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The world is experiencing revolutionary changes with Eurasian Integration in a multipolar world

The world is changing very fast, and we are facing a massive shift in the global markets. A New World Order. And President Vladimir Putin talked about it in his speech at the second Eurasian Economic Forum in Moscow, Russia, on May 24, 2023.

The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) supports pairing with China`s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to achieve the Greater Eurasian Partnership, Putin said in his speech at the second Eurasian Economic Forum of the EAEU on Wednesday.

EAEU is an economic union of countries located in Eurasia, consisting of five member states: Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia.

50 different countries attended the economic forum in Moscow under this motto: «Eurasian Integration in a multipolar world.»

The forum is designed to look at ways in which BRICS, the EAEU, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) can be expanded, and possibly integrated.

Putin said the EAEU supports initiatives committed to developing the Eurasian region and will continue to work with China to promote the docking of the EAEU`s development with China`s BRI.

Putin also said that the world is experiencing revolutionary changes and that more countries are seeking to build a new architecture of international economic relations that is fairer, and based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.

The speech was interesting, and Putin added that the U.S. economic policy is «shooting itself in the foot» by reinforcing a trend that undermines its own development. In this regard, he said Russia and its partners in the EAEU are interested in «honest, productive, and pragmatic cooperation,» noting that anyone acting otherwise «damages the global economy.»

Putin talked a lot about the economy, and he argued that the global economic system will only benefit from the formation of a decentralized international financial system and that it`s important to coordinate efforts to form such a global system.

Echoing Putin`s call for a decentralized international financial system, Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Snopkov said on Wednesday that Belarus plans to completely move away from the U.S dollar, and the euro in trade with Russia, and other EAEU countries by 2023.

But Belarus is not alone to do that. A few days ago, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior imposed a ban on the use of US dollars in personal, and commercial transactions in Iraq, according to Iraq News.

The ban, which came into force a few days ago, aims to promote the use of the local currency, the Iraqi dinar and limited the use of the US dollar in Iraq.

The De-Dollarisation wave continues………

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Shinybull.com. The author has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided; however, neither Shinybull.com nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in precious metal products, commodities, securities, or other financial instruments. Shinybull.com and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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Putin and Xi Jinping are “dear friends” and they are both working on a New World Order

Xi Jinping visited Vladimir Putin today, and they both called each other «dear friends.» Xi says China is ready with Russia to stand guard over world order based on international law, on Moscow visit earlier today. Xi added that with Russia, China was ready to defend the UN-centric international system.

Xi pushes China to play a more dominant role in managing global affairs. China`s New World Order is on the way.

This is what the war in Ukraine is about: the new world order. The war in Ukraine is set to fundamentally transform the International order, and some people call it the world`s «de-Westernization».

A World Order is an impressive work that focuses on the geopolitical distribution of power, Henry Kissinger wrote in his book World Order.

During the 20th century, political figures such as Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill used the term «new world order» to refer to a new period of history characterized by a dramatic change in world political thought and in the global balance of power after World War I and World War II.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

The interwar and post-World War II periods were seen as opportunities to implement idealistic proposals for global governance by collective efforts to address worldwide problems that go beyond the capacity of individual nation-states to resolve while nevertheless respecting the right of nations to self-determination.

Such collective initiatives manifested in the formation of intergovernmental organizations such as the League of Nations in 1920, the United Nations (UN) in 1945, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949, along with international regimes such as the Bretton Woods system and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), implemented to maintain a cooperative balance of power and facilitate reconciliation between nations to prevent the prospect of another global conflict.

After World War II, they all said; «Never again», and the winners, led by America, drafted conventions that defined unpardonable crimes against humanity, and sought to impose costs on those committing them.

Recalling the economic disasters and human miseries that paved the way to world war, the framers of this order built the UN and other international institutions to promote cooperation and development.

Progressives welcomed international organizations and regimes such as the United Nations in the aftermath of the two World Wars but argued that these initiatives suffered from a democratic deficit and were therefore inadequate not only to prevent another world war but to foster global justice, as the UN was chartered to be a free association of sovereign nation-states rather than a transition to democratic world government.

British writer and futurist H.G. Wells went further than progressives in the 1940s by appropriating and redefining the term «new world order» as a synonym for the establishment of a technocratic world state, and of a planned economy, garnering popularity in state socialist circles.

Right-wing populist John Birch Society claimed in the 1960s that the governments of both the United States and the Soviet Union were controlled by a cabal of corporate internationalists, «greedy» bankers, and corrupt politicians who were intent on using the UN as the vehicle to create a «One World Government».

This anti-globalist conspiracism fueled the campaign for U.S. withdrawal from the UN.

In his speech, Toward a New World Order, delivered on 11 September 1990 during a joint session of the US Congress, President George H.W. Bush described his objectives for post-Cold War global governance in cooperation with post-Soviet states. He stated:

«Until now, the world we`ve known has been a world divided – a world of barbed wire and concrete block, conflict, and the cold war. Now, we can see a new world coming into view. A world in which there is the genuine prospect of new world order.

In the words of Winston Churchill, a «world order» in which «the principles of justice and fair play …. protect the weak against the strong…..»A world where the United Nations, freed from cold war stalemate, is poised to fulfill the historic vision of its founders. A world in which freedom and respect for human rights find a home among all nations.»

The New York Times observed that progressives were denouncing this new world order as a rationalization of American imperial ambitions in the Middle East at the time.

And now, everything has changed. Again. China`s New World Order is coming.

We are moving from a Unipolar world to a Multipolar world where Europe and the U.S. are less influential. The war in Ukraine is dividing opinions between people in Western nations, and those in countries like China, India, and Turkey, a new poll suggests.

The war in Ukraine has laid bare the «sharp geographical divides in global attitudes» on «conceptions of democracy, and the composition of the future international order,» according to a new survey from the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).

While Western allies have «regained their sense of purpose on the global stage,» the gulf between their perspective and the «rest» has grown wider, the ECFR added.

There are different views about the general role the West will play in the future world order. Some people expect a new bipolar world of two blocks led by the U.S. and China, whereas there were signs that most people in major non-Western countries see the future in more multipolar terms.

China has always been in front. The silk road is known for all the roads from China to Europe, and nobody knows how old it is, but it can be as old as ten thousand years. The silk road was popular because the Chinese sold silk to Europe.

Today, China is still in front as they are considered to be the factory of the world. But this is probably not a surprise for people in China. Why?

For more than two millennia, nomarchs who ruled China proper saw their country as one of the dominant actors in the world. The concept of Zhongguo (the Middle Kingdom, as China, calls itself), is not simply geographic.

It implies that China is the cultural, political, and economic center of the world.

This Sino-centrist worldview has in many ways shaped China`s outlook on global governance. The rules, norms, and institutions that regulate international cooperation. The decline and collapse of imperial China in the 1800s and early 1900s, however, diminished Chinese influence on the global stage for more than a century.

But China is back. China has reemerged as a major power in the past two decades, with the world`s second-largest economy and a world-class military. It increasingly asserts itself, seeking to regain its centrality in the international system, and over global governance institutions.

These institutions, created mostly by Western powers after World War II, include the World Bank, which provides loans and grants to developing states, the International Monetary Fund, which works to secure the stability of the global monetary system; and the United Nations, among others.

President Xi Jinping, the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, has called for China to «lead the reform of the global governance system,» transforming institutions and norms in ways that will reflect Beijing`s values and priorities.

For over two thousand years, beginning with the Qin dynasty (221-226 BCE) and ending with the collapse of the Qing (1636-1911 BCE), monarchs who ruled China proper invoked a mandate of heaven to legitimate their own rule and rhetorically assert their own centrality to global order, even though they never built a truly global empire.

Even when China`s influence collapsed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Chinese elites dreamed of regaining global influence.

At the end of World War II, China became an initial member of the United Nations and seemed poised to play a larger role in the new international order. But after the Communist Party won the civil war and took power in 1949, China rejected the international system and tried to help create an alternative global governance order.

Frustrated with the existing international system, the Republic of China (Taiwan) remained seated on the UN Security Council, instead of the People`s Republic of China, Beijing promoted alternative values and institutions.

In 1953, Premier Zhou Enlai enunciated «The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence», mutual respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, mutual nonaggression, noninterference in each other`s international affairs, equality, mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.

Endorsed by leaders of many newly independent former colonies, these principles formed a basis for the nonaligned movement (NAM) of the 1960s. NAM became a counterweight to Western-dominated global governance.

China returned to the international system in the early 1970s and rebuilt its ties with the United States. It accepted a weaker international role and sought to participate in the institutions and rules set up after World War II.

After the end of the Mao era, China opened up in the 1980s and 1990s, reformed its economy, and increased its role in global governance, including by cooperating with international institutions. During this time, China adapted many domestic laws to conform to those of other countries.

Deng Xiaoping, who ultimately succeeded Mao, oversaw major economic reforms in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which launched China`s growth and ultimately increased its global reach. Deng introduced market reforms, and encouraged inflows of foreign capital and technology, among other steps.

During this period, China also joined more global financial and trade institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the Asian Development Bank.

In 1989, the Chinese government violently cracked down on democracy protestors in Beijing`s Tiananmen Square, and elsewhere in the country, which resulted in widespread international condemnation.

To help rebuild its reputation and ties with other countries, beginning in the early 1990s, Beijing increasingly embraced multilateralism and integration with global governance institutions. Beijing signed multilateral agreements it had previously been reluctant to join.

In the first decade of the twenty-first century, China often proved willing to play by international rules and norms. As its economy grew, however, Beijing assumed a more active role in global governance, signaling its potential to lead and challenge existing institutions and norms.

The country boosted its power in four ways; it took on a bigger role in international institutions, advertised its increasing influence, laid the groundwork to create some of its own organizations, and sometimes subverted global governance rules.

In 2010, China surpassed Japan to become the world`s second-biggest economy and earned the third-greatest percentage of votes in the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It also created its own Multilateral Organizations.

China started to create its own Beijing-dominated institutions. A process that would expand in the 2010s. In the previous decade, Beijing had established the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which built on the earlier Shanghai 5 group, and brought together China, Russia, and Central Asian states.

In the 2010s, the SCO would become a vehicle for China to challenge existing global norms, such as pushing its idea of closed internet controlled by governments, rather than one global, open internet.

