Answer to a Question at the Press Conference Following the EurAsEC and CSTO sessions 2006-06-23 23:43:18 Minsk Question: It seems that the CSTO and the EurAsEC have already accumulated a substantial amount of work experience. What results would you like to see? And another question. These days certain decisions were made, decisions that we wouldn’t have been able to imagine five or six years go. Russia is paying back the Soviet Union’s debts to the Parisian Club in advance payments. How would you evaluate this? Vladimir Putin: The EurAsEC believes in free movement of capital, goods and people. These flows are the basis of the integration process. Of course none of this is possible unless our security is guaranteed. And in this respect cooperation between the EurAsEC and the CSTO is extremely important. In order to achieve these goals we are first going to create a customs union. And we will continue to deepen our cooperation, so that our integration is even more profound. On this account I am in complete agreement with my colleague, Nursultan Nazarbaev. As to your second question, I can say that in the middle and at the end of the 1980s the Soviet Union really did incur significant external debts. These financial resources were allocated primarily towards resolving social problems, so that the state could fulfill its social obligations towards the citizens of the Soviet Union. Today Russia does not require foreign loans to resolve such issues. First and foremost we use the increasing possibilities offered by our national economy to resolve these problems. It is true that the government of the Russian Federation made the decision to repay the debts of the former Soviet Union ahead of schedule. The main reason for this decision by the Russian government is economic considerations, because it no longer wanted debts with such strict conditions. Repaying these debts ahead of schedule means that we do not have to pay interest on them. According to experts the total savings amount to more then seven billion USD. And only this year the savings will amount to more than one billion USD. With respect to these loans, of course we should thank our partners for the help they gave the Soviet Union at the time. And we confirm that we are ready to further cooperate in financial and economic issues in the international arena with all countries and all international organisations on an equal basis.