President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Before letting the members of the press go, I would like to make a few comments rounding up the different issues raised today.
First of all, despite the active political life that never ceases in our world, the economy, fortunately, is not so highly dependent on political life. I think therefore that in the current situation our economic policy should remain unchanged regardless of various political events, change in leadership in some countries, other changes the political season could bring. We have big internal economic potential and a good solid domestic base, and so, despite the global economic problems today, the situation in our economy is absolutely stable overall. There is certainly no crisis or pre-crisis state here and our development continues. We are of course affected by international problems too, but I think it is within our power to resolve all of these problems on our internal market.
I would like to support a number of the ideas proposed today. As Alexander Nikolayevich [Shokhin, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP)] said in his speech, we need to send the right signals about how we make decisions in the strategic sectors. We do indeed need to give examples of how the relevant law [the Federal Law ‘On Procedures for Foreign Investment in Business Entities of Strategic Importance for Russian National Defence and State Security] will be applied – positive examples and negative ones too, if such should arise. In any event, this law must be applied. This law does not ban foreign investment from this or that sector, but sets out special procedures for investment in particular sectors, and we welcome this investment.
On the question of taxes, we will discuss all of the ideas that were expressed today in a less public setting. Final decisions have not been made yet and it will be very important for me to hear your views. Some of your views have been set out now. At the same time, I cannot but respond to what was said about the situation regarding financial issues, the cost of money and the situation in general on the financial market. I would like to say once again that it is the Government’s task today to ensure extra liquidity on the domestic market. This is something we can do and the instructions have already been issued. We need to settle this problem on the domestic market as much as is possible in the context of a rather complicated international financial situation.
Finally, regarding sanctions, we realise what sanctions mean. Sanctions are a double-edged sword. It makes no sense to put pressure on the Russian Federation with the help of sanctions. Our decision-making and management systems are such that this would not bring about a change in our foreign policy. It is no doubt possible to cut off a couple of channels to some banana republic and the situation there would turn dramatic, but this would not be the case here. It seems to me that the most vocal advocates of sanctions are starting to realise this now.
As I already said, we do not want isolation or any kind of arms race. This is a dead-end road. We will not let ourselves be exhausted the way the Soviet Union did, but at the same time we will of course take all necessary measures to strengthen our defence capability.
All other problems that arise are not critical for us. We are all aware that we can deal with them. If anyone does try to impose sanctions on us we realise that the losses will be symmetrical in nature, and this is surely in no one’s interests. It is certainly not in our interests, at any rate.
Protecting our society’s interests is our common task. We agreed quite a long time ago that even though we may have differing views (the business community might express this or that view on certain domestic economic issues, and the state might take them into account but not necessarily follow with this or that specific decision) the business community and the state authorities share a common position when it comes to foreign relations, and I have no doubt of this.
The authorities, the state, will protect business, and the business community will take a constructive position, building on the decisions that have been made.