Under President Bush and Obama, Washington generally accepted that Beijing would increasingly support global governance norms and institutions. In 2005, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick publicly urged China to become a «responsible stakeholder» in the international system.

The Donald J. Trump administration, by contrast, has expressed greater concern over Chinese efforts to subvert existing norms and has pushed back against Beijing`s efforts to use international institutions to promote Chinese foreign policies and programs like the Belt and Road Initiatives.

But China challenges International norms and rules. Under Jiang Zemin`s successor Hu Jintao, China more openly challenged international norms. Beijing asserted that its sovereignty over disputed areas of the South China Sea was a «core interest,» and «non-negotiable, « despite participating in negotiations with other claimants.

Beijing also expanded its footprint in the South China Sea; it built military facilities on disputed islands and artificial features. And it expanded its aid around the world.

Since the early 2010s, as China`s economic and military power has grown, so too has its ambition and capability to reform the global governance system to reflect Beijing`s priorities and values.

Some of the priorities Beijing promotes in global governance are defensive in nature and reflect long-standing. Chinese aims: preventing criticism of China`s human rights practices, keeping Taiwan from assuming an independent role in international institutions, and protecting Beijing from compromises to its sovereignty.

Yet China also now seeks to shape the global governance system more offensively, to advance its model of political and economic development. This development model reflects extensive state control over politics and society and a mix of both market-based practices and statism in core sectors of the economy.

Xi Jinping has called for more shared control of global governance. He has declared that China needs to «lead the reform of the global governance system with the concepts of fairness and justice».

The terms fairness and justice signal a call for a more multipolar world, one potentially with a smaller U.S. role in setting international rules. The Donald J. Trump administration`s retreat from global leadership has added to China`s opportunity to fill the void and promote multipolar global governance.

China is now pushing for a bigger role in International agencies. Chinese officials lead four of the fifteen UN specialized agencies. They are also creating alternative institutions. Beijing is building its own, China-centered institutions.

In 2013, Beijing launched the Belt and Road Initiatives. A vast plan to use Chinese assistance to fund infrastructure, and boost ties with, other countries, like their neighbor Russia. Beijing`s more proactive global strategy serves the Xi administration`s dream of returning China to its past glory.

China`s evolving global governance strategy is most apparent in four major issues; global health, internet governance, climate change, and development finance.

China seeks to become a leader in global internet governance and to promote the idea of «cyber sovereignty». That a state should exert control over the internet within its borders. In October 2017, Xi Jinping unveiled his plans to make China a «cyber superpower.»

Globally, Beijing promotes its domestic cyber sovereignty approach to internet governance, which hinges on Communist Party control and censorship. Xi`s administration uses increasingly advanced technology to dominate the domestic internet and social media, blocking global search engines, and social media sites, and promoting domestic versions.

China`s domestic internet offers an alternative to existing, freer models of internet governance, and Beijing also uses its influence at the United Nations, and other forums to push countries to adopt a more closed internet.

Meanwhile, Chinese corporations such as Huawei, and CloudWalk have supplied repressive governments in Venezuela and Zimbabwe with surveillance tools like facial recognition technology.

And the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) contains a «Digital Silk Road Initiative» that includes inviting foreign officials to participate in workshops on information technology policy, including controlling the internet.

If China and Russia can set the standards for internet governance, they could pave the way for other countries to embrace cyber sovereignty, sparking a divided world with two internets. One is generally open, and the other is closed and favored by autocracies.

The world has become less democratic in recent years. Democracy is in decline. The number of people that have democratic rights has recently plummeted: between 2016 and 2022, this number fell from 3,9 billion to 2,3 billion people.

The world underwent phases of autocratization in the 1930s and again in the 1960s and 1970s. Back then, people fought to turn the tide and pushed democratic rights to unprecedented heights. But what now? Can we do the same again?

A new Chinese world order is coming, and they are not democratic.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Shinybull.com. The author has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided; however, neither Shinybull.com nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in precious metal products, commodities, securities, or other financial instruments. Shinybull.com and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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World War III has never been closer and “the Doomsday Clock” can be only 10 seconds to midnight

Former president Donald Trump is one of the few presidents in the U.S. that didn`t start a new war. He is also the man who said a war in Iraq is stupid and should be avoided. Now, he slams the «warmongers» and «globalists» in a new social media video message.

World War III has never been closer than it is right now. And Trump is right. Just take a look at the Doomsday clock. For 2021 and 2022, the clock`s hands were set to 100 seconds to midnight. Since this time-keeping exercise began in 1947, the announcement on Jan 24, 2023, represents the closest the clock has ever been to midnight.

This is a clear wake-up call.

According to Pastor Jimmy Evans, we are only 10 seconds to midnight, and we have never been closer than that. Mr. Evans knows the bible and believes we are at the end times.

The Doomsday Clock, created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to illustrate how close humanity has come to the world’s end, moved its «time» in 2023 to 90 seconds to midnight. That`s 10 seconds closer than it has been for the past three years.

The Doomsday clock is a symbol that represents the likelihood of a human-made global catastrophe. It is a design that warns the public about how close we are to destroying our world with dangerous technologies of our own making. The clock is telling us how close we are to total annihilation.

The clock is not only about existential threats, but also about difficult scientific topics such as climate change. But the decision to move the clock 10 seconds forward this year is due to Russia`s invasion of Ukraine, and the increased risk of nuclear escalation.

On top of that, we have the breakdown of norms and institutions needed to reduce risks associated with biological threats like Covid-19.

The Doomsday Clock

«We are living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality,» Rachel Bronson, president, and CEO of the Bulletin, said in a new release. «It`s a decision our experts do not take lightly. The US government, its NATO allies, and Ukraine have a multitude of channels for dialogue; we urge leaders to explore all of them to their fullest ability to turn back the Clock.»

Former president Donald Trump said in a new video that he wants to clean the house of all of the «warmongers,» America`s last globalists, the Deep State, the Pentagon, the State Department, and the National Security Industrial Complex.

«One of the reasons I was the only president in a generation who didn`t start a war, is that I was the only president who rejected the catastrophic advice of many of Washinton`s generals, bureaucrats, and the so-called diplomats, who only know how to get us into conflict, but they don`t know how to get us out,» Trump said in his new video.

«We need to get rid of the corrupt globalist establishment that has botched every major foreign policy decision for decades, and that includes President Biden,» Trump said.

Furthermore, Trump says he is the president who delivers peace. Not only that. It is peace through strength. Mr. Trump said America could end the Ukraine conflict in 24 hours with the right leadership. A war Putin and Russia did everything they could to stop, according to Putin`s speech earlier this week.

Putin has warned you all. If the US and NATO continue to expand, Putin will push the button, and that will be the end of us all. World War III has never been closer, and The Doomsday Clock is ticking.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Shinybull.com. The author has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided; however, neither Shinybull.com nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in precious metal products, commodities, securities, or other financial instruments. Shinybull.com and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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Vladimir Putin delivered a two-hour-long State of the Nation Speech on Tuesday, 21 Feb 2022

Vladimir Putin spoke to his own people on Tuesday, and he delivered a nearly two-hour-long State of the Nation address. Below is some of the text of his speech. (Russia refers to the Russia-Ukraine War as a special military operation).

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon!

Dear deputies of the Federal Assembly – senators, deputies of the State Duma!

Dear citizens of Russia!

With today’s Address, I am speaking at a difficult time – we all know this very well – a milestone time for our country, at a time of cardinal, irreversible changes throughout the world, the most important historical events that determine the future of our country and our people, when each of we has a huge responsibility.

A year ago, in order to protect people on our historical lands, to ensure the security of our country, to eliminate the threat posed by the neo-Nazi regime that emerged in Ukraine after the 2014 coup, a decision was made to conduct a special military operation. And step by step, carefully and consistently, we will solve the tasks before us.

Starting from 2014, Donbass fought, defended the right to live on its own land, speak its native language, fought and did not give up in the conditions of blockade and constant shelling, undisguised hatred from the Kiev regime, believed and waited for Russia to come to the rescue.

Meanwhile – and you know this well – we did everything possible, really everything possible to solve this problem by peaceful means, patiently negotiated a peaceful way out of this grave conflict.

But a completely different scenario was being prepared behind our backs. The promises of the Western rulers, their assurances about the desire for peace in the Donbass turned out to be, as we now see, a forgery, a cruel lie. They simply played for time, engaged in chicanery, turned a blind eye to political assassinations, to the repressions of the Kiev regime against objectionable people, to mockery of believers, and more and more encouraged Ukrainian neo-Nazis to carry out terrorist actions in the Donbass. In Western academies and schools, officers of nationalist battalions were trained and weapons were supplied.

And I want to emphasize that even before the start of the special military operation, Kyiv was negotiating with the West on the supply of air defense systems, combat aircraft, and other heavy equipment to Ukraine. We also remember the attempts of the Kyiv regime to acquire nuclear weapons, because we talked about it publicly.

The United States and NATO rapidly deployed their army bases and secret biological laboratories near the borders of our country, mastered the theater of future military operations in the course of maneuvers, prepared the Kiev regime subject to them, the Ukraine they had enslaved, for a big war.

And today they admit it – they admit it publicly, openly, without hesitation. They seem to be proud, reveling in their treachery, calling both the Minsk agreements and the Normandy format a diplomatic performance, a bluff. It turns out that all the time when the Donbass was on fire, when blood was shed, when Russia was sincerely – I want to emphasize this – it was sincerely striving for a peaceful solution, they were playing on people’s lives, they were playing, in fact, as they say in well-known circles, with marked cards.

This disgusting method of deception has been tried many times before. They behaved just as shamelessly, duplicitously, destroying Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria. From this shame they will never be washed off. The concepts of honor, trust, decency are not for them.

Over the long centuries of colonialism, diktat, hegemony, they got used to being allowed everything, got used to spitting on the whole world. It turned out that they treat the peoples of their own countries just as disdainfully, like a master – after all, they cynically deceived them too or deceived them with fables about the search for peace, about adherence to the UN Security Council resolutions on Donbass. Indeed, the Western elites have become a symbol of total unprincipled lies.

We firmly defend not only our interests, but also our position that in the modern world there should be no division into the so-called civilized countries and all the rest, that an honest partnership is needed, which in principle denies any exclusivity, especially aggressive.

