President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
Our agenda today includes a range of issues concerning protection of our national interests in the face of the restrictive measures that some countries have imposed on Russia.
We know the reasons for the pressure being put on Russia. We follow an independent domestic and foreign policy and our sovereignty is not up for sale. This does not go down well in some quarters, but this is inevitable.
It is clear today that attempts to split and divide our society, play on our problems, and seek out our vulnerable spots and weak links have not produced the results hoped for by those who imposed these restrictive measures on our country and continue to support them.
Our people, our key political forces, and our business community understand what is happening and know what to do. The timely measures we took have stabilised the economic and financial situation and the labour market and ensured the stable functioning of all strategically important economic sectors. We continue implementing our most important state programmes, including in the social sector.
Furthermore, our companies, Russia’s producers, have proven that they are capable of developing in tough conditions, finding new partners, and entering new markets at home and abroad. This can be seen in the rapid growth of our agriculture sector.
Colleagues, recent events show that we cannot hope that some of our geopolitical opponents will change their hostile course anytime in the foreseeable future. The EU countries recently extended the sanctions they have imposed on us, and discussions continue in the United States on toughening sanctions against us.
Amidst all of this, no one is even trying to analyse the reasons for what is now happening in southeast Ukraine, which was what started all of this fuss in the first place. What I mean here is that those who are imposing these restrictive measures and so-called sanctions on Russia are in fact responsible for the events that we are now witnessing in southeast Ukraine.
We must respond accordingly to this situation, of course, and take additional systemic measures in all key areas.
Firstly, we must make a rapid analysis of all the potential challenges and risks we face – political, economic, information risks and others. Based on this analysis, we then need to make adjustments to our National Security Strategy.
Once the National Security Strategy is updated, we will also need to update strategic planning documents currently in force or in the process of drafting. Furthermore, if needed, we will need to make clarifications to the Foreign Policy Concept and the Foundations of Russia’s Comprehensive Policy in the CIS Area.
At the same time, our strategic course in the foreign policy area remains unchanged. We are open for equal cooperation and collective work on key issues on the international agenda. We will continue to build relations with our partners based on the principles of respect and mutual consideration of each other’s interests, so long as this does not harm our own sovereignty and national security of course.
As before, we support active development of economic integration in the CIS area. We support expanding political, business and humanitarian ties with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the BRICS group.
Economic security issues are a crucial matter. Our strategic planning documents must define the main threats in each area in clearer and more detailed fashion. These documents must define the criteria and set the threshold indicators for the economic situation at which national security risks would start to emerge. They must also put into concrete terms the measures and mechanisms that would enable us to reduce our economy’s dependence on negative external factors.
At the practical level, the Government and the Central Bank must pay particular attention to ensuring the financial system’s stable operation. They must also put in place measures to achieve more balanced budgets and reduce the debt burden on regional budgets.
Overall, we must ensure very close coordination between everyone taking part in this work.
We must develop and present new proposals for the conceptual basis of strategic planning and forecasting of our country’s sustainable socioeconomic development and for risk management. We need to analyse the socioeconomic situation in the regions and conduct on-going monitoring using the regional situation centres. This is especially important for the border regions.
As I said, the restrictive measures we will discuss today have created problems for our economy, but they have also opened new opportunities. Above all, our producers have been able to significantly bolster their positions on the domestic market.
We continue our support for import replacement projects, especially in the agriculture sector, defence sector, engineering, pharmaceuticals, and the chemicals industry. If need be, our companies will receive additional support in these areas.
But let me draw one very important matter to your attention. The Prosecutor General’s Office, Rospotrebnadzor (national consumer protection service), the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service and other agencies must protect our people and companies from fake and poor quality goods. No matter whether goods are produced in Russia or abroad, they must meet modern requirements and standards and their origin and price setting must be transparent and clear.
In conclusion, our direct responsibility is to ensure reliable protection of Russia’s security in all areas and preserve our country’s social, political and economic stability.
Much here will depend on consolidating the efforts of our state institutions and civil society and on concentrating our resources on the priority areas. I am sure that you all understand this well and will do everything possible to resolve the tasks before us effectively.
Thank you very much for your attention.