Vladimir Putin answered a range of topical questions from journalists
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Please.
Yulia Bubnova: Good afternoon.
TASS Agency, Yulia Bubnova.
To be honest, I would like to start with some summing up. Clearly, it was not the easiest year, and not the most ordinary, but what are its main results for you?
What have we achieved, perhaps, what did we fail to achieve, and how do you see our future, where are we going and where should we arrive?
Vladimir Putin: There are no ideal situations. Ideal situations only happen in plans, on paper, and you always want something more. But in general, I think that Russia made it through the year quite confidently. We have no concerns that the current situation will prevent us from implementing our plans for the future, including for 2023.
Let me repeat once again, we believe – I want to stress this – that everything that is happening, and everything connected with the special military operation, is an absolutely forced and necessary measure. We should be grateful to our military, our troops, officers, our soldiers for what they are doing for Russia, defending its interests, sovereignty and, above all, protecting our people. They act with dignity and achieve what the country needs.
As for the economy, as you know, despite the collapses, devastation and catastrophe predicted for us in the economic sphere, nothing like that is happening. Moreover, Russia is performing much better than many G20 countries, and doing so confidently. This applies to the main macroeconomic indicators and the GDP. Yes, there has been a small drop. I said it quite recently: 2.9 percent, according to our and international experts. Now they are giving another figure, even smaller: 2.5.
The unemployment rate is a key indicator worldwide. In Russia, it is below the pre-pandemic period: let me remind you, then it was 4.7 percent, and now it is at 3.8–3.9 percent. That is, the labour market is stable.
Public finances are stable, there are no alarming details here either. This result did not just fall into our laps. It is the result of the work of the Government, regional teams, businesses, and sentiment in society, which is showing unity and a desire to work together to achieve common goals.
Therefore, in general, we feel confident, and I have no doubt that every goal we set will be achieved.
Konstantin Panyushkin: Good afternoon.
Konstantin Panyushkin, Channel One.
In the wake of the State Council, if you will. How would you personally assess the results of the implementation of youth policy this year, considering the dignified way Russian youth have conducted themselves since February 24?
Vladimir Putin: You know, we always talk about this – well, not us, but look at our classical literature: it is always about fathers and children, it is always a question of young people in any period of the country’s development – and, indeed, I think the same is happening all over the world – young people are constantly accused of being superficial, unworthy of something, that everything was better before.
On the contrary, I believe that young people are always better. Remember the hardest trials at all times in our history. Everyone said, “No, that was then, now they could not do it.” But what can they not do? Young people can do everything. There are different types in all age groups. But in general, our young people show, primarily, a striving for progress, they demonstrate a high level of education, training, understanding of the ongoing processes in the world, in society, and an understanding of where to go, what has true value, what you need to rely on.
I am talking about our history, love for the homeland, for our Fatherland. This is especially pronounced during times of trial.
Recall our difficult events in the North Caucasus. People did not think much of our youth. But recall the paratroopers from Pskov – this is an example of what young people can do, how heroically they can behave. And now look at how young people are fighting and how our youth are responding to what is happening in the zone of the special military operation, how they are supporting our fighters.
I went to the Manezh today, and I was close to tears when I saw how young people in their teens and a little older were collecting things, writing letters. There were also many volunteers that were young as well.
Yes, people are different. There are people who got into their cars and silently drove away, yes. But on the whole, I want to repeat that Russia’s young people – and I can say this with confidence – are demonstrating love for their land, a desire to fight for it and move forward individually and as a country.
Andrei Kolesnikov: Good afternoon.
Mr President, you did not give your Address to the Federal Assembly this year and, apparently, there will not be one. Like many others, I have written about this, noting that the issue of the address flared up in several formats recently, for instance, at the meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and National Projects. It seems, yesterday it was also mentioned at the expanded meeting of the Defence Ministry Board.
Could you explain why this is the case this year? And what does the future hold for your address?
Vladimir Putin: I think there was no address in 2017, either. I am referring to the calendar year. But there should be.
What is the problem? The problem is these are fast-moving events, the situation is developing very rapidly. Therefore, it was very difficult – probably not very, but rather difficult to pin down results at a specific moment and specific plans for the near future. We will do that early next year, without a doubt.
But the point of the address lies in what I have just said. It has been reflected in my statements one way or another. It was impossible not to talk about it. So, frankly, it was rather difficult for me and the Executive Office to squeeze this into a formal address without a lot of repetition, and that is it. In other words, I have already spoken about key things in one way or another, so there was not much desire to collect it all again and repeat what I had already said.
For something substantial, we need time and additional analysis of what is happening, what we are talking about and planning for the near future.
We will do this. I will not mention exact dates but we will certainly do this in the coming year.