From the Kremlin

Alejo

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Thanks a lot Benjamin,

I think it's a good idea to have a thread where relevant updates from the Kremlin are posted, specially since the site seems to be difficult to access in some places.

Though I think it's important to give it context, and perhaps post a thought or two about why one found such a post from the Kremlin interesting or relevant. Mostly so that I may provide an opportunity for discussion to arise, and also so that this thread doesn't become simply like a newsletter that can become a bit repetitive.

And also, I daresay we could skip some of the birthday wishes or the salutations for holidays, I think some of those are standard practice for most press secretaries and PR department for most governments.

Having said the above, one of the most interesting things that I have noticed from Russia's press releases is that, their actions always match their words. they say "we're going to go and do X..." and then X happens, exactly as they announced it... unlike almost any other government, for which one has to read between the lines of what they meant when they said they were going to spread democracy/education/liberty around the world or some such thing.
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
Thanks to whomever moved the 'Kremlin' posts (Alejo?) from the Putin Recognizes Donbass... thread to this thread. Just a heads-up that a few 'non-Kremlin' posts were moved by mistake, though I read elsewhere that it's not as easy to move a post as it would seem. 👍

Thanks a lot Benjamin,

I think it's a good idea to have a thread where relevant updates from the Kremlin are posted, specially since the site seems to be difficult to access in some places.

Though I think it's important to give it context, and perhaps post a thought or two about why one found such a post from the Kremlin interesting or relevant. Mostly so that I may provide an opportunity for discussion to arise, and also so that this thread doesn't become simply like a newsletter that can become a bit repetitive.

And also, I daresay we could skip some of the birthday wishes or the salutations for holidays, I think some of those are standard practice for most press secretaries and PR department for most governments.

Thanks, Alejo.

In a way, my biggest problem with 'relevance' is, who can actually see the Kremlin site? Everyone? Does it matter? (The last two are semi-rhetorical.)

I like posting the 'irrelevant' articles because they support the character of Putin towards the people of Russia, which feels more 'authentic' and less like lip-service or baby-kissing for vanity, votes, or money. It also shows that there is much more going on in Russia which is not 'doom and gloom' related and that Russia is doing very well under the pressure. And since I don't know who can visit the site to read the articles themselves, I post them here. But, in my attempt to help de-clutter the Putin thread, I guess I'm running the risk of cluttering up this one. Besides, there is a lot to read in the world already, and perhaps some streamlining should be employed.

I originally thought of this thread, not so much for discussion, but as an 'archived stream'. Posting the articles in batches from the Kremlin came out of necessity because, at the beginning of the 'special operation', 'all things Russian' was being censored pretty hard, and to see the Kremlin site was a big deal. But not many people commented or discussed what was written in those articles directly. I reasoned that perhaps people saw them more as a reference or in a support capacity, and so made this thread so people could just keep the info in the back of their minds while they read other things and point to any article here if they needed to. Then again, perhaps the articles just need their own thread 'to breathe' because it's too busy for them to be discussed elsewhere. And the need to 'batch post' seems to have subsided. So, I'll be more selective with what I post here.
 

Alejo

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Thanks to whomever moved the 'Kremlin' posts (Alejo?) from the Putin Recognizes Donbass... thread to this thread. Just a heads-up that a few 'non-Kremlin' posts were moved by mistake, though I read elsewhere that it's not as easy to move a post as it would seem. 👍
Oh alas no, it wasn't me.

And also yes, I completely see your point now about displaying Putin's character, and from that point of view I don't think it can harm and I actually agree with you. But I also realize that you see my point, and it's mostly about the nature of archive threads, it has happened a few times in the past where threads became more of a stream of links than a discussion and some people began to ignore them (me included) because one gets used to knowing that the thread was updated with another link and not an actual post.

So, in that sense yes... perhaps be a bit more selective, but carry on as you're able. it's important for people to have access to it these days, a it's a valuable effort.
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
In reading the transcript of the following meeting, the 'Znaniye Society' sounds like nothing more then a governmental think tank and propaganda machine, but, of course, I knew nothing about it, and there's nothing about it here on the forum.

There is also nothing about this society, that I can find, in English (and is not to be confused with the 'Znaniye Foundation'- a supplimentary school that teaches children the Russian language with it's headquarters in London, UK. I wonder how well they're doing?). But on the Russian wiki, there's this page (Знание (общество)) that gives a summery of the Putin 'version'.

The original Soviet Union's 'All-Union Society' was created by Stalin on Apr. 29, 1947 for the dissemination of political and scientific knowledge. It later became two other societies, successively, after the fall of the USSR. It fell into decline in the 1990's, and ultimately began to dissolve in 2016. Putin's version is not a successor of the USSR version.

This is a wiki, so I don't know how many grains of salt are needed. While there is much more on the history of the Soviet version, this is a DeepL translation of just Putin's creation.

On December 11, 2015 the President of the Russian Federation V. V. Putin signed a Decree on the creation of the all-Russian public educational organization "Russian Society "Znanie". The Ministry of Education and Science became the founder of the organization on behalf of the Russian Federation. The new society may count on budget subsidies. According to the Decree, the organization is created "for the purpose of further development of civil society, spiritual and moral education of citizens of the Russian Federation and increasing the effectiveness of educational and enlightenment work".

By the beginning of 2017 it was planned to form regional branches and update the staff, followed by the recruitment of lecturers. The budget of the organization for 2017 was 100 million rubles.

In addition to raising civic consciousness, the scope of the renewed Znanie's activities included spiritual and moral education, popularization and protection of the Russian language, literature, and healthy lifestyles. The members of the organization, most of the heads of the branches in the regions of which were representatives of universities, named the strategic objectives of the Znanie "work on the transformation of knowledge into beliefs", the translation of the "state ideology" and the formation of "the country's image as a modern, dynamic state" in the mass consciousness.

Society paid for lectures with a propaganda bias (mostly about politics and history) - in 2016 one third of the budget was spent on them. In particular, lecturers talked about the "Dulles Plan," "orange revolutions," and the "ideal of Holy Russia." In 2017 Znanie began uploading videos to its own YouTube channel. However, the videos gained few views. In 2019, the society launched Network University. In 2020, Znanie launched a project called "ROZZY" with bloggers who talked about history, pedagogy, languages, and yoga. These videos were already gaining tens of thousands of views.

In 2021, the media reported that the community had been forgotten. As of 2021, the earliest establishing documents on the society's website were from 2015-2016. On April 21, 2021, in an address to the Federal Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin reported that the society was being overlooked:

"On a modern digital platform we need to restart the work of the Knowledge society, we all remember it well. In recent years it seems to exist, but no one seems to notice it."

In May 2021, Maxim Dreval was elected the society's general director. ...

Under Dreval, "Znanie" began to produce many more videos. Thus, of the 1,500 videos produced by Znanie as of early 2022, more than a thousand videos were released during the first eight months of Dreval's leadership. Under Dreval, the speakers of the videos were mostly officials, United Russia figures, and heads of large companies. At the same time, under Dreval, videos on political topics as well as "spiritual and moral education of youth" almost ceased to be posted on the "Znania" channel. In addition, in 2021 Znanie held two educational marathons.

"Meduza" in 2022 noted that sometimes the same VKontakte video gained hundreds of thousands of views, and on YouTube - dozens of views. ...

In May 2022, at a meeting with Putin, Znanie's general director Maxim Dreval stated:

"Within Knowledge, a knowledge base is being formed that in many ways becomes an alternative to Wikipedia. Only with reliable data and with very authoritative people."

Well, someone was really on the ball with updating the wiki with a not-so-subtle dig.

Here's the pretty upbeat meeting. It's long, so I highlighted some parts.

Meeting with Director General of the Znaniye Society Maxim Dreval


Vladimir Putin had a meeting with Director General of the Znaniye (Knowledge) Society Maxim Dreval in the Kremlin.

May 5, 2022
14:05

Znaniye (Knowledge) Society, a public educational organisation, was established by Presidential Executive Order in 2015.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
Mr Dreval, let’s talk about the revived Znaniye Society. How long has it been functioning in this new capacity?

Director General of the Znaniye Society Maxim Dreval: It may be symbolic that, as per your instruction, the society was revived one year ago.

Vladimir Putin:
Are you satisfied with the results of its performance over the past 12 months?

Maxim Dreval: I must say it exceeded our boldest expectations. The most important thing is the young people’s response. We knew that there was great demand, but we could not expect to involve over 40 million people in a year, especially since we are dealing with complicated educational content in such areas as science, technology, Russian history, culture and geography.

Vladimir Putin:
This turned out to be a good niche.

Maxim Dreval: Yes, the project has received over 400 million views, and this is what we were able to calculate. Today, the most popular subject has to do with new opportunities and new horizons that are opening up in all spheres. This is why we organised this event, and we are now holding it on a regular basis. Thousands of experts, scientists, businesspeople, cultural figures, artists and government officials spoke at schools, shared their knowledge with students and discussed new opportunities with them. A time of changes and challenges always spells new opportunities.

Speaking of opportunities, we realise that it is very important to rely on history and its experience and lessons. Consequently, the subject of history has always been and remains a key aspect.

Another project deals with the age of Peter the Great, marking his 350th birth anniversary. Under this project, the entire country will host a series of events called Russia is My History in local parks. Everyone will watch a cycle of lectures about Peter the Great that we are filming together with your aide, Vladimir Medinsky.

At the same time, it is important that Znaniye is not just launching its lectures and events trying to cover the entire country but that systematic work has been established with all ministries, large companies, universities, and public organisations.
For example, now Znaniye attends all large events held in Russia, such as the St Petersburg Economic Forum and the Eastern Economic Forum. We organise joint thematic marathons. For example, we held a marathon with Roscosmos on April 12, and one on science and technology with Rosatom; we regularly hold joint events on ICT with the VKontakte [social network].

Going back to history and new opportunities, we dedicated large, perhaps the largest educational marathon, which will be held in May this year and which has already become traditional, to the topic of new opportunities, new horizons and the role of Russia in the world. Mr President, I would like to use this occasion to invite you to once again attend the Znaniye marathon and hold an open lesson for children. It will take place on May 17–19, for three days, across the entire country, and there will be some outstanding speakers. We would be very grateful if you could find time to hold such an open lesson.

Vladimir Putin:
Thank you very much for the invitation. I will be sure to check my schedule.

Maxim Dreval:
Thank you very much.

Speaking about cooperation with ministries, there is a very indicative and interesting project. We have launched a contest of educational plays, the best of which Znaniye will stage together with a professional director and, moreover, will help school and student theatre groups to hold them on their own.

This project was inspired by 17-year-old Liza Kochetkova. Together with other kids she staged a play on bulling [bullying]. When watching this play we felt and realised how even amateur actors, teenagers, could show a very important topic so deeply. It became clear that Znaniye should definitely add such a format, too.

Another new format that was inspired by young people is gaming, because young people have always wanted an entertaining education process, the process of game. Last year we held an experimental online quiz for the entire country. It was the largest quiz in the history of Russia; it even made it to the book of records. Inspired by such results, we decided to hold a full-fledged championship that would be held all year round, and called it The League of Knowledge. Now we are adding various other formats of competitions, and we are even thinking of broadcasting the finals on television in order to further encourage the participants and once again show that knowledge has fundamental value for our country. [This sounds like nothing more then a trivia game show, but I don't know anything about it and may be an unfair description.]

Naturally, the reboot [referring to Putin's 2021 comment from the wiki] would be impossible without our lecturers, who played a huge role in this work. Now there are more than 8,000 lecturers in Znaniye, and we expect this number to increase to 15,000 this year. At the same time, it all started with 300 people, Mr President. I am very grateful to them for their dedication and willingness to share their knowledge.

We have actively expanded the lecturer community
, by first of all, adding teachers and instructors. But, you know, we noticed that not only professional lecturers, but also people in all fields were ready to share their knowledge. Moreover, young people also wanted real examples of the experience of professionals from various fields. We launched the League of Lecturers contest, which has helped us to find talented educators from all over the country. Over 10,000 people have already taken part in the contest. So we have found film directors, engineers and programmers to give lectures. For example, a military commissar became a semi-finalist. He reconstructs the history of soldiers’ heroic deeds during the Great Patriotic War, based on archival materials. So, we attract various lecturers.

Vladimir Putin: What was the contest based on? What did the winner get?

Maxim Dreval: The contest is held twice a year, so for six months, participants speak online to an audience made up of various age groups; they are judged by the young people and our experts. Then they take part in the semi-finals in their region, at our partner universities and at various venues, and for the final, they come to Moscow to speak in the main Moscow universities, and they are also assessed by experts and young people. This is a rather complex selection process.

Vladimir Putin: How many people reach the final?

Maxim Dreval: There are 100 finalists and 50 winners. And they all receive our grant support, training and tools to create and promote educational content. We consider it very important not only to find them and give them an audience, but also to really help them develop. In fact, we meet a lot of talented educators who, and this is very important now, want not only to share knowledge and speak, but also to create content that will be distributed on the internet to a large audience. I believe that now this is especially important, when there are so many fakes, when there is a lot of low-quality information.

Vladimir Putin: Certainly.

Maxim Dreval: We are trying to find out how to help more than fifty, more than a hundred such winners, including financially, so that they can create more content and reach audiences. Now we are also looking for such an opportunity; if you offer support, we will look more actively, we will find such an opportunity.

