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tv   Russian President Vladimir Putins Annual Call- In Program  CSPAN  April 18, 2016 9:33am-11:26am EDT

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the senate returns at 3:00 p.m. eastern to continue work on reauthorizing funding for the federal aviation administration. current funding expires in july. watch the senate live on c-span 2 and the house live on c-span. today tom price talks about the budget process followed by a discussion on long term budget reforms hosted by the committee by responsible committee budget live at 1:00 p.m. on c-span 2. the campaign 2016 buskins its travels to visit winners from this year's student camp competition. our bus visited nevada to recognize justice best.
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bus and crew headed to california to meet with those in that state including a visit to middle school in san diego recognizing students tristan cooper, stella bruce and jackie power for their winning documentaries. and in california congress woman judy chew joined friends and classmates to honor for winning documentary on social security called a sense of security. a special thanks to our cable a partners charter, comcast and time warner cable. and remember every week day this month be sure to watch one of the top 21 winning entries before washington journal. our live coverage of the presidential race continues tuesday night for the new york state primary. join us at 9:00 eastern for election results and viewer reaction. taking you on the road to the white house on c-span, c-span
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radio and russian president vladimir putin responds to questions from live audience during his annual call in program. he addressed a number of issues including the russian economy, syrian con flickt and relations with turkey and ukraine.
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speaking foreign language ]. >> there is a limit of 10% to use for repair. number two, this year we have decided to increase excise tax and the plan was to send all this money to the road fund but the finance minister because the current situation with the budget is quite difficult. to balance the budget the finance ministry plans to take the -- i think we can lift one in the road funds. this will amount to about 40 billion so on the whole i think
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this will be quite a substantial amount and will effect the quality of roads. of course, for your celebration of 300 years you definitely need to repair roads there. you should do the same thing as what we are doing at the federal level. you need to switch to full cycle. it should be the same company building the road and repairing it afterwards. so that's the first steps that we should take. and i think this is what we are going to do soon. >> maybe we will go back to that. we can call this a start and now we can proceed to the studio. ♪
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>> translator: you have just seen that for the first time in the history of this program. we take video calls live. to that end you need to download a free application, register. you can use your existing social network account for that. we already have over 1,000 requests and questions by way of these video messages. you can also use mms messages. the call center has processed over 1,000 questions and queries to the president over the week. as of this moment we received almost 1.5 million calls,
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400,000 text messages and over 300,000 questions. you can still ask your question. you can see the short number on the screen and also for the first time this year you can use your questions using the social network. young people, the young generations, people under 30 are using this format. there are 120,000 registered users and also the broadcast will go with lip syncing for the hearing impaired. there have been a decline in production in russia. we are losing jobs and salaries are reduced. despite all of that the russian
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economy has endured and it has not been shredded into pieces as you recall mr. barack obama had predicted. this year with good events and positive events. it is human nature that people ask about things that concern them, about things that are rather issues for them rather than positive things. this is a chance for them to sort out their issues, their programs. we were looking at questions and queries in the run up to this program. we see that questions are divided into groups and some of it is about the economy and economy-related issues. people have to go saving as regards to family budgets. let's ask the most relevant question asking a question about prices. last year i would buy groceries for 5,000 for a week's time.
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now one year later it is no less than 10,000. prices have gone up at least twice. the government is telling us that inflation is only 12% a year so who should i trust? the receipt or the government? >> translator: both. there is no contradiction here. let me explain. when the government talks about the inflation rate they mean the average inflation rate per year and it's not 12.5, it is 12.9%. there are different factors contributing to inflation. food prices are a nature factor. last year especially at the beginning of the year prices went up significantly i think by 14%. but in the third quarter of this year basic food prices actually decreased early this year growth
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was 2.2%, i think. so government is not providing you with misleading statistics. it is actually 12.9%. and this is not little inflation, but i can actually tell you that this is something that we did ourselves because we limited food imports as a response to sanctions imposed in russia. we did this on purpose to create conditions for our agricultural sector. we freed up the market and this is what happened with gdp dropping by 3.7%. our agricultural sector grew by 3% and this is an important
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element of our economy. we have people living in rural areas and in the long run we believe this will have a positive effect. this will certainly increase our food security and will improve conditions in rural areas because people have better jobs there. so this is temporary. as we get our market situated with russian food products prices will go down which is what we are witnessing right now. but on the whole, of course, i realize that it's hard for consumers. >> translator: and actually here in russia everyone is saving these days. what are you saving more? >> i have to save time.
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this is the most precious thing we have. >> the government's economic ministers keep telling us we will reach the bottom of this economic decline. they have said that seven times by now. how do you assess the status, the situation of the russian economy? where is it now? are we enjoying white or black stripe right now? >> it's gray. let me explain why. because we haven't fixed the situation yet, but at least the current trend is positive. like i said earlier, gdp dropped by 3.7%. the government expense gdp to continue shrinking but only by 0.3% and the next year will have
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growth. so it's hard to say where this bottom is. you can see we will have little decrease next year our economy will start growing. i have the stable in front of mef, me, i told you about gdp and industrial output. there are also other, we should keep working on disposabldispos income, real incomes decreased by 4%. and real wages dropped even more. but what makes me optimistic, for example, agricultural growth, like i said, 3%. housing construction, 85 million square meters, this is an all time high.
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unemployment is at 5.6%. there was some growth but very little compared to the precrisis period. 453,000 rubles trade balanc$453 even though oil price went down by 50% almost. trade balance is still positive. we make more than we spend, 146 billion rubles, this a very good indicator, we preserve our reserve funds and our 4x reserves are back to the 2014 level. and deficit, deficit is minimal less than we planned actually.