We were open, sincerely ready for a constructive dialogue with the West, we said and insisted that both Europe and the whole world needed an indivisible security system equal for all states, and for many years we suggested that our partners discuss this idea together and work on it. implementation. But in response, they received an indistinct or hypocritical reaction. This is about words. But there were also specific actions: the expansion of NATO to our borders, the creation of new positional areas for missile defense in Europe and Asia – they decided to hide behind us with an “umbrella”, this is the deployment of military contingents, and not only near the borders of Russia.

I want to emphasize, yes, in fact, it is well known to everyone: not a single country in the world has such a number of military bases abroad as the United States of America. There are hundreds of them, I want to emphasize this, hundreds of bases around the world, the whole planet is littered, you just need to look at the map.

The whole world has seen them pull out of fundamental armaments agreements, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, unilaterally tear apart the fundamental agreements that keep the world on track. For some reason, they did it – they don’t do anything just like that, as you know.

Finally, in December 2021, we officially submitted draft security assurance agreements to the US and NATO. But in all key, fundamental positions for us, they received, in fact, a direct refusal. Then it finally became clear that the go-ahead for the implementation of aggressive plans was given and they were not going to stop.

The threat is growing, and every day. The incoming information left no doubt that by February 2022, everything was ready for another bloody punitive action in the Donbass, against which, let me remind you, the Kiev regime threw artillery, tanks, and planes back in 2014.

We all remember well the pictures when air strikes were carried out on Donetsk, air strikes were carried out not only on it, but also on other cities. In 2015, they again attempted a direct attack on the Donbass, while continuing the blockade, shelling, and terror against civilians. All this, let me remind you, completely contradicted the relevant documents and resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council, completely – everyone pretended that nothing was happening.

I want to repeat this: it was they who unleashed the war, and we used force and use it to stop it.

Those who planned a new attack on Donetsk, Donbass, and Luhansk clearly understood that the next target was a strike on Crimea and Sevastopol, and we knew and understood this. And now such far-reaching plans are also openly spoken about in Kyiv – they have revealed, they have revealed what we already knew so well.

We protect people’s lives, our own home. And the goal of the West is unlimited power. He has already spent more than $150 billion on aiding and arming the Kyiv regime. For comparison: according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the G7 countries have allocated about $60 billion in 2020-2021 to help the world’s poorest states. Understandable, right? For the war – 150, and for the poorest countries, which are allegedly constantly taken care of – 60, and even under the well-known demands of obedience from the countries – recipients of this money. And where is all the talk about the fight against poverty, about sustainable development, about the environment? Where does it all go? Where did it all go? At the same time, the flow of money for the war does not decrease. Also, they spare no expense to encourage unrest and upheavals in other countries, and again all over the world.

At a recent conference in Munich, there were endless accusations against Russia. One gets the impression that this was done only so that everyone would forget what the so-called West has done in recent decades. And it was they who let the genie out of the bottle, plunged entire regions into chaos.

According to American experts themselves, as a result of wars – I want to draw attention to this: we did not come up with these figures, the Americans themselves give them – as a result of the wars that the United States unleashed after 2001, almost 900 thousand people died, more than 38 million became refugees . Now they just want to erase all this from the memory of mankind, they pretend that nothing happened. But no one in the world has forgotten and will not forget this.

None of them consider human casualties and tragedies, because, of course, trillions and trillions of dollars are at stake; the ability to continue to rob everyone; under the guise of words about democracy and freedoms, to spread neoliberal and inherently totalitarian values; hang labels on entire countries and peoples, publicly insult their leaders; suppress dissent in their own countries; creating the image of an enemy, diverting people’s attention from corruption scandals – after all, all this does not leave the screens, we see it all – from the growing internal economic, social, interethnic problems and contradictions.

Let me remind you that in the 30s of the last century, the West actually opened the way for the Nazis to power in Germany. And in our time, they began to make “anti-Russia” out of Ukraine. The project is actually not new. People who are at least a little immersed in history know perfectly well: this project goes back to the 19th century, it was cultivated in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and in Poland, and other countries with one goal – to tear off these historical territories, which today are called Ukraine , from our country. That’s what this goal is. There is nothing new, no novelty, everything is repeated.

The West accelerated the implementation of this project today by supporting the 2014 coup. After all, the coup is bloody, anti-state, anti-constitutional – as if nothing had happened, as if it was necessary, they even reported how much money was spent on it. Russophobia, extremely aggressive nationalism, was laid in the ideological basis.

Recently, one of the brigades of the armed forces of Ukraine, ashamed to say – we are ashamed, they are not, – was given the name “Edelweiss”, as the Nazi division, which participated in the deportation of Jews, the execution of prisoners of war, in punitive operations against the partisans of Yugoslavia, Italy, Czechoslovakia and Greece . The Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Guard of Ukraine are especially popular with the chevrons Das Reich, “Dead Head”, “Galicia”, other SS units, , which also have blood on their hands to the elbow.  The identification marks of the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany are applied to Ukrainian armored vehicles.

Neo-Nazis do not hide whose heirs they consider themselves to be. It is surprising that in the West, none of the powers that be does not notice. Why? Because they, excuse me for bad manners, do not care. It doesn’t give a damn who to bet on in the fight against us, in the fight against Russia. The main thing is that they fight against us, against our country, which means that everyone can be used. And we saw it, and it happened: both terrorists and neo-Nazis, even if the devil is bald, you can use it, God forgive me, if only they would fulfill their will, serve as a weapon against Russia.

The “anti-Russia” project is, in fact, part of a revanchist policy towards our country, to create hotbeds of instability and conflicts right at our borders. And then, in the 30s of the last century, and now the plan is the same – to direct aggression to the east, to kindle a war in Europe, to eliminate competitors by proxy.

We are not at war with the people of Ukraine, I have already spoken about this many times. The people of Ukraine themselves became a hostage of the Kyiv regime and its Western masters, who actually occupied this country in the political, military, economic sense, destroyed Ukrainian industry for decades, and plundered natural resources. The natural result was social degradation, a colossal increase in poverty and inequality. And in such conditions, of course, it is easy to scoop up material for military operations. Nobody thought about people, they were prepared for slaughter and eventually turned into consumables. It’s sad, it’s just scary to talk about it, but it’s a fact.

Responsibility for inciting the Ukrainian conflict, for the escalation, for the increase in the number of its victims lies entirely with the Western elites and, of course, with the current Kiev regime, for which the Ukrainian people are, in fact, a stranger. The current Ukrainian regime serves not national interests, but the interests of third countries.

The West is using Ukraine both as a battering ram against Russia and as a training ground. I will not now dwell on the West’s attempts to turn the tide of hostilities, on their plans to increase military supplies – everyone is already well aware of this. But one circumstance should be clear to everyone: the more long-range Western systems will come to Ukraine, the further we will be forced to move the threat away from our borders. It `s naturally.

The elites of the West make no secret of their goal: to inflict – as they say, this is direct speech – “the strategic defeat of Russia.” What does it mean? For us, what is it? This means finishing with us once and for all, that is, they intend to transfer a local conflict into a phase of global confrontation. This is exactly how we understand all this and will react accordingly, because in this case we are talking about the existence of our country.

But they also cannot but be aware that it is impossible to defeat Russia on the battlefield, therefore they are conducting more and more aggressive information attacks against us. First of all, of course, young people, young generations are chosen as the target. And here again they constantly lie, distort historical facts, do not stop attacks on our culture, on the Russian Orthodox Church, and other traditional religious organizations of our country.

Look at what they are doing with their own peoples: the destruction of the family, cultural and national identity, perversion, abuse of children, up to pedophilia, are declared the norm, the norm of their life, and clergy, priests are forced to bless same-sex marriages. God bless them, let them do what they want. What do you want to say here? Adults have the right to live as they want, we have treated this in Russia and will always treat it this way: no one intrudes into private life, and we are not going to do it.

But I want to tell them: but look, excuse me, the sacred scriptures, the main books of all other world religions. Everything is said there, including that the family is the union of a man and a woman, but these sacred texts are now being questioned. The Anglican Church, for example, has been reported to be planning—planning, though only just yet—to explore the idea of a gender-neutral god. What can you say? God forgive me, they don’t know what they’re doing.

Millions of people in the West understand that they are being led to a real spiritual catastrophe. The elites, frankly, are just going crazy, and it seems that there is no cure. But these are their problems, as I said, and we are obliged to protect our children, and we will do it: we will protect our children from degradation and degeneration.

It is obvious that the West will try to undermine and split our society, to rely on national traitors who at all times – I want to emphasize this – have the same poison of contempt for their own Fatherland and the desire to make money by selling this poison to those who are ready pay for it. It’s always been that way.

Whoever embarked on the path of direct betrayal, committing terrorist and other crimes against the security of our society, the territorial integrity of the country, will be held accountable under the law.

But we will never be like the Kyiv regime and the Western elites who are engaged in and have been engaged in the “witch hunt”, we will not settle scores with those who took a step aside, retreated from their homeland. Let it remain on their conscience, let them live with it – they have to live with it. The main thing is that the people, the citizens of Russia gave them a moral assessment.

I am proud – I think that we are all proud – that our multinational people, the vast majority of citizens have taken a principled position regarding the special military operation, understood the meaning of the actions we are doing, supported our actions to protect Donbass. In this support, first of all, real patriotism was manifested – a feeling that is historically inherent in our people. It amazes with its dignity, deep awareness by everyone, I emphasize, by everyone, of their own inextricable fate with the fate of the Fatherland.

Dear friends, I want to thank everyone, all the people of Russia for their courage and determination, to say thank you to our heroes, soldiers and officers of the army and navy, the National Guard, members of the special services and all law enforcement agencies, soldiers of the Donetsk and Luhansk corps, volunteers, patriots who fight in the ranks combat army reserve BARS.

I want to apologize: I’m sorry that during today’s speech I can’t name everyone. You know, when I was preparing this speech, I wrote a long, long list of these heroic units, then I took it out of today’s speech, because, as I said, it is impossible to name everyone, and I was simply afraid to offend those whom I would not name.

Low bow to the parents, wives, families of our defenders, doctors and paramedics, medical instructors, nurses who save the wounded, railway workers and drivers who supply the front, builders who erect fortifications and restore housing, roads, civilian facilities, workers and engineers of defense plants, who now work almost around the clock, in several shifts, to rural workers who reliably ensure the food security of the country.

