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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President,
I am very happy to welcome you to Moscow.
I am pleased to recall once again that Russia is Finland’s leading trading partner. Our position in the top spot is secure, but there are still things that I’m sure are of mutual concern. Our trade turnover has decreased by more than 12 percent.
In this regard, I am very grateful that you accepted our invitation and came to Russia with a large group of businesspeople. These are entrepreneurs whose work to a large extent influences the state of the economy and available jobs. Naturally, your visit is a very timely one.
Of course, we need to think about and analyse the current situation together, along with our Finnish colleagues. We need to think about what we should do to ensure that the situation does not deteriorate, but rather improves.
Despite the ongoing crisis in the eurozone and a certain decline in energy consumption, we have nevertheless built up a good foundation, and we must take advantage of it.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that we will be able to play hockey during this visit, but we will definitely continue our sporting tradition.
President of Finland Sauli Niinistö (retranslated): Thank you very much for the invitation, Mr President – or perhaps I should refer to you as the master centre forward?
I am very glad that Russia holds the first place among our trading partners, and we will make every effort to ensure that this remains the case.
I would like to say that representatives of Finland’s business community appreciate the fact that you will receive them today. This is both important and significant.
I completely agree with you that Europe is living through very difficult times, but we have had tough times before and always survived. For example, Finland was affected by a very deep recession in the 1990s, and Russia had major financial problems in 1998. However, we managed to overcome these difficulties.
I will continue our sporting tradition with great pleasure but I have to warn you that I have been training very hard.
(In Russian) Mr President, we are expecting you in Finland this summer.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you. I definitely will come.