Vladimir Putin
: Of course, objective, important and meaningful information, especially when delivered in a talented and fascinating way, is in great demand because Wikipedia alone is not enough. [ :lol: ]

Maxim Dreval: I totally agree.

Vladimir Putin
: We know the quality of this information. [ 🤣 ]

It is worth a lot when there are talented people, professionals whose opinion can be trusted. They are like live encyclopaedias.

Maxim Dreval
: Absolutely. And, by the way, in fact, Znaniye is creating a knowledge database that in many respects will be able to serve as an alternative to Wikipedia, only with accurate data and reputable authors.

By the way, when we created the community of lecturers, young people wanted to see real examples of success stories about people that the country is proud of, the most prominent people in our country. This chimes with what you said at the first Znaniye marathon, when you mentioned that among the lecturers there should be CEOs, governors, Government members and the most prominent people from all areas of knowledge.

Thank you, Mr President, for your active involvement in the work of Znaniye and the open lesson you held in Vladivostok; your example inspired many people. I am happy that today we have governors, Government members and outstanding people from all areas among our lecturers. I hope that it will become a tradition, and those who have not joined us yet will do so soon.

By the way, it is also important that these meetings with such unique people are always a dialogue and not a monologue. We can see how important live communication is for young people, so that children can always ask their questions at all Znaniye events, whether online or offline.

Moreover, we provide this opportunity even at events that are not held by us. For instance, at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, moderators put questions to the speakers that we had asked children in advance. That is, we give children the chance, through Znaniye, to pose questions to the leading experts at all the forums in our country. By the way, experts often tell us that it is sometimes more difficult to answer children’s questions than questions from their colleagues. I know what they mean, and, as a matter of fact, when I hear these questions I realise how sincere, smart and talented these kids are. I am proud of our young people.

I can also add that their questions essentially make them the co-authors of the content that Znaniye creates. They direct the experts and lecturers who give the knowledge that the children need right now.

Another interesting format is lecture tours. Last year, we tried to meet with a unique person at a unique place.
For instance, Dmitry Rogozin spoke about space and the ambitious projects by Roscosmos at the Vostochny Space Centre. Also children spoke about music with Valery Gergiyev in the Mariinsky Theatre; Dmitry Artyukhov talked about the Arctic aboard an icebreaker in the Kara Sea. There have been more than 50 such lecture tours where kids have been able to meet lecturers, both in person and online, because all this is filmed and broadcast, and our young people can immerse themselves…

Vladimir Putin: As if they had visited the place.

Maxim Dreval: Exactly. We thought about how to surprise the young people when we held the second marathon at the St Petersburg Forum, and we moved our audience to unique places in St Petersburg, namely, the Mariinsky Theatre. It is a great way to involve young people. And for us it is very important that we don’t just show them a video or content about a particular topic, but rather captivate them so that they will be interested in studying the subject in more depth.

By the way, the project More Than a Journey has become a next step after the lecture tours format, which has helped young people to visit various places all over Russia and also to learn more about the history of the region, famous people who were born there and the region’s achievements. I think it is very important for young people, for us, and for the country as a whole, that young people get to know the country, its achievements and its prominent people.

In the past year, Znaniye has created over 600 hours of educational content. It is rather complicated and intellectual content. To create more and cover the entire country, we have opened nine studios in all the federal districts. This helps us to reach interesting people, lecturers from all over the country, and to create content about various regions.

At the same time because we want to give authors the chance to create their own content and help them to do this, we together with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Ministry of Education, are launching media laboratories at universities. These will become a platform where authors can create their own content with the use of the laboratory equipment, and receive help from our team and, very importantly, with access to the huge library of Znaniye and our partners’ content create their own videos and films. We give them access to this free of charge, because creating educational content is the most important thing.

We want dozens or maybe even hundreds of such media laboratories to be launched this year and next. I am sure that there will be much more content, it will be created not only by Znaniye but by a huge number of such educators.

We’ve even gone into professional content – into cinema, and we’ve just launched a project called Smart Films, which is running a documentary scripts competition. I hope that more than 30 new documentaries will appear this year.

We help aspiring documentary filmmakers, including with an educational programme. And most importantly, besides the grant support from partners that encourages filmmaking, we have the backing of certain platforms and cinemas so that these films can really find their audience.

Vladimir Putin: What do you use as a basis, where are you carrying this out?

Maxim Dreval: The competition takes place all over the country. The best of them come to Moscow, and we introduce them to the leading film studios. Budding documentary filmmakers undergo a training programme there and choose a studio where they want to film. We have a good partner: Gorky Film Studios. They are always ready to help everyone to produce these documentaries. But teams can choose any studio, as long as the script wins and the film is a documentary, an educational one. All these films are guaranteed to find their audience, because both online and offline cinemas are with us.

Vladimir Putin: Who helps you to work with the studios?

Maxim Dreval: The Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and the studios all responded. It didn’t take much persuasion. Actually they really needed it. And it is very significant that many companies have supported it in terms of grants. These include commercial companies, such as VK, which gladly supported our initiative, Yandex, Sberbank and the Internet Development Institute Foundation. A lot of organisations supported this initiative because, firstly, many of them also own cinemas, and they are interested in these kinds of films emerging, and the idea of enlightenment is not alien to them, in principle. The executives of these companies are our lecturers.

Vladimir Putin: Understood. What else needs to be done to support this project?

Maxim Dreval: Your participation as a lecturer always gives a very strong impetus.

The second most important aspect, in my view, where we can and should expand, is grant support for lecturers and educators, enabling them to create content, and we are now looking for means to expand this kind of grant support.

Another thought, or rather a request from the audience and our thoughts on this. They often ask us why our content has not yet appeared on television. Maybe we really should think about getting films, game formats, lectures, content about geography, about the country’s history appear on TV channels more often. If you support us, we will work with our colleagues from the TV channels so that our educational content appears on television too.

Vladimir Putin: Agreed.

Maxim Dreval: Thank you very much.

<…>

This 'Znaniye Society' feels a bit like what happens in this forum and that reminded me of something the C's said but I can't find the dialogue in the sessions. It had something to do with 'similar groups' around the world and 'connecting'. I did find this from May 8, 2015 when searching:

I've noticed that since I began making the videos (will get back to that soon) and doing some skype sessions with some of the groups around the world, connections seem to be building gradually. It also helps that so many people have been here to visit, and/or that some of you are able to visit with each other. I notice a distinct change in atmosphere and so many forum member coming forward with help and wisdom to share with others. For me, it is a good thing when I don't need to intervene in a thread because knots of misunderstanding are building, or egos are going whacko all over the place. I see people on the forum actively working on these things themselves, and it is hopeful to me. So, it seems that I may be acting as some kind of "connecting matrix."
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident

Telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett


Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett.

May 5, 2022
18:10

The President of Russia extended warm wishes to Naftali Bennett and the people of Israel on today’s national holiday – Independence Day. Vladimir Putin and Naftali Bennett expressed mutual interest in further developing friendly Russia-Israel relations and maintaining beneficial contacts between the leaders of the two countries.

The leaders continued their detailed exchange of views on the situation in Ukraine. They paid special attention to humanitarian issues, including the evacuation of civilians held by militants of nationalist battalions from the Azovstal steel plant, in cooperation with representatives of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. As before, the Russian military is ready to ensure the safe exit of civilians. As for the remaining militants at the Azovstal plant, the Kiev authorities should order them to lay down arms.

On the eve of Victory Day in the Great Patriotic War, which Russia and Israel celebrate on 9 May, Vladimir Putin and Naftali Bennett emphasised the special importance of this date for the people of both countries, who carefully preserve the historical truth about the events of those years and honour the memory of all the fallen, including the victims of the Holocaust. The President of Russia recalled that of the six million Jews tortured in ghettoes and death camps and killed by the Nazis during punitive operations, 40 percent were Soviet citizens, and asked Naftali Bennett to convey wishes of good health and wellbeing to the war veterans in Israel. In turn, Naftali Bennett highlighted the Red Army’s decisive contribution to the Victory over Nazism.

There is, apparently, a bit more to this phone call that was not transcribed. From RT:

Putin issues an apology – Israel

Russia’s president has apologized to the Israeli PM over controversial remarks made by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

May 5, 2022

Vladimir Putin has issued an apology to Naftali Bennett for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statements during phone talks on Thursday, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office has said. Lavrov made the controversial remarks over the weekend, suggesting that Adolf Hitler may have had Jewish ancestry and that some of the “most ardent” anti-Semites are Jews themselves.

“The Prime Minister accepted President Putin’s apology for Lavrov’s remarks and thanked him for clarifying his attitude towards the Jewish people and the memory of the Holocaust,” the PM’s office said.

While the readout of the talks released by the Kremlin press service did not mention the apology, it said the two leaders discussed the importance of the upcoming Victory Day celebrations “for the people of both countries, who carefully preserve the historical truth about the events of those years and honour the memory of all the fallen, including the victims of the Holocaust.”

“The President of Russia recalled that of the six million Jews tortured in ghettoes and death camps and killed by the Nazis during punitive operations, 40 percent were Soviet citizens,”
the Kremlin press service noted. “In turn, Naftali Bennett highlighted the Red Army’s decisive contribution to Victory over Nazism.”

The international controversy was sparked by Russia’s top diplomat on Sunday as he spoke to Italy’s Mediaset media company. Lavrov confirmed that the “denazification” of Ukraine remains one of the primary goals of the ongoing military operation against Ukraine. A reporter then mentioned that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was Jewish, prompting Lavrov’s controversial remarks. The diplomat suggested that Hitler “had Jewish blood in him,” adding that “wise Jewish people say the most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews.”

Before apparently getting sorted out at the top level, the scandal prompted a brief diplomatic back-and-forth between Russia and Israel. Lavrov’s Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid, strongly condemned the remarks, demanding an apology.

“Foreign Minister Lavrov’s remarks are both an unforgivable and outrageous statement as well as a terrible historical error,” Lapid stated. “Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust. The lowest level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of anti-Semitism.”

Lapid’s statement prompted a response from the Russian Foreign Ministry, which brought up “tragic examples of cooperation between Jews and Nazis” during the Holocaust, mentioning, among other things, the so-called ‘Judenrats’ – Jewish councils established in ghettos that reported to Nazis. Moreover, the Jewish ancestry of any president cannot be a guarantee against neo-Nazis raising their heads, the ministry noted.

“[Zelensky] hides behind his ancestry himself and covers with it real neo-Nazis, spiritual and blood heirs of the executioners of his own people,” the ministry noted. “The Jewish ancestry of a president is not a guarantee of protection from rampant neo-Nazism in a country.”
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
The 77th celebrations of the Great Patriotic War took place. They look very different from the sombre events we have.

Greetings to leaders and citizens of foreign states on 77th anniversary of Victory in Great Patriotic War


On the occasion of the 77th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, Vladimir Putin sent messages of greetings to the leaders and people of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, the Donetsk People's Republic, the Lugansk People's Republic, as well as the peoples of Georgia and Ukraine.

May 8, 2022
12:00

In his messages, the President specifically noted that on this day we pay tribute and show our respect to the soldiers and home front workers who crushed Nazism at the cost of innumerable sacrifices and hardships.

“Today, our common duty is to prevent the revival of Nazism, which brought so much suffering to the people of different countries. It is necessary to preserve and pass on to posterity the truth about the events of the war years, and the common spiritual values and traditions of fraternal friendship,” the messages say. Vladimir Putin wished for the younger generations to be worthy of the memory of their fathers and grandfathers.

In his messages to the heads of the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics, the Russian leader noted that today our military personnel, like their ancestors, are fighting shoulder to shoulder for the liberation of their native land from Nazi filth and expressed confidence that, as in 1945, victory would be ours.

In addition, in a message addressed to the veterans of the Great Patriotic War and citizens of Ukraine, the President emphasised the unacceptability of revenge on the part of the ideological followers of those who were defeated in the Great Patriotic War.

Addressing the leaders and citizens of foreign states, Vladimir Putin conveyed words of sincere gratitude to the veterans of the front and home front, wishing them good health, prosperity and longevity.

Greetings to Ukrainian Great Patriotic War veterans


Vladimir Putin has sent his Victory Day greetings to Ukrainian veterans of the Great Patriotic War.

May 8, 2022
12:00

The message reads, in part:

”I warmly congratulate you on our great and common holiday – Victory Day.

Seventy-seven years ago, thanks to the courage and heroism of the front-line soldiers and partisans, and the tenacity and selflessness of the workers on the home front, fascism, which sought to enslave Europe and caused pain and suffering to tens of millions of people, was crushed. The immeasurable sacrifices made in the name of the common Victory became a guarantee for our life and freedom. This memory cannot fall into oblivion.

Unfortunately, today Nazism is once again raising its head and trying to impose its barbaric, inhuman order. Our sacred duty is to prevent the retaliation of the ideological heirs of those who were defeated in the Great Patriotic War.

I sincerely wish the Ukrainian veterans of the Great Patriotic War the strength of their hearts, good health and long life, and to all the people of Ukraine a peaceful and just future.“

Putin began May 9th by signed an executive order instructing higher education establishments to create 'special quotas' for the children of those security service members who participated in the special operation, including those who died in the line of duty.

Next, Putin attended the parade. Here are 5 photo's from the 53 that were posted on the Kremlin site.