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2.4%. >> translator: we have another question. they say we have one year's worth of natural reserve. will that be enough? >> no, no, like i said. we brought our reserves central bank reserves, 4 dsz x reserves and we are back to the 2014 level. actually, it's even more. it's 3$387,000 and we have to reserve funds, the national welfare fund, they decreased but very insignificantly. and there are currently at 50 and $71 million. what does this mean? if we continue spend being these funds the way we have been doing up to this point, like last year, this will be enough for at
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least four more years but we actually plan that we will have growth next year so we will probably won't spend money from our reserve funds. there's no reason to be concerned about that 0.5%. what does this mean? if we don't -- if we stop working, we can do nothing and we will still have enough money for four months. >> i hope that won't happen. people keep asking about this bottom of the crisis. aren't you concerned that all economic discussions are now focused about three questions. when will be the bottom? when will the oil prices go up? should we print more money? this background is moving on new economic lines are being created like an alternative to the w2. don't you feel we're locked inside ourselves the countries
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of the euro asian nation. >> no, people that say follow the economy, this is only what you see on the surface, discussions in the media, not even among experts the three subjects that you mentioned, printing money, oil prices and so on. real discussions focus on totally different things. the key thing is how to attract investment, how to increase productivity and how to create demand, how to increase people's incomes. this is what the government is thinking about and we just recently discussed all of those issues, how we can help the most vulnerable categories of people. this is extremely important.
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because the number of people living below the poverty line increased a little recently and we will certainly respond to that. so what does the government plan to do? printing money means nothing. it's important that we change the structure of the economy and we're making some progress there. for example, here are a few signs of that. we've increased the industrial production for first time, actually in february. we saw some increase. it's a positive trend. and high tech exports, also increasing compared to commodity exports. so in real life, of course, we're not limited to what you just mentioned. >> translator: here's another
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question at the true aleveli coddri will create a new economic program. >> we meet regularly and i appreciate his contribution in the past and he's certainly one of the most solid and useful experts and what we've agreed on is you know, he refused to work in the government in the past but now i see that his position has changed. the situation is not simple and he's willing to contribute and help with the current situation. we have agreed that he will work more actively with the expert council, the presidential expert council. he may be one of the deputy heads in this council. and he may actually work in this
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strategic research center or some other center where he'll develop strategies for the future after 2018 and for longer perspective. >> now, let's talk about foreign policy. definitely has become a successful campaign. >> are we going to talk three of us or what? >> translator: let's talk about syria and operation in syria. especially since everybody recognizes russia's success in syria. the military operation of the russian air and space forces has substantially suppressed isis activity there but it has largely left. aren't you concerned isis might come back? >> there's always this risk if you don't fight terrorism effective ly enough.
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we see many countries suffer from terrorist attacks in the middle east, europe asia, america, and russia of course. we all know -- we all suffered serious losses in our fight against terrorism and the threat is still there but it's not like we left syria abandoning everything we've achieved there. we withdrew most of the forces but after we withdrew forces, we left the syrian army in a position where with the support of their remaining part, they are still able to launch serious offensives and after we withdrew most of our forces, they retook palmyra and number of other strategic cities. the number of cities that have
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joined the cease fire has increased during this period. and we really hope that what will bring peace to this region is political process not to use force. everybody should come to the negotiating table adopting new constitution, hold elections and this kind -- in this way bring the country out of the crisis. >> translator: do you think -- how soon do you think we'll liberate aleppo and raqqas. >> the problem with aleppo, this is the second biggest city and may be the industrial capital of syria. you have armed opposition groups an you have nusra, international recognized terrorist organization. it's difficult to differentiate between them so currently they
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are trying to improve their oppositions. syrian army doesn't need to improve their positions because before a cease fire, they don't need to improve their positions and the opposition wants to retake some of the areas they lost and it's actually not the syrian army fighting there. it's kurdish units and some other armed groups. and they are fighting between themselves and the fight against kurds. we have been following this situation very closely. and of course we will do all we can to make sure the situation doesn't deteriorate. >> let's go back to the center. the inquires we're getting at the center tell us one of the most relevant issues is late payments of salaries. this used to be an outdated issue and now it seems to have
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come back. people don't have enough money to pay utility bills and health care bills and it seems that this issue is all across russia. people are complaining from moscow from the region, from all types of industries, including even avian industries and military industries. they would only like to receive the wages they earn on time. let's see one video inquiry. >> translator: good afternoon, mr. president. i'm addressing you from the city -- my name is dmi tri. i work at the plant and work for the defense industry. we produce utility vehicles,
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patrollers and we have this issue that our wages are paid late and not in full. they are given to us in portions and way behind deadline. and of course effectively we get -- we get lower wage and i have four children, thank you. >> translator: what's the name of your factory? >> this is a pre-recorded video message. the plant is called oral afterprecep. >> translator: it's part of the automotive industry, right? so this industry is one of those that suffered the most from the crisis, sales dropped. what is actually happening, oil prices dropped orders from the
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oil industry reduced and there's this domino effect, it affects everybody. and revenues have dropped like i said, unemployment is quite low. and what many factories do, they don't lay over people but of course, delaying salary payments is not good as well. i'm not sure of the exact situation with this particular plant. but since it works for the defense industry, the government is providing support for certain industries affected by the crisis the most. and the automotive industry is number one in this list -- there's over 40 billion rubles provided for this purpose and i will talk to the minister of
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industry and will ask them to pay attention to this factory. and if possible, help this particular factory. also, they may have this problem -- sometimes ago in order to support our manufacturers, we introduced a new tax, which is supposed to improve the situation in the long run in their competition with international manufacturers. they make those trailers, right? and this tax applies to their products as well. it was introduced only recently and i'm not sure that this decision was well calculated. so for this particular kind of
