Question: What impressions did our honoured guests, the Finnish President and the Hungarian Prime Minister, share with you during your meetings, and what are your feelings as you leave Mordovia and its festival?
Vladimir Putin: I think my colleagues did not even expect that the Republic of Mordovia has taken such a serious approach to preserving and developing the local culture and languages, and that it supports writers writing in the local language and is developing a network of schools teaching the Mordovian language. This has all made for positive impressions, of course, positive emotions. What is most important is that we have agreed to cooperate in the future in this area – to work together on Finno-Ugric issues. I already said that next year we would host the fifth World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples in Khanty Mansiisk and I am sure that this event will be well organised and take place at this highest level.
Question: We have been hearing a lot about Finno-Ugric peoples today, but we’ve also been hearing a lot about Russian-British relations. In your view, how is the situation likely to develop following the latest events?
Vladimir Putin: I think the situation with Russian-British relations will be normal. It is in the interests of both Russia and the United Kingdom to develop our relations. But any action we take should be weighed up against the interests of common sense, and we also need to respect the legitimate rights and interests of our partners, and then everything will work out for the best.
I am sure that we will manage to get over this mini-crisis.
Question: Following Igor Ivanov’s departure will the Security Council be reformed and receive greater powers? Perhaps a law could be passed regulating the Security Council’s activities? And why has Valentin Sobolev been appointed only acting secretary of the Security Council and not simply secretary straight away?
Vladimir Putin: We are not planning any changes to the current legislation at the moment. The Security Council is a constitutional body whose rights and powers are defined by law. I see no need at present to broaden these rights and powers. As for the question of the head of the Security Council, there are various options at the moment and I think that we will settle this issue soon.