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Here is Putin's arousing and solidifying speech delivered at the parade. (10-15 mins)

Victory Parade on Red Square


President of Russia – Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Federation Armed Forces Vladimir Putin attended a military parade marking the 77th anniversary of Victory in the 1941–1945 Great Patriotic War.

May 9, 2022
11:00

Red Square, Moscow

The parade was reviewed by Defence Minister, Army General Sergei Shoigu. The commander of the parade was Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces, Army General Oleg Salyukov.

The parade featured 11,000 servicemembers and 131 pieces of military equipment.

The column marching through Red Square comprised 33 parade units of officers, sergeants and soldiers of all branches of the Armed Forces, personnel of other security, defence and law enforcement agencies, cadets and students of military academies, Young Army members and Cossacks. The parade column of female servicemembers included cadets of six military educational institutions this year: the Military University, the Military Academy of Communications, the Military Logistics Academy, the Military-Space Academy, the Military Air and Space Defence Academy, and the Military Academy of Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection (NBC Protection Military Academy).


The mechanised column, headed by the legendary Т-34–85 Victory Tank, featured Taifun-K, Taifun-VDV and Tigr-M armoured vehicles, BMP-2 Berezhok, BMP-3 and Kurganets-25 infantry fighting vehicles, T-72B3M, Т-90М Proryv and the latest Т-14 Armata tanks, Tornado-G rocket systems, Iskander-M operational tactical missile systems, S-400 Triumf, Buk-M3 and Tor-M2 air defence systems, and Yars strategic systems driving over the cobblestone paving of Red Square. Uran-9 strike robots were carried on truck beds.

* * *

Address by the President of Russia at the military parade

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Fellow Russian citizens,

Dear veterans,

Comrade soldiers and seamen, sergeants and sergeant majors, midshipmen and warrant officers,

Comrade officers, generals and admirals,

I congratulate you on the Day of Great Victory!

The defence of our Motherland when its destiny was at stake has always been sacred. It was the feeling of true patriotism that Minin and Pozharsky’s militia stood up for the Fatherland, soldiers went on the offensive at the Borodino Field and fought the enemy outside Moscow and Leningrad, Kiev and Minsk, Stalingrad and Kursk, Sevastopol and Kharkov.

Today, as in the past, you are fighting for our people in Donbass, for the security of our Motherland, for Russia.

May 9, 1945 has been enshrined in world history forever as a triumph of the united Soviet people, its cohesion and spiritual power, an unparalleled feat on the front lines and on the home front.

Victory Day is intimately dear to all of us. There is no family in Russia that was not burnt by the Great Patriotic War. Its memory never fades. On this day, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the heroes march in an endless flow of the Immortal Regiment. They carry photos of their family members, the fallen soldiers who remained young forever, and the veterans who are already gone.

We take pride in the unconquered courageous generation of the victors, we are proud of being their successors, and it is our duty to preserve the memory of those who defeated Nazism and entrusted us with being vigilant and doing everything to thwart the horror of another global war.

Therefore, despite all controversies in international relations, Russia has always advocated the establishment of an equal and indivisible security system which is critically needed for the entire international community.

Last December we proposed signing a treaty on security guarantees. Russia urged the West to hold an honest dialogue in search for meaningful and compromising solutions, and to take account of each other’s interests. All in vain. NATO countries did not want to heed us, which means they had totally different plans. And we saw it.

Another punitive operation in Donbass, an invasion of our historic lands, including Crimea, was openly in the making. Kiev declared that it could attain nuclear weapons. The NATO bloc launched an active military build-up on the territories adjacent to us.

Thus, an absolutely unacceptable threat to us was steadily being created right on our borders. There was every indication that a clash with neo-Nazis and Banderites backed by the United States and their minions was unavoidable.

Let me repeat, we saw the military infrastructure being built up, hundreds of foreign advisors starting work, and regular supplies of cutting-edge weaponry being delivered from NATO countries. The threat grew every day.

Russia launched a pre-emptive strike at the aggression. It was a forced, timely and the only correct decision. A decision by a sovereign, strong and independent country.

The United States began claiming their exceptionalism, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, thus denigrating not just the entire world but also their satellites, who have to pretend not to see anything, and to obediently put up with it.

But we are a different country. Russia has a different character. We will never give up our love for our Motherland, our faith and traditional values, our ancestors’ customs and respect for all peoples and cultures.

Meanwhile, the West seems to be set to cancel these millennia-old values. Such moral degradation underlies the cynical falsifications of World War II history, escalating Russophobia, praising traitors, mocking their victims’ memory and crossing out the courage of those who won the Victory through suffering.

We are aware that US veterans who wanted to come to the parade in Moscow were actually forbidden to do so. But I want them to know: We are proud of your deeds and your contribution to our common Victory.

We honour all soldiers of the allied armies – the Americans, the English, the French, Resistance fighters, brave soldiers and partisans in China – all those who defeated Nazism and militarism.

Comrades,

Donbass militia alongside with the Russian Army are fighting on their land today, where princes Svyatoslav and Vladimir Monomakh’s retainers, solders under the command of Rumyantsev and Potemkin, Suvorov and Brusilov crushed their enemies, where Great Patriotic War heroes Nikolai Vatutin, Sidor Kovpak and Lyudmila Pavlichenko stood to the end.

I am addressing our Armed Forces and Donbass militia. You are fighting for our Motherland, its future, so that nobody forgets the lessons of World War II, so that there is no place in the world for torturers, death squads and Nazis.

Today, we bow our heads to the sacred memory of all those who lost their lives in the Great Patriotic War, the memories of the sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends.

We bow our heads to the memory of the Odessa martyrs who were burned alive in the House of Trade Unions in May 2014, to the memory of the old people, women and children of Donbass who were killed in atrocious and barbaric shelling by neo-Nazis. We bow our heads to our fighting comrades who died a brave death in the righteous battle – for Russia.

I declare a minute of silence.

(A minute of silence.)


The loss of each officer and soldier is painful for all of us and an irretrievable loss for the families and friends. The government, regional authorities, enterprises and public organisations will do everything to wrap such families in care and help them. Special support will be given to the children of the killed and wounded comrades-in-arms. The Presidential Executive Order to this effect was signed today.

I wish a speedy recovery to the wounded soldiers and officers, and I thank doctors, paramedics, nurses and staff of military hospitals for their selfless work. Our deepest gratitude goes to you for saving each life, oftentimes sparing no thought for yourselves under shelling on the frontlines.

Comrades,

Soldiers and officers from many regions of our enormous Motherland, including those who arrived straight from Donbass, from the combat area, are standing now shoulder-to-shoulder here, on Red Square.

We remember how Russia’s enemies tried to use international terrorist gangs against us, how they tried to seed inter-ethnic and religious strife so as to weaken us from within and divide us. They failed completely.

Today, our warriors of different ethnicities are fighting together, shielding each other from bullets and shrapnel like brothers.

This is where the power of Russia lies, a great invincible power of our united multi-ethnic nation.

You are defending today what your fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought for. The wellbeing and security of their Motherland was their top priority in life. Loyalty to our Fatherland is the main value and a reliable foundation of Russia’s independence for us, their successors, too.

Those who crushed Nazism during the Great Patriotic War showed us an example of heroism for all ages. This is the generation of victors, and we will always look up to them.

Glory to our heroic Armed Forces!

For Russia! For Victory!

Hooray!

After the parade, Putin laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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Putin then returned to the Kremlin and had a meeting with DPR Army Lieutenant Colonel Artem Zhoga, presenting him with the Star of the Hero of Russia medal, awarded posthumously to his son, Vladimir Zhoga, the commander of the Sparta battalion who was killed in Donbass.

Later, Putin took part in the Immortal Regiment march where people paraded holding photos of their ancestors. Putin held a photo of his father.

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Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
Here are 3 out of 4 telephone conversations with Putin. These three were initiated by the other countries presidents.

Telephone conversation with Federal Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz


Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Olaf Scholz at the German side’s initiative.

May 13, 2022
13:25

The leaders continued their discussion on the situation in Ukraine with a focus on the humanitarian aspects. Vladimir Putin shared the details on the logic and primary objectives of the special military operation launched to protect the Donbass people’s republics and the measures to ensure the safety of peaceful civilians. He also mentioned the fact that civilians held captive by the Ukrainian military at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol have been evacuated with the help of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. It was stressed that the militants professing the Nazi ideology continued engaging in gross violations of international humanitarian law and using inhuman terrorist methods. The Russian leader gave a principled assessment of the state of affairs at the Russian-Ukrainian talks, which in effect had been blocked by Kiev.

The President of Russia and the Federal Chancellor of Germany agreed that the debate on the said issues would be continued during contacts held via different channels.
It's interesting that the word used is 'debate'. Usually it's 'talks' or 'conversation'. It's also interesting that 'different channels' are going to be used. I'm not sure what that means but it almost sounds like the two of them are not going to be speaking to each other directly for awhile.


Things 'heating up' on the Afghan border with Tajikistan?

Telephone conversation with President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon


At the initiative of the Tajikistani side, Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.

May 13, 2022
19:10

The presidents exchanged views on developments in Afghanistan, primarily in terms of the recently increased activity of terrorist groups on Afghan territory. It was confirmed that the relevant agencies of Russia and Tajikistan would continue to cooperate to ensure security on the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border.

Coordination within the Collective Security Treaty Organisation was also addressed, including in the context of the upcoming meeting of leaders of the CSTO member states to be held on May 16 in Moscow.


And of course, the conversation with the Finnish president. But first, here are some excerpts from a report from RT the day before:

NATO applicant to call Putin – media

Finland's Sauli Niinistö says he will talk with Russian leader to discuss changed situation following decision to join NATO

May 13, 2022

Niinistö commented on his planned outreach to Moscow in an interview with Sweden’s TT news agency on Friday, one day after issuing a statement that Finland “must apply for NATO membership without delay.”
...
I’m not the kind of person who just slips around the corner,” Niinistö said of his effort to discuss the issue with Putin. “I am going to call him and say that the situation has changed, as we both know.”
...

Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (832-mile) land border with Russia and fought a war with the Soviet Union in 1939. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Niinistö and Putin typically met with each other in person twice a year. The Finnish leader traveled to Moscow for a meeting with Putin last October, and the two men spoke by phone in March, when Niinistö raised concerns about the Russian invasion of Ukraine two weeks after the military offensive against Kiev began.

Finland has maintained its military neutrality since the end of World War II, and Finns have historically opposed joining NATO. Public opinion shifted dramatically after Russian forces rolled into Ukraine on February 24. A poll by media outlet YLE found that a record-high 62% of Finns favored NATO membership.
...
Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdelana Andersson spoke with US President Joe Biden by telephone on Friday morning, days after the two Nordic leaders met with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “We shared a deep concern over Russia’s war on Ukraine,” Niinistö said of Friday’s call with Biden. “I went through Finland’s next steps toward NATO membership. Finland deeply appreciates all the necessary support from the US.”
...

Telephone conversation with President of Finland Sauli Niinistö


Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the Finnish side’s initiative.

May 14, 2022
14:45

The presidents had a sincere exchange of views over the announced decision by Finland’s leadership to apply for NATO membership.

Vladimir Putin stressed that rejecting the traditional policy of military neutrality would be wrong since there are no threats to Finland’s security.
Such a change in the country’s foreign policy course could have a negative effect on Russia-Finland relations, which have been built over the course of many years in the spirit of neighbourliness and partnership cooperation and have a mutually beneficial nature.

The leaders also discussed the situation in Ukraine. In particular, Vladimir Putin shared his opinion of the state of the negotiating process between Russian and Ukrainian representatives. This process has been practically put on hold by Kiev, which does not show any interest in a serious and constructive dialogue.
Niinistö seems to be listening to the snake in his ear but hopefully Putin's conversation will give him some pause. Still, if he is so sure that NATO membership is the right way to go, why did he bother with a phone call? Perhaps he's not completely convinced yet that membership is the right course?


Changing direction, I found this economic meeting interesting though most of it is well known already. But a projected surplus of Russian wheat this year is expected. Russian inflation is also dropping and there is an expected surplus of Rubles, all the while Germany states that there's global hunger coming and that it's Russia's fault.

Meeting on economic issues


Vladimir Putin held a meeting on economic issues via videoconference, with a report by Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov.

May 12, 2022
13:40

The Kremlin, Moscow


Taking part in the meeting were Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, and Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin
: Colleagues, good afternoon.

Only recently, we marked Victory Day, Russia’s most important holiday. I would like to remind you that our country won this war not only by fighting on the frontlines, but also because of its economic might. At the time, it had to confront not only Germany’s industrial potential, but Europe as a whole, enslaved as it was by the Nazis. This is just something I wanted to mention.

Now, let us move on to our agenda. Over the past two months, we held a series of meetings on the economic situation. Together with Government members, heads of regions, senior Central Bank officials and businesses, we have been consistent in our efforts to promote stable economic development.

We have been doing this in a challenging environment. I am referring to the complicated global situation, as well as the pressure applied by Western countries through sanctions. Incidentally, the global crisis is largely caused by these sanctions. Those who conceived them proceeded from short-sighted, exaggerated political ambitions and Russophobia, at the expense of their own national interests, their own economies and the wellbeing of their people, as primarily demonstrated by the rising inflation in Europe. In some countries, the annual rate of inflation is approaching 20%, while prices in the eurozone increased by over 11%, on average.


