious thing should be understood, indeed major changes are
taking place in public life, in our society.
We are indeed developing and we are moving ahead, in particular in fighting
corruption, in modernizing judiciary and law enforcement spheres even though we
have not yet scored tremendous successes in that area.
Those are our realistic attempts to improve investment climate in our country
and to improve the quality of life in Russia. Indeed, we have not yet reached outstanding
results in our efforts which we are full of resolve to
continue to persevere. We are learning ourselves and we are willing
to receive friendly advice but what we don’t need is lecturing. We should be working together. The feelings of people, their social
self-esteem perhaps is the most important indicator of how successful the
country’s developing, the convictions of the citizens that they live in a democratic
state and honest dialogue between authorities and the citizens are key signs
of democracy, direct democracy. The quality of that democracy depends
not only on political procedures and institutions but also on whether people
are prepared to listen and to heed. It is not enough to have one’s own freedom;
you have to respect the freedoms of others.
This is the principle which is true for relations between democratic states.
I’m also convinced that democracy will continue developing thanks
to economic modernization. Primitive raw materials based economy
cannot ensure the improvement of life, the quality of life of citizens therefore
it is not capable of ensuring the sustainability of our democracy.
In order to avoid the threat of population, democracy should have a safe
base as a well developed society, as a society of independently minded people.
Dear friends, the strategy for modernization of Russia and the principles
that I have indicated are in full… has been said.
Today I will dwell on new opportunities provided by modernization for successful
business operation in Russia despite all the difficulties. I’ll be brief and enumerate 10 points. First, sometime ago I initiated
an unprecedented program in recent years, program for privatizing state assets.
A number of strategic enterprises in Russia, according to my – under my
decree has been reduced by 500%. In the next three years, stocks of shares
will be privatized for major companies. The revenues – obtaining revenues is not
an end in itself for us although of course it is an important one.
What is important is to increase the competitiveness of major companies and
to improve the environment for business activities and therefore in engaging in
that activity, we involve the leading world banks.
We also will set up a special fund for sharing the risks through joint investment
in modernization projects in our economy. Third, we expect to receive major advantages
from development of the Russian financial sector. This is the reason why I’d like to once
again announce in this room that we will not introduce any special taxes
in the financial sector. On the contrary, as of January 1st we
have abolished the tax on the selling of securities in selling out
long term investment. In that respect our position differs from
the point of view of our partners in the G20. We have no intention to introduce any
further limitations on financial activities.
On the contrary, we would like to expand the possibilities for financial
institutions. This is the objective of turning Moscow
into a major international financial center.
It should not only become a new place for Russian financial system but also a catalyst
for the development of financial markets for the post-Soviet area and
for the central and Eastern Europe. First, initial practical steps have
already been taken and I hope that starting this year, foreign companies will
be in a position to make loans and to track capital in the Russian rural market. This would be part of Russian integration
in the world economy. Let me add that we are taking measures to
enhance the efficiency of our judiciary system for financial companies that will
be working here – will be working in the Moscow Financial Center.
Fourth, we are setting up major markets with uniform regulation rules to make
them attractive for investors. Russia is long ago – since long has been
prepared to be admitted to WTO and I hope that this process will be
completed this year. All of our partners have
promised that to me. After that, Russia would join OECD. Finally, we are working to establish
a common economic area with the European Union. It will be based on the principles
of indivisible security, freedom of movement of people, capitals, and good based
on uniform technical standards. Recently we established a customs union
with Belarus and Kazakhstan. We are also now building common economic
space, common economic area following European model.
All these processes are of major significance, they are not in conflict
with each other but rather mutually supplementary.
In other words, we are moving towards establishing a single market from
the Atlantics to the Pacific, a major market where everyone will have advantages
of working in. Fifth, we have established and continue
to create new possibilities for innovative entrepreneurship and venture investment.
I’ve suggested a new law be adopted that provides universities with rights to set
up ventures enjoying intellectual property rights.
This year venture financing will be made even more convenient because legislation
would be put in force. This year, a major project of innovation
center of cocoa will start operating. Major – a great number of enterprises
will be part of that culture. They work in various parts of Russia and
they will all receive preferential treatment and I expect that would then
hope for the emergence of new global brands emerging in Russia in
the next few years to come. And the involvement of foreign business,
foreign innovative business, will make our chances for success even greater.
Sixth, further opportunities for business are being created by our large scale
program to ensure energy efficiency. I have approved some specific targets and
new pilot projects are being implemented in various parts of the country.
New projects should comply with the strictest standards of energy efficiency.
