President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. I am very happy to see you, Vladimir Mikhailovich. I know that you attended the service at the Church of Christ the Saviour last night. So first of all I would like to wish you and all Orthodox Christians of Ukraine a Merry Christmas, and wish you and all Orthodox Christians health, prosperity and happiness.
As you know, in recent years Russian-Ukrainian relations have been developing very intensively, and have reached a very high level. It is enough to say that the growth of trade turnover came to 40% at the beginning of the year (2004), now it is slightly less, but it is still quite high – 37%.
Millions of people and thousands of companies are involved in our work, if we are talking about the economy- let alone the humanitarian aspect of our relations. We very much hope that after the electoral process is completed in Ukraine, electoral rhetoric will be replaced by pragmatic views in the interests of developing the economy and increasing people’s living standard. Nothing can stand in place of Russian-Ukrainian relations, bearing in mind the enormous volume of our ties – both economic and humanitarian which help to develop the economy. This is very important for our countries.
Therefore it is very good that all these years, you have been a direct participant of all these processes, participating, and also performing duties and inspiring others when you worked in the Presidential Administration, and then in the high post of the Chairman of parliament. So we are very happy that you have come to Moscow, and we hope that now we will discuss the full range of our cooperation.
Vladimir Litvin: Thank you for the reception and the warm congratulations to the Ukrainian people. We have established such a good tradition with Boris Vyacheslavovich (Gryzlov) and Sergei Mikhailovich (Mironov) to celebrate Christmas together.
Russia and Ukraine are united by faith, deep roots and traditions. The result is very good – it is important to strengthen and multiply it – because the trade turnover has grown. The growth of $5 billion that we had last year is greater than the trade turnover of Ukraine with, for example, Germany, the United States, Italy, France or Great Britain. And this cannot be replaced with anything, because we have a positive dynamic due to this. Therefore, I think that elections are always a dream, and now the reality begins. We need to move to practical actions. Bearing this in mind, the parliament is prepared to work in this direction, and I believe that the head of state and the Cabinet of Ministers are as well.
We would like to do something on the part of the parliaments that we should have done a long time ago. We agreed to ratify our agreement. To do this, a commission should be headed by the first deputy heads of the State Duma and Supreme Rada, and a meeting should be held around 15 February. The working groups are functioning, an inventory needs to be made and problems need to be discussed. There are issues that need to be solved by the Cabinets of Ministers, and the parliament is preparing a resolution on the documents that have been signed. There is work ahead.