According to objective laws governing the economy, it is obvious that in this ongoing sanctions frenzy, if I may say so, the European Union and its people will inevitably face consequences that will be hard to reverse. The same applies to the world’s poorest countries, which are already at risk of hunger.

Let me emphasise that full responsibility for all this lies squarely with the Western elites, who are ready to sacrifice the rest of the world for the sake of preserving their global dominance.

In turn, Russia is confidently dealing with external challenges due to the responsible macroeconomic policy of the past few years and systemic decisions and solutions to strengthen its economic sovereignty, technological and food security.

Our production companies are gradually filling domestic market niches vacated after unscrupulous partners left the country. This concerns daily staple goods, industrial and service sector equipment, construction and farming machinery.

We are expecting a good harvest this year. According to preliminary expert estimates, we may harvest 130 million tonnes of grain, including 87 million tonnes of wheat. If this happens, then the projected grain harvests would hit an all-time high in Russian history. This will make it possible to meet domestic demand, with a substantial safety margin, and to expand global exports for our partners; this is highly important for global food markets.

Inflation is gradually subsiding. Last month, inflation rates fell several-fold on March levels.
Weekly price hikes are down to 0.1 percent. This closely matches weekly growth rates under Bank of Russia inflation targets.

The budgetary system’s capabilities continue to expand. In January-April, the consolidated budget surplus reached 2.7 trillion rubles, while budgetary spending has grown appreciably over the same period following decisions to finance development projects and purchase prepayments earlier than planned.

The national currency, the ruble, is growing stronger in conditions of a record-breaking foreign trade surplus. It appears that it is posting better results than all other foreign currencies since early 2022.
...
I've cut the end of the report off since it wasn't really relevant.

This also popped up that India banned all wheat exports due to an unexpected heatwave that ended its projected bumper crop for this year:

India bans wheat exports

New Delhi had previously claimed it could “feed the world” in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine

May 14, 2022

India has prohibited all exports of wheat with immediate effect, the country’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced on Friday.

The ministry said the drastic move was necessary due to “a sudden spike in the global prices of wheat arising out of many factors, as a result of which the food security of India, neighboring and other vulnerable countries is at risk.”

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has put the world on the brink of major food crisis as the two countries are major suppliers to the international market, accounting for around 30% of global wheat exports.

Food prices around the world have soared by a third, with the UN warning that some 44 million people are heading towards starvation.

There were hopes that India, which is the world’s second-largest wheat producer, could help to compensate for global shortages as the country projected a record harvest of 111.3 million tons (mt) in 2021-22, with between 10mt and 15mt earmarked for export. In April, the country announced that its granaries were full and that it was ready to “feed the world.”

However, a sudden heatwave in spring put those plans on hold, with high temperatures causing premature ripening and shriveling of the grains in many parts of the country. It reportedly led to Indian farmers harvesting 15% to 20% less grain compared to last year.

According to local media, the Indian government had now revised its estimate for wheat production to 95mt, its lowest level since 2015-16.

Despite the ban, India is going to allow shipments of wheat for letters of credit that were issued before May 13, the ministry said.

Any other exports will require special permission from the Indian government, which may be granted in the case of countries that require wheat “to meet their food security needs,” it added.
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
Here is the complete transcript of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) summit. I've highlighted the most interesting bits and colored the names to identify speech sections. I've read the whole thing twice now, and found it to be an interesting security 'round table' prelude. It's quite long so, for a speedier read, focus on Lukashenko's and Putin's speeches.

This transcript is, what I would call, the 'opening speeches'. Every leader got to speak. Three of the 'hot topics' mentioned are the buildup of NATO troops bordering Belarus, the unstable situation in Afghanistan and biological security. There also seems to be some disunity within the group that was brought to light, since it appears to be something that was/is being exploited by the US.

The video of the meeting can be seen on YT. All in Russian. No English subtitles. (58:47)


CSTO summit


The Kremlin hosted a meeting of the heads of state of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.

May 16, 2022
18:00

The Kremlin, Moscow

Taking part in the meeting, timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty and the 20th anniversary of the organisation, were the heads of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

The main focus of the summit was on key issues of cooperation within the CSTO, topical international and regional problems, and measures to further improve the collective security system.

During the meeting, the leaders signed a Statement of the CSTO Collective Security Council (CSC) in connection with the 30th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty and the 20th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. They also signed a resolution of the CSTO CSC to award the participants in the CSTO peacekeeping mission in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
Colleagues, good afternoon!

I am glad to welcome you all in Moscow.

At the suggestion of our chairman, and today Armenia chairs the organisation, we gathered in Moscow, because this is where 30 years ago the Collective Security Treaty was signed, and 20 years ago, on the basis of this Treaty, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation was created.

This means we have two anniversaries almost on the same day: on May 14 and 15 in 1992 and 2002, respectively. I congratulate you on this.

I hope that the organisation, which has become a full international structure over the years, will continue to develop, even through difficult times. I would like to note in this context that both 1992 and 2002 were difficult times; they never end.

The organisation plays a very important role in the post-Soviet space – a stabilising role. I hope that in this sense its capabilities and influence on the situation in our area of responsibility will only grow.

Here I would like to finish my welcoming remarks and give the floor to the Chairman [of the CSTO Collective Security Council], the Prime Minister of Armenia.

Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you, Mr Putin.

Colleagues, I would like to welcome all of you!

I would also like to add my congratulations on the two anniversaries the President of Russia noted. The Treaty on Collective Security was signed on May 15, 1992, and the decision on establishing a Collective Security Treaty Organisation was made on May 14, 2002. We meet today partly in commemoration of both anniversaries.

I suggest we express our views on these anniversaries and on the current situation as always – in alphabetic order. Please hold your comments to 3 to 5 minutes – this is the open section.

Afterwards, we will sign the documents that are ready for signing, and will then continue our discussion behind closed doors.


I give the floor to the President of the Republic of Belarus. Go ahead, please.

President of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko: Mr Pashinyan, dear friends!

I will talk a bit longer than usual since I am the first to speak, and the current situation deserves attention.

Today’s meeting is taking place in a difficult time, as the President of Russia has just said – a time of repartitioning the world; the unipolar international system is irretrievably receding into the past, but the collective West is fiercely fighting to keep its position.

Anything goes, including actions in the zone of responsibility of our organisation: from NATO’s sabre rattling at our western borders to a full-scale hybrid war unleashed against us, primarily against Russia and Belarus.

NATO is aggressively building its muscles, drawing Finland and Sweden into its net, countries that only yesterday were neutral. This is based on the attitude, “those who are not with us are against us,” and, hypocritically, NATO continues to declare its defensive nature. The truly defensive and peace-loving position of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation is in contrast to this background.

The United States is building up its military presence on the western flank of the CSTO, its military infrastructure is being upgraded at an accelerated pace and many NATO exercises are taking place. The large-scale exercise, Defender Europe 2022, the likes of which we have not seen before, are now being held on the territory of 19 European countries, in part, near our borders in Poland. You can guess for yourselves whom they are defending themselves against.

Until now, there is a force of about 15,000 military personnel stationed at the Belarusian-Polish border, which were deployed there last year under the pretext of a migration crisis, in addition to the troops that are stationed there permanently. Last year, 15,000 troops, mostly Americans, were redeployed. The migrants left that area a long time ago, but the troops are still there. The question is why?

Clearly, no country is posing any threat to NATO today. Moreover, an additional force of over 10,000 military troops was brought there to reinforce the alliance’s eastern flank with 15,000 troops already deployed in Poland and the Baltic countries as part of the US armed forces’ Atlantic Resolve and NATO-allied Enhanced Forward Presence. For perspective, seven or so years ago, there were 3,500 troops in this location (addressing the CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas) on your watch, now there are about 40,000 troops right on the territory of Poland and the Baltic states. And I am not talking about Ukraine yet.

Our military interaction within the framework of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, and Belarus’ membership in the CSTO, are the very stabilisers that have a certain sobering effect on the hotheads on the other side of the border. This shows that if it were not for this, I am afraid that a hot war would already be underway in Belarus. By the way, they tried to do this in 2020.


Today, there is no more pressing or important issue than the Ukraine conflict. Since 2014, all of us have been assisting in every way possible in resolving it. In principle, all of us sitting at this table are ready to do this even now and in any format.

Clearly, Ukraine was fomented, incited and fed nationalism and Nazism. We saw that in Odessa, when people were burned alive. Ukraine was fed Nazism, Russophobia and weapons. They used every approach to poison it.

After the election in Belarus in August 2020, regarding interaction with us, Belarus, Ukraine completely succumbed to the West. We have constantly experienced unfriendly actions from our southern neighbour for over two years now.

Ukraine proactively imposed sanctions on us even before the West, including the Americans. Ukraine was the first to do so. Remember? Their airspace was closed, then railway service, and then they began to train militants and send them to Belarus and ship weapons across the border. Everyone knows that. Provocative actions were carried out with Ukrainian drones conducting reconnaissance missions in Belarus’ airspace.

The facts indicating a threat to our national security are indisputable. This is exactly why we were absolutely right to activate the support mechanism in the framework of our alliance with Russia.


Belarus paid attention to the unjustified growth of the Western military presence in Ukraine and the region as a whole even before the start of the Russian special military operation. We talked about this more than once and warned that a conflict was looming. We expected the West, primarily the US, to accept Russia’s proposal to enter into talks on security guarantees. This process will start eventually in the foreseeable future but what will remain of Ukraine and our region by this time is a big question.

Right now, we are seeing that the West, including Washington, is only interested in prolonging the conflict as much as possible. This is why Ukraine is being flooded with weapons. The goals are clear: to weaken Russia as much as possible by miring it in this war. The flames may reach beyond it – we are seeing this, too. If this is the idea, likely nobody will be able to sit it out.

Currently the most dangerous trend in Ukraine are the attempts to partition the country. Thousand-strong units have already been formed to enter Ukraine in the guise of peacekeepers to “protect” it.

Unity and solidarity among like-minded people are particularly important at a time when norms and principles of international law are being completely ignored.
The CSTO member states displayed such solidarity and support in January of this year in a time of trial: you remember the events in Kazakhstan. By acting rapidly when needed, we graphically demonstrated to the entire world our close allied relations and the capacity of our organisation to ensure the security of its members. Nobody in the West even dared think about interfering in this situation because we are stronger together.

But is it possible to claim today that the members of this organisation are really united and bound by ties of solidarity and support as before? Recent events suggest probably not. This is from our perspective, and I may be wrong. But it is enough to recall the ban imposed by some of our CSTO partners on the flights to their countries by national airlines of other CSTO members.

The concepts of unity and solidarity are not always enough, given the brutal, rabid sanctions pressure by the consolidated West. Unfortunately, this is clear from the voting in international organisations.

With the tacit agreement of our partners, Belarus and Russia are being vilified and expelled from international organisations against all laws of international life, just on a Western whim. Yes, you, CSTO members are subjected to pressure – tough and unprincipled pressure – but this is where collective, mutual support is so helpful. We may not exist tomorrow if we do not unite as soon as possible, if we do not strengthen our political, economic and military ties.

Our enemies and detractors are systematically degrading our strongholds and allied ties, and we ourselves are partially helping the West in this regard. I am sure that if we had acted as a united front right off the bat, the hellish, as they say, sanctions would be out of question.

Look how united the European Union is when it votes or acts, and how strong its intra-bloc discipline is. It applies automatically even to those who disagree with its decisions. This begs the question: What is keeping us from using this bloc resource? We need to follow their example. If divided, we will simply be crushed and torn apart.

Back in January, I said that the main goal of certain external forces is to undermine stability and to disrupt the evolutionary path of development throughout the post-Soviet space. They started with Belarus, then the infection spread to Kazakhstan, and now it is Russia’s turn, as we see, and problems are being created in Armenia as well. Make no mistake, no one will be spared.


It is absolutely clear that, without united pushback from the CSTO allies and other integration associations in the post-Soviet space, the collective West will ratchet up its pressure.

What do we need to do to reinforce the CSTO in this unprecedented situation at hand? Off the top of my head, I can visualise the following top-priority steps, which are many, and the President of Tajikistan covered them at length when he talked about the challenge facing that region.

The first is to strengthen political interaction and coordination of the CSTO member states. It is important to improve the efficiency of the foreign policy and security consultation mechanism. We need to speak more often on behalf of the CSTO on international platforms so that its voice and position can be seen and heard, and this voice and position must be united as they are in the West.

Let our foreign ministers consider how best to go about this, and where. Let them think about our political response to a new wave of NATO expansion in light of the intentions declared by well-known states.

We must work out in advance the CSTO position on this matter and make our interests known to the international community. We must act as one in this. Russia should not be alone in voicing its concern and fighting the attempted NATO enlargement.

The second point is to increase the effectiveness of efforts to counter challenges and threats in the information space, including the fight against fake news and disinformation. It is clear that we are facing a hybrid war, the main part of which is an information war.

In order to counter this, we should make the most of the 2017 CSTO Agreement on Information Security Cooperation and actively promote the CSTO on social media, which our Western opponents intensively use, in order to effectively respond to fake news and planted information. Moreover, we need to think seriously and, perhaps, follow China’s policy in the information confrontation, especially on the internet.

Relevant tasks should be assigned to all foreign ministries, special services and the CSTO Secretariat.

Third, there is a clear need to strengthen the forecasting and analytical component in the CSTO Secretariat’s work. I am sure that there are similar departments in the UN, the European Union and NATO. It might be worth considering creating a unit responsible for analysis and strategic planning at the CSTO Secretariat. I think the Secretary-General needs to study this issue.

