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President Putin expressed hope that at least some of the problems with the new US administration would be resolved, but said that he foresees foreign interference in the Russian elections

Russian President Vladimir Putin expects that at least some of the problems in relations between Russia and the United States will begin to be resolved under the Joe Biden administration..

“We proceed from the assumption that the newly elected President of the United States will understand what is happening – he is an experienced person both in domestic politics and in foreign policy – and we hope that all the problems that have arisen, at least some of them, will be be decided under the new administration, “he said Thursday at the annual press conference.

The electoral college in the United States approved on Monday the results of the vote, according to which the Democrat Biden will become the head of state. His inauguration will take place on January 20.

The President of the Russian Federation also noted that, according to him, US President Donald Trump has great support within the country and, as far as Moscow understands, is not going to leave her political life..

At the same time, Putin is confident that foreign states will try to interfere in the Russian parliamentary elections in 2021, but Russia is preparing for this..

“Of course, they will try to interfere, they do it all the time. And not only in our elections, practically all over the world … We know this, we are preparing for this, “he said..

Putin did not name the specific states he suspects of preparing the intervention.

According to him, Russia will be able to effectively resist this only if the overwhelming majority of Russian citizens understand that this interference is unacceptable and that the Russian Federation itself must determine its own fate..

“This is an extremely important internal state of our society. Therefore, the attitude of bloggers on the Internet, the attitude of the media to protect themselves is an extremely important thing, to defend their sovereignty, “the head of state added..

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The President also said that Russia is now unprecedentedly open to election observers and will step up this area in order to achieve the main thing – citizens’ respect for the election results..

Putin also denied allegations that Russian hackers allegedly interfered in the internal affairs of the United States and helped to elect the president of this country, Donald Trump..

“Russian hackers did not help the current president of the United States to be elected and did not interfere in the internal affairs of this great power,” Putin said.

Putin called the investigation into the incident with the leader of the opposition Alexei Navalny “legalization of materials of the American special services”.

Navalny enjoys the support of the US intelligence services, but this does not mean that he needs to be hounded, Putin said.

Putin called on the political forces in the country, including the opposition, to be guided by the interests of the citizens of the Russian Federation, and not by their own ambitions..

Speaking about the main problems of the year, the President of Russia said that it was the coronavirus pandemic..

He noticed that the pandemic has affected all aspects of life. “There are a lot of problems now, but the ocean has spilled over the whole world,” Putin described the situation with COVID-19.

He admitted that the pandemic hit hard on the Russian economy, and the drop in GDP was 3.6 percent..

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“The unemployment rate we had at the beginning of the year was 4.7 percent, now, as you know, it has grown to 6.3 percent,” the president said..

But Putin believes that an obvious positive element in the development of the Russian economy is the fact that 70 percent of the Russian budget is already formed not at the expense of oil and gas revenues..

This, he said, means that the country is not fully, but begins to “get off the so-called oil and gas needle”.

“And if someone still wants to represent us as a gas station, then this has no real basis,” Putin said. At the same time, he admitted that so far the dependence on oil and gas revenues is large.

This year’s press conference was held via video link due to the coronavirus pandemic. The head of state was at his residence in Novo-Ogarevo, and journalists and photographers were in the hall of the World Trade Center in Moscow.

The Russian president also stressed that, in his opinion, the Russian health care system has passed the test that befell it as a result of the coronavirus pandemic..

“It is safe to say that we have met these problems with dignity and, in part, even, perhaps, better than in other countries of the world, which are rightfully proud of both the stability of their economies and the development of their social services and health systems,” Putin stressed..

Among the special achievements, the President highlighted the creation of vaccines against coronavirus by the Gamaleya Research Center and the Vector Novosibirsk Center.

“And we have a good vaccine: both safe and effective – more than 95 percent, at 96-97% level of protection, experts say,” the president said..

Putin said that he has not yet been vaccinated against coronavirus, but he will do it as soon as possible.

He thanked the Russians for once again showing what lies at the heart of the people’s identity – unity in the face of a threat.

“I would like to thank the citizens of the country, in these rather difficult conditions we have once again confirmed that the basis of Russian identity is the unity of the people under any threat,” the president said..