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products, this tax should be probably lifted and we will talk about this with the government. and this should improve the financial situation of of the plant. so i can promise you that we'll look into the situation. >> so they never delayed payments before? >> translator: but not on this scale. let's take another phone call. mr. president, in addition to delayed salary payments, another problem is medication prices. people complain and say it's like mafia robbing people and we have a phone call from moscow. >> hello. >> hello, mr. president, i have a question about medicines. my parents complained to me that
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they can't buy affordable medicines, medications in moscow drug stores. why is it that they only have foreign expensive medications available? >> translator: i don't think it's only imported and expensive meds that are on shelves in drug stores even though some people like to see it that way. we have domestically produced pharmaceutical and recently we announced a specific program and implementing that program to develop domestic pharmaceutical production. i don't remember exactly, but i think 148 billion rubles have been provided last year and this year, i think 16 in general -- 148 billion and maybe 16 billion this year for the development and promotion of domestic
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pharmaceuticals production. we shouldn't think that the government does not pay attention to this issue. indeed, there was a decrease of affordable domestically produced pharmaceuticals by maybe two and a half percent but that was only in accordance to their brand names but not in accordance to their chemical formulas as such, we get analogs. this area is regulated by the government today when earnings have gone down, the government has chosen to hold down the prices to prevent them from growing, pricing on important medications. if prices on vitally pharmaceuticals went up by 8.5% last year on other types of
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drugs, they increase by 16%, 16 plus percent. but producers, manufacturers of pharmaceuticals are telling us even this price increase is enough for them to be sustainable. our policy of holding down prices is viewed by producers and manufacturers as something that is unaffordable for them, that doesn't benefit them. a lot of their raw materials and substances and ingredients are imported. we import large quantities of them from china. and this aspect especially considering the rate of the ruble, it does not provide for a return on the cost for this operation to be profitable. and the government is faced with a choice. we need to either subsidize this industry or let go of the
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prices. maybe six weeks or two months and maybe the government should tackle until this issue, thank you. >> we have a representative of pharmaceutical companies here in the studio. >> we have them with us today? >> translator: right. we have the owner of pharmaceutical plant in the region. he manufacturers some products and says that they are a good quality. >> translator: hello, i represent the ahsan factory. first of all, it's not like i'm looking for excuses. what we've been doing for the past 13 years we've been working in the lower and middle price
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segment and they are quite good and i use the medicines for myself and my children and family and friends. but mr. putin is right, recently, many of our products, we don't make any money making those medicines and actually we had to drop certain products. the problem is substances and equipment, we have to purchase all of that abroad for currency and you'll know the situation with the exchange rate, whereas prices are fixed in rubles by the government and they have been at the same level since 2005. prices are different for russian
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and foreign pharmaceutical products. foreign products sometimes are 20 times, almost 20 times as much as russian ones. substances are 70% of the price and substances now cost twice as much and priced are fixed at the 2009 level. nobody is going to manufacturer medicine in this kind of situation. so foreign pharmaceuticals is the only thing available. mr. president, could you look into the situation, we really ask you, first of all, we should have the same rights as international manufacturers and second perhaps this will come as a surprise but cheapest medicine lose price low price segment.
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there should be no price limit. because compensations don't work. it is not the market mechanism but if you drop price limits, there will be more of the cheaper drugs in drug stores. other west factories will have to shut those down. >> once prices go up sharply, those drugs will no longer be affordable of the like i said, the government has promised to take a decision on this within six to eight weeks. but we have looked at which ways are possible and which options there are here to improve the situation. maybe what we need is a balance. but, it is a fact that is true that some of the industries and companies are on the brink of being profitable at all. and here our colleague is exactly correct.
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>> translator: here's a setext message, what do you use, russian or foreign? >> i try to prevent that necessity and do sports and have a healthy lifestyle. >> if you have to use medicines. >> translator: if i have to, i try to get inoculated to get vaccines when a flu period is approaching. and i usually take what i'm given. i'm sure this includes both domestically produced and imported medicines and i think those are actually from the affordable segment. >> translator: mr. president, suggest we return to the issue of foreign policy and we have the head of the discussion club. i think he has a question about foreign policy. >> translator: right. hello, mr. president.
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last september mr. erdogan was considered your friend and turkey was considered a strategic partner and now what is it? the end of friendship? also, it seems like we're surrounded by enemies. is it possible to develop efficiently in this kind of situation with russia. >> translator: we will not be -- we will not be surrounded by hostile nations, that is out of the question. we have good relations with with an overwhelming majority of the nations in the world, not to mention such promising organization as the shanghai cooperation organization which is enlarging, accepting powerful numbers and new integ ration,
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the eurasian economic union of the brits and et cetera, we have good relations with most of our neighboring countries and view turkey as a friendly country and its people as a friendly people. we definitely will pursue a friendly relationship with turkey as such. we have issues with certain political leaders in the country. we believe that their behavior is inadequate and we reacted to its as we're supposed to. as we see, we're working steadily. we are avoiding any sharp moves and reacting to hostile action is necessary. this is something you need to do, otherwise you'll be abused -- abused by other countries and this has happened in our very recent history. we must prevent going back to that. >> you know, taking into
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consideration our interests, we'll pursue good relations with all of the our partners, including our neighbors. >> translator: you said last year you would rescue obama if he were drowning. how would you rescue first? >> translator: it's a question from a 12-year-old girl. [ applause ] >> translator: well, the 12-year-old girl, this is a very tough question. i don't even know what to say. i would probably tell you this. if someone is determined to drown, you can't save them. [ applause ] but of course, we are willing to extend a helping hand, a friendly hand to any partner.