I thank the teachers who sincerely care about the young generations of Russia, especially those teachers who work in the most difficult, in fact front-line, conditions; cultural figures who come to the war zone, to hospitals to support soldiers and officers; volunteers who help the front and civilians; journalists, above all, of course, war correspondents who take risks on the front lines to tell the whole world the truth; pastors of Russian traditional religions, military priests, whose wise word supports and inspires people; civil servants and entrepreneurs – all those who perform their professional, civic and simply human duty.

Special words for residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. You yourself, dear friends, you yourself determined your future in referendums, made a firm choice, despite the threats and terror of neo-Nazis, in conditions when military operations were very close, but there was and is nothing stronger than your determination to be with Russia, with your Motherland.

(Applause.)

I want to emphasize that this is the audience’s reaction to the residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Zaporozhye and Kherson. Once again: low bow to all of them.

We have already begun and will continue to build up a large-scale program for the socio-economic recovery and development of these new subjects of the Federation. This includes reviving enterprises and jobs, the ports of the Sea of Azov, which has once again become an inland sea of Russia, and building new modern roads, as we did in Crimea, which now has a reliable land connection with all of Russia. We will definitely implement all these plans together.

Today, the regions of the country provide direct support to the cities, districts and villages of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Zaporozhye and Kherson region, they do it sincerely, like real brothers and sisters. Now we are together again, which means that we have become even stronger and will do everything so that the long-awaited peace returns to our land, so that the safety of people is ensured. For this, for their ancestors, for the future of children and grandchildren, for the restoration of historical justice, for the reunification of our people, fighters, our heroes are fighting today.

Dear friends, I ask you to honor the memory of our comrades-in-arms who gave their lives for Russia, civilians, the elderly, women, children who died under shelling at the hands of neo-Nazis and punishers.

(Moment of silence.)

Thank you.

We all understand, and I understand how unbearably hard it is now for the wives, sons, daughters of the fallen soldiers, their parents, who raised worthy defenders of the Fatherland – the same as the young guards of Krasnodon, like the boys and girls who during the Great Patriotic War fought against Nazism, defended the Donbass. All of Russia today remembers their courage, steadfastness, the greatest fortitude, sacrifice.

Our duty is to support families that have lost their relatives, loved ones, help them raise, raise their children, give them an education and a profession. The family of each participant in a special military operation should be in the zone of constant attention, surrounded by care and honor. Their needs must be responded to immediately, without red tape.

I propose to create a special state fund. Its task will be targeted, personal assistance to the families of fallen soldiers and veterans of the special military operation. He will coordinate the provision of social, medical, psychological support, resolve issues of sanatorium treatment and rehabilitation, help in education, sports, employment, entrepreneurship, advanced training, and in obtaining a new profession. A separate most important task of the foundation is the organization of long-term care at home, high-tech prosthetics for everyone who needs it.

I ask the Government, together with the State Council Commission on Social Policy, the regions, to resolve all organizational issues as soon as possible.

The work of the state fund should be open, and the procedure for providing assistance should be simple, on the principle of “one window”, without treasury and bureaucracy. For each family, I emphasize, for each family of the deceased, for each veteran, there should be assigned a personal social worker, a coordinator who, in the course of personal communication in real time, will resolve emerging issues. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that already this year the fund’s structures should be deployed in all regions of the Russian Federation.

We already have measures to support veterans of the Great Patriotic War, combat veterans, and participants in local conflicts. I think that in the future the state fund, which I mentioned, can also deal with these important issues. We need to work it out, and I ask the Government to do it.

Let me emphasize that the creation of a special fund does not remove responsibility from other structures and levels of power. I expect all federal departments, regions and municipalities to continue to pay close attention to veterans, military personnel, and their families. And in this regard, I want to thank the leaders of the subjects of the Federation, mayors of cities, heads of regions, who constantly meet with people, go to the line of contact, and support their fellow countrymen.

What would you like to highlight in particular? Today, professional servicemen, mobilized and volunteers endure the hardships of the front together – we are talking about supplies and equipment, about monetary allowances and insurance payments in connection with the wound, about medical care. However, the appeals that come to me and to the governors – they also report to me about this – to the military prosecutor’s office, to the Commissioner for Human Rights, indicate that far from all these issues have been resolved yet. It is necessary to understand in each specific case.

And one more thing: service in the zone of a special military operation – everyone understands this very well – is associated with colossal physical and psychological stress, with everyday risks to health and life. Therefore, I consider it necessary to establish for the mobilized, in general for all military personnel, for all participants in a special military operation, including volunteers, regular leave lasting at least 14 days and at least once every six months, excluding travel time, so that each soldier I had the opportunity to visit families, to be close to relatives and friends.

Dear Colleagues!

As you know, we have approved a plan for the construction and development of the Armed Forces for 2021-2025 by Presidential Decree. Work on its implementation is underway, the necessary adjustments are being made. And I would like to emphasize that our further steps to strengthen the army and navy and the current and prospective development of the Armed Forces must, of course, be based on real combat experience gained during a special military operation. It is extremely important to us, one might even say, absolutely priceless.

Now, for example, the level of equipping Russia’s nuclear deterrence forces with the latest systems is more than 91 percent, 91.3 percent. And now, I repeat, taking into account the experience we have gained, we must reach the same high quality level in all components of the Armed Forces.

Officers and sergeants who have shown themselves to be competent, modern and decisive commanders – there are a lot of them – will be promoted to higher positions as a matter of priority, sent to military universities and academies, and serve as a powerful personnel reserve for the Armed Forces. And, of course, they should be in demand in the civilian population, in government at all levels. I just want to draw the attention of colleagues to this. It is very important. People must understand that the Motherland appreciates their contribution to the defense of the Fatherland.

We will actively introduce the most advanced technologies that will ensure an increase in the qualitative potential of the army and navy. We have such developments, samples of weapons and equipment in each direction. Many of them are significantly superior to their foreign counterparts in their specifications. The task now before us is to deploy their mass, mass production.

And this work is in progress, ongoing, its pace is constantly increasing, and on our own, I want to emphasize this, on our own, Russian scientific and industrial base, due to the active involvement of small and medium-sized high-tech businesses in the implementation of the state defense order.

Today, our factories, design bureaus, and research teams employ both experienced specialists and more and more young people, talented, qualified, committed to a breakthrough, faithful to the traditions of Russian gunsmiths – to do everything for victory.

We will certainly strengthen guarantees for labor collectives. This also applies to salaries and social security. I propose launching a special program of preferential rental housing for employees of defense industry enterprises. The rental rate for them will be significantly lower than the market rate, since a significant part of the housing payment will be covered by the state.

We certainly discussed this issue with the Government. I instruct you to work out all the details of this program and, without delay, start building such rental housing, primarily, of course, in cities – our significant defense, industrial and research centers.

Dear Colleagues!

As I have already said, the West has deployed not only a military, informational, but also an economic front against us. But nowhere has he achieved anything and never will. Moreover, the initiators of the sanctions are punishing themselves: they provoked price increases, job losses, plant closures, an energy crisis in their own countries, and they say to their citizens – we hear this – they say that the Russians are to blame for everything.

What means were used against us in this sanctions aggression? They tried to break economic ties with Russian companies, disconnect the financial system from communication channels in order to crush our economy, deprive us of access to export markets in order to hit incomes. This is the theft – there is no other way to say – our foreign exchange reserves, attempts to collapse the ruble and provoke destructive inflation.

I repeat, anti-Russian sanctions are just a means. And the goal, as the Western leaders themselves declare – a direct quote – is to “make suffering” our citizens. “Make suffer” – such humanists. They want to make the people suffer, thereby destabilizing our society from within.

But their calculation did not materialize – the Russian economy and management system turned out to be much stronger than the West believed. Thanks to the joint work of the Government, Parliament, the Bank of Russia, the constituent entities of the Federation and, of course, the business community, labor collectives, we ensured the stability of the economic situation, protected citizens, saved jobs, prevented a shortage in the market, including essential goods, supported the financial system, entrepreneurs who invest in the development of their business, and therefore in the development of the country.

So, already in March last year, a package of measures to support business and the economy was launched for a total amount of about a trillion rubles. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this is not an issuance policy, no, no, everything is being done on a solid market basis.

At the end of 2022, the gross domestic product decreased. Mikhail Vladimirovich called and said: I would like you to tell me about it. Yesterday, in my opinion, this information came out, and rightly so, on time, as expected, everything is according to plan.

We were predicted, remember, economic recession of 20-25 percent, ten. More recently, we said: 2.9 – I said. A little later – 2.5. Gross domestic product fell 2.1 percent in 2022, the most recent data. At the same time, let me remind you that back in February-March of last year, as I said, they predicted that we would simply collapse the economy.

Russian business has rebuilt logistics, strengthened ties with responsible, predictable partners – and there are many of them, most of them in the world.

I would like to note that the share of the Russian ruble in our international settlements doubled compared to December 2021 and amounted to one third, and together with the currencies of friendly countries, this is already more than half.

Together with our partners, we will continue to work on the formation of a stable, secure system of international settlements, independent of the dollar and other Western reserve currencies, which, with such a policy of Western elites and Western rulers, will inevitably lose their universal character. They do everything with their own hands. It is not we who reduce settlements in dollars or in other so-called universal currencies – they do everything with their own hands.

You know, there is such a stable expression: guns instead of butter. The defense of the country is, of course, the most important priority, but while solving strategic tasks in this area, we must not repeat the mistakes of the past, we must not destroy our own economy. We have everything to ensure security and create conditions for the country’s confident development. It is in this logic that we act and will continue to act.

For example, many basic, I would like to stress that it is the civilian sectors of the domestic economy, not only did not reduce, but significantly increased production over the past year. For the first time in the modern history of our country, housing commissioning volumes exceeded 100 million square meters.

As for our agricultural production, last year it showed double-digit growth rates. Thank you very much, low bow to agricultural producers. Russian farmers have harvested a record harvest: over 150 million tons of grain, including over 100 million tons of wheat. By the end of the agricultural year, that is, by June 30, 2023, we will be able to bring the total volume of grain exports to 5,560 million tons.

Even 10-15 years ago it seemed just a fairy tale, an absolutely unrealistic plan. If you remember – and certainly some here remember, the former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture is here – not so long ago, we collected 60 million in general – for the year, and now there will be 55–60 only for export potential. I am convinced that we have every opportunity for a similar breakthrough in other areas.

