Question: Dmitry Anatolyevich, today the Prime Minister of Japan talked about the possibility of convening an emergency G8 meeting on the crisis. Is he consulting with you about whether Russia would take part? And how effective do you think the efforts of the G8 can be? Thank you.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: The idea really does exist. I spoke about this subject in Evian when I talked with Nicolas Sarkozy. I think that holding this kind of G8 emergency meeting would be beneficial. Unfortunately, over the summer we were not able to discuss the measures that should have been taken in more detail, though almost all states knew where everything was going. I personally spoke at the St Petersburg forum and then told our colleagues in Japan that we need a new system of economic security. Nevertheless, no such decision was made. And if they were not made then, we have to try and do everything possible to make them today.
Therefore I certainly endorse the idea of an emergency G8 summit. We are holding consultations on this subject. While it is difficult to say when and where it will take place, it seems to me that it would be valuable. But if we do gather together then it should not just be eight of us; we should invite other economies that play key roles in the global financial climate as well. I am of course referring to China, India, Brazil, Mexico, the Republic of South Africa, and maybe even others.
Incidentally, not only in Europe do politicians share this sense — I have also heard such statements by certain officials of the United States who believe it to be correct. Therefore, I think that if we do meet we should do so in a broader format.
Question: Dmitry Anatolyevich, in Evian you probably discussed the joint fight against the financial crisis with Mr Sarkozy. Do you have a feeling that Europe sees Russia as an equal player, an equal partner in this process?
Dmitry Medvedev: I have the impression that Europe understands that today no economic problems of a global order can be solved without Russia's participation. Just as the global nature of the economy precludes Russia from resolving all the problems associated with the crisis in financial markets alone. We are so closely linked to one another that we cannot take decisions that don't affect others.
Therefore if we discuss things we must do so in a spirit of cooperation, forgetting certain, shall we say, past differences because we cannot refer to what is happening in international finance and in some states as anything but a depression.
Question: Dmitry Anatolyevich, please tell us whether you agreed on coordinating financial activities within the CIS (similarly to the cooperation within the European Union) during your talks with President of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiev? This topic was not part of the summit agenda but you said that you would be sure to make this initiative. Did you discuss it?
Dmitry Medvedev: We actually agreed about this not only with my colleague Kurmanbek Salievich Bakiev, but we also agreed to discuss this topic during the summit of CIS heads of state — and not just discuss it the way, unfortunately, it has been discussed in the G8 — we will coordinate policy and take certain decisions when necessary.
In this regard, we agreed that literally in the next ten days the finance ministers of CIS States will meet in Moscow in order to synchronise watches.
Incidentally, our Finance Minister is now in the United States were they are discussing current economic and financial policies. Naturally, I think that our colleagues from other countries will be interested in exchanging information on how this is perceived in the meetings which are now occurring within the G8.
Question: Dmitry Anatolyevich, how relevant will this summit be for Russia in light of the fact that – among other things – certain presidents from major countries that are important for Russia did not come: what specific decisions were taken and which documents were signed? Not some general concepts.
Dmitry Medvedev: Of course participating in the CIS remains important for us. I do not idealise the Commonwealth — no one does – and today we had quite frank and sometimes even harsh discussions on this topic, but this is a good thing. There is no other forum where we can discuss these issues. Other than the integration processes taking place within the EurAsEC, then the CIS is the only forum, the only one where leaders meet.
As to the missing heads of state, this is explained by circumstances. As far as I understand Ukraine simply is living through another governance and parliamentary crisis and Azerbaijan will hold elections in a few days so their position is understandable. I therefore hope that in the future our colleagues will participate as they did before.
The discussion was useful. Many things were not only useful but also interesting for me because I am attending the summit of the heads of CIS states and the EurAsEC summit as President for the first time. There are certain impressions that I think will ultimately translate into concrete recommendations.
As to which decisions will be taken, they are all different. There are certain truly conceptual decisions and, incidentally, this is no less interesting because today we discussed our economic development through to 2020. Incidentally, we discussed this in quite a vigorous and interested way. What is this? This is a framework for developing economies. It is clear that it is not a state plan but rather the possibility that we coordinate our development in the coming years. We also have the opportunity to better understand what rates of growth — productivity, GDP, wages — are necessary to ensure that states will be competitive. Therefore it is quite a general decision yet at the same time very specific.
