Putin answers questions from Russians at annual marathon conference
Russian President Vladimir Putin answered questions from the public on Wednesday during his annual call for the marathon.
This year’s Direct Line event, the first since the start of the pandemic and Putin’s 18th overall, focused heavily on national issues, particularly the Covid-19 vaccination efforts and urging the Russians skeptical of getting vaccinated.
Russia is grappling with a record third wave since late May, fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant and slow vaccination. While several regions have ordered mandatory injections for public service workers, many Russians remain skeptical of vaccines.
Putin also addressed topics such as rising food prices, schools, social support for families and inflation in hopes of rallying voters behind the ruling United Russia party in key September parliamentary elections. .
The Russians submitted more than 1.9 million questions in advance, according to state media.
Here’s a look at his key quotes from the question-and-answer session:
– “I am not in favor of compulsory vaccination and continue to subscribe to this point of view.”
– “The only way to prevent the spread of the pandemic is to resort to vaccination. We have four vaccines, they are high tech, safe and effective, so I hope that the hesitations of some of our citizens will pass.”
– “We must listen, not to people who do not understand much and spread rumors, but specialists.”
– Explaining why he didn’t release the vaccine he took this spring to the public, Putin said: “I didn’t want to create a competitive advantage for any of them.… I took the one that takes less time and has fewer side effects. “
– Putin revealed that he took the Sputnik V vaccine, saying: “After the first injection, I didn’t feel anything, a little pain in the arm about four hours later. The second, I did it at 12:00, and at 12:00 I measured a temperature of 37.2 [Celsius]. I woke up to a temperature of 36.6. After a few days, they looked at my blood results, and there were high levels of antibodies. “
– “About 10% got sick [after vaccination], but it goes quite easily. Some very famous people have fallen ill after vaccination. … People close to me got sick, unfortunately, but it passed pretty quickly, and they didn’t take heavy medication to treat it. It’s just based on my inner circle. “
– A Direct Line host later quoted Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova in correcting Putin that 2.5%, not 10% he originally named, are infected after receiving Sputnik V.
On fake vaccination certificates sold on the black market
– “Such crimes are purely fraudulent related to the health of the population and are therefore totally unacceptable,” Putin said, adding that law enforcement authorities were working to crack down on false certificates.
On last week’s outbreak in the Black Sea over a British warship passing near annexed Crimea
– “A few days before it was the meeting [with U.S. President Joe Biden] in Geneva. Why did they have to create such a provocation? They have no respect for the choice of the Crimean people to join the Russian Federation. ”
– “It was complex and was carried out not only by the British, but also by the Americans.”
– “Even if we had sunk this ship, the world would not be on the brink of a third world war. Those who do this know that they cannot emerge victorious from such a war. “
On Biden and the United States
– “The world is changing and changing rapidly. No matter what sanctions are taken against Russia, no matter how they try to scare us, Russia continues to grow, its economic capacity and defense power are improving, in some ways even better than in the United States. “
– “Our partners in the United States on the one hand understand this, but on the other hand, they always try to preserve their monopoly position at all costs, and this is where the threats and destructive behavior with exercises come from. , provocations and sanctions. It’s not ours, it’s theirs. I hope that the realization that the world is changing will cause them to reconsider their values. “
– “We will not impose sanctions that hurt us. For example, American rockets are still flying in space with Russian engines. We exported them for a decade and we do not see why we should stop now.”
– “Another example: at least 50% of American Boeing planes are made of Russian titanium – why should we shut down the manufacture of titanium?” If the other side crosses a line, we find symmetrical responses that are felt by our partners. I hope the relationship of the United States to us and other countries will change soon. “
On climate change
– “We are fulfilling all the obligations we have assumed under international agreements, including the Paris Agreement. We have taken some pretty serious obligations, not only not lower, but also somehow higher in terms of the volume of emission reductions to the European Union, and I am sure we will do all of that.
– “There are also specific plans. Now the government has developed a plan for our response to the most sensitive sectors including construction, roads, etc. We will contribute to international efforts, we will expand our capacity to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. We have colossal opportunities here, but we will also prepare for the inevitable. “
– “Global changes are happening faster in Russia than in other countries. Part of Russian territory is located in northern latitudes, in permafrost. If it begins to melt, there will be serious consequences.”
On whether there will be a transfer of power when Putin leaves office
– “The decision on who should lead the Russian Federation should ultimately rest with the citizens. They exercise their freedom of choice by direct voting by secret ballot. It is the only way.”
– “When the time comes, I hope I can say that such and such a person, in my opinion, is worthy to lead a country as wonderful as our homeland Russia.”
– “Eeverything is linked to inflation. Inflation is on the rise, hovering around 5.9%. IWe are unlikely to be able to bring inflation down to 4% this year, I think it will be around 5%. “
On the rise in food prices
– “Soon there will be a new harvest. I hope that thanks to the new harvest the prices of fruits and vegetables in Russia will drop.”
– “Vegetables and fruits are not produced in sufficient quantity in our country.”
– “Food price regulation has had an effect, but unfortunately not for all product groups.”
– “I don’t think the Ukrainian people are hostile … I think that in general Ukrainians and Russians are one people.”
– “The current leadership of Ukraine is clearly hostile to Russia.”
– “Some people are thrown in jail, some are under house arrest, some are killed in the streets,” he said in a possible reference to Ukrainian MP Viktor Medvedchuk, a close ally of Putin who is under house arrest for treason.
– “[Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy] surrendered his country to full external control. Key decisions are made in Washington, Berlin and Paris to some extent. … I don’t refuse to meet Zelensky, you just have to understand what there is to talk about. “
On whether Russia will block foreign social media platforms like Twitter
– “We don’t intend to block any sites. We will work with them.”
– “There is a problem where they ignore our demands and Russian laws. We tell them: ‘you distribute child pornography, how to make Molotov cocktails and instructions for suicide, you have to delete that.’ And they just don’t listen to us. It’s bad.”