President Vladimir Putin: I only want to make one comment which is not directly related to our meeting today – you talked about behind-the-scenes politics in the post-Soviet area (referring to the comment by the governor of the Kemerov Oblast A. Tuleev about the situation in Ukraine).
Indeed, we are not involved in politics in the post-Soviet area. And to a certain extent, this sometimes restricts the tools that can be used to ensure our national interests in the post-Soviet area, this is true – unlike many of our other partners who use these tools very actively. At the same time, I would like to say that it is my firm belief that these are natural restrictions that are connected with Russia’s special relations with the independent nations that were formed in the area of the former Soviet Union. We cannot pursue any other policy except for an open one, because we are linked with the peoples and countries of the CIS by special relations. We are working, and will continue to work with the existing power – of course, taking into account the situation in each region.
But, I repeat, we cannot develop any activity behind the backs of the existing power: these are the natural restrictions of our policies in the post-Soviet area. There are minuses here, but I think that there are also pluses. No one can suspect that we are doing something behind the back of the existing leadership. And the leadership must directly speak with its people and defend its policies. We will not use any behind-the-scenes methods to ensure our interests. I think that this is correct, because in the end the interests of the Russian Federation and the Russian people are to have good relations with the peoples of these countries.
I think that with this we will conclude the official part.