Such standards have been already established or will soon be established. Of no less importance for Russia, taking
into account its particular energy place in the world, for the energy sector to
become a major booster for innovation, this is the objective why innovation and…
will be carried out through global partnerships based on equity swaps.
Furthermore, such partnerships will be a key factor in ensuring energy security, something that we spoke about at the
G8 Summit in Saint Petersburg. Here today in Davos and sometime ago in
other forums, we signed major deals, major contracts during this year in this sector
and I hope that alliances being built by Rosneft is a transfer from words
to deeds in that direction. Seventh, we will make – take every time
to assure the transfer – to go to a transfer mechanism to modernize
Russian industry. Joint work and technology sharing is very
important for all sectors including the defense sector.
I believe that in the future technology transfers will help to create new levels
of security and mutual trust in the world, that’s why we particularly welcome
the establishment of the Russian-French consortium to build helicopter-carrying
ships, Mistral class ships. Eighth, we are implementing large scale
programs to spread the broadband internet… and we’re prepared to provide opportunities
for any legal business to use these opportunities. The most important project implemented by state, a project that I’m also dealing
with, is the integration of banking and public services based on
universal payment card. Development of payment is convenient
for people, for our citizens and it is a convenient thing for businesses.
And also this is a serious instrument to fight corruption in our country. Ninth, we understand the success of the
modernization of Russia is a combination of tens of millions of personal success
stories for our citizens and hundreds of thousands of success stories for businessmen
and entrepreneurs and experts from the entire world.
In the present day world the source of any country and its ability to lead in
the world economy are clever, smart, well educated persons who have the knowledge
and have desire to work creatively. In the next ten years to come I believe
thousands of our experts, bureaucrats and… will obtain Master of Art and PhD degrees
in the leading universities of the world and later on I hope they will take
key positions in Russian business, in state administration, in science
and high education. Our task is to turn Russia into a
more attractive place for the best minds of the world.
I believe this is a realistic task to attract thousands of best scientists, scholars,
and engineers to work in our country.
The inflow of foreign experts is needed for us to learn best practices and to create
good environment for the work of our experts.
This is the reason why we are willing to unilaterally automatically recognize diplomacy
in scientific degrees in the leading universities of the world.
Now we are working on the project in that area.
Now we have improved the migration reaching for highly skilled experts
coming to our country. The business representative has asked
me to do that and I have done that. Tenth, we have launched the implementation
of large scale infrastructure projects including having
obtained the right to pose major international sports events.
And this is not just the will of some people who like sports, this is a realistic
chance for us to modernize the infrastructure.
This was the reason why we did that, to make that infrastructure convenient
for citizens, for businesses, for trade. All those projects will be based
on private-public partnership and of course those projects are a way to develop
individual regions of Russia. And accordingly, the possibility for people
from various parts of the world to come and see Russia and to understand at
long last that Russia, despite all its difficulties, is an open country which
has already become part of the world community. I hope very much that these ten areas, perhaps
I have bored you by enumerating them, but tomorrow perhaps those areas could
be discussed in greater detail in session here with the involvement of members
of our government, Government of the Russian Integration, present
here in this room. To conclude, I cannot fail — to what I
said at the beginning of my statement, all our efforts to restore and further develop
world economy would be futile if we fail to overcome, to defeat terrorism,
extremism and intolerance. If we fail to unite in order to eradicate
that evil forever, the evil is of greatest danger for all of mankind. And let me stress once again – our success
on this road cannot be ensured by efforts of states alone. What we need is a broad ranging dialogue
with the various structures of civil society, expert communities — they are
in a position to play a major role in education sphere, in advancing the ideals
of tolerance and mutual understanding among various social groups. Regrettably, I am compelled to cut short
my stay here at the Davos forum and tonight, right after this session,
I immediately go back to Moscow. Thank you for your understanding. Mr. President, let me first thank you
for explaining to us your ideas and your achievements.
I have to add – related to a modern, forward-looking cooperative Russia.
I would also like to use this opportunity to thank some members of your government. We have an extraordinary group of leaders
from your government here to follow up in the next days some of the issues which
you raised and which you raised in a very statesman-like manner.
I would say, Mr. President, you may recall when you were here four years ago
and you made your speech which was very highly appreciated – I said at the end “We
heard the speech of a future statesman.” Now, four years later, I can say we heard
the speech of a real statesman. Before we arrange the session and
in agreement with President Medvedev, we made a call on knowing about your… I should say
for social media, we looked really – we asked the public what questions should we
ask you and we got thousands of votes and responses but I have to say most of
the answers you have already given. But nevertheless I would like to maybe take
up three or four questions which have emerged from this polling. They reflect really similar scenes.