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so long as they want that. >> translator: in the past russia often went to turkey for vacations and today mostly go to crimea. let's go to crimea now. >> translator: we are on the island, the republic of crimea, we see a bridge being built across the strait. you can see the outline of this future bridge, this will be the longest bridge in russia. 19 kilometers long.
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they are building it on eight sites simultaneously and then all of the sections will be combined and there welcome one bridge connecting crimea with the mainland. he's in charge of construction on this particular site we're currently pouring concrete into the second pillar. the first pillar has been finished with installed over 500 metal pillars. this is just start. some of them will go 90 meters deep. let's look at the map. so we have 19 kilometers here. we're currently at the site four. this is the middle of the
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bridge. thank you. so, hello moscow and colleagues and mr. president. we have people here from crimea, the island and have questions. >> translator: hello, mr. president. my name is olga, we the people of crimea look forward to this bridge being finished. crimea should be a self-sufficient. since i work in the travel industry, we are preparing for the summer of 2016. we can provide hospitality for tourists and would like to invite people from all over russia from all different parts of our country to come to
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crimea. my question, when will be the next time you come to crimea for your vacation? >> translator: i haven't thought about it yet but i definitely will come to the crimea, at least for a few days, including for vacation and thank you for the invitation. >> i actually want to ask about turkey. i have been to turkey for vacation. so turkey and when do you think air flights will resume to egypt and turkey? >> translator: well, first of all, regarding crimea, i was interested to see the latest update on the production of the bridge. usually there are a lot of contractors and aspiring contractors for this kind of project. this time, to be honest with you, it was difficult for us to find the right company that would be willing and also
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capable of undertaking this kind of construction. we were under budgetary restraints but also there were other concerns and other deliberations, but we have picked a company and it meets all of our string ent criteria. we spent several months debating the price of the cost of the contract and actually we have been able to even reduce the enterprient event you'lly and hoping everything will be completed on time and in due quality. as for traveling to turkey or egypt, this doesn't really depend upon us. this isn't up to us. the reasons for the existing construction is quite different. in egypt they are trying to combat the streamists that are operating in the country.
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but this is not an easy task and we see there is almost -- there's fighting almost on a daily basis in sin nai. the former -- the former ruling party, the advocates of the president, former president are still active there. it's not safe to travel to that country for a vacation. probably together with government of egypt we should develop the kind of procedures for doing security checks, serving meals on board and airplanes that would make traveling to egypt safe for russians. so far we have not come across the right algorithm or formula.
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even though they are working to solve this issue. turkey is a different issue, even though the situation is seemingly similar there. in our opinion, the government of turkey today is not really fighting radicals as much as it really collaborates with them in reality. but turkey's domestic issues urges to think about security because in the south of turkey, there is essentially what we should call a civil war going -- raging and going on. even though the international community is vastly reluctant to admit that. but there is -- they are using heavy weapons there, including tanks and artillery. there are terrorist attacks in turkey. carried out almost on a weekly basis. no one would be able to guarantee that russian tourists in turkey would not come under attack. you do remember there were cases
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in north africa when tourists were shot upon on the beach. they were assaulted on the beach. of course, tourism is an important source of income for the turkish budget. almost 5 million russian tourists traveled to turkey last year and of course turkey will try to do its best to ensure safe tourism and safe travel to the country. will they succeed? we don't know. we will not be able to guarantee to russian citizens that traveling to turkey will be safe. maybe they will be able to go to the caucuses or crimea. why were turkey and egypt so popular? because they are close and traveling there used to be cheap. over countries are also trying to reduce costs to make traveling to those countries more affordable for russian
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tourists and russian companies are thinking how to make it cheaper and more affordable. we should work in this. >> crimea has another question. >> translator: hello, mr. president. my name is ulya, i'm a student at crimea university and currently we have planned blackouts but actually it may be not that bad because our kids don't spend as much time playing computer games. so when do you think the energy bridge will start working? >> translator: well, as for energy, the energy industries such, the ministry of industry, mr. alexander reported to me three or four days ago about the
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the status of energy bridge construction. two circuits have been put into operation and third one must become operational today, that's over 300 mega watts and this i think within two weeks we'll be able to launk the fourth sir kit, another 200 mega watts and in general, that will be a total of 800 megawatts traveling between north caucuses and crimea and this will total ly provide for the demand and match the amounts you received from ukraine. in the past supply used to come from the north and places like that would be last to receive it.