Fourth, it is worth thinking about combining the potential of the analytical centres of the CSTO member states and forming a network of these centres to assist in the development of conceptual documents on current issues on the international agenda.

Dear friends,

I am offering such seemingly simple proposals at these extremely difficult times because we may not immediately agree on more complex ones. Therefore, these may be the first steps, but we need to go further and deeper, as we used to say in the past.

Colleagues,

Everyone understands that the historical era that existed before is ending, and there will be no return to the previous international order. We cannot allow the creation of a new international architecture without us, while the West is already planting false stories and holding talks about it.

I believe that the CSTO should firmly strengthen its status in the international system of checks and balances. The organisation has a powerful collective potential for further progressive development, but it depends only on us today, it is up to us, how effectively the CSTO will use this potential and whether it will continue to exist in the next 10, 20 or 30 years.

After Armenia, the CSTO chairmanship will rotate to Belarus. In addition to the promising areas of work outlined above, we are already seriously considering new proposals aimed at the further development of our organisation, and you will learn about them in the near future. We hope for maximum support and constructive work from all of you, our colleagues. We have no other choice.

Sorry for such a long speech.

Thank you for your attention.

Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you, Mr Lukashenko.

I will give the floor to President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev: Mr Pashinyan, colleagues!

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to President of Russia Vladimir Putin for organising this anniversary summit of the Collective Security Council. It is true that our summit today is distinct in marking two CSTO anniversaries.

Over the years our organisation has proven to be an effective mechanism of multilateral cooperation with serious potential for further development.

Once the CSTO was established, a reliable system for collective security was built in the vast expanse of Eurasia. The main goals are to strengthen peace and stability as well as international and regional security, and protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of its member states.

The CSTO’s permanent working bodies operate successfully; there are various formats for close cooperation and interaction. The CSTO’s authority, law enforcement and peacekeeping potential are being strengthened.

We focus on countering international terrorism and extremism, illegal drug and weapons trafficking, and illegal migration. In this context we attach great importance to the developments in Afghanistan. The unstable situation there as well as the unrelenting activity of armed groups on the territory of Afghanistan continue to threaten the security and stability of our states. I believe the CSTO must consider every potential threat while paying even more attention to ensuring the security of the southern borders of Central Asia.

In the mid-term, developing the organisation’s peacekeeping potential is an unconditional priority. Active work is underway in this area. CSTO peacekeeping forces have been created and are being improved every year; a plan is being developed to equip them with modern weapons, equipment and special tools.

As you know, the institute of Special Representative of the CSTO Secretary-General for peacekeeping has been established, at Kazakhstan’s initiative. This means that all the necessary tools have been created, and we suggest that it is time to set the goal of getting the CSTO involved with the United Nations’ peacekeeping activities.

This step would promote the legal status of the CSTO and ensure the organisation’s participation in international peacekeeping operations.

Colleagues,

Our assessments of the CSTO’s development and common view of the current aspects of international and regional security underlie the anniversary statement of the Collective Security Council. I would like to thank Armenia for its productive chairmanship and Russia for its timely initiative to hold this forum.

Thank you for your attention.

Nikol Pashinyan:Thank you, Mr Tokayev.

Next to speak is President of the Kyrgyz Republic. Mr Sadyr Japarov, please, take the floor.

President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov: Good afternoon.

Mr Putin, Mr Chairman of the CSTO Collective Security Council Nikol Pashinyan, Messrs heads of state,

I am happy to meet with you in hospitable Moscow.

I would like to begin with congratulations. First, I want to extend my congratulations to our fraternal peoples on the 77th anniversary of the Great Victory. On May 9, many thousands of people across Kyrgyzstan took part in the Immortal Regiment march carrying the slogans “Eternal Glory to the Heroes” and “Nobody Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Forgotten.” The republic holds this holiday sacred, as it epitomises the defeat of Nazism and Fascism by the Soviet people and invariably pays a sincere tribute to the memory of the heroic deed of our fathers and grandfathers.

Second, I want to extend my congratulations to all of us on the 30th anniversary of signing the Collective Security Treaty and the 20th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. We fully support the political statement to be adopted today in connection with these two historic dates.

The international events taking place in recent years show that the strategic decisions taken to ensure shared and collective security from Brest to Vladivostok were right.

At the same time, I am pleased to note that throughout its existence the Collective Security Treaty Organisation has fulfilled the responsible mission assigned to it and developed as an institution, with its potential becoming ever stronger. In this connection, I would like to express my gratitude to CSTO Secretary-General Stanislav Zas, all his predecessors in the post and the CSTO Secretariat staff for their loyal service in the interests of the security of the Organisation’s member states.

Colleagues,

The current international situation does not offer cause for optimism, in terms of both global security and the world economy. Threats to security and military and political tensions have come too close to the borders of the CSTO zone of responsibility. Attempts are being made to interfere from the outside in the internal affairs of the CSTO member states.

For example, earlier this year we had to help a CSTO member state get out of a security crisis it had unexpectedly found itself in. Our response was quick and effective. I fully support the decision to award participants in this peacekeeping mission.

The situation at the southern borders of the CSTO remains alarming, primarily due to the unhindered activities of radical religious terrorist groups in some Afghan provinces. The external sponsors of these groups have far-reaching plans for Central Asia. I think we should keep focusing our attention and analysis on the Afghan issue. It is necessary to carry out an entire package of political-diplomatic and military-technical measures to ensure security in this area. At the same time, it is important to provide humanitarian aid for the Afghan people. Our fellow countrymen are among them.

Colleagues,

We are seriously alarmed by the sanctions war. The Kyrgyz economy has not yet recovered from the coronavirus pandemic, and now the sanctions are already creating a threat to food and energy security, macroeconomic sustainability and social stability.

Under the circumstances, we must discuss and draft a common approach to alleviate the consequences of sanctions and prevent the deterioration of the socioeconomic situation in our countries. We will soon have an opportunity to do so at the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council and the First Eurasian Economic Forum in the city of Bishkek.

Colleagues, I hope for your personal participation as heads of your delegations, in which I am asking you to include heads of sectoral ministries and business structures.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate you again on the Day of the Great Victory and the two anniversaries of the Collective Security Treaty.

I sincerely wish you and the friendly nations of the CSTO peace, stability, wellbeing and prosperity.

Thank you for your attention.

Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you, Mr Japarov.

I am giving the floor to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

Mr President, go ahead, please.

Vladimir Putin: Friends and colleagues,

I will agree with the previous speakers – indeed, in the past few decades, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation has become considerably stronger and won a well-deserved reputation as an effective regional defence structure that ensures security and stability in the Eurasian space and reliably protects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its member countries.

Importantly, cooperation in the CSTO has always been built in the spirit of true allied relations, on the principles of friendship and neighbourliness, respect and consideration of each other’s interests, mutual assistance and support. The same principles guide our cooperation in the current difficult situation.

The CSTO's successful peacekeeping operation, held in Kazakhstan in January 2022 at the request of its leaders, showed the maturity of our Organisation and its real ability to adequately withstand acute challenges and threats.

The contingent of the collective CSTO forces, sent into Kazakhstan for a limited period of time, prevented extremists, including those directed from abroad, from seizing power and helped to quickly stabilise the internal political situation in the republic.

The use of peacekeeping forces at the request of the Kazakhstan leadership was the first operation of this kind in the CSTO’s history.
The operation revealed the strong points of practical cooperation between our military structures and security services, and, at the same time, showed what we should work on to improve it.

Today, we will sign a joint statement reaffirming, taking into account the experience gained, among other things, during the afore-mentioned operation, the resolve of our states to continue acting as partners in different areas of military and defence development, and building up our coordinated actions in the world arena.

At the same time, it is quite logical that our current high-priority task is to further improve and streamline the work of the CSTO and its governing bodies. We will also provide the collective CSTO forces with modern weapons and equipment, we will enhance the interoperability of their troop contingents, and more effectively coordinate the joint actions of our military agencies and secret services.
We streamline the relevant operations all the time during CSTO exercises, and we are set to expand such exercises. This autumn, there are plans to hold an entire series of joint CSTO exercises in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. I am confident that these measures will boost the combat readiness of our states’ military agencies and improve their coordination, as well as increase the entire peacekeeping potential of the CSTO.

We also believe that the CSTO should continue its efforts to counter terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime. Law enforcement agencies of our countries interact rather effectively in this field, so as to prevent the recruitment of people and to neutralise the resource potential of international terrorist organisations.

Efforts to maintain biological security also require the most serious attention. For a long time, we sounded the alarm about US military biological activity in the post-Soviet space.

It is common knowledge that the Pentagon has established dozens of specialised biological laboratories and centres in our common region, and that they are by no means merely providing practical medical assistance to the population of the countries where they are operating. Their main task is to collect biological materials and to analyse the spread of viruses and dangerous diseases for their own purposes.

Now, during the special operation in Ukraine, documentary evidence was obtained that components of biological weapons were developed in close proximity to our borders, which violates the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and possible methods and mechanisms were worked out to destabilise the epidemiological situation in the post-Soviet space.


In this regard, we count on our colleagues supporting the earliest possible implementation of Russia’s initiative to operationalise the designated CSTO council. Once again, I would like to note the importance of close coordination between CSTO members in matters of foreign policy, coordinated actions at the UN and other multilateral platforms, and promotion of common approaches to the multiplying international security issues.

In this context, it is important to build up cooperation with our “natural” partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
By the way, we think it would be appropriate and correct – we will discuss this – to grant the CIS observer status in the CSTO.

I would like to highlight our priority task of jointly defending the memory of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, the feat of our peoples who saved the world from Nazism at the cost of enormous and irreparable sacrifices, and to counteract any attempts to whitewash the Nazis, their accomplices and modern followers.

This is extremely important particularly now, when monuments to the heroes liberators are being barbarously demolished in a number of European countries, laying flowers at memorials is forbidden, and cynical attempts are being made to rewrite history, while praising murderers and traitors and insulting their victims, thus crossing out the feats of those who selflessly fought for Victory and won the war.

Unfortunately, in our neighbouring country, Ukraine, neo-Nazism has been on the rise for a long time now, to which some of our partners from the “collective West” turn a blind eye, and thus actually encourage their activities. All this goes hand-in-hand with an unprecedented surge in frenzied Russophobia in the so-called civilised and politically correct Western countries.


Indeed, we hear, and I hear people say that extremists can be found anywhere, which is true. Extremists are everywhere and one way or another they are leaving their underground hideouts and make themselves known. Nowhere, though – I want to underscore this – nowhere are Nazis being glorified at the state level and not a single civilised country’s authorities are encouraging thousands of neo-Nazi torchlight processions with Nazi symbols. This is something that is not practiced anywhere. But unfortunately, this is happening in Ukraine.

The expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance is a problem that, in my view, is being created in an absolutely artificial manner because it is being done in the foreign policy interests of the United States. Generally, NATO is being used, in effect, as the foreign policy tool of a single country,
and it is being done persistently, adroitly, and very aggressively. All of this is aggravating the already complex international security situation.

As for the expansion, including the accession of two prospective new members, Finland and Sweden, I would like to inform you, colleagues, that Russia has no problems with these states. No problems at all! In this sense, therefore, there is no direct threat to Russia in connection with NATO’s expansion to these countries. But the expansion of its military infrastructure to these territories will certainly evoke a response on our part. We will see what it will be like based on the threats that are created for us. But generally speaking, problems are being created from nothing. So, we will respond to it in a fitting manner.

Apart from everything else, apart from this interminable policy of expansion, the North Atlantic Alliance is emerging beyond its geographical destination, beyond the Euro-Atlantic area. It is increasingly active in trying to manage international issues and control the international security situation. It wants to wield influence in other regions of the world, but its actual performance leaves much to be desired. This certainly demands additional attention on our part.


In conclusion, I want to reiterate that Russia will continue to contribute to deepening relations of strategic alliance with all CSTO member states. We will do our best to improve and develop effective partner cooperation within the CSTO and, of course, we will support the Armenian chairmanship’s ongoing work in this area.

As for Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, we will certainly discuss this, and I will inform you in detail about its causes and the current combat effort. But, of course, we will do this behind closed doors.

Thank you for your attention.

Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you, Mr Putin.

President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon is our next speaker. Please go ahead.

President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon: Colleagues,

First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Collective Security Treaty and the 20th anniversary of the creation of the CSTO.

I would like to thank the President of Russia for convening today’s meeting dedicated to these milestone events that are important for all of us. Anniversaries are a good opportunity to reflect on the path traveled and the development of the CSTO and to identify prospects for multilateral cooperation seeking to strengthen the common collective security system in light of new realities.

Over the period under review, the CSTO has established itself as an important factor in strengthening peace and ensuring regional security and stability. The organisation’s successful peacekeeping mission earlier this year clearly showed it.

We have created an extensive legal framework, the necessary working and coordinating bodies, as well as mechanisms aimed at fulfilling the organisation’s goals.

In practice, due attention is paid to strengthening and consolidating mutual trust within the CSTO. The CSTO’s international ties are expanding. Last year, we completed the ratification procedure and launched the institutions of observers under the CSTO and the CSTO partners as part of the Tajik chairmanship.