And the first question would be, Mr. President, given the latest developments
in Tunisia, how do you think government should react to such calls for openness? You committed yourself to the openness of
the internet but what is your feeling of what has happened last week which is so
much also in our mind, the events in Tunisia? What happened in Tunisia I think is quite
a substantial lesson to learn for any authorities. The authorities must not simply sit in
their convenient chairs in their laurels but develop themselves together
with the society. No matter what country we’re talking
about, be it Europe, Africa, Latin America, when the authorities don’t catch
up with the development of the society, don’t meet the aspiration of the
people, the outcome is very sad. The chaos and disorganization
will be faced. And this is the problem of the authorities
themselves, also the responsibility of the authorities even if much of what has
been suggested to the authorities is unacceptable to them, the authorities
should engage in dialogue with all types of folks otherwise they will
loose the real ground. This doesn’t imply they should follow
any recommendations given to them, the authorities, but they should listen
to people, what people have to say. Therefore, I believe this is a substantial
lesson both to Africa and the Arab world and to any authorities,
as it were. Having said that, this is a test
for resilience and I count a lot that this occasion in Tunisia will stabilize and
will not make its fast effect on the entire situation in the Arab world. I’ve just visited Palestinian autonomy.
I also visit Jordan. And naturally I understand how difficult
the problems at hand in Palestine are and what needs to be done by all of us
so that at the Palestine land the peace would reign and the code with their nearest neighbor,
that is Israel, would reign. This is a big and difficult problem. Having said that, we all need to remember
that in several cases stemming from the results of the vote, some authorities might
take office which do not liking on the part of the world community but we
will have to take them into account as well.
Once again, this is a lesson, at the same time, this is a test for Tunisia and this
is a possibility to undertake a more serious analysis in this
region as a whole. Mr. President, you have already addressed
the issue but there was a lot of – there were a lot of questions related to recent
events which have raised concerns about adequate legal protection for those wishing
to do business in Russia and of course also corruption was
mentioned very often. Would you like to add something to
what you already mentioned before? Certainly. Perhaps I need to talk in greater detail
concerning this very important problem in Russia.
Russia is not the only country in the world facing corruption and where the
legal system does not always act efficiently. However, we have to take responsibility
concerning our own country, not fingering to others saying they don’t have
less corruption than we do, we should address our own problems first and foremost.
How to do that? Only thanks to the methodology goal
– systemic countering to these corruption pressure which includes a
whole set of components. First, simply put, a real investigation
of the corruption crimes so that any bureaucrats perpetrating such acts would
realize that here he should end up very badly in his career than a modern
civilized accounting procedures. Not so long ago in our country I introduced
a mandatory declaration of income of all civil servants.
It’s not an easy process. Not everybody is ready to do that.
You have to digest it. Nevertheless, it has become part and parcel
of our life which is important – that’s of course improvement of work
of judiciary system of the codes and I’m aware of all the problems
existing in this area. At the same time I’d like to point out
that as of recent years, some recent years, for the first time in the whole history
of our country, we have adapted this anti-corruption legislation
which is already a step forward. Now we have to learn to use it properly.
Law enforcement agencies are not free from public trends in the society.
These need to be changed and this is the main thrust of my work as a leader of the
relevant structures and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Finally, the court itself should be, on
the one hand, absolutely independent; on the other hand, the court should feel
its responsibility before the society, before the people, it shouldn’t be behind
the thick walls hiding, not allowing in its corporation anybody who would tend
to believe that there are some problems inside the court.
Therefore I believe it is necessary for us to improve legislation pertaining to
the monitoring of the status of our judiciary system.
As such, all of that is being done. I cherish no illusions so that we’ll be
in position to do all of that within one or two years but I’m glad we have embarked
on that path and I’m positive we’ll be able to defeat corruption. Mr. President, you have mentioned
the START Treaty. How do you see the next stage of
the developments towards global zero nuclear-free world? And in this
respect, how do you evaluate the relationship of your
country with Iran? I’m also glad that we have completed this
negotiation process, START Treaty, to its logical conclusion, almost finalized it.