Expert commentary

Head of the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions Program, Carnegie Moscow Center Andrey Kolesnikov believes that the hybrid format of the event (a combination of interviews with citing letters from citizens) made it possible to collect complaints from the province and identify some pain points that were already well known. Therefore, in his opinion, the president looked savvy and boldly answered any questions..

“However, it still turned out that his commands, directives were of a general nature and did not reach the bottom,” he added in an interview with the Russian service of the Voice of America. – So, he said that money (in the form of additional payments for the work of medical staff in the covid zones of hospitals) was allocated, and people reported that they did not receive it. Even the president himself admitted that it looks strange. “.

So, despite more than four hours of conversation, the feeling of Vladimir Putin’s isolation from reality, his “bunkering” has not disappeared, but rather intensified, the political scientist stated. The press conference reminded him of a kind of “match fixing”. “The journalists, willingly or unwillingly, played along with Putin, throwing questions to which the answers were known in advance,” he stressed. – The result seems to be a dialogue, but completely meaningless. And this, alas, is becoming the norm “.

Answering the question why it was necessary to amend the constitution to “zero” the presidential terms, Putin bluntly explained that when making any decision, one should be guided first of all by whether it will benefit the country or not. At the same time, the head of the Russian state declined to answer whether he will run for president again after 2024..

Putin always answers vaguely when asked whether he will run for another presidential term, Andrei Kolesnikov noted. At the same time, according to him, the fact that a person associates his stay in power with the good for the country, it cut the rumor and looks rather strange..

“How is the absence of rotation in power and the stay of one person at the very top for so many years actually equated to the good of the country in the sense that without him everything will fall apart? In this logic, it seems that most likely Putin will again voluntarily go “to the galleys” after the current term, “the expert of the Carnegie Moscow Center concluded..

Putin and his “mantra” about Alexei Navalny

Russian and international media drew particular attention to the words of the Russian president that the latest reports about the involvement of a group of alleged Russian agents in the Navalny case are “legalization of materials from American special services.” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has already denied Putin’s allegations of Germany’s inaction in this case: In recent weeks and months, we have seen many “smoke screens” that were created from Moscow in connection with the Navalny case, “Maas told reporters. “Russia had many opportunities to clarify the situation, but it never happened.”.

Alexey Navalny commented on the situation in his blog.

Having said that he “spent the first half of the day” on Thursday in the German prosecutor’s office, where he was “interrogated at the request of the Russian side,” the Russian opposition politician said that the evidence of the involvement of the Russian authorities in his poisoning “is so reinforced concrete that it is impossible to argue with them. “.

“And even just lying as usual is impossible,” Navalny stressed..

Regarding Vladimir Putin’s comments, Navalny said: “All sorts of little things like why chemists and doctors were watching me, why all those who followed me work in the FSB expert examination center, why they call up Novichok’s manufacturers and – most importantly – why I still fell in a coma for 18 days, ignored “.

Sociologist and publicist, former secretary general of the Union of Journalists of Russia Igor Yakovenko agree that the event was directed. Moreover, in his assessment, rather mediocre and careless.

In addition, he suggested that Vladimir Putin would very much like to cancel his annual press conference this time. “Because the main topic that interests everyone everywhere is the official reaction of the Kremlin, including Putin, to the investigation into the poisoning of Alexei Navalny,” says an interlocutor of the Voice of America Russian service. – In theory, all the journalists in turn should have asked questions related to this from different angles. But this, unfortunately, did not happen..

Therefore, it remains unclear how a situation has developed in the country in which the criminals who are organizing the attempt on the leaders of the Russian opposition, the citizens of Russia, who give specific instructions for their destruction, remain unpunished, the journalist said..

“Putin unpretentiously avoided the question on a topic related to Navalny, uttering his traditional mantra about who supposedly needs this“ Berlin patient ”in order to kill him,” he said. – The President, as always, did not call him by name, but nevertheless admitted (or made a reservation) that he was being followed by representatives of the special services. In this sense, the press conference turned out to be an easy walk for the head of state “.

All other questions related to the pandemic, lockdown, and so on, could be clarified with specialists, concluded Igor Yakovenko.

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