Field and command-staff exercises are conducted on a permanent basis, and measures are being taken to supply modern weapons and military equipment to the collective security system’s forces and means. All this helps maintain a high degree of combat readiness, mobility, training and skills of command and service personnel for bringing joint solutions to common tasks.

Today, the CSTO is an important platform for equal dialogue and cooperation between member states in all three basic dimensions: political interaction, military cooperation and joint efforts to counter modern challenges and threats.

The CSTO Collective Security Strategy to 2025, which reflects the principles of our interaction in the mid-term, is an important document that is guiding our organisation along its own path of development. Our common assessment of the state and development prospects of the organisation is reflected in a joint statement that we will adopt following the summit.

Notably, today we are facing no less important tasks to strengthen our common security. Given the manifold growth of challenges and threats to security, we will have to step up joint efforts to strengthen the Organisation’s potential and capabilities.

For example, we can see that negative factors have been accumulating in Afghanistan over the past 40 years, and they have worsened the military-political and socioeconomic situation in that country. In this regard, the CSTO needs to be prepared for various scenarios on the southern borders.

Tajikistan plans to continue to actively contribute to ensuring common security in the organisation’s regions of responsibility.

Thank you.

Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you very much.

Colleagues, I will now speak in my national capacity, if I may.

First of all, I would like to thank the President of Russia for hosting the anniversary CSTO summit in Moscow and the warm welcome. Of course, our organisation’s anniversary is also an excellent occasion to sum up the intermediate results and to discuss prospects for the further development of our organisation.

The President of Belarus raised important questions about interaction between the CSTO member countries and touched on, frankly, rather problematic issues. In general, there are a lot of positive developments in the history of the CSTO, because in reality it was, is and will be the most important factor in ensuring security and stability in the region.

But, as we see, we are discussing not only anniversary-related issues at this anniversary summit, because the situation is fairly tense in the CSTO area of responsibility. I want to touch on some of the issues that the President of Belarus mentioned.

Regarding voting by the CSTO member countries, this issue does exist, indeed. Often, our voting is not synchronised, but this is not something new. This has been typical of our organisation for a long time now. Armenia has repeatedly raised this issue, and we have repeatedly discussed it in the regular course of business. Clearly, this issue needs to be further discussed as well.

With regard to interaction as well as response and rapid response mechanisms, this is also a critical issue for Armenia, because, as you are aware, last year on these days, Azerbaijani troops invaded the sovereign territory of Armenia. Armenia turned to the CSTO for it to activate the mechanisms that are provided for in the Regulations governing the CSTO response to crisis situations of December 10, 2010 which is a document approved by the Collective Security Council. Unfortunately, we cannot say that the organisation responded as the Republic of Armenia expected.

For a long time now, we have been raising the issue of sales of weapons by CSTO member countries to a country that is unfriendly to Armenia, which used these weapons against Armenia and the Armenian people. This is also a problem.

Frankly, the CSTO member countries’ response during the 44-day war of 2020 and the post-war period did not make the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian people very happy, but I want to emphasise the special role played by the Russian Federation and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin personally in halting the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

I would like to reaffirm that Armenia remains committed to the trilateral statements of November 9, 2020. I am referring to the trilateral statements by the President of the Russian Federation, the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia, as well as the trilateral statements of January 11, 2021 and November 26, 2021.

I think it is critically important to sum up the results, but Armenia, as a founding member of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, is committed to the organisation’s further development and considers it a key contributor to stability and security in the Eurasian region, as well as the security of the Republic of Armenia, and is positive about providing its full support for the organisation’s further development.

Now I give the floor to CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas so that he tells us about the documents that we are going to sign.

CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas: Mr Chairman, members of the Collective Security Council,

First, I would like to thank you for today’s meeting devoted to the CSTO’s anniversary. Twenty years is not such a long period for an international organisation. However, it has traversed a very long road during these years – from the formation of the idea of collective defence to the well-established, multi-faceted international organisation that it is today.

Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you, heads of state, on the anniversary and to thank you for your hard work on establishing, developing and strengthening our organisation. I am saying this because, of course, all this would have been impossible without your constant attention and support.

You have an analytical review of the CSTO activities over 20 years of its existence in your folders on the table. This review was prepared at the instruction of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan. Incidentally, our work on this review was very interesting and useful. On the eve of such great anniversaries, we tried to look back at the path travelled and to assess the CSTO’s status. We developed a good feeling that stayed with us: We have reasons to be proud.

The mechanism of foreign policy coordination is functioning well in the CSTO format. Using this mechanism, we form the consolidated position of our states on urgent regional and global issues. That said, I agree with the President of Belarus that this is clearly not enough these days. We should not avoid answers, consolidated answers to the most pressing issues.

We have developed cooperation with international regional organisations and their relevant structures. We have preserved and, importantly, are cultivating the principle of prioritising political and diplomatic means to achieve CSTO goals. This is, probably, one of the main pillars of our organisation.

Over these years, we have considerably built up the CSTO’s military capacity. We are upgrading the structure, equipment and training of the bodies in charge of managing and forming a collective security system.

We consider the formation of a uniform system for training personnel, management bodies and troops an important achievement of the CSTO. Of course, the highest form of this system is embodied in the planned joint miscellaneous exercises that we hold every year.

We created and are developing an effective mechanism to counter modern challenges and threats, such as drug trafficking, illegal migration, international terrorism, and crime using information technology. To this end, joint emergency and preventive measures are taken and special operations are carried out regularly. The results prove their relevance and effectiveness.

The formation of a collective biological security toolkit is nearing completion. This topic was raised today, and I think we will return to it.

An important place is occupied by the CSTO crisis response system. Considering the first practical experience gained in Kazakhstan in testing this system, it probably makes sense that today we will also consider issues of improving the crisis response system.

The further development of our organisation will be carried out taking into account your decisions and instructions – I am grateful for today’s initiatives and instructions – and based on the plan for implementing the CSTO Collective Security Strategy until 2025.

By the way, next year we need to start preparing the initial data to develop a new CSTO Collective Security Strategy for the next period, 2026–2030. It is high time, and the situation now is significantly different than it was five years ago. This also means a lot of work to be done, and it probably requires that our countries join analytical forces.

Mr Chair and members of the Collective Security Council,

The following two documents have been submitted for your consideration and signing: a draft statement of the CSTO Collective Security Council on the 30th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty and the 20th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation; and a draft decision of the Collective Security Council “On awarding participants in the CSTO peacekeeping mission in the Republic of Kazakhstan.”

The draft decision recognises the most distinguished participants in the peacekeeping operation. Six members of our militaries, including commander of our peacekeeping mission in Kazakhstan, Colonel General Andrei Serdyukov, are recommended for the CSTO honourary badge, I and II Class, for their skillful leadership, preparation and conduct of this operation, and a number of military personnel are recommended for the medal For Strengthening Collective Security for active participation and selflessness in this operation.

The documents have passed the necessary approval procedure, have been adopted by the statutory bodies and are ready for signing.

I would ask you to consider and support these two documents.

Thank you.

Nikol Pashinyan: Colleagues, I propose to move on to the signing of the documents.

<…>
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
Thank you Benjamin. Sane conversations on co-operation whilst respecting the integrity of each state. What an uplifting idea.!!!!!!!!

Thanks Tuatha de Danaan. I'm glad you're enjoying reading them!

Reading the Kremlin posts, I get a feeling of these meetings and how completely different the atmosphere is in comparison to, say, the Canadian House of Commons which ends up as 'how loud can you yell'. That being said, the Kremlin material is for public consumption and we don't know how talks are conducted behind closed doors. They might get intense, but I don't think there are any screaming matches.

As further evidence: after the CSTO meeting (half a day with a working lunch), Putin met with each of the other leaders one at a time in bilateral talks. After greeting his counterpart, the first thing he would say was to commend each leader on the sizable increase in trade between their respective countries. He then acknowledged that there are always issues and welcomed the time they had to talk about them, on the sidelines, individually. The presidents of the other countries thanked Putin for the "warm greetings" and responded with their own. With more congratulations on the CST and CSTO anniversaries, they would begin to talk about the issues... which the public doesn't get to read. Sad face.

One of the key aspects that makes this work, besides the willingness to work together, is the communication. They keep in contact through phone calls and video chats regularly; especially with Armenia. These two, apparently, talk all the time and the conversations get pretty intense. Which is the exact opposite of what, for instance, the Estonian PM, Kaja Kallas, called on the rest of the world leaders to do two days ago:

Estonian PM urges world leaders to stop calling Putin

Kaja Kallas says the conversations are fruitless and do not allow the Russian leader to feel real “isolation”

May 16, 2022

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has urged fellow world leaders to stop calling Vladimir Putin, saying the international attention prevents the Russian president from properly feeling his “isolation.”

In an interview with EURACTIV on Monday, Kallas suggested that, amid Moscow’s ongoing military offensive in Ukraine, Putin “feels that he’s the center of attention because everybody wants to talk to him.”

I feel that if everybody is constantly calling him, he doesn’t get the message that he’s isolated. So if we want to get the message through that actually ‘you are isolated,’ don’t call him – there’s no point,” the prime minister said.

She added that these phone conversations never bear any fruit.

I don’t see any results, because after all these talks, Bucha happened, Irpin happened – we don’t see any signs of de-escalation,” she added, referring to the alleged war crimes that the West accuses Russia of and which Moscow vehemently denies.

Asked if diplomatic channels between the West and Russia should remain open, Kallas reiterated that she does not see “any point in talking” to Putin.

Meantime, not so many Western leaders seem to have been maintaining direct dialogue with the Russian leader since he launched the attack on the neighboring country.

Over the last two and a half months, French President Emmanuel Macron has been Putin’s most frequent interlocutor, with some of their phone conversations lasting for more than two hours. Earlier this month, the Russian president talked to his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinisto and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. In late April, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres visited Moscow and Kiev in a bid to de-escalate the situation.

Russian officials have consistently pointed out that the world is not limited to ‘unfriendly’ Western countries. In early April, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “there can be no complete vacuum or isolation for Russia, it is technologically impossible in the modern world, the world is much larger than Europe.”

“Yes, and Russia itself is much larger than Europe,” he added.
...

The more isolated you try to make something, the more attention you bring to it. And no matter how much you try to ignore it once it's isolated, it's still always there like a splinter in your mind driving you mad. Besides, I'm pretty sure Putin is not pining for the spotlight. He's too emotionally stable for that, I think.

In another way, 'Trudeau' is the celebrity superstar you want a cool selfie with (and so many have them), but 'Putin' is the one you wish you could shake hands with.
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
There was a document that was posted on May 18. It doesn't say Russia is leaving the WTO, but rather to "conduct a comprehensive assessment... for updating Russia's participation strategy in the [WTO]". (Link) (Link)

Instructions following a meeting on metallurgy development


The President approved a list of instructions following a meeting on the development of Russia’s metallurgical industry held on April 20, 2022.

May 18, 2022
16:30

The Government was instructed to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the measures taken by the WTO member states in 2022 designed to restrict trade with the Russian Federation for compliance with this Organisation’s rules and principles and to submit proposals for appealing these measures within the Organisation, as well as for updating Russia’s participation strategy in the World Trade Organisation.

...

As mentioned in the lead line, this opening section refers to a directive from an Apr. 20 meeting. I suppose the decision to possibly leave the WTO will be revealed on June 1st?

Meeting on metallurgical complex development


The President chaired a videoconference meeting on the development of the metallurgical complex.

April 20, 2022
18:45

The Kremlin, Moscow

...

At the same time, as we know, the Western states have imposed illegal restrictions on Russian companies. This includes a ban on shipping ready-made products, as well as the purchase of certain components for manufacturing rolled metal products, steel sheets, rods, etc.

I would like to note that these measures run counter the principles of the World Trade Organisation, even though our European colleagues have always expressed their commitment to these principles.

In this connection, I would like to instruct the Government to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the validity of our Western partners’ decisions and to draft an upgraded strategy of our actions in the World Trade Organisation. Please complete this work by June 1, 2022.

...

There were also a few high-end meetings that took place over the last few days. They're all pretty standard political meetings but there were a few bits from each that I found to be of interest.

You'll see that there is a lot of focus on becoming import independent and digitally secure.

Some excerpts from each meeting:

Meeting with Rosatom CEO Alexei Likhachev


Director General of the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom Alexei Likhachev briefed the President on the corporation’s performance.

May 19, 2022
15:50

Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Alexei Likhachev:

...

Another record is 222 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. We put new units into operation – the second Leningrad and the first Belarusian units. ...

Under the guidance of the Government, we have made progress in the construction of nuclear-powered icebreakers, of an ATO [atomic technological maintenance] ship, in creating an integrated navigation management system for the Northern Sea Route. I hope we will be able to launch this system very soon.

We have recorded some serious growth in the first quarter: we generated 2 percent more electricity; proceeds from selling new products are up 26 percent, and up 13 percent for foreign ones.

...

Regarding our international projects, we continue to implement all of them, and everything is proceeding according to plan so far. We see some risks with certain projects, and we are drafting the relevant compensatory measures. I believe we will successfully complete the majority of these projects. ...

We continue to cooperate with the IAEA, and we are involved in the ambitious International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project in France. I want to say once again that the international nuclear community is not yet cutting ties in this sphere, and that this cooperation continues.

...

