Vladimir Putin: Yesterday we managed to discuss the broadest range of issues, as the cliché goes. We talked about bilateral problems and the situation in the CIS as a whole. Many issues and many problems, especially on a bilateral level, have piled up. Stormy events are taking place in practically all of our countries, and we have synchronised watches on very many positions. It was an effective and timely thing to do. It was a useful summit, very useful. I think much of the credit must go to Kazakhstan for creating such an atmosphere, for which we have already thanked Nursultan Nazarbayev, and I want to reiterate our thanks.
On bilateral issues, the Kazakhstan President and I have managed to discuss the development of economic ties. Yesterday we discussed the problems of the Caspian in the most general way with the participation of the President of Turkmenistan. Today we have continued this discussion with Nursultan Nazarbayev, and I also had a meeting with the President of Belarus. Our work has been intensive and productive. We are very satisfied.
Question: What can you say about the joint statement on cooperation in the gas sphere signed by Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan?
Vladimir Putin: We have long recognised the need to pool our efforts in the sphere of energy, especially gas. There are many obstacles down the road. I can say that a very modest first step was made in that direction yesterday, but it was a very important step. We are talking about the pooling of efforts of those who produce gas and these are above all Russia and Turkmenistan. All of the four countries produce a total of about 620 billion cubic meters of gas. Of that amount, Russia produces 550 billion and almost all the rest is produced by Turkmenistan. But the reserves of gas in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan are immense, and there are considerable reserves in Uzbekistan. Besides, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are natural countries for the transportation of gas because nobody possesses such a gas transportation system as Russia-Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan and further to Ukraine. There is no other gas distribution system, as such, in the world.
It is a huge infrastructure that has not, in my opinion, been used effectively enough up until now. It costs money to support the whole pipeline network and even more to develop it. The interests of each individual country can be brought together into common interests. And such work of course will be more effective. Yesterday the four presidents came to the conclusion that it is high time to take that first step. It is not an internationally binding step, but as all those present at the signing of the document noted it is still a very important step. And I have no doubt that it will not pass unnoticed by the energy community in the world. Everybody understands full well that it is a very serious initiative and that it may have serious consequences for the world economy. And I say this without any exaggeration. But I would like to assure everyone that this is a joint undertaking aimed at stabilising the world economy, and at creating the conditions under which all our countries could ensure stable supplies of energy to the world economy. We are determined to proceed in this direction.
There is yet another problem that merits attention. I am referring to the Russian migration policy. I know that it is a subject of lively discussion in Kazakhstan because Russia is about to pass a new law on migration policy. It is a forced measure that is necessary to bring this sphere in order. But I must say that it will affect Kazakhstan very little, if at all. The reason is that Kazakhstan and Russia have signed and ratified a corresponding inter-governmental agreement regulating migration issues. It is a simplified procedure for those who live in Kazakhstan and it is retained under an inter-governmental agreement.
As for the law which is being contemplated in Russia, I will say again, it has been prompted by the circumstances Russia has been confronted with in recent years. I think many of you have experienced this at their own cost. Unfortunately, there is still no order in this sphere.
Let me cite an example. About 600,000 people from one South Caucasian republic live in Moscow. And only 12 of them are registered with the tax authorities. Another concrete example. In St Petersburg 420 people are registered as permanent residents of a flat with a floor space of 9.5 square metres. The whole sphere has become an underground business from which both the government and the people suffer. Of course, we must be considerate of our fellow countrymen abroad. And we will do it the way we are doing it with Kazakhstan, that is, on a bilateral basis. Some general rules must be introduced to enable those who have found themselves abroad to solve their problems. Of course, it must not be done at the expense of those who live inside Russia. I repeat, these are considered actions, they have been thought out by the deputies of the State Duma thoroughly and from every angle.
I am sure that the law that will be passed will meet the interests of the people who are planning to move to Russia and those who simply want to live in Russia. By the way, Russia is itself interested in having our fellow countrymen because we require more labour. It is in the interests of the state and in the interests of the people who live on Russian territory today.