President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues, let me wish you a warm welcome to Moscow.
I am very pleased to see that our business relations with Germany’s regions are continuing and that German regions have intensive contacts with regions here in Russia.
I want to thank Moscow’s Mayor for inviting you. We have a special relationship with Bavaria: we have very strong trade and economic ties, and Bavaria accounts for 20 percent of total Russian-German economic ties.
There are 1,600 companies with Bavarian participation working here in Russia. They are represented in practically every sector, in electronics, engineering, the construction industry and more. Fifty percent of the Germany’s investment projects in Russia are of Bavarian origin. You are therefore a special guest here, and we are very pleased to see you.
Prime Minister of Bavaria Horst Seehofer (retranslated): Mr President, thank you very much for this invitation, and for your warm reception and kind words.
Bavaria and Russia, Bavaria and Moscow do indeed have a special relationship. This relationship is also reflected, for example, in legendary meetings like the one that took place at the Aying Guest House.
Vladimir Putin (speaking German): Yes, I remember.
Horst Seehofer: That was an unforgettable moment. If I recall correctly, you planned to stay for an hour, but ended up staying until midnight.
Vladimir Putin: I just couldn’t leave.
Horst Seehofer: We have come here from the free state of Bavaria, which traditionally has very intensive ties with Russia, and we want to maintain these ties.
Bavaria is part of the federal government. We are part of the government coalition, and we think it our duty, the duty of our hearts and souls, to put a bit more trust back into our relations. We think this is essential in today’s situation, looking at what is happening in the world.
I am very pleased that you said today that we are not coming here as plotters. Never in the run-up to any of my previous visits to other countries, have I heard as much untruthful and inaccurate information as I have this time.
What is most important for us is to deepen our relations, above all, of course, our economic relations, but this is not our only goal. I think we need to do the same in culture too, and in science. These are things we will discuss too.
In today’s globalised world, we in Bavaria, with our population of 13 million, are very much aware, of course, of what is happening every day in our world, whether in Syria or in Ukraine, whether refugees or crime. And we believe that only by acting together, and not in conflict with each other, can we solve these problems.
In this desire, we seek not to act against our federal government, but together with it, and we act not against Russia, but hope to work together with Russia.
Vladimir Putin: I spoke by telephone with the Federal Chancellor yesterday.
Horst Seehofer: Yes, I know this.
Vladimir Putin: I understand that she supports relations between Russia’s regions and Germany.
As for various rumours, this is inevitable, but we both share great responsibility for maintaining jobs and continuing cultural ties, and we know your attitude and your desire to do everything possible to normalise relations between Russia and Europe and Russia and Germany. We are certainly grateful to you for this.
We are all affected by the problems in the world today. I know that many people seek to move to Bavaria, and I can understand this too, especially after visiting Bavaria and the place where I was given such a hospitable and friendly reception.