Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
There are two issues on the Security Council’s agenda: the Military Doctrine and Russian interests in the Caspian. We discussed the Military Doctrine in greater detail in February, and today we are ready to submit a final document for your approval. The Military Doctrine, a conceptual development document, has been updated and improved over the course of several weeks by a number of offices, mainly the Defence Ministry. We must finish the job today.
Now, concerning Russian interests in the Caspian. The government and presidential bodies have been actively discussing the issue. It has also evoked great public interest. We have to admit that, unfortunately, no major progress has been made here. Our partners in other countries—Turkey, Great Britain, and the United States—are paying great attention to the Caspian, and we must clearly realise that it is no chance interest. The main reason for it is that we have remained passive. We are not to turn the Caspian into another confrontation zone, but we must realise that we will get nothing without a struggle. This is competition, and we must be competitive.
As they used to say in the old days, the merchant follows the ambassador. That is why we have invited to the Security Council managers of companies leading our fuel-and-energy complex and governors who work closely with the Caspian and know the region well. The invitation runs counter to the usual routine, but we have made it deliberately. The future of the region will largely depend on the degree of our success.
We have had a preliminary discussion on the subject. As we see it, the crux of the matter is to determine the balance of interests between the state and our companies, a balance of government and corporate interests. No progress will be made by government efforts alone. We must clearly realise that. We must provide conditions for regions and our companies to penetrate the area and stake a claim for it. We have every prerequisite for it.
Now, I propose to go over to the discussion.