by Ruslan Ostashko
Translated by Scott, subtitled by Leo.
During a recent press conference in China, president Vladimir Putin made a statement on the possible simplification of the issuance of Russian citizenship not only to residents of Donbass, but also to all Ukrainians. This news ripped Ukrainian ultranationalists to shreds.
Having received a sword as a gift from Kim Jong-un [on April 25th], the President of Russia left the sword at home and went to visit comrade Xi. After the head of our country talked to his Chinese counterpart, a press-conference took place during which Putin said lots of interesting things. Here’s some of it:
*Italicized text indicates portions of the press-conference not seen in Ostashko’s video*
Vladimir Putin: “China is a vast country. I have mentioned that according to open sources and IMF data, China is the world’s top economy as regards purchasing power parity. It is considerably lower per capita than, say, in the United States, but the volume is higher. Therefore, of course, China has plans for its development, and they are immense and ambitious; when China implements anything, it uses a highly pragmatic approach to achieve its tasks.
China is our strategic partner; this is obvious from all indicators and parameters. Our biggest trading partner is China. We placed an aim in 2018 to reach the volume of $100 billion, and we exceed that, at $108 billion. And we have good prospects for development.”
Let me remind you that at the beginning of April I was doing material about how quite casually Russia and China connected the pipelines built within the framework of the project “Power of Siberia.”
But, despite the oinking of neo-liberals and those on the Left who joined them, gas is not the only thing our country sells to the Chinese. For example, Russian food trade with China is growing. That is, Russia and China do not have such an imbalance of trade, as Beijing has, for example, with Washington.
In addition, Moscow receives considerable benefits from the transit of goods produced by the Chinese to the EU.
Putin: “When the country’s leadership and President Xi Jinping formulate these plans and set development tasks for themselves and for the country – this is a very pragmatic approach. Just like us or any other country, they are governed by their national interests. This is normal.
China implements this in a civilized and delicate way, making sure proposals for common development meet the interests of the vast majority of international participants, if not all. Generally speaking, China has offered nothing new; what it is doing is actually making attempts to reaffirm the principles set out by the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, and many of our colleagues are mentioning this backstage like they did at the last meeting. What is China’s goal? Stability.
What is the reason for this? China’s economy is immense, and the domestic market is growing. But today, what China produces is basically oriented towards foreign markets.
Of course, domestic consumption will gradually increase with the overall growth of people’s incomes. Today China is interested in pushing its products to foreign markets, which is a natural aspiration for any country. For example, the Swedish economy is almost entirely focused on exports, and the same applies to the German economy. China simply has more products to offer. So how should China respond when it faces certain restrictions and attempts by some countries to stop its development? What should China do? It must strengthen the fundamental tenets of worldwide economic relations, and create conditions for promoting its products. How can this be done? By developing transport infrastructure, port facilities, air, rail and motor transport, and building roads. This is exactly what China is doing. This was how it all started, but later it became obvious both in terms of China’s growth and for us as well, that this would not be enough. We needed to strengthen the fundamental tenets of international economic relations.
Is Russia interested in this? Of course, it is. Considering the high volume of trade and the fact that it is growing, we are certainly interested in benefiting from the transit potential of the Trans-Siberian Railway and Baikal-Amur Mainline, and we intend to invest heavily in them, as well as in motor transport and roads. We have earmarked trillions of rubles for infrastructure development. Why are we doing this? In order to make effective use of our country’s transit potential and to be able to engage in mutual import and export operations.”
In his speech, Putin also kicked the US, pointing out that the participants of the Chinese initiative “One Belt, One Road” don’t actually need any trade wars.
Putin: “China acts in a highly civilized manner. For many years, we have been raising the issue of the need to increase the share of engineering goods in our trade. This is now beginning to materialize, which is attributable among other things to the position adopted by China’s leadership. I am very grateful to President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang for their consistent efforts to improve China’s trade patterns with Russia.