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the power lines and network used to be low quality. and mr. november ak has reported that they deliberated on that and they are working on supplying additional infrastructure and in the year 2017, over 400 megawatts must be introduced by two more units to become operational in 2018. that's another 400 megawatts. that should ensure that crimea will be supplied with energy enough for it to develop its economy and its social sphere. >> translator: mr. president, we have an urgent message here. government officials report that they'll announce 21 roads by may first. actually homsk is not the only
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city, there are other places. >> translator: i hope that the leaders of those regions are also listening to this and will discuss this issue with them. we'll also be discussing that with the members of the government, the ministry of finance and transport in order to address the issue of providing this additional ruble from all excise taxes they wanted to give to the federal government. they should be given for transport and road construction. >> translator: we talked about traveling and developing -- >> is it is that cold up there? >> translator: we hear you. it's quite windy here. actually yesterday weather was quite nice but it has changed. >> translator: but you're already inviting people over for vacation. do you guarantee you'll have good weather by then. >> translator: yes, we can
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guarantee we'll have nice weather for you. >> translator: thank you. >> translator: so, let's talk about developing traveling inside russia. it is also very important to remember about the environment protection and we have some environment scientists here. we have an activist here. >> translator: hello, mr. president. i'm a businessman. >> ildar, i'm a businessman in waste management business. my question is we still don't have waste -- efficient waste management system. we don't classify waste like they do in other countries.
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and as a result dumps and landfills are full of nonbiodegradable waste. we are approaching a disaster situation in most cases. i think we should get this fixed. >> i see there was a colleague nodding, nodding his head, probably agrees with you, could you give him the microphone. >> translator: hello, mr. president. i think it's a great idea. i think we're making next year the year of environment, we would like to have the next year as a year of business. >> would anyone like to or say anything with regard to the environment, you're welcome. >> translator: mr. president, i'm a deputy and we're really
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concerned about the situation. we're very grateful for making this year the year of environment. we launched a campaign to protect the lower vul ga because it's important for fisheries drinking water, fresh water, whatever. i think the situation really affects people living along the river. my colleagues supported me and we are currently gathering signatures, we want to write a petition, we have over 50,000 who have joined this campaign. it's people know and care about utility bills but all people support this initiative. my question is, would you please look into this situation
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hydromanagement systems own the river, things that affect fish, fisheries. >> if you allow me, i would like to save you words about the lower volga and other waterways, this is an important issue and requires attention from federal and regional authorities. of course, this is a problem of vessels being able to travel across the waterways, we used to have a situation when some of the passenger boats traveling along rivers, you would have to disembark to -- because they were unable to pass through certain spots and people would have to travel a certain stretch of their way by bus. some of those problems were not addressed for decades and of course the purity of water in lower volga where so many --
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there's so much -- extraordinary. you know how broad the volga delta is, you don't know, it is 290 kilometers wide. it's one of the widest and largest deltas in the world comparable to that of the mississippi river. this is a world in itself. it requires special attention as for waste and household waste, that is a problem. in russia, that is an issue, we have something like 5.6 billion tons of waste produced a year. that's how much waste we produced as a society. and only half of that amount gets recycled and the other half
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gets buried or thrown away or just dumped at landfills and this is -- an uncontrollable process which is strongly criminalized. so we need to improve our legislation here and get regional authorities and local authorities to pay special attention to this issue and of course we need public control. we need control from the public because sometimes people find it impossible to live near these landfills and dump sites, especially considering how criminalized this area is. this is important work that we need to tackle seriously. as regards those plans, those facilities, we need to set up to provide the -- relevant law was passed back in 2014, i believe. but such facilities will only be
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profitable if we start collecting the so-called environmental tax. but we have planned to start collecting this tax in 2017, considering the current economic situation, we don't want to put more pressure on manufacturers. we don't want to force them to cut down their cost by cutting down wage and salaries so we're looking at this -- at this issue considering how delicate this issue is in the current economic reality. but starting from 2017, this environmental tax will be collected and leveed and there are three options for addressing this issue. option one is for those who produce this waste for industries, who produce waste large enough and have enough money to build recycling facilities of their own.
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option two, is for companies that are not able to do that, who don't have the capacity or the money. they can pool with other agencies and hire a contractor to outsource recycling activities. and option three is when the government can step in when the producers of the manufacturers of waste will take a long time to organize, especially when we're talking about recycling batteries and so on. we have been talking for about an hour. we've had about 2.5 million phone calls, let's take in some of them. we're going to the call center. mr. president, we know you don't like questions about your private life and you don't comment on that. but we still have so many inquires about that, we can't avoid that matter. and especially many questions about that from your home city of petersburg and we have a lady
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from gochya with a question. >> i have this question about your personal life, about your private life. there were media reports recently that the former mrs. putin has remarried. when will you introduce your new best one to us? >> translator: you know, mila and i see each other not often, but sometimes. we have a very good relationship, maybe even better than it was when we were married. i know she's okay. i don't care what they say in the media but she's happy with her life i'm also happy. i'm okay, i'm fine. i'm not sure if i should advertise my personal life that much this may actually affect
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the situation with the exchange rate or oil prices, seriously though, when people elect members of parliament or president, they do so so we can do our job. and things you talk about, personal life, of course this is interesting and i realize, i'm aware that people want to know that. but this is not really important. maybe at some time i will satisfy your curiosity, thank you. >> let's talk about doping. this is a very delicate and contentious subject. we have always been proud of our athletes and russian athletes used to be renowned and acknowledged leaders in the world sports for many years.