We have not allowed a drawdown in the labor market; on the contrary, we have achieved a reduction in unemployment in modern conditions. Today, in the face of such great difficulties on all sides, the labor market has become more comfortable for us than it was before. Remember, before the pandemic, unemployment was 4.7 percent, and now it is 3.7, in my opinion. Mikhail Vladimirovich, how much is 3.7? 3.7 is a historical low.

I repeat, the Russian economy has overcome the risks that have arisen – it has overcome it. Yes, many of these risks were impossible to calculate in advance, we had to respond literally from the wheels, as problems arose. Both at the state level and in business, decisions were made as quickly as possible. I would like to note that private initiative, small and medium-sized businesses have played a huge role here – this should not be forgotten. We have avoided excessive administrative regulation, the bias of the economy towards the state.

What else is important? The economic downturn last year was recorded only in the second quarter – already in the third and fourth quarters, growth and recovery were noted. We have actually entered a new cycle of economic growth. According to experts, its model and structure acquire a qualitatively different character. New and promising global markets are coming to the fore, including the Asia-Pacific [Asia-Pacific region], our own domestic market, scientific, technological, human resources: not the supply of raw materials abroad, but the production of goods with high added value. This makes it possible to unleash the enormous potential of Russia in all spheres and areas.

Already this year, a solid increase in domestic demand is predicted. I am sure that our companies will take advantage of this opportunity to increase production, produce the most demanded products, and occupy niches that have been vacated or are being vacated after the departure of Western companies.

Today we see the whole picture, we understand the structural problems that we need to solve in logistics, technology, finance, and personnel. We have been talking a lot and constantly about the need to change the structure of our economy in recent years, and now these changes are a vital necessity, and this is changing the situation, and in this case for the better. We know what needs to be done for the steady progressive development of Russia, and specifically sovereign, independent development, despite any external pressure and threats, with a reliable guarantee of the security and interests of the state.

I draw your attention and want to emphasize this in particular: the point of our work is not to adapt to the current conditions. The strategic task is to bring our economy to new frontiers. Now everything is changing, and changing very, very quickly. This is a time of not only challenges, but also opportunities – today this is true, and our future life depends on how we implement them. It is necessary to remove – I want to emphasize this – to remove any interdepartmental contradictions, formalities, insults, omissions, other nonsense. Everything for the cause, everything for the result – everything should be aimed at this.

The successful start of Russian companies, small family businesses is already a victory. The opening of modern factories and kilometers of new roads is a victory. A new school or kindergarten is a victory. Scientific discoveries and technologies are, of course, also a victory. Everyone’s contribution to the overall success is what matters.

In what areas should the partnership work of the state, regions, domestic business be focused?

First. We will expand promising foreign economic relations and build new logistics corridors. A decision has already been made to extend the Moscow-Kazan expressway to Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Tyumen, and in the future to Irkutsk and Vladivostok with access to Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China, which, among other things, will significantly expand our economic ties with the markets of Southeast Asia.

We will develop the ports of the Black and Azov Seas. We will pay special attention – we are already paying it, those who do it on a daily basis know – we will pay special attention to the North-South international corridor. Already this year, vessels with a draft of at least 4.5 meters will be able to pass through the Volga-Caspian Canal. This will open up new routes for business cooperation with India, Iran, Pakistan and the countries of the Middle East. We will continue to develop this corridor.

Our plans include the accelerated modernization of the eastern direction of the railways, the Trans-Siberian Railway and the BAM, and the expansion of the capabilities of the Northern Sea Route. This is not only additional cargo traffic, but also the basis for solving national problems for the development of Siberia, the Arctic and the Far East.

The infrastructure of the regions, the development of infrastructure, including communications, telecommunications, and the road network, will receive a powerful impetus. Already next year, in 2024, at least 85 percent of the roads in the largest agglomerations of the country, as well as more than half of the roads of regional and intermunicipal significance, will be brought to a standard state. I’m sure we’ll do it.

We will continue the free gasification program. A decision has already been made to extend it to social facilities: kindergartens and schools, clinics, hospitals, feldsher and obstetric stations. And for citizens, such a program will now operate on an ongoing basis: they will always be able to apply for connection to gas supply networks.

This year, a large program for the construction and repair of housing and communal services begins. Within ten years, it is planned to invest at least 4.5 trillion rubles in this area. We know how important this is for citizens, how neglected this area is – we need to work, and we will do it. It is important that the program immediately get a strong start, so I ask the Government to ensure its stable funding.

Second. We will have to significantly expand the technological capabilities of the Russian economy and ensure the growth of the capacities of the domestic industry.

An industrial mortgage tool has been launched, and now it will be possible to take a soft loan not only for the purchase of production facilities, but also for their construction or modernization. The amount of such a loan was discussed many times and they wanted to increase it, a decent amount, as a first step – very good: the amount of such a loan is up to 500 million rubles. It is available at a rate of three or five percent for up to seven years. It seems to me a very good program, and it should be used.

Starting this year, a new mode of operation of industrial clusters has also been in effect, in which the fiscal and administrative burden on resident companies has been reduced, and the demand for their innovative products, which are just entering the market, is supported by long-term orders and subsidies from the state.

According to estimates, these measures should ensure the implementation of demanded projects in the amount of more than ten trillion rubles by 2030, and already this year the expected amount of investments may be about two trillion. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that these are not just forecasts, but clearly established benchmarks.

Therefore, I ask the Government to speed up the launch of these projects as much as possible, lend a shoulder to business, and offer systemic support measures, including tax incentives. I know how the financial bloc does not like to provide benefits, and I partly share the following position: the taxation system should be integral, without any niches, exceptions, but a creative approach in this case is in demand.

So, starting this year, Russian companies can reduce income tax payments if they purchase advanced domestic IT solutions and products using artificial intelligence. Moreover, these costs are taken into account with an increased coefficient, one and a half times more than the actual costs. That is, for every ruble invested by the company in the purchase of such products, which I just mentioned, there is a tax deduction of one and a half rubles.

I propose extending this tax benefit to the purchase of Russian high-tech equipment in general. I ask the Government to make proposals on a list of such equipment by industry in which it is used and on the procedure for granting benefits. This is a good decision that will revive the economy.

Third. The most important issue on the agenda for the development of economic growth is new sources of investment financing, we also talk about this a lot.

Thanks to a strong balance of payments, Russia does not need to borrow abroad, bow down, beg for money and then have a long dialogue about what, how much and under what conditions to give. Domestic banks operate stably and steadily, have a solid margin of safety.

In 2022, the volume of bank loans to the corporate sector has grown, you know, it has grown. There were many fears about this, but growth has been recorded, and it has grown by 14 percent, which is more than in 2021, without any military operation. In 2021, the growth was 11.7 percent, and now it is 14 percent. The mortgage portfolio also added 20.4 percent. Development is underway.

As a result of last year, the banking sector as a whole worked with a profit. Yes, it is not as big as in previous years, but decent: profit – 203 billion rubles. This is also an indicator of the stability of the Russian financial sector.

According to estimates, already in the second quarter of this year, inflation in Russia will approach the target level of four percent. Let me remind you that in some EU countries it is already 12, 17, 20 percent, we have four, well, five – the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance are sorting out among themselves, but it will be closer to the target indicator. Taking into account the positive dynamics of this and other macroeconomic parameters, objective conditions are being formed for reducing long-term lending rates in the economy, which means that credit for the real sector should become more accessible.

To be continued.

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Putin said the era of unipolar world order has come to an end and dismisses “stupid” Western “blitzkrieg” sanctions

President of Russia Vladimir Putin had a major speech at the 25th St Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday. This speech is a long speech, but a speech we should pay attention to. Read the transcript below (some of it) and make up your mind:

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much. President Tokayev, friends and colleagues,

I welcome all participants and guests of the 25th St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

It is taking place at a difficult time for the international community when the economy, markets, and the very principles of the global economic system have taken a blow. Many trades, industrial, and logistics chains, which were dislocated by the pandemic, have been subjected to new tests. Moreover, such fundamental business notions as business reputation, the inviolability of property, and trust in global currencies have been seriously damaged. Regrettably, they have been undermined by our Western partners, who have done this deliberately, for the sake of their ambitions and in order to preserve obsolete geopolitical illusions.

Today, our – when I say “our,” I mean the Russian leadership – our own view of the global economic situation. I would like to speak in greater depth about the actions Russia is taking in these conditions and how it plans to develop in these dynamically changing circumstances.

When I spoke at the Davos Forum a year and a half ago, I also stressed that the era of unipolar world order has come to an end. I want to start with this, as there is no way around it. This era has ended despite all the attempts to maintain and preserve it at all costs. Change is a natural process of history, as it is difficult to reconcile the diversity of civilizations and the richness of cultures on the planet with political, economic, or other stereotypes – these do not work here, they are imposed by one center in a rough and no-compromise manner.

The flaw is in the concept itself, as the concept says there is one, albeit strong, power with a limited circle of close allies, or, as they say, countries with granted access, and all business practices and international relations, when it is convenient, are interpreted solely in the interests of this power. They essentially work in one direction in a zero-sum game. A world built on a doctrine of this kind is definitely unstable.

After declaring victory in the Cold War, the United States proclaimed itself to be God’s messenger on Earth, without any obligations and only interests which were declared sacred. They seem to ignore the fact that in the past decades, new powerful and increasingly assertive centers have been formed. Each of them develops its own political system and public institutions according to its own model of economic growth and, naturally, has the right to protect them and secure national sovereignty.

These are objective processes and genuinely revolutionary tectonic shifts in geopolitics, the global economy, and technology, in the entire system of international relations, where the role of dynamic and potentially strong countries and regions is substantially growing. It is no longer possible to ignore their interests.

To reiterate, these changes are fundamental, groundbreaking, and rigorous. It would be a mistake to assume that at a time of turbulent change, one can simply sit it out or wait it out until everything gets back on track and becomes what it was before. It will not.

However, the ruling elite of some Western states seems to be harboring this kind of illusion. They refuse to notice obvious things, stubbornly clinging to the shadows of the past. For example, they seem to believe that the dominance of the West in global politics and the economy is an unchanging, eternal value. Nothing lasts forever.

Our colleagues are not just denying reality. More than that; they are trying to reverse the course of history. They seem to think in terms of the past century. They are still influenced by their own misconceptions about countries outside the so-called “golden billion”: they consider everything a backwater, or their backyard. They still treat them like colonies, and the people living there, like second-class people, because they consider themselves exceptional. If they are exceptional, that means everyone else is second-rate.

