Key quotes from Russian President Putin's annual phone-in
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin (Kremlin photo)

The following are highlights from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual phone-in on Thursday:


ON THE ECONOMY

“Overall, we are moving in the right direction. What is the basis for saying this? We have started on the trajectory toward robust economic growth in Russia. Yes, this growth is humble, small, but it is also not a fall. Growth was at 1.5 percent last year.”

“Not everyone feels this personally but overall, this is an objective statistic. That’s how it is, it is the truth. Export in technical equipment is growing, which shows that some structural changes are going on in the economy. Export of agricultural produce, at 20 billion last year, was higher than defense exports, which were at 15 billion.”

ON TAXES

“Based on our preliminary calculations, we may in the next six years spend 17 billion roubles, but to achieve the goals that we have discussed, we will need an additional 8 trillion roubles. And it is clear where we are going to find them.”

“Firstly, it is through the growth of the economy itself, that’s the main source of additional resources. It is also the more effective use of existing resources, adjustment in some senses of our macro-economic plans and of course adjustments to our tax policy.”

“Stability of tax policy must be absolutely guaranteed for the next six years.”

“Many suggest changing the personal income tax. We thought about this for a long time. At first glance, progressive personal income tax seems and looks to be fairer… But reality is more complicated than theories and formulas.”

“We had such a tax – a tax on revenue. This is a serious strain on the economy overall and in the end on citizens, because it inevitably leads to a rise in inflation. All this convinced us that introducing this was also not expedient.”

ON THE NEW GOVERNMENT

“The thing is, the development plan which we have been discussing in recent years, it was being prepared by the previous government during at least the past one and a half years. I know full well that if we were to replace the entire government 100 percent, and bring in totally new people… we would have lost at least two years, and we do not have those two years.”

“But it was also necessary to keep those, who made the decisions for our country’s progress. And to personalize responsibility for what has been done so far and for what is coming up soon.”

“I think that we have an optimal make up of government for today.”

ON GASOLINE PRICES

“What is going on right now, it is unacceptable, it is wrong. However, it must be admitted that it is the result of inaccurate regulation, that was brought in recently in the sphere of energy, in energy resources.”

“By the autumn of this year, additional measures should be introduced which will stabilize the situation on the market. I am basing this on the fact that the government will be monitoring this carefully.”

RUSSIAN ENERGY MINISTER NOVAK

“Agreements have been reached at the government level with all companies to increase the production of oil products and on deliveries to the domestic market to not permit a deficit.”

“Additionally, we have worked out a series of measures aimed at stabilization. I am referring to the possibility of introducing export tariffs by the Russian government on deliveries of oil products for export. A law has been prepared on this and we will be ready to present it to parliament in the near future, and will ask parliament to support it.”

RUSSIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER KOZAK

“We are introducing the possibility for government to raise export tariffs on motor fuel and to make it equal to tariffs on oil exports. We really hope we will now have to put it to use.”

Putin response: “I will support this.”

Reporting by Moscow Newsroom; writing by Polina Ivanova