Press Conferences

27 may, 2011 18:57

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin takes questions from the press

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin takes questions from the press
“The most important thing is to seek out new people with fresh and interesting ideas that the country needs. On the whole, the process is going as we expected,” Mr Putin said about the formation of the Russian Popular Front.


Question: Mr Putin, could you please say something about the Russian Popular Front? How will it be headquartered? Who will lead it? And one more election question: what is your attitude to the Right Cause party? Do you think it can compete seriously with United Russia?

Vladimir Putin: It doesn’t matter much who leads the Russian Popular Front from its headquarters. A leader’s seat is never left vacant. This is a purely administrative issue. What is important is people’s attitudes to this proposal and which organisations would like to take part in the work of such a broad political platform.

I must say that this stir was expected, at least for me. Almost 150 public organisations officially expressed their wish to take part in the Russian Popular Front. And I’m pleased by that because it means that it really is possible to achieve the goals that I set in making this proposal. Using the structure of United Russia, we would like to bring new people out of the woodwork who have fresh ideas that are relevant to today’s Russia and our near future.

Institutional issues are also being resolved – we have already selected a premise, and people have started working. So, I’m satisfied on the whole. Let me repeat once again: the most important thing is to seek out new people with fresh and interesting ideas that the country needs. On the whole, the process is going as we expected.

As for the Right Cause, I think that any legal party – any legal political force – may and should compete with its political rivals. Can it compete with United Russia as an equal? No, it cannot, at least for now. But I don’t rule out that this may change, and if the Right Cause proves to its voters that it has adopted the right approach to national development, it will win increasing support. This is not the case for the time being. My attitude to this process is generally positive. Suffice it to recall the State Duma election posters of eight years ago. Those posters were hanging all around Moscow at the time.  It means that I initially supported their creation. 

I think that if this party freshens up, it would be for the best. It seems to me that it also needs new people and new ideas. That’s my attitude towards it.

Question: Mr Putin, could you please comment on current events involving the FIFA leadership? Will we support (current FIFA President) Joseph Blatter’s nomination in the next elections?

Vladimir Putin: I can see that these disputes have not yet been resolved. Moreover, mutual accusations of corruption are being made. My relations with FIFA President Blatter began after Russia was awarded the right to host the World Cup in 2018. We were acquainted before that, and we had warm but still very superficial relations. After Russia won the bid for the cup, we began to meet more often to discuss joint preparations for the 2018 championship.

But I’m perplexed by what I see today, to put it mildly. Swiss corruption accusations against Blatter are absolute nonsense! I’m sure that they will produce no effect on the election of the next FIFA president.

Mr Blatter has done a lot for the development of global football. That much is obvious. He took football from being a sport to being an important social phenomenon of global significance that has an important role in the resolution of many social issues, such as the struggle against crime and drugs. He turned a sport into a serious mechanism of social change that is helping address numerous problems in many countries.

It’s no secret that for us, for instance, anti-drug measures are very important. When we encourage young people to go in for sports, especially popular team sports like football, it helps us resolve these issues. Moreover, I think that in the past decades we could hardly have hoped that a World Cup would be held in Asia, as it was in South Korea, or in Africa, for that matter, but Blatter made it happen. He has extended the boundaries of football and turned it into a truly global sport. This is a great achievement and the credit for it goes to him as an individual. If I were asked, I’d certainly vote for Mr Blatter.

Question: Mr Putin, at the end of 2010, Minsk said they would like to see Gazprom’s monopoly restricted – at least in Belarus. This week, the representatives of the European Commission said the same thing. Is this issue being discussed and is this possible or not?

Vladimir Putin: The purchase of 50% of Beltransgaz by Gazprom is being discussed. This is what is being discussed now.

Question: How far have the talks gotten?

Vladimir Putin: They are in their final stages.

Question: When will Gazprom decide on the purchase?

Vladimir Putin: It may happen very soon.  It depends on the position of our Belarusian colleagues. Gazprom already owns 50% of Beltransgaz. On the whole, it will not be a bad purchase for us, but we can do without it. I think that Belarus is interested in Gazprom becoming the full owner of Beltransgaz. In this case, Gazprom will be more willing to invest money into the gas transport network.

Question: Candidates for the post of the IMF managing director are now being discussed. Whom would you support? And what is your attitude towards the scandal surrounding Dominique Strauss-Kahn? Was he framed for political reasons?

Vladimir Putin: I don’t know much about the possible political reasons and don’t even want to touch on this issue, but it really is hard to believe that everything is as it was initially presented. I just can’t believe that – it is beyond me to understand it.

As for the candidates, different ones are being discussed. At the EurAsEC summit, we suggested the head of the Kazakhstan Central Bank. He is a very good specialist. Now our European partners are discussing the candidacy of the French finance minister. She is also a good choice. The decision must be made in a different place and at another level. However, the French candidacy is very serious.

Question: After the failure of its recent deal, Rosneft is looking for new partners, and some sources say it might turn to Shell. Do you think Shell may become Rosneft’s partner on the same terms as BP?

Vladimir Putin: It may. We have worked with Shell for a long time, and it is a comfortable partner for us. But our work with BP is not yet over. There are several different options. I think that such issues must be resolved at the corporate level. They are not for us to decide. Likewise, it’s not for us to decide who will head the IMF. I’ve merely expressed my own position. The same applies to Rosneft’s cooperation with Shell. We in the government do not mind in general which specific company will be involved in a given project. What matters to us is that the terms of its work meet our national interests.

Question: Are you saying that there are still options for cooperation with BP?

Vladimir Putin:  Absolutely. Why not? And cooperation on offshore projects  is also possible, of course.

Question: Do you think Col. Muammar Gaddafi has lost his legitimacy?

Vladimir Putin: I don’t think it is appropriate for me to discuss this now. The heads of the leading countries are now discussing this issue at the G8 summit in Deauville. I have already expressed my position more than once and have nothing to add.

Thank you very much.