So I think that in general everything was carried out in a perfectly predictable way and it was even successful, bearing in mind that we met during a very difficult time and such a meeting was very much in demand.
Question: Today is 10 October 2008. Have you drawn the line with respect to the implementation of the well-known plan and in Evian did you discuss …
Dmitry Medvedev: Known by whom or by what?
Question: By everyone. The Medvedev-Sarkozy Plan. In Evian did you discuss the parameters for further talks on the status of the two republics or the refugee problem?
Dmitry Medvedev: We did everything that depended on us. We fulfilled all the commitments that we took upon ourselves in the first document, the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan, as well as in the second document which we agreed on recently in Moscow.
Russian peacekeepers have left the security zone. Now peacekeepers, military observers, from the EU have been deployed there and must begin to perform regular service and control the territory. So I think things are developing normally in this regard.
As to the future, in accordance with the plan we have scheduled a conference to discuss security in South Ossetia, Abkhazia, in this region of the Caucasus generally, which should take place soon in Geneva. And at that point we will discuss all issues: those relating to refugees, to additional measures for maintaining security, and in general everything that we had planned from the outset.
We look forward to a constructive attitude from our colleagues in the European Union that are actively preparing to take part in these discussions. I think that we will face different, quite sensitive issues, but in any case it is better to discuss them than to do anything else.
For us the key factor is that from the outset all of these discussions should be attended by our partners from South Ossetia and Abkhazia, because they directly relate to them. There is a number of similar cases where, for example, such issues were discussed in relation to Kosovo and were attended by the countries concerned from the outset. I believe that it should be the same in this case. And I laid out this position in no uncertain terms to my colleague Nicolas Sarkozy.
Question: Was there some kind of reaction? Did the EU respond to this and with whom do you plan to discuss it in the near future?
Dmitry Medvedev: After all, Evian is a political forum. I hope that all those who wanted to hear about the contents of the Collective Security Treaty have finally been able to do so because I have received some requests about its contents.
But before that I had quite heavy and very specific discussions about the format of such a treaty and even about the very idea with my colleagues. Initially with my French colleague and then my German colleague — I discussed this with Madam Federal Chancellor as well as with the Spanish head of state. In fact, I have already discussed this topic with a number of European states, key European nations, and let's not forget that this idea was put forward during a visit to Berlin. I hope that these topics will be discussed during my contacts with other Europeans. Generally speaking, we are ready to discuss this with everyone because if such a treaty is signed, if such a means of managing security on the European continent develops, then in my view it is not only European nations that should participate, but necessarily the United States of America and Canada plus all organisations that have a fairly major impact — at least on the European continent. I am of course referring to NATO, the EU, the CIS, and the CSTO—in other words all the structures that define life in Europe. And the OSCE too, of course.
Question: The situation in the markets is still not improving. Markets are closed. Which additional measures is the government cabinet planning to introduce to improve the situation?
Dmitry Medvedev: The markets are not closed – it is, thank God, impossible to close markets but we can shut down trading in several countries, including in Russia.
With regard to the measures that have already been taken. I believe that these measures are sufficient– large enough, important enough– for now. Today the State Duma of the Federal Assembly approved at once in three readings a package of changes to the law on banks and banking activities that would facilitate a number of issues and promote the inflow of additional finances, including with respect to subordinated loans, a topic we decided on recently. So this is a practical step that has been taken. I hope the cabinet will continue to actively and intensively apply these laws. But that does not mean that we are stopping here. Naturally, we will monitor the situation.
And in the very near future I will personally come back to this issue: I plan to hold a meeting on financial support to certain branches of our economy, because though we have talked about support for the financial sector we must not forget about the real economy. This is now being worked on in other states as well. We have seen good growth and we still are – but we cannot lose it or, at least, we must do everything possible to preserve the opportunities that were created in our economy, in our real sectors and in production in recent years. We will absolutely work on this.