When I come back from Davos sometime later there will be a text of the ratified
treaty on my table. I have had a word very recently with President
Obama and we agreed even how we can carry out exchange of these documents
but we should go further from here. I believe this was a very optimistic moment
in the most recent history even if there were many impediments on that road
we had embarked upon, still on the part of Russia and US we have finalized this process
and I hope that it’s now easier for breathing of many people residing in
this planet simply because we have been able to agree upon these things which
is also of paramount importance. I believe we should continue our efforts
in limitation of strategic offensive weapons and other subject matter related
to it, that’s missile defense. Today in Europe they have been deploying
a European missile defense system. Russia considers itself as part and parcel
of Europe and nobody challenges that anywhere and we would like to see to
it that we too would feel ourselves as secure if only because of the fact that
this missile defense might one day be turned into strategic nuclear potential.
We have put forward our proposals. We’re open for cooperation and like to
see to it very much that in ten years’ time the future leaders of Russia and US
and of European countries would not have any conflicts about it but rather would
adopt concerted agreements on this core which is very important for our future.
We should follow closely the outlook of the entire world missile nuclear
weapon situation. You have mentioned Iran here.
Iran happens to be our partner neighbor. At the same time there are several questions
posed by the European community before Iran and Iran must
answer those questions. The missile community so far has not got
information to the effect that Iran is in the process of building nuclear weapons. On top of that Iran is part of the NPT
Treaty, Non-Proliferation Treaty, this is precisely why Iran must evaporate all
the doubts on the part of the European community concerning its nuclear program.
They should put the case that the peaceful nuclear program.
Russia has a long term fruitful relations with Iran and we’d like to use possibilities
there so that these difficult dialogue currently in progress
be concluded with success. Not so long ago I gave a call to the
President Ahmadinejad and I mentioned precisely that in this conversation and
he told me he agreed with such position. Mr. President, you were very generous with
your time and let me just end this discussion with asking maybe one
or two more general questions. One which came out of this survey on the
web and one of the questions – it may be quite provocative – was if someone would
come out on WikiLeaks about Russia, what could it be? Good question. Thank you. I believe just speaking at this rostrum
here, I partially supported the WikiLeaks here when I said that today one billion
people in the world are interlinked with this invisible networks of communication. No other very serious secret can
be guaranteed and immune form being disclosed today. At the end of the day, I believe that this
WikiLeaks story should make the spirit of international relations healthier even if
in itself this is an illegal activity in understanding of several states but
the impact of this story, I think, for international relations is quite positive. Now as regards, let’s say, what basically
is being leaked has been leaked, I believe some people it might be of interest,
to others it would be no secret at all, just from my perspective, from what I
read concerning Russia, from the materials which found their way to these leaks, there
has been nothing new to me in it. Periodically, I got a sense that
most assessments which found their ways to WikiLeaks concerning Russia were taken
from the general politics side in internet. Perhaps it concerns some but
not us, we are tough guys. Two last questions, Mr.
President. Listening to you, I’m sure that many here in the room have to correct some of
the perceptions they had of Russia. You showed us a modern Russia,
an open Russia. What is for you personally the perception
which you encounter very often in your discussion about Russia which
makes you most upset? One perception — what do you feel is
the biggest one perception about Russia? I would think that any stereotyped perceptions
can really be distressful and I wouldn’t think that there is just one
sole thing in this regard which would make me feel extremely upset
and emotional sphere. Sometimes it’s unpleasant
to read certain things. And you know what struck
me in this regard? In the morning when I open the internet, let’s say through this well known gadget
here, and I would read some reaction regarding Russia, the Russian government.
Me personally, I can tell you it is waking me up very personally,
I loose all the sleepness. On the other hand I get a wish here
to promptly respond to some of those reactions through Twitter, to give a call
to the present administration to dispel some wrong perceptions there, but then I
would shelve this gadget because no need to hurry ever, you need to act in a clear
cut manner with all the precaution taken. Anyway, the truth will
always find its way. Very last question – you are a very young
president and when you look now at your present presidency – I know it’s a question
which you have answered to a certain extent. But what is to you personally – what
is your driving force as a person? You work so hard, you don’t sleep, but what drives you? I think
the answer is very simple. My work is very interesting. Those presidents who think otherwise
differently, most probably they are deceiving themselves. The work which makes you be mobilized for
24 hours a day, responsibility which you feel day and night, responsibility before
your own country, before the people who have elected you. Well, in this case, you can always find
some strength in you even if you are very tired, if you suffer from jetlag, or even
some unpleasant things are happening. I think this is the most important thing
for any person, including presidents, in life.
Therefore my work is very interesting and very important to me. Mr. President, in your important work, we offer you all the best wishes. Again, also our condolences and we hope
that you continue what you have explained to us and we wish you
all the best success. Thank you very much for coming.