Thereby, the irrepressible urge to punish, to economically crush anyone who does not fit with the mainstream, does not want to blindly obey. Moreover, they crudely and shamelessly impose their ethics, their views on culture, and ideas about history, sometimes questioning the sovereignty and integrity of states, and threatening their very existence. Suffice it to recall what happened in Yugoslavia, Syria, Libya, and Iraq.

If some “rebel” state cannot be suppressed or pacified, they try to isolate that state, or “cancel” it, to use their modern term. Everything goes, even sports, the Olympics, bans on culture, and art masterpieces just because their creators come from the “wrong” country.

This is the nature of the current round of Russophobia in the West, and the insane sanctions against Russia. They are crazy and, I would say, thoughtless. They are unprecedented in the number of them or the pace the West churns them out at.

The idea was clear as day – they expected to suddenly and violently crush the Russian economy, to hit Russia’s industry, finance, and people’s living standards by destroying business chains, forcibly recalling Western companies from the Russian market, and freezing Russian assets.

This did not work. Obviously, it did not work out; it did not happen. Russian entrepreneurs and authorities have acted in a collected and professional manner, and Russians have shown solidarity and responsibility.

Step by step, we will normalize the economic situation. We have stabilized the financial markets, the banking system, and the trade network. Now we are busy saturating the economy with liquidity and working capital to maintain the stable operation of enterprises and companies, employment, and jobs.

The dire forecasts for the prospects of the Russian economy, which were made in early spring, have not materialized. It is clear why this propaganda campaign was fuelled and all the predictions of the dollar at 200 rubles and the collapse of our economy were made. This was and remains an instrument in an information struggle and a factor of psychological influence on Russian society and domestic business circles.

Incidentally, some of our analysts gave in to this external pressure and based their forecasts on the inevitable collapse of the Russian economy and a critical weakening of the national currency – the ruble.

Real-life has belied these predictions. However, I would like to emphasize that to continue being successful, we must be explicitly honest and realistic in assessing the situation, be independent in reaching conclusions, and of course, have a can-do spirit, which is very important. We are strong people and can deal with any challenge. Like our predecessors, we can resolve any task. The entire thousand-year history of our country bears this out.

Within just three months of the massive package of sanctions, we have suppressed inflation rate spikes. As you know, after peaking at 17.8 percent, inflation now stands at 16.7 percent and continues to drop. This economic dynamic is being stabilized, and state finances are now sustainable. I will compare this to other regions further on. Yes, even this figure is too much for us – 16.7 percent is high inflation. We must and will work on this and, I am sure, we will achieve a positive result.

After the first five months of this year, the federal budget has a surplus of 1.5 trillion rubles, and the consolidated budget – has a surplus of 3.3 trillion rubles. In May alone, the federal budget surplus reached almost half a trillion rubles, surpassing the figure for May 2021 more than four times over.

Today, our job is to create conditions for building up production and increasing supply in the domestic market, as well as restoring demand and bank financing in the economy commensurately with the growth in supply.

I mentioned that we have taken measures to reestablish the floating assets of companies. In most sectors, businesses have received the right to suspend insurance premiums for the second quarter of the year. Industrial companies have even more opportunities – they will be able to delay them through the third quarter as well. In effect, this is like getting an interest-free loan from the state.

In the future, companies will not have to pay delayed insurance premiums in a single payment. They will be able to pay them in equal installments over 12 months, starting in June next year.

Next. As of May, the subsidized mortgage rate has been reduced. It is now 9 percent, while the program has been extended till the end of the year. As I have mentioned, the program is aimed at helping Russians improve their housing situation, while supporting the home building industry and related industries that employ millions of people.

Following a spike this spring, interest rates have been gradually coming down, as the Central Bank lowers the key rate. I believe that this allows the subsidized mortgage rate to be further cut to 7 percent.

What is important here? The program will last until the end of the year without change. It means that our fellow Russians seeking to improve their living conditions should take advantage of the subsidy before the end of the year.

The lending cap will not change either, at 12 million roubles for Moscow and St Petersburg and 6 million for the rest of Russia.

I should add that we must make long-term loans for businesses more accessible. The focus must shift from budget subsidies for businesses to bank lending as a means to spur business activity.

We need to support this. We will allocate 120 billion rubles from the National Wealth Fund to build up the capacity of the VEB Project Financing Factory. This will provide for additional lending to much-needed initiatives and projects worth around half a trillion roubles.

Colleagues,

Once again, the economic blitzkrieg against Russia was doomed to fail from the beginning. Sanctions as a weapon have proved in recent years to be a double-edged sword damaging their advocates and architects just as much, if not more.

I am not talking about the repercussions we see clearly today. We know that European leaders informally, so to say, furtively, discuss the very concerning possibility of sanctions being leveled not at Russia, but at any undesirable nation, and ultimately anyone including the EU and European companies.

So far this is not the case, but European politicians have already dealt their economies a serious blow all by themselves. We see social and economic problems worsening in Europe, and in the US as well, food, electricity, and fuel prices rising, with quality of life in Europe falling and companies losing their market edge.

According to experts, the EU’s direct, calculable losses from the sanctions fever could exceed $400 billion this year. This is the price of the decisions that are far removed from reality and contradict common sense.

This outlay falls directly on the shoulders of people and companies in the EU. The inflation rate in some Eurozone countries has exceeded 20 percent. I mentioned inflation in Russia, but the Eurozone countries are not conducting special military operations, yet the inflation rate in some of them has reached 20 percent. Inflation in the United States is also unacceptable, the highest in the past 40 years.

Of course, inflation in Russia is also in the double digits so far. However, we have adjusted social benefits and pensions to inflation, and increased the minimum and subsistence wages, thereby protecting the most vulnerable groups of the population. At the same time, high-interest rates have helped people keep their savings in the Russian banking system.

Businesspeople know, of course, that a high key rate clearly slows economic development. But it is a boon for the people in most cases. They have reinvested a substantial amount of money in banks due to higher interest rates.

This is our main difference from the EU countries, where rising inflation is directly reducing the real incomes of the people and eating up their savings, and the current manifestations of the crisis are affecting, above all, low-income groups.

The growing outlays of European companies and the loss of the Russian market will have lasting negative effects. The obvious result of this will be the loss of global competitiveness and a system-wide decline in the European economies’ pace of growth for years to come.

Taken together, this will aggravate the deep-seated problems of European societies. Yes, we have many problems as well, yet I have to speak about Europe now because they are pointing the finger at us although they have enough of their own problems. I mentioned this at Davos. A direct result of the European politicians’ actions and events this year will be the further growth of inequality in these countries, which will, in turn, split their societies still more, and the point at issue is not only the well-being but also the value orientation of various groups in these societies.

Indeed, these differences are being suppressed and swept under the rug. Frankly, the democratic procedures and elections in Europe and the forces that come to power look like a front, because almost identical political parties come and go, while deep down things remain the same. The real interests of people and national businesses are being pushed further and further to the periphery.

Such a disconnect from reality and the demands of society will inevitably lead to a surge in populism and extremist and radical movements, major socioeconomic changes, degradation, and a change of elites in the short term. As you can see, traditional parties lose all the time. New entities are coming to the surface, but they have little chance for survival if they are not much different from the existing ones.

The attempts to keep up appearances and the talk about allegedly acceptable costs in the name of pseudo-unity cannot hide the main thing: the European Union has lost its political sovereignty, and its bureaucratic elites are dancing to someone else’s tune, doing everything they are told from on high and hurting their own people, economies, and businesses.

There are other critically important matters here. The worsening of the global economic situation is not a recent development. I will now go over things that I believe are extremely important. What is happening now does not stem from what happened during recent months, of course not. Moreover, it is not the result of the special military operation carried out by Russia in Donbas. Saying so is an unconcealed, deliberate distortion of the facts.

Surging inflation in product and commodity markets had become a fact of life long before the events of this year. The world has been driven into this situation, little by little, by many years of irresponsible macroeconomic policies pursued by the G7 countries, including uncontrolled emission and accumulation of unsecured debt. These processes intensified with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 when supply and demand for goods and services drastically fell on a global scale.

This begs the question: what does our military operation in Donbas have to do with this? Nothing whatsoever.

Because they could not or would not devise any other recipes, the governments of the leading Western economies simply accelerated their money-printing machines. Such a simple way to make up for unprecedented budget deficits.

I have already cited this figure: over the past two years, the money supply in the United States has grown by more than 38 percent. Previously, a similar rise took decades, but now it grew by 38 percent or 5.9 trillion dollars in two years. By comparison, only a few countries have a bigger gross domestic product.

The EU’s money supply has also increased dramatically over this period. It grew by about 20 percent or 2.5 trillion euros.

Lately, I have been hearing more and more about the so-called – please excuse me, I really would not like to do this here, even mention my own name in this regard, but I cannot help it – we all hear about the so-called ‘Putin inflation’ in the West. When I see this, I wonder who they expect would buy this nonsense – people who cannot read or write, maybe. Anyone literate enough to read would understand what is actually happening.

Russia, our actions to liberate Donbas have absolutely nothing to do with this. The rising prices, accelerating inflation, shortages of food and fuel, petrol, and problems in the energy sector are the result of system-wide errors the current US administration and European bureaucracy have made in their economic policies. That is where the reasons are, and only there.

I will mention our operation, too: yes, it could have contributed to the trend, but the root cause is precisely this – their erroneous economic policies. In fact, the operation we launched in Donbas is a lifeline they are grabbing at to be able to blame their own miscalculations on others, in this case, on Russia. But everyone who has at least completed primary school would understand the true reasons for today’s situation.

So, they printed more money, and then what? Where did all that money go? It was obviously used to pay for goods and services outside Western countries – this is where the newly-printed money flowed. They literally began to clean out, to wipe out global markets. Naturally, no one thought about the interests of other states, including the poorest ones. They were left with scraps, as they say, and even that at exorbitant prices.

While at the end of 2019, imports of goods to the United States amounted to about 250 billion dollars a month, by now, it has grown to 350 billion. It is noteworthy that the growth was 40 percent – exactly in proportion to the unsecured money supply printed in recent years. They printed and distributed money, and used it to wipe out goods from third countries’ markets.

This is what I would like to add. For a long time, the United States was a big food supplier in the world market. It was proud, and with good reason, of its achievements, its agriculture, and farming traditions. By the way, this is an example for many of us, too. But today, America’s role has changed drastically. It has turned from a net exporter of food into a net importer. Loosely speaking, it is printing money and pulling commodity flows its way, buying food products all over the world.