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now there are claims that a lot of those victories were not really earned. let's give an opportunity to ask people about that. this does not only concern people who are part of the sporting community or athletes themselves but also millions of spectators. and you know, rooting for sports unites people of all walks of life. here we have an entrepreneur who would like to ask about sports and not business. good afternoon, mr. president. i represent the leaders club from moscow. indeed there are things that we all share that unite us and sports is one of them. we always feel for our athletes when they represent russia in international competitions and this scandal, i find it deeply annoying and irritating. this scandal is a tra vesty, has
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been dragging on for months and now some of our athletes are being threatened with an end to their careers. what would happen with the -- with russia's sporting authorities, sporting officials? i'm speak from the bottom -- from my heart right now. >> translator: you're probably learning english from mr. mut go. thankfully no. >> translator: not actually taking classes with mr. mutgo, okay. this substance was never listed as a doping. it does not affect your performance it's just sports your cardiac muscle in good shape. when you overstrain it. for some reason, they decided to put it on the banned substances
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list. it was invented as we know now, i never knew this before, invented in the soviet union in latvia and the person who invented this substance never considered it as doping. and it's widely used in the medicine. in health care. when they listed it, they did not know how much time it takes to -- how long it stays in your blood. and wada made some corrections a few days ago, maybe yesterday. and the decision they made earlier, i don't think it was political. even though it was only used by athletes in eastern europe, former soviet republic and eastern europe, because that's where it was invented and where it was manufactured and it was
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never considered to be a banned substance. and actually, wada agreed with us by correcting their position. as far as i know, this anti-doping agency is currently looking at the possibility of staging clinical trials to see how much time it takes and how long mel done yum stays in your blood and it may be different with different people. based on that they will draw conclusions for specific athletes. i expect that their decisions will be -- but this doesn't mean we should just rest on our laurels and make jokes about it. no. we should improve the way we work with international organizations. we should respond to their comments on a timely basis and
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do so promptly. and of course we should care about the health of our athletes and make sure competition in sports is fair. and we want our fans to enjoy this fair competition and certainly our athletes and that's the maturity of the athletes who had nothing to do with doping, they should not suffer from this scandal. >> let's hear what athletes themselves have to say. we have invited to the studio the head coach of russia's track and field national team. and multitime world champion and first russian athlete to have won the olympic gold here. am president, the world anti-doping association doesn't
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have issues with a lot of russian athletes but all of the track and field athletes have been as you say spendsed from taking part in the olympics from other athletes mistakes and misgivings. and my team is now questioning how whether they should prepare for the olympics you need. thank you. >> of course we love our athletes and expect them to perform well. they are in a difficult situation to date but if you ask me, i would say you have to be prepared for everything. especially now, reconsidered its position on meldonium and they are looking -- they'll have clinical trials and of course we
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will insist that their decisions should be fair. the ministry of sports works with some international lawyes s and they are looking into all avenues of this problem. >> let's talk about housing and utilities. people complain that they have to spend a significant share of their earnings on utilities. we are getting a lot of inquires about that at the social network, especially these -- these levees on cal tap recap tal repairs of partner buildings which people see as extortion and there's also this question in the social networks that this used to be explained the growing
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utilities prices used to be explained by growing oil prices but oil prices are going down. how come we have to pay more and more. in the soviet union, utility prices used to stay on the same level four years. how come it's different? >> you want me to cover all of these questions? okay. as far as stability is concerned, utility bills so on, the stability we had in the sofiest union, conditions were different. the situation was stable in this particular aspect, but i can assure you and it is actually quite obvious, that this sector was under financed and the government did not invest enough
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money and gradually buildings degraded and were in poor shape. instead the government invested money in other areas, the defense industry, we had all kinds of war planes and warships. other weapons. today specialists say this was unnecessary. and as a result, we ended up in a situation where we had to ration soap and sugar. and eventually we lost our country. that was a shame, of course. before we make decisions on this area and it's a sensitive subject, i agree with you, we
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have to think well, we have to consider how much people make and how much the industry makes see the situation with tariff, last year the planned increase was 8.7%. this is the average increase. this is very important. it actually grew by 8.5% in july this year, tariffs will go up by 4% on the average. it's up to prove inss to either freeze their tariffs or increase them to greater extent, up to 10%. but the governor can only make this decision after talking to municipal councils. he has to coordinate this decision with the people -- with
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the delegates selected by people. if there's a need to repair something, say to repair grade for the winter period and so on and so forth. we have 24,000 municipalities in russia. that's the total number. over 600 have made a decision to go beyond this 4% limit. but it's only 3% of the population of russia. of course, there are still real people living in those municipalities but it's a decision that has to be made by local assemblymen. it is very important to make this decision-making process transparent. if this tariff is regulated by the government, additional services, they are not
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regulated. but to make this tariff transparent, the government has to finalize itstransparent, the government has to finalize its work on providing information on the structure, the formula of this tariff. so every person can verify, can look and find out how much they pay for what. as far as additional services are concerned, these things are not regulated by the government, according to our laws. so what we should do about additional services is people should have a meeting and they should decide what services they're interested in and how much they're willing to pay for them. if they don't have a meeting, the municipality will do it for them.
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and -- i don't know, i'll talk about that later. first i want to say one thing which needs to be reiterated. we have long adopted a law which says that if a family has a total income and it's so low that they spent over 22% for utility bills, they can get compensation for it. i'd like to remind everybody, especially in the situation where real incomes dropped by 4%. we have families like that, they're entitled to compensation and today we already have -- we already have over 30 million people who get this benefits,
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this compensation. and we spend $300 billion rubles to. now to major repairs. this is also very important and very sensitive subject. i know that many people are angry and deservedly so but the constitutional court has made a decision that the government was right in making this decision. but still, you have to consider the actual situation. the actual incomes that people have and the actual needs of the industry. and the industry has a lot of needs. we have over 2 billion square meters of housing facilities, 2.4 billion square meters that need repair.