I would also like to thank you on behalf of the industry for signing, on April 14, the executive order extending our national project until 2030. This is indeed a very serious decision that will create a fourth-generation technological platform for nuclear energy, and most importantly, will give us the opportunity to build a major facility on earth. I am referring to the Proryv (Breakthrough) project in Seversk, a multi-purpose fast research reactor facility, a Tokamak thermonuclear device with reactor technologies, a prototype of tomorrow's thermonuclear reaction, a number of experimental reactors, and of course our cooperation with Roscosmos, including new rocket engines for near space, and for deep space. All of the above will be included in the extended national project.

Importantly, 95 percent of Russian nuclear power plants are made in Russia, as they say, and the remaining five percent are not critical. We see what’s critical. Electrical engineering, electronics, certain types of diesel equipment, some types of pumping equipment each account for about a half a percent of its value. Actually, we are already creating import substitution alliances with businesses.

So my first point is Russian nuclear technology is import-independent. And we don't see any problems here.

...

We will fulfil your instructions two years ahead of schedule: in 2023, software purchases for critical infrastructure will reach 100 percent. We will do this and in general, we are transferring it to Russian software at a faster pace.

We have made progress in quantum technology. ... we are now in the top three for some technologies. There is an opinion that a separate type of quanta – qudits – are the best for these processors. Like the United States and Austria, we have now developed a prototype of a quantum processor. Incidentally, we were the first to develop software for this quantum algorithm in the interests of the atomic industry.

...

Security Council meeting


Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Russian Federation Security Council via videoconference. The meeting agenda included ways to improve the security and stability of the state’s information infrastructure.

May 20, 2022
15:50

Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.

Today we will discuss issues pertaining to protecting and ensuring the reliable operation of our information systems and communications networks, as well as measures to counter external threats in this area. This is a complicated topic that is, of course, extremely relevant. Everybody understands that. It is of primary importance for our sovereignty and security, for the economy, governance and public stability.

The number of cyberattacks on Russian information infrastructure has been growing in the past years. For several years. But since the special military operation in Donbass and Ukraine, challenges in this sphere have become even more serious and critical. Russia has essentially become the target of aggression, of an information war.

The number of cyberattacks, including complex attacks, has multiplied. Experts believe it would not be possible for lone hackers to achieve that. The hackers attack from different countries in a well-coordinated effort. These attacks are conducted by state-run structures, and we know that the armies of some countries officially include cyber troops.


Targeted attempts to disable online resources of critical information infrastructure in Russia have been detected. Media outlets, financial institutions and widely used public websites and networks have been hit the hardest.

Official government websites have been subjected to serious attacks. Attempts to hack into corporate networks of major Russian companies are detected substantially more often.

The following tactic was used in the majority of cases: access to Russian websites is blocked and information becomes unavailable or is replaced with false information. The latest algorithms and combined technology are employed. Increasingly more advanced software is used that is able to damage devices running on different operating systems.

I will point out another serious challenge. One of the tools of sanctions’ pressure on Russia involved restrictions on foreign IT products and software. A number of Western tech companies unilaterally cut off Russia from technical support services for their equipment. Incidents where their products became limited or blocked have become more frequent.

All this should be taken into account when Russian companies and public authorities introduce new foreign IT products or use previously installed ones.

Even today, it can be said that the cyber aggression against us has failed, as well as the entire sanctions attack on Russia. We have been generally ready for this attack, as a result of the systematic work we have been doing in recent years.

Our specialists have been making dedicated efforts to protect the information infrastructure, ensuring the stable operation and security of networks and communication channels, and, I repeat, we have managed to do a lot, including the creation of our own unique technologies.

...

The third priority is to dramatically reduce the risks associated with the use of foreign-made software, computer technology and telecommunication equipment. ...

... The obvious way to achieve this goal is to shift to domestically developed equipment, technology, software and products.

Allow me to remind you that, according to the recently adopted decisions, using foreign means of information security will be completely prohibited as of 2025. Therefore, to strengthen our technological sovereignty, the Government needs to create a modern Russian base of electronic components within the shortest term possible. We have been discussing this for a long time now and we are working on it diligently. I hope we will see the results very soon.

Our job is to develop and implement our own technological equipment, including the equipment required for developing hardware and software systems. Tools and resources of the Digital Economy National Programme can be widely used here.

I would like to hear your opinion not only on how we can stimulate import substitution in this essential industry but also on how we can develop our own unique products that would be highly competitive.

Meeting with Kaliningrad Region Governor Anton Alikhanov


The President held a working meeting with Kaliningrad Region Governor Anton Alikhanov, via videoconference.

May 20, 2022
18:10

Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

...

In cooperation with large energy companies, the Rosatom State Corporation and Hevel Group, the region is implementing two major innovative projects in new energy, as it is called. This includes an industrial complex to manufacture solar energy equipment, and the production of lithium-ion batteries. ...

In the past five years, the region increased cropland by 20 percent and invested about 32 billion rubles in livestock production. It created a unique genetic selection centre for dairy cattle breeding and is now supplying other regions of Russia with its genetic products. In the next few years, similar complexes will be established in poultry and pig farming with a view to ending dependence on imports.

...

Vladimir Putin also asked a question about the road and rail complex on Vostochny Peninsula. ... The maximum capacity on this rail ferry service is five ferries. Another ferry is being built at the instruction of the President and will be in service in the third quarter, which will top off the rail ferry service’s capacity. Considering the potential for negative or aggressive actions on the part of the Kaliningrad Region’s neighbours or attempts to block transit through their territory, the Governor said it was necessary to expand the railway ferry crossing’s capacity so that the region can function even in case transit across Lithuania is cut off completely. The Governor asked the President to issue a directive to this effect.

Meeting with Sverdlovsk Region Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev


Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Sverdlovsk Region Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev via videoconference.

May 20, 2022
18:50

Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

...

The region’s headquarters to monitor the situation and support the industrial complex is working to stabilise the regional economy under sanctions. It has drafted a regional import substitution plan.

The Governor also spoke about the region’s participation in humanitarian support projects for the people of Donbass and assistance to the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics. Over 390 tonnes of humanitarian cargo have been collected and shipped there.

...

However, the President noted some challenges such as a decline in agricultural output. Governor Kuyvashev said half of the region’s agricultural land had been impacted by a major drought last year. A number of reclamation measures were taken this year. Even if the weather remains unchanged this year, the region hopes to do better than last year. This year, the region is meeting almost 98 percent of its demand in potatoes, eggs, pork, poultry and vegetables with its own resources.

Vladimir Putin underscored that the environment is one of the most pressing problems. There are related Government programmes, and the Governor must keep this matter under his constant supervision.

The President also said that motor vehicles adversely affect the environment, not only in the Sverdlovsk Region, so the Governor is doing the right thing planning to buy more trolleybuses, but the region must co-finance the effort.

...

The President said he was aware of other public health issues as well. All the Governor’s requests to that effect will also be submitted to the Government.

I'm not sure what "other public health issues" means. The 'hot' topic right now is monkeypox, but there's nothing to suggest that this is it. it really could mean anything. There's nothing else in the article about it.
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
There is, again, quite a bit from this meeting that is already known. The strength of the Ruble, import substitutions, and the concerning potential breakup of Ukraine are mentioned in this short transcript. I've added some comments (in blue).

Meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko


Vladimir Putin met with President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi.

May 23, 2022
14:10

Sochi


President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Lukashenko,

You and I met in Moscow not so long ago and agreed to hold a separate meeting here in Sochi because, indeed, the circumstances call for a serious and profound conversation. I mean everything linked with regional security issues, the security of our countries and also those linked with the economy.

Despite all the difficulties, I would like to note that the Russian economy is withstanding the sanctions blow quite well, as evidenced by all the key macroeconomic indicators. I will not list them now, but I will tell you what is going on during our conversation.

Yes, of course, things are not so easy, and everything that is happening requires special attention and special efforts from the Government’s economic bloc. On the whole, I would like to note that these efforts are having a positive impact. This is reflected in trade volumes between our countries. Last year, we hit an all-time high – almost US$38.5 billion. Incidentally, the conversion to national currency / ruble payments in trade with our partners is also making itself felt. You have repeatedly noted the need to do this in the past.

The situation has objectively developed in a way that we have done this – and in general, this was not detrimental to our partners, as we are meeting all our obligations. We are converting to national currency / ruble payments in trading in certain commodity categories, and this helps strengthen the ruble. Russia and Belarus see nothing new here, we have been trading in national currencies for a long time, and these volumes are expanding.

Of course, another key issue – and everyone is probably expecting me to say ‘energy’ – true, it is important, but industrial cooperation comes first. You have also repeatedly raised the issue of taking additional steps forward here.

President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko: In terms of cooperation.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: In terms of industrial cooperation.

Naturally, this involves energy and agriculture as a whole. We have very many spheres of joint work, and we have a lot to discuss. I am not talking about subsequent processes linked with building the Union State. As agreed, we are doing everything calmly, and we are coordinating every step, so that each step will make us and our political systems stronger, both inside and outside, creating a fundamental, proper and solid basis for economic development.

I am delighted to see you, welcome.

Alexander Lukashenko: Thank you very much. This is not a tribute to fashion. I am really grateful to you for this opportunity to have a dip in the sea and to meet with you and discuss urgent issues.

You know, this is a very important point. You noted once that the economy in Russia and in general in our union [the Union State] is not merely getting stronger – unexpectedly, its growth is becoming intensive – take inflation that is less than expected or take unemployment that is going down.

Vladimir Putin
: Lower than expected.

Alexander Lukashenko
: This is good. The ruble is getting stronger at a crazy rate. We should not overdo here. Hence, there are many surprises but these are surprises for them. We expected them. This is a time of opportunities. Unaware of this, the Western countries prompted us to work more intensively on our economy.

We identified, that is, our governments identified on our instruction, the main import substitution areas. They even calculated very tentatively, what the costs might be. This is not a lot. I do not want to voice these figures in public because they are approximate but they are peanuts. But we will achieve good import substitution in the main areas where we are short of spare parts and so on.

I am not even talking about security. We are doing a good job in the sphere of security in terms of producing what our joint army, the army that is operating here needs.

So, we should thank them [unfriendly countries] for giving us an impetus to develop our own economy. We have an enormous market and we have resources and technology. And what is happening with them? They have obviously underestimated this. They have been living reading their media and they got inflation and other things. “Putin is to blame,” they say. They are blaming Putin for everything.

Vladimir Putin
: We are going to have a serious talk with him. [This could be a typo ('them'), otherwise I'm not sure who 'him' is. The immediate options that come to mind are Biden and Zelensky, but there are a lot of 'hims' in the world and could be referring to NATO or 'the situation' as a whole. The statement does sound allegorical, however, and could be interrpreted as threatening or humorous. I think humorous.]

Alexander Lukashenko: Yes. (Laughing.) That’s why we are doing well here. We did the right thing when we agreed in Moscow to have a separate meeting to discuss a package of import substitution issues and areas and security. We did not conceal we had things to discuss, especially now that NATO is concentrating its troops on the Western borders.

There are some interesting surprises in Ukraine, as you know very well. We are concerned, and I believe you are too, over the steps politicians are already taking to split Ukraine. We are worried that they are prepared – the Poles and NATO – to take away Western Ukraine, as it was before 1939. But we are worried not only over security but also because this is strategy for Western Belarus.
Therefore, we are keeping our eyes open, and, as I have already said, the Ukrainians will still have to ask us to prevent the western and other parts of Ukraine from being separated. This is my position but you certainly know it. I know this.

Therefore, we have many problems in this context but they are not exactly our problems – they are their problems that we will have to resolve. Take, for example, President Duda’s incomprehensible conduct yesterday in Kiev.

[Unless he's referring to something else, I think it's this from May 22, 2022:

RT- Ukraine to grant special legal status to Polish nationals: "“There should be no borders or barriers between us. Mentally, the Ukrainian and Polish peoples have been inseparable for a long time. Therefore, we have agreed to translate this into an appropriate bilateral agreement in the near future,” Zelensky said during a speech in the country’s parliament.

Earlier this month, Duda expressed his hope that there would be no border between Poland and Ukraine in the future. The two nations would live “together on this land, building and rebuilding our common happiness and common strength that will allow us to resist every danger,” the Polish president said in Warsaw on May 3."

So far, little is known about the potential agreement and what perks Polish nationals would get. The upcoming legislation may be mirroring the measures undertaken by Warsaw to support Ukrainian refugees amid the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, Zelensky’s aide Sergey Nikiforov suggested.

“We need to pay attention to the law that was adopted in Poland for temporarily displaced persons from Ukraine, and which actually equated the citizens of Ukraine with the citizens of Poland, but without the right to vote. Accordingly, in Ukraine, at the initiative of the president, let’s say, a similar law will be adopted,” the official told local media.]


By the way, he decides practically nothing in Poland but just comes up with these fakes.

Therefore, in terms of security we have many problems. You are right here, and I support you. But we will resolve them. We are not afraid of anything. As we used to say in old times, our cause is just and we will win anyway, no matter what.

Thank you once again for the opportunity to discuss these issues in more detail and to monitor the fulfilment of the commitments and instructions that we gave to our governments.

Vladimir Putin: I am very glad to see you.

<…>
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
...especially now that NATO is concentrating its troops on the Western borders.
...
... the Ukrainians will still have to ask us to prevent the western and other parts of Ukraine from being separated.