The European Union is building up imports even faster. Obviously, such a sharp increase in demand that is not covered by the supply of goods has triggered a wave of shortages and global inflation. This is where this global inflation originates. In the past couple of years, practically everything – raw materials, consumer goods, and particularly food products – has become more expensive all over the world.

Yes, of course, these countries, including the United States continue importing goods, but the balance between exports and imports has been reversed. I believe imports exceed exports by some 17 billion. This is the whole problem.

According to the UN, in February 2022, the food price index was 50 percent higher than in May 2020, while the composite raw materials index doubled over this period.

Under the cloud of inflation, many developing nations are asking a good question: why exchange goods for dollars and euros that are losing value right before our eyes? The conclusion suggests itself: the economy of mythical entities is inevitably being replaced by the economy of real values and assets.

According to the IMF, global currency reserves are at $7.1 trillion and 2.5 trillion euros now. These reserves are devalued at an annual rate of about 8 percent. Moreover, they can be confiscated or stolen at any time if the United States dislikes something in the policy of the states involved. I think this has become a very real threat for many countries that keep their gold and foreign exchange reserves in these currencies.

According to analyst estimates, and this is an objective analysis, conversion of global reserves will begin just because there is no room for them with such shortages. They will be converted from weakening currencies into real resources like food, energy commodities, and other raw materials. Other countries will be doing this, of course. Obviously, this process will further fuel global dollar inflation.

As for Europe, their failed energy policy, blindly staking everything on renewables and spot supplies of natural gas, which have caused energy price increases since the third quarter of last year – again, long before the operation in Donbas – have also exacerbated price hikes. We have absolutely nothing to do with this. It was due to their own actions that prices have gone through the roof, and now they are once again looking for somebody to blame.

Not only did the West’s miscalculations affect the net cost of goods and services but they also resulted in decreased fertilizer production, mainly nitrogen fertilizers made from natural gas. Overall, global fertilizer prices have jumped by over 70 percent from mid-2021 through February 2022.

Unfortunately, there are currently no conditions that can overcome these pricing trends. On the contrary, aggravated by obstacles to the operation of Russian and Belarusian fertilizer producers and disrupted supply logistics, this situation is approaching a deadlock.

It is not difficult to foresee coming developments. A shortage of fertilizer means a lower harvest and a higher risk of an undersupplied global food market. Prices will go even higher, which could lead to hunger in the poorest countries. And it will be fully on the conscience of the US administration and the European bureaucracy.

I want to emphasize once again: that this problem did not arise today or in the past three or four months. And certainly, it is not Russia’s fault as some demagogues try to declare, shifting the responsibility for the current state of affairs in the world economy to our country.

Maybe it would even be nice to hear that we are so powerful and omnipotent that we can blow up inflation in the West, in the United States, and Europe, or that we can do things to throw everything into disorder. Maybe it would be nice to feel this power, if only there were truth in it. This situation has been brewing for years, spurred by the short-sighted actions of those who are used to solving their problems at somebody else’s expense and who have relied and still rely on the mechanism of financial emission to outbid and draw trade flows, thus escalating deficits and provoking humanitarian disasters in certain regions of the world. I will add that this is essentially the same predatory colonial policy as in the past, but of course in a new iteration, a more subtle and sophisticated edition. You might not even recognize it at first.

The current priority of the international community is to increase food deliveries to the global market, notably, to satisfy the requirements of the countries that need food most of all.

While ensuring its domestic food security and supplying the domestic market, Russia is also able to scale up its food and fertilizer exports. For example, our grain exports in the next season can be increased to 50 million tonnes.

As a priority, we will supply the countries that need food most of all, where the number of starving people could increase, first of all, African countries and the Middle East.

At the same time, there will be problems there, and not through our fault either. Yes, on paper Russian grain, food, and fertilizers… Incidentally, the Americans have adopted sanctions on our fertilizers, and the Europeans followed suit. Later, the Americans lifted them because they saw what this could lead to. But the Europeans have not backed off. Their bureaucracy is as slow as a flour mill in the 18th century. In other words, everyone knows that they have done a stupid thing, but they find it difficult to retrace their steps for bureaucratic reasons.

As I have said, Russia is ready to contribute to balancing global markets of agricultural products, and we see that our UN colleagues, who are aware of the scale of the global food problem, are ready for dialogue. We could talk about creating normal logistical, financial, and transport conditions for increasing Russian food and fertilizer exports.

As for Ukrainian food supplies to global markets – I have to mention this because of numerous speculations – we are not hindering them. They can do it. We did not mine the Black Sea ports of Ukraine. They can clear the mines and resume food exports. We will ensure the safe navigation of civilian vessels. No problem.

But what are we talking about? According to the US Department of Agriculture, the matter concerns 6 million tonnes of wheat (we estimate it at 5 million tonnes) and 7 million tonnes of maize. This is it, altogether. Since global production of wheat stands at 800 million tonnes, 5 million tonnes make little difference for the global market, as you can see.

Anyway, Ukrainian grain can be exported, and not only via Black Sea ports. Another route is via Belarus, which is, incidentally, the cheapest way. Or via Poland or Romania, whichever you prefer. In fact, there are five or six export routes.

The problem is not with us, the problem is with the adequacy of the people in control in Kyiv. They can decide what to do, and, at least in this particular case, they should not take their lead from their foreign bosses, their masters across the ocean.

But there is also the risk that grain will be used as payment for arms deliveries. This would be regrettable.

Friends,

Once again, the world is going through an era of drastic change. International institutions are breaking down and faltering. Security guarantees are being devalued. The West has made a point of refusing to honor its earlier commitments. It has simply been impossible to reach any new agreements with them.

Given these circumstances and against the backdrop of mounting risks and threats, Russia was forced to go ahead with the special military operation. It was a difficult but necessary decision, and we were forced to make it.

This was the decision of a sovereign country, which has еру unconditional right to uphold its security, which is based on the UN Charter. This decision was aimed at protecting our people and the residents of the people’s republics of Donbas who for eight long years were subjected to genocide by the Kyiv regime and the neo-Nazis who enjoyed the full protection of the West.

The West not only sought to implement an “anti-Russia” scenario but also engaged in the active military development of Ukrainian territory, flooding Ukraine with weapons and military advisers. And it continues to do so now. Frankly, no one is paying any attention to the economy or well-being of the people living there, they just do not care about it at all, but they have never spared money to create a NATO foothold in the east that is directed against Russia and to cultivate aggression, hatred, and Russophobia.

Today, our soldiers and officers, as well as the Donbas militia, are fighting to protect their people. They are fighting for Russia’s future as a large, free, and secure multiethnic country that makes its own decisions, determines its own future, relies on its history, culture, and traditions, and rejects any and all outside attempts to impose pseudo-values steeped in dehumanization and moral degradation.

No doubt, our special military operation goals will be fulfilled. The key to this is the courage and heroism of our soldiers, consolidated Russian society, whose support gives strength and confidence to the Russian Army and Navy, and a deep understanding of the truth and historical justice of our cause which is to build and strengthen Russia as a strong sovereign power.

My point is that sovereignty cannot be segmented or fragmented in the 21st century. The components of sovereignty are equally important, and they reinvigorate and complement each other.

So, what matters to us is not only the defense of our political sovereignty and national identity, but also strengthening everything that determines our country’s economic, financial, professional, and technological independence.

The very structure of Western sanctions rested on the false premise that economically Russia is not sovereign and is critically vulnerable. They got so carried away spreading the myth of Russia’s backwardness and its weak positions in the global economy and trade that apparently, they started believing it themselves.

While planning their economic blitzkrieg, they did not notice, and simply ignored the real facts of how much our country had changed in the past few years.

These changes are the result of our planned efforts to create a sustainable macroeconomic structure, ensure food security, implement import substitution programs and create our own payment system, to name a few.

Of course, sanction restrictions created many challenges for the country. Some companies continue having problems with spare parts. Our companies have lost access to many technological solutions. Logistics are in disarray.

But, on the other hand, all this opens up new opportunities for us – we often talk about this but it really is so. All this is an impetus to build an economy with full rather than partial technological, production, human and scientific potential, and sovereignty.

Naturally, it is impossible to resolve such a comprehensive challenge instantly. It is necessary to continue working systematically with an eye to the future. This is exactly what Russia is doing by implementing its long-term plans for the development of branches of the economy and strengthening the social sphere. The current trials are merely resulting in adjustments and modifications of the plans without changing their strategic orientation.

Today, I would like to talk about the key principles on which our country and our economy will develop.

The first principle is openness. Genuinely sovereign states are always interested in equal partnership and in contributing to global development. On the contrary, weak and dependent countries are usually looking for enemies, fuelling xenophobia or losing the last remnants of their identity and independence, blindly following in the wake of their suzerain.

Russia will never follow the road of self-isolation and autarky although our so-called Western friends are literally dreaming about this. Moreover, we are expanding cooperation with all those who are interested in it, who want to work with us, and will continue to do so. There are many of them. I will not list them at this point. They make up the overwhelming majority of people on Earth. I will not list all these countries now. It is common knowledge.

I will say nothing new when I remind you that everyone who wants to continue working or is working with Russia is subjected to blatant pressure from the United States and Europe; it goes as far as direct threats. However, this kind of blackmail means little when it comes to countries headed by true leaders who know the difference between their own national interests, the interests of their people – and someone else’s.

Russia will build up economic cooperation with these states and promote joint projects. At the same time, we will certainly continue to cooperate with Western companies that have remained in the Russian market despite the unprecedented arm-twisting – such companies exist, too.

We believe the development of convenient and independent payment infrastructure in national currencies is a solid and predictable basis for deepening international cooperation. To help companies from other countries develop logistical and cooperation ties, we are working to improve transport corridors, increase the capacity of railways, transshipment capacity at ports in the Arctic, and in the eastern, southern, and other parts of the country, including in the Azov-Black Sea and Caspian basins – they will become the most important section of the North-South Corridor, which will provide stable connectivity with the Middle East and Southern Asia. We expect freight traffic along this route to begin growing steadily in the near future.

But foreign trade is not our only priority. Russia intends to increase scientific, technological, cultural, humanitarian, and sports cooperation based on equality and mutual respect between partners. At the same time, our country will strive for responsible leadership in all these areas.