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they were allocated for major repairs and over 25 million rubles were actually used. the rest of the money was just there, wasn't be used.
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of course the government has to be very careful in handling this subject. >> there is a query that provides for debate. a lot of people are concerned about property tax for both individuals andcompanies. good afternoon, mr. putin. this is my third crisis as an interpreter. i've been doing business since the 1990s and i've been actually waiting for this opportunity to thank you for what the government undertook in the year 2008. >> translator: since you went through all those crises, it
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dropped by 3% but earlier it was 10% so it is much better today and of course we have to continue to growth. please continue. >> translator: yes, mr. the a president, and my wife, tatiana, also asked me to say thank you. >> translator: thank you, i am grateful. >> translator: the price is higher than the market price for real estate. they can actually use to grow their businesses, to develop and
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also for individuals the times are becoming tough because now property tax will be calculated based on this officially assessed price. so my question is would you be prepared to look at two possibilities? one could you use a moratorium, five-year long moratorium on raising the officially stated registered cost of equities, of private property and also introduce experts to deliberate the right price and also introduce responsibility, legal responsibility for experts who do this official assessment? and my second initiative is to
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increase the space of property that is not taxable from 10 to 15 square meters per person and so on. >> on the value, this was done -- was not even the government's initiative. they do not get enough revenues to address certain issues. for example, shopping malls paid
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almost zero tax to the municipal budget and this was unfair of course. so people in moscow of course were entitled to ask the municipal authorities why, why do you allow this situation? but this process has to make the situation more fair of course, but you shouldn't go too far, you shouldn't go to the extreme. and you have to consider businesses and people. so you asked about increasing nontaxable area. i cannot answer you specifically but we can consider that certainly. you asked about moratorium. we can consider that as well but, you see, this system is
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supposed to be introduced by 2020. and only for -- actually, the decision was only made in a handful of promises, just one or two or three provinces but all the others will only do this in 2020. this is basically a moratorium. of course we can consider this further. you can actually say that we already have a moratorium in place. it's up to the province to decide whether they're ready or not. now, you asked about using businessmen to evaluate prope y property. see, the thing is actually we have the companies doing
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evaluation right now and it would seem to me that this evaluation should be performed by government agencies because unfortunately those companies, sometimes they're not liable for the mistakes they make in evaluation. sometimes you have this kind of paradoxical situation and i saw this in the questions i looked to yesterday. you may have similar flats next to each other but their value is very different. this is unfair. this is even stupid. so we have to fix that and it would be right to let government agencies evaluate property and this -- if people think their rights are infringed upon, they
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should be able not only go to court but they should use the administrative procedure as well. and one more thing i'd like to mention, all the benefits that people held with the utility bills, they are still con served, whether they use that value or market value. >> we're getting queries not only from adults but also from children. >> translator: i have a number of questions from this child publication. what three wishes would you make if you were to catch a wish
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delivering magic goldfish. >> 11 years old, huh? okay, i hope she's listening. i have three wishes. we shouldn't really rely on miracles, you know, even during the soviet period, we had this song, "nobody will help us, either king nor a hero, we have to do everything ourselves." so we shouldn't really rely on miracles. otherwise we'll end up like in this fairy tale by pushkin with nothing. we have to work with our own hands. [ applause ] >> translator: but children still believe in miracles. another question. i'm 8 years old and i'm already in fifth grade, i'm a wonder
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kid, a prodigy, what they call. why don't they send kids like me to summer camp citing our right age? when we do reach the right age, it will be too late. can you discuss this with the government? >> it definitely a mistake. people who work with this program, they are not wonder children so we'll fix that, don't worry. >> translator: how come adults have two days every weekend and we have none? we go to school on saturday and we have to do homework on sunday. >> translator: well, it is fair because you're better than we are. that's why you can bear this burden and you get more knowledge. that is actually what happens. but certainly, you know, there is a problem here because quite often school children have to bear too much burden, more than
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specialists recommend. psychologists recommend. and we certainly have to look into the situation. >> translator: if you were to be tested, what were you choose, the unified state text or oral exam? >> translator: i prefer oral exam. >> translator: how do you feel about porridge for breakfast? what would you do if you were forced to eat some porridge that you didn't like? a 9-year-old girl. >> translator: well, nobody ever forced me to do something i didn't want to do. and i actually enjoy porridgpor. i eat porridge every day, including today. >> translator: do you have different porridge now that you're an adult? >> translator: i enjoy my porridge better these days.
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less teeth you have, the better e you enjoy your porridge. >> translator: now it's time to get in touch with this remote region of russia. >> translator: hello, moscow. this is fish preserve plant. i have to wear these rubber boots, this overcoat. this plant was built only two years ago and it's actually 10 p.m. here but the plant keeps working. this is the night shift that works until 4 a.m. what is this fish? how many cans do you make a day? >> translator: 60,000 cans in
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one shift. >> translator: where do you get your fish? >> translator: china. they explain to us that currently they don't fish here on the island, they'll have their on fish later in this summer. people complain about utility bills, health care and they complain saying that sometimes it's hard to buy fish on local markets here. now i'll let people ask their questions.
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they say on chickton island, they lived almost as slaves. as hostages, they were promised high wages and they moved there from siberia, from central russia. so when they got to the island, their wages are delayed for months and they couldn't believe the island -- couldn't leave the island. they didn't have money to buy ticket and they had to live in a dorm that belonged to this fish plant. and then they actually had to spend a large part of the money they made there to pay for the dorm.