I'm pretty slow with this stuff and it didn't hit me until this morning when my mind put these two quotes from Lukashenko together. The mass of NATO troops might not be for any invasion or defence against Belarus/Russia but rather for Ukraine in its possible breakup. If, say, certain oblasts want to become part of Russia and ask for Russian help, could it then be spun as 'another Russian invasion' which then might activate those NATO troops and get them involved in Ukraine openly as 'peacekeepers'? Ensuing endless false flags and all that...
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
From a much longer transcript, this was a small portion that I found most interesting. It's a generalised summery of what we already know but Putin was surprised that inflation in Russia was as low as it was especially in comparison to other countries.

State Council Presidium meeting on social support


Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the State Council Presidium in the Kremlin to discuss social support issues.

May 25, 2022
18:45

The Kremlin, Moscow

...
The current year is not easy. Since its beginning, cumulative inflation has exceeded 11 percent. However, when I say this year is “not easy,” this does not mean at all that all these difficulties stem from this special military operation because in the countries that are not conducting any operations, for instance, overseas in North America and in Europe, inflation is comparable. If we look at the structure of their economies, we can see that it is even higher than here and in some neighbouring countries, it is several times higher. This is surprising, but it is several times higher. Yet, we are also dealing with it and we must respond to it, although, frankly speaking, I am surprised that inflation is several times lower here than in the countries where nothing like this is happening. I am referring to the special conditions in which we live.

But even in these conditions, in early March we set ourselves the task to lower the poverty level by the end of the year. It is clear, and I will say it again, that overall, this situation is typical not only for us but for many other countries in the world today. I am not even talking about separate types of inflation, like in food or energy where their position is so much worse than ours. Still, we must do everything we can to fulfil the task facing us in the current conditions as well. Obviously, this is not an easy task but we must try to carry it out.
...
 

Benjamin

Dagobah Resident
Mentioned in the past is Russia's push for import substitutions, which are mentioned in this meeting, again. What makes it more interesting this time is an apparent plan to 'import substitution' the WTO. I've read this twice and it sounds, to me, like this forum has been formed to create a 'Eurasian version' of the WTO. Powerful stuff.

First Eurasian Economic Forum


Vladimir Putin addressed the plenary session of the 1st Eurasian Economic Forum, via videoconference.

May 26, 2022
14:25

The Kremlin, Moscow

Also attending the meeting were Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko, and Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Mikhail Myasnikovich. The forum moderator was Alexander Shokhin, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, member of the Presidium of the EAEU Business Council.

The purpose of the Eurasian Economic Forum, established by a decision of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council and timed to coincide with a meeting of the SEEC, is to further deepen economic cooperation between the EAEU member states.

The EEF 2022 in Bishkek, themed Eurasian Economic Integration in the Era of Global Shifts: New Investment Opportunities, will focus on promising areas for the strategic development of integration. The participants will discuss ways to deepen industrial, energy, transport, financial, and digital cooperation.

* * *

Address at the plenary session of the 1st Eurasian Economic Forum.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I am grateful for this opportunity to address you, to speak on the issues which you [Alexander Shokhin] have raised and which, as you suggested, should be addressed in greater detail.

First of all, I would like to thank President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov and his team for organising this event. I can see many people in the audience, including businesspeople and government officials. I am sure that the media will take a keen interest in the forum.

This is what I would like to begin with when answering your question. The development of Eurasian integration has no connection whatsoever to current developments or market conditions. We established this organisation many years ago. In fact, we established it at the initiative of the First President of Kazakhstan [Nursultan Nazarbayev].

I remember very well the main conversation we had on that issue, on that subject, when he said, “You must choose what is more important to you: working more actively and more closely with your direct neighbours and natural partners, or prioritising, for example, admission to the World Trade Organisation.” It was in this connection that we had to make decisions.

And although we were interested in joining the WTO and in developing relations accordingly with our Western partners, as you said and as I continue to say, we nevertheless regarded as our main priority the development of relations with our direct and natural neighbours within the common economic framework of the Soviet Union. This is my first point.

The second. Already at that time, we started developing ties – I will speak about this later – within the framework of the Greater Eurasian Partnership. Our motivation was not the political situation but global economic trends, because the centre of economic development is gradually – we are aware of this, and our businesspeople are aware of this – is gradually moving, continues to move into the Asia-Pacific Region.

Of course, we understand the tremendous advantages of high technology in advanced economies. This is obvious. We are not going to shut ourselves off from it. There are attempts to oust us from this area a little but this is simply unrealistic in the modern world. It is impossible. If we do not separate ourselves by putting up a wall, nobody will be able to isolate such a country as Russia.

Speaking not only about Russia, but also about our partners in the EAEU and the world in general, this task is completely unfeasible. Moreover, those who are trying to fulfil it harm themselves the most. No matter how sustainable the economies of the countries pursuing this shortsighted policy are, the current state of the global economy shows that our position is right and justified, even in terms of macroeconomic indicators.


These advanced economies have not had such inflation for the past 40 years; unemployment is growing, logistics chains are breaking and global crises are growing in such sensitive areas as food. This is no joke. It is a serious factor affecting the entire system of economic and political relations.

Meanwhile, these sanctions and bans are aimed at constraining and weakening the countries that are pursuing an independent policy, and they [are] not limited to Russia or even China. I do not doubt for a second that there are many countries that want to and will pursue an independent policy and their number is growing. No world policeman will be able to stop this global process. There will not be enough power for this and the desire to do so will evaporate due to a host of domestic problems in those countries. I hope they will eventually realise that this policy has no prospects whatsoever.

Violating rules and norms in international finances and trade is counterproductive. In simple words, it will only lead to problems for those who are doing it. Theft of foreign assets has never done any good to anyone, primarily those who are engaged in these unseemly deeds. As it has transpired now, neglect for the political and security interests of other countries leads to chaos and economic upheavals with global repercussions.

Western countries are sure that any persona non grata who has their own point of view and is ready to defend it can be deleted from the world economy, politics, culture and sports. In fact, this is nonsense, and, as I said, it is impossible to make this happen.


We can see it. Mr Shokhin, as a representative of our business, you certainly face problems, especially in the field of supply chains and transport, but nevertheless, everything can be adjusted, everything can be built in a new way. Not without losses at a certain stage, but it leads to the fact that we really become stronger in some ways. In any case, we are definitely acquiring new skills and are starting to focus our economic, financial, and administrative resources on breakthrough areas.

True, not all the import substitution goals were achieved in previous years. But it is impossible to achieve everything: life is faster than administrative decisions, it develops faster. But there is no problem. We have done everything necessary in key areas that ensure our sovereignty.

Let us move on. After all, import substitution is not a pill for every ill, and we are not going to deal exclusively with import substitution. We are just going to develop. But we will continue to arrange import substitution in those areas where we are forced to do so. Yes, maybe with some mixed results, but definitely we will only become stronger thanks to this, especially in the field of high technologies.

Look, after the CoCom lists – I have already spoken about this many times – after what you said about our work, for instance, within the same former G8 and so on, restrictions still remained. In the most sensitive areas, everything was still closed. In fact, fundamentally – I want to emphasise this – nothing has changed fundamentally.

These issues related to large-block assemblies and so on, it took so much effort to increase localisation within the country, in our economy, in the real sectors of the economy, in industry. And even then we did not agree on key issues in many respects.

Actually, import substitution was necessary to create not just assembly shops, but also engineering centres and research centres. This is inevitable for any country that wants to increase its economic, financial and ultimately political sovereignty. It is inevitable.

This is why we have been doing it, and not because the current state of affairs demands it from us, but simply because life itself demanded this, and we were active.


And, of course, we will work actively within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union and within the CIS in general, we will work with the regions of Asia, Latin America and Africa. But I assure you, and you can see it yourselves, many of our companies from Europe, our partners from Europe, have announced that they are leaving. You know, sometimes when we look at those who are leaving, we ask ourselves: isn’t it a good thing that they have left? We will take up their niches: our business and our production – they have matured, and they will safely take root on the ground that our partners have prepared. Nothing will change.

And those who want to bring in some luxury goods, they will be able to do so. Well, it will be a little more expensive for them, but these are people who are already driving Mercedes S 600, and will continue to do so. I assure you, they will bring them from anywhere, from any country. That is not what is important for us. What is important for the country, for its development – I have already said this and I will repeat it – are the engineering centres and research centres that are the basis of our own development. This is what we must think about and what we must work on both within the EAEU and in a broad sense with our partners – those who want to cooperate with us.

We have a very good base that we inherited from the old days, we only need to support it and to invest resources there. As for those areas, in which we did not invest appropriate resources before, including, say, administrative resources, relying on the fact that everything can be bought by selling oil and gas, life itself has now forced us to invest there.

And thank God that this has happened. I do not see any problem here with the fact that we have not completed something in the field of import substitution. We will not do it just because the current economic situation forces us to do so, but only because it is in the interests of our country.

The Eurasian Economic Union has developed a roadmap for industrialisation, with over 180 projects with a total investment of over $300 billion. A programme for agricultural development has been prepared, including more than 170 projects worth $16 billion.


Russia has something to offer here, and businesspeople are well aware of this. We have grown to be highly competitive at the global level, in the global markets. Russia remains – if we speak about agriculture – the largest exporter of wheat, number one in the world. Until recently, we were buying it – now we are selling it, number one in the world. True, countries such as the United States or China produce even more, but they also consume more. But Russia has become number one in international trade.

Our high-tech industries are growing successfully, too.
And we would like to continue growing together with our EAEU partners. We can and should restore our collaborative competencies.

I have discussed this with my colleagues, with the President of Kazakhstan and the Prime Minister of Armenia – not because some of Russia’s IT workers have moved to Armenia, not at all. They are free to relocate and work anywhere, and God bless them. But again, it is a certain challenge for us: it means we must create better conditions.

We have opportunities to work with the Republic of Belarus in a number of areas of cooperation, and we will definitely do this, because the Republic of Belarus has retained certain expertise that is very important for us, including in microelectronics. President Lukashenko and I just met in Sochi and talked about it, and even agreed to set aside funding for those projects in Belarus. The products that these enterprises, these industries will make will enjoy demand in Russia. This is a very interesting and promising area.

The EAEU countries have laid the foundation for a common digital landscape, including a unified products traceability system. Various platform solutions are being developed, for example, the Work without Borders search system. The project is very important for all our countries. Despite all the crises and challenges caused by the current political situation, labour migrants continue to send almost as much money home from Russia as before. Moreover, some countries are receiving even more money now, as my colleagues from the CIS have told me.

The practice of payments in national currencies is expanding, which is very important. Notably, their share in the mutual trade of the Union’s countries has already reached 75 percent. We will continue to work on interlinking our national payment systems and bank cards.

We believe it is important to expedite the dialogue on internal international financial and payment mechanisms, such as transitioning from SWIFT to direct correspondent contacts between the banks of the friendly countries, including through the Russian Central Bank’s financial messaging system. We also propose strengthening cooperation with key lending and financial centres in the Asia-Pacific Region.

New topics related to Eurasian integration include developing cooperation in green technology, environmental protection and energy saving. We expect to receive support and proactive suggestions from the business community.

Colleagues,

In the current international conditions when, unfortunately, traditional trade and economic links and supply chains are being disrupted, Russia’s initiative to form a Greater Eurasian Partnership– an initiative we have been discussing for many years – is gaining a special meaning.

We are thankful to the leaders of the EAEU countries for supporting this proposal from the very beginning. BRICS members such as China and India as well as several other countries also supported creating a Greater Eurasian Partnership. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ASEAN and other organisations have shown interest in this initiative.

Here, I would like to mention several specific ideas pertaining to the comprehensive development of the Greater Eurasian Partnership.

First, it is reasonable to develop shared institutions for specific growth points, including creating a Eurasian export centre and trade houses, expediting the establishment of a Eurasian reinsurance company, examining the issue of developing special trans-border economic zones, probably even with supranational authority.

The second point. It is important to step up the EAEU’s cooperation with foreign partners and inform them about the benefits and advantages of working with the EAEU and of our key projects and plans. My colleagues know that interest in our association is growing. In this context, the EAEU Business Council could play a significant role. It is already successfully developing ties beyond our union. Its business dialogue system may become an example for a potential business cooperation platform in Greater Eurasia.

That said, as I have already noted, it would be desirable to support the freedom of business initiative, the creative activity of business, of our investors. I suggest creating additional, better incentives for this purpose and investing more in Eurasian projects. Naturally, the companies representing national businesses of the EAEU countries must receive priority support.

My third point. It is time to draft a comprehensive strategy for developing large-scale Eurasian partnership. It must reflect the key international challenges facing us, determine future goals and contain instruments and mechanisms for achieving them. We must consider further steps in developing our system of trade and investment agreements, in part, with the participation of the SCO, ASEAN and BRICS member countries.

In fact, we may draft new agreements that will develop and supplement WTO rules. In this context, it is important to pay attention not only to tariffs but also to the removal of non-tariff barriers. This may produce considerable results without subjecting our national economies to risks.

In conclusion, I would like to say the following. It would be no exaggeration to say that Greater Eurasia is a big civilisational project. The main idea is to create a common space for equitable cooperation for regional organisations. The Greater Eurasian Partnership is designed to change the political and economic architecture and guarantee stability and prosperity on the entire continent – naturally, taking account of the diverse development models, cultures and traditions of all nations. I am confident, and this is obvious anyway, that this centre would attract a big audience.

I would like to wish success and productive cooperation to all participants of the Eurasian Economic Forum.

Thank you for your attention. Thank you.
 
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