The second principle of our long-term development is a reliance on entrepreneurial freedom. Every private initiative aimed at benefiting Russia should receive maximum support and space for implementation.

The pandemic and the more recent events have confirmed how important flexibility and freedom are in the economy. Russian private businesses – in tough conditions, amid attempts to restrain our development by any means – have proved they can compete in global markets. Private businesses should also be credited for Russia’s adaptation to rapidly changing external conditions. Russia needs to ensure the dynamic development of the economy – naturally, relying on private business.

We will continue to reduce administrative hurdles. For example, in 2016–2018, we imposed a moratorium on routine audits of small businesses. Subsequently, it was extended through 2022. In 2020, this moratorium was extended to cover mid-sized companies. Also, the number of unscheduled audits decreased approximately fourfold.

We did not stop at that, and last March, we canceled routine audits for all entrepreneurs, regardless of the size of their businesses, provided their activities do not put people or the environment at high risk. As a result, the number of routine audits has declined sixfold compared to last year.

Why am I giving so many details? The point is that after the moratorium on audits was imposed, the number of violations by entrepreneurs – this was the result – has not increased, but rather it has gone down. This testifies to the maturity and responsibility of Russian businesses. Of course, they should be offered motivation rather than being forced to observe regulations and requirements.

So, there is every reason to take another radical step forward, that is, to abandon, for good and on a permanent basis, the majority of audits for all Russian businesses, except on risky or potentially dangerous activities. Everyone has long since understood that there was no need to check on everyone without exception. A risk-oriented approach should be at work. I ask the Government to develop the specific parameters of such a reform in the next few months.

There is another very sensitive topic for business, which has also become important today for our national security and economic resilience. To reduce and bring to a minimum all sorts of abuse and loopholes to exert pressure on entrepreneurs, we are consistently removing loose regulations from criminal law that are applied to economic crimes.

Last March, a law was signed, under which tax-related criminal cases against entrepreneurs shall only be brought before a court by the tax service – there is no other way. Soon a draft law will be passed on reducing the statute of limitations for tax-related crimes and on rejecting lawsuits to initiate criminal proceedings after-tax arrears have been paid off.

Working comprehensively, although prudently, we need to decriminalize a wide range of economic offenses, for instance, those that punish businesses without a license or accreditation. This is a controversial practice today because our Western partners illegitimately refuse to provide such licenses.

Our own agencies must not single-handedly make our businesses criminally liable for actually doing nothing wrong. The problem is this, and small businesses understand it very well – if a license has expired, and Western partners refuse to extend it, what are businesses to do, wrap up operations? By no means, let them work. State oversight should continue, but there should be no undue interference in business.

It also makes sense to think about raising the threshold of criminal liability for unpaid customs duties and other such taxes. Additionally, we have not for a long time reconsidered the parameters of the terms ‘large’ and ‘very large’ economic loss for the purposes of economic offenses despite inflation accruing 50 percent since 2016. The law now fails to reflect the current realities and needs to be corrected.

We need to reconsider the conditions for detaining entrepreneurs and for extending preliminary investigations. It is no secret that these practices have long been used inappropriately.

Businesses have been forced to cease operations or go bankrupt even before the investigation is over. The reputation of the owners and of the brand name suffers, as a result, not to mention the direct financial loss, loss of market share, and jobs.

I want to ask law enforcement to put an end to these practices. I also ask the Government and the Supreme Court to draft appropriate legislation before October 1 of this year.

In addition, at the Security Council, special instruction was given to look into criminal cases being opened without later proceeding to court. The number of such cases has grown in recent years. We know the reasons. A case is often opened without sufficient grounds or to put pressure on individuals. We will discuss this in autumn to take legislative action and change the way our law enforcement agencies work.

It goes without saying that regional governments play a major role in creating a modern business environment. As is customary during the St Petersburg Forum, I highlight the regions that have made significant progress in the National Investment Climate Rankings compiled by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives.

There have been changes in the top three. Moscow and Tatarstan have remained at the top and were joined by the Moscow Region which, in a span of one year, went from eighth place to the top three. The leaders of the rankings also include the Tula, Nizhny Novgorod, Tyumen, Novgorod, and Sakhalin regions, St Petersburg and Bashkortostan.

Separately, I would like to highlight the regions that have made the greatest strides such as the Kurgan Region, which moved up 36 spots; the Perm Territory and the Altai Territory, up 26 spots; Ingushetia, up 24 spots; and the Ivanovo Region which moved up 17 spots.

I want to thank and congratulate our colleagues in the regions for their good work.

The federal government and regional and municipal governments should focus on supporting individual business initiatives in small towns and remote rural communities. We are aware of such stories of success. That includes developing popular software and marketing locally produced organic food and environmentally friendly products nationwide using domestic websites.

It is important to create new opportunities, to introduce modern retail formats, including e-commerce platforms, as I mentioned above, and to cut the logistics, transportation, and other costs, including by using upgraded Russian Post offices.

It is also important to help small business employees, self-employed individuals, and start-up entrepreneurs acquire additional skills and competencies. Please include corresponding measures tailored specifically to small towns and rural and remote areas as a separate line in the national project for promoting small and medium-sized businesses.

Today I would like to address our officials, owners of large companies, business leaders, and executives.

Colleagues, friends,

Real, stable success and a sense of dignity and self-respect only come when you link your future and the future of your children with your Fatherland. We have maintained ties with many people for a long time, and I am aware of the sentiments of many of the heads and owners of our companies. You have told me many times that business is much more than just making a profit, and I fully agree. It is about changing life around you, and contributing to the development of your home cities, regions, and the country as a whole, which is extremely important for self-fulfillment. There is nothing like serving the people and society. This is the meaning of your life and work.

Recent events have reaffirmed what I have always said: it is much better at home. Those who refused to hear that clear message have lost hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in the West, in what looked like a safe haven for their assets.

I would like to once again say the following to our colleagues, those who are both in this audience and those who are not here: please, do not fall into the same trap again. Our country has huge potential, and there are more than enough tasks that need your contribution. Invest here, in the creation of new enterprises and jobs, in the development of the tourism infrastructure, and support schools, universities, healthcare, and the social sphere, culture, and sport. I know that many of you are doing this. I know this, but I wanted to say it again.

This is how the Bakhrushin, Morozov, Shchukin, Ryabushinsky, Akchurin, Galeyev, Apanayev, Matsiyev, Mamontov, Tretyakov, Arsanov, Dadashev, and Gadzhiyev families understood their noble mission. Many Russian, Tatar, Buryat, Chechen, Daghestani, Yakutian, Ossetian, Jewish, Armenian, and other merchant, and entrepreneurial families did not deprive their heirs of their due share, and at the same time, they etched their names in the history of our country.

Incidentally, I would like to note once again that it remains to be seen what is more important for potential heirs: money and property or their forefathers’ good name and service to the country. The latter is something that cannot be squandered or, pardon my language, wasted on drink.

A good name is something that will always belong to your descendants, to future generations. It will always be part of their lives, going from one generation to another, helping them and making them stronger than the money or property they might inherit can make them.

Colleagues,

A responsible and well-balanced macroeconomic policy is the third guiding principle of our long-term development. In fact, this policy has largely enabled us to withstand the unprecedented pressure brought on by sanctions. Let me reiterate that this is an essential policy in the long term, not just for responding to the current challenges. We will not follow in the footsteps of our Western colleagues by replicating their bitter experience setting off an inflation spiral and disrupting their finances.

Our goal is to ensure robust economic growth for years to come, reducing the inflation burden on our people and businesses and achieving the mid-and long-term target inflation rate of four percent. Inflation was one of the first things I mentioned during my remarks, so let me tell you this: we remain committed to this target of a four-percent inflation rate.

I have already instructed the Government to draft proposals regarding the new budget guidelines. They must ensure that our budget policy is predictable and enables us to make the best use of the external economic conditions. Why do we need all this? To put economic growth on a more stable footing, while also delivering on our infrastructure and technological objectives, which provide a foundation for improving the wellbeing of our people.

True, some international reserve currencies have set themselves on a suicidal path lately, which is an obvious fact. In any case, they clearly have suicidal intentions. Of course, using them to ‘sterilize’ our money supply does not make any sense. Still, the principle of planning one’s spending based on how much you earn remains relevant. This is how it works, and we understand this.

Social justice is the fourth principle underpinning our development. There must be a powerful social dimension when it comes to promoting economic growth and business initiatives. This development model must reduce inequality instead of deepening it, unlike what is happening in other countries. To be honest, we have not been at the forefront when it comes to delivering on these objectives. We have yet to resolve any issues and problems in this regard.

Reducing poverty and inequality is all about creating demand for Russian-made products across the country, bridging the gap between regions in terms of their capabilities, and creating new jobs where they are needed the most. These are the core economic development drivers.

Let me emphasize that generating positive momentum in terms of household income growth and poverty reduction are the main performance indicators for government agencies and the state in general. We need to achieve tangible results in this sphere already this year, despite all the objective challenges we face. I have already assigned this task to the Government.

Again, we provide targeted support to the most vulnerable groups – pensioners, families with children, and people in difficult life situations.

Pensions are indexed annually at a rate higher than inflation. This year, they have been raised twice, including by another 10 percent on June 1.

The minimum wage was also increased by 10 percent at the same time, and so was the subsistence minimum – a reference figure used to calculate many social benefits and payments – accordingly, these benefits should also grow, increasing the incomes of about 15 million people.

In recent years, we have built a holistic system to support low-income families with children. Women are entitled to state support from the early stages of pregnancy until the child reaches the age of 17.

People’s living standards and prosperity are the most important demographic factors; the current situation is quite challenging due to several negative demographic waves that have recently overlapped. In April, less than a hundred thousand children were born in Russia, almost 13 percent less than in April 2020.

I ask the Government to continue to keep the development of additional support measures for families with children under review. They must be far-reaching and commensurate with the magnitude of the extraordinary demographic challenge we are facing.

Russia’s future is ensured by families with two, three, and more children. Therefore, we need to do more than provide direct financial support – we need to target and direct the healthcare system, education, and all areas that determine the quality of people’s lives towards the needs of families with children.

This problem is addressed, among other approaches, by the national social initiatives, which regional teams and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives are implementing together. This autumn, we will assess the results of their work, and review and rank the Russian regions by the quality of life in order to apply the best experiences and practices as widely as possible throughout the country.

To be continued.

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