03 December 2009, Thursday, 21:27
author: Nikolai Ermolenko
The 8th TV-bridge between Vladimir Putin and Russians — his second one as the Chairman of Russian Government — turned out to be the longest (more than 4 hours). The exact statistics is still absent but the number of the calls to the Prime-Minister with the held of various means of communications exceeded two million long before the end of the talk and the number of questions he answered made far more than 100.
The “Talking to Vladimir Putin: continuation” mainly opened the problems, related to the crisis year, poverty, dismissals and social sphere. Representatives of all basic branches of industry in Russian economics and the future graduates of Russian institutes were present in the studio.
The talk started with the explosion of the luxury train “NEVSKY EXPRESS” – the new challenge, thrown by the terrorists. Vladimir Putin said the threat was still rather high and the whole world continued the struggle with terrorism and many other countries faced the similar acts of terror. It is necessary that the whole society and every citizen grasp this threat. Vladimir Putin urged everyone to be vigilant.
May we say Russia has outlived the crisis in December 2009? Vladimir Putin believes the hard times are over, “we may definitely say the peak of the crisis is left behind, though the turbulent phenomena in the world economics as well in the Russian one are still to the fore. The exit out of the crisis demands time, efforts and finances, though the positive tendencies can be seen quite clearly”.
The Prime-Minister called 2009 one of the most complicated years for the last decade both for Russia and for the world economics as well. Some experts said the drop of Russian gross internal product would be about 10% but it turned out to be lower - about 8,5 – 8,7% but that was also too much.
“Industrial production fell by more than 10% and by the end of the year it would be 13%, I think so” – Vladimir Putin said – “But at the same time we observe more or less acceptable situation in those branches of industry, which the state considers the sphere of its direct responsibility. For instance, the fall in industry is expected at the level of 13%, as I said, but in the defense industry we expect + 3,7%. In some branches, such as the missile and space branch we face many problems but at the same time we see the 13%-growth there”.
Vladimir Putin pointed to rather good state of things in agriculture and to restoration of Russian gold and exchange currency reserves. “Our gold and exchange currency reserves today are the third in the world after China and Japan – 444 billion USD and we have positive trade balance…”.
How does the crisis affect the social sphere? “Unfortunately we face the drop of average wage by 3,6% but at he same time real pensions go on growing up and we have + 13-14% in this sphere”.
The Chairman of Russian Government compared the present situation with the events in 1998. “I said the inflation now would be minimal- about 9% and that time inflation had jumped up to 84%, practically all savings of Russian citizens turned to zero, the bank system crashed and people’s earning disappeared with them. We’ve managed to preserve the bank sphere, it functions quite well now”.
Vladimir Putin estimated the situation in economics through the demographic indices too: ”What we have today: birth rate is growing and this growth makes 3,5% and death rate is coming down. It means the level of planning grows up too and people believe in positive development of the country”.
For the last five months we observe growth in economics, the Chairman of Russian Government mentioned, it is still miserable but the tendency can be called positive – by 0,5% monthly. But we’ll feel “the breaking way of the crisis” still in the second quarter of 2010.
Vladimir Putin started the live broadcast with the situation in Pikalevo: “We keep the situation in our mono-towns under our close attention and strict control and I ordered one of my deputies to form the special team to work with Russian mono-towns. The problems, raised by the citizens of Pikalevo, is one more ground to have a talk with local Governor and to suggest hat he should report us those plans on development of Pikalevo. I think the life there will be gradually changed for the better”.
The tragedy at Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric station shocked the whole country and it was in many respects the result of the reforms in Russian power-engineering. “The authors of this reform believed that after some assets were sold out they would receive the funds for modernization of their power-engineering capacities. The new owners are burdened with these obligations now. New shareholders have to fulfill these obligations. In the course of this process they’ve received certain benefits, thus taking the obligations upon themselves, and it is high time now to start fulfilling these obligations”. The wondering ideas that it is inexpedient to invest to power-engineering now because in this case we can face the crisis of electric energy overproduction are unreasonable, M-r Putin said. “We can’t afford to be late with development of power-engineering and we have to make all our plans a reality in order to enter the period of restoration in Russian economics, being fully supplied with electric energy”. 13 thousand megawatt has been put into operation for the previous decade. In the nearest two years ten thousand megawatts will be put into exploitation, the Chairman of Russian Government promised. He said that “all workers of the hydroelectric station fr om the families, where the workers have been either killed or reported missing and all workers, who have suffered from the station’s breakdown will be provided with jobs for the whole period of the station’s reconstruction and after the hydroelectric station is restored they will be hired again at the same station in the first turn. This is the decision of Russian Government and of the company “RUSGYDRO”, wh ere the state is the main shareholder”.
Russian officials will allocate 250 billion rubles in 2010 to lower the interest rates for hypothec credits to 10-11%, Vladimir Putin promised, and it will be just the first step. “We will support Russian hypothec, allocating additional funds for hypothec support and for lowering the hypothec interest rates to 10-11%” –the Premier said.
In total complexity 2,2 trillion rubles was planned to allocate for realization of the anti-crisis program and a half of these means had to be allocated directly from the federal exchequer. The budget expenses in 2009 will make 9,7 trillion rubles and Russian budget appropriates the special anti-crisis fund at the rate of 195 billion rubles, which can be spend for solution of some extra-problems.