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>> hello, mr. my name is at that timiania. we worked on the island on the fesh plant. they didn't pay us salary. they cheat people, they through recruiting agencies, they bring people there. people live there in terrible conditions. could you please look into the situation and help us. >> translator: is it true that you can't actually? >> translator: yes, because it's an island. it's surrounded by water. >> translator: how long did they delay? >> translator: two, three months, sometimes six months.
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so that's the situation. >> translator: you know, i have nothing to say. was that just last year or extend over a longer period of time? >> it started in august '15. >> translator: have you turned to any authorities regarding this matter? >> translator: yes, we wrote a letter to the prosecution service. we reard from other victims, they said they complained to the prosecution service and it did not respond and only after they wrote to the president's office there was some reaction. >> translator: unfortunately i haven't seen that letter to the presidential administration but i'm sure local authorities, local officials, local police and the attorney's office
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attorney's office and labor regulator, they were to react on time and i hope that russia's attorney general is listening to this and i would like to urge him to revise whether the region is occupying its position, is fit to occupy this position. so the laeb ministry should look to see if it's office is up to staff and the people who are there with our correspondence, i would like to apologize and show you we will do everything to improve the situation.
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transhello, mr. putin. my question is about government officials and businessmen. and their accountability to people. our fishing villages have been degrading for the past years. government provides funds but then this money disappears, probably goes into the pockets of local officials, businessmen, our former governor currently being investigated, media report that they stole billions. so do you think you will get the punishment he deserves that will teach everybody else a lesson? and do you think this money will come back to the budget or maybe it will be just like --
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>> translator: you know how such investigation will eventually end. it is wrong from the point of law. we are working on that is correct checking those facts, this one and other facts. there are many cases, many investigations under way that are pretty high profile in russia and we will not step down in this activity and the people guilty of corruption will not escape punishment or will not get a lighter sentence we see.
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>> translator: what about the other former governor? >> yes, they are moving on the investigation. we have 2.5 million calls. >> translator: excuse me, just to address the issue of fisheries, there is a draft law that is being in process that would regulate this area. about chinese fish coming to be processed in russian plants.
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the fish that should be processed is being delivered there frozen. sometimes it gets reimported to russia, sometimes in the same vessel. we are making a law that fish must be delivered to russia either fresh or cooled down, not frozen. in that case it would not be profitable any longer to freeze fish and to deliver frozen fish. and we hope that this will benefit russian industries. we also intend to provide quotas to companies and 70% will be provided to ships that use their own ships, their own boats. those who meet those conditions will receive an additional 20%
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quota on top of what they already have. >> those that violate will be stripped of their quota entirely. you said that ships are decrepit and they're deteriorating. out of those 20%, we intend to invest 5% in upgrading and repairing the existing fleet and the 15% to build new ships. now the government is drafting that law, it needs to finalize it. there is endless deliberation now among various ministries and agencies but i believe the draft law should become law, adopted and ratified during the parliament's spring session this year. >> translator: we have 2.5
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million calls. a lot of questions about the utility bills, social issues, but this year many people are interested in domestic policies and our foreign policy and we actually have some calls from the united states but currently we have a call. what is your question? >> translator: hello, mr. putin. why is it that you don't respond to slander from western countries? maybe you should hire some good lawyers and media and report some lies about offshore companies. >> i thought we had moved on and turned the page on this. if you interested, surprising as it seem, the information, the report about offshore accounts is not falsified. it actually is correct.
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it seems this publication was by lawyers and not journalists. it is very in line with law. they're not accusing anyone directly. it's all about hints and speculation. and the question is could some of that offshore money wind up in officials or maybe even the president. it occurred to me that mr. dug and could actually think of investing all the money he has made into -- in buying musical instruments. the author of the publication, they hit outside the target. this is really beyond p beside
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the point because all the musical instruments, they are all numbered, they're well known and the collectors know the instruments very well. the two violins and the cello was has been bought, they're well known. and i don't even know if we have the kind of instruments in russia. there was one owned by mr. rusto povich but it was later bought by a japanese buyer. the instruments in question as regards mr. roldugan, it bears the name stewart.
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>> he is popular but used instriemts. indeed this is a used instrument. it's been used since 1732 the owner was frederick the great. but i would like to calm down the people looking for
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sensation. he doesn't have any money anymore. now who is interested in those media provocations? we know there are american officials behind some of those provocations. yesterday i asked my press where this first appeared and it was a german newspaper owned by goldman sachs, an american company, american bank.
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it's about our country in general ash country that will not toe their line, a country that refuses to bend down but if our counterparts seek compromise and if they're prepared toreat us with respect, then we are always willing to come halfway and find a solution that will benefit and satisfy both parties. that is the only way to deal with us as an ewall partner. >> translator: here a question, who is worse, clinton or trump for russia? >> translator: you know, we need to look for the best options. i can be only respond in the same way that i answered the previous question. in our history of our bilateral relations with the u.s., there were moments when we worked
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closely side by side and we had very good results ranging from nonproliferation, to combatting terrorism, addressing the iranian nuclear issue, chemical weapons and there are many other examples. but our counterparts, like i said, it's not really about the specific leaders in the united states. but it's about this false premise of their exclusively of their special status that they presume and some special rights that they think have. this is a basic mistake. we should look at the bottom line and they should not proceed from a premise of ambition and
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from a position of power. they must show respect in treating all of their international partners including russia. >> coming up on c span three, the senate hearing on u.s. biodefense. then the senate oversight committee hearing on fema.
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