Does this meet our interests? Absolutely. I think that this initiative has a very bright future ahead of it, since almost all of us are interested in this, as I have already said. No one wants to face any restrictions, no one wants any trade wars, maybe with the exception of those who are behind these processes. In any case, an overwhelming majority, nearly 100 percent strongly believe that these restrictions and wars undermine the world’s economy and its development.”
At this point, Putin’s speech reaches the level of trolling. Liberal values are now protected not by those countries that promoted these values before, while it was profitable for them. Suddenly, the defenders of the free market were people who have Mao on Tiananmen Square, and the goal is “building socialism with Chinese specifics.” Isn’t that ridiculous?
Putin also stressed that Russia is not going to help the US strangle Tehran with new sanctions, that is, it does not intend to replace Iranian oil, which the Americans want to knock out of the market. The president reminded that Moscow has agreements with OPEC to limit the volume of oil production, and that our country will comply with them.
After that Putin was asked about simplification of issuing citizenship to residents of Donbass.
Question: Mr. President, your executive order on a simplified procedure for granting citizenship to residents of Lugansk and Donetsk regions has been the subject of extensive discussion among experts for a few days now. In particular, they are discussing whether this may require substantial expenses for the Russian budget, and even naming the figure of 100 billion rubles. Is the Russian budget ready for this? Will the government be able to meet its social obligations to Russia’s new citizens? Are there concerns that a situation may occur when these regions’ residents will receive two pensions – in Russia and in Ukraine? Thank you.
Putin: “As for discussions of this issue, I think that, regarding ‘scare stories’ about Russia’s budget, these stories are undoubtedly being spread by people or political forces that do not want Russia to support the people who reside in Donbass. This is the first thing.
The second is we are extending such a procedure of obtaining our citizenship not only to residents of the Lugansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic; we are thinking about simplifying the procedure of granting Russian citizenship to all Ukrainian citizens in general.
As for meeting or not meeting our social obligations to our citizens in Russia, there is no doubt that everything – social payments, pensions and pension hikes – will be fulfilled. We have no doubts regarding this. There will be no serious burden on the Russian budget related to possible setbacks in the work of Russia’s social system, this is absolutely out of the question. This is not a spontaneous decision; before signing the executive order, we considered everything: the number of those who would potentially seek out citizenship, including the number of pensioners (about one third of this number). There are mostly elderly people residing in these territories today.
Indeed, next year and in the following years this figure cost may reach some 100 billion rubles (not in one year but over the course of several years). This is not a critical figure for us, not something that can challenge the task of fulfilling our obligations to Russian pensioners. There is not even a slight chance of that happening.
Now, as for the possibility of people receiving both Russian and Ukrainian pensions. Well theoretically, this is possible. Do you know the average old age pension in Ukraine? It is almost three times lower than in Russia – or at least, this is what we can see from open sources. Which is why if someone receives a Ukrainian pension as well – let them, this will amount to some 6,000 Russian rubles. If we bear in mind that these people are living under fire from bullets, and artillery shells going off in their backyards – then I believe that our pensioners, many of whom went through and remember the Great Patriotic War, understand what conditions these people are living in today, will not think that we are dealing with some kind of social injustice. And we must support those people.”
At this point the entire Ukraine blew up. Both ordinary svidomiye (ultranationalists) and those anointed within the government screamed. Dumbest of them all sounded the newly elected comedian president Zelensky.
Volodymyr Zelensky: “I would not advise the Russian authorities to waste time trying to seduce Ukrainian citizens with Russian passports. Perhaps someone will do it for the sake of earnings or in an attempt to escape from criminal investigations.” (https://www.facebook.com/zelenskiy95/posts/2236347569948940)
He actually wrote many jokes. Here are his funniest passages.
Zelensky: “We, Ukrainians, have freedom of speech in our country, and free media, and the Internet. Therefore, we know very well what the Russian passport actually provides. This is the right to be arrested for peaceful protest. It is the right not to have free and competitive elections. This is the right to forget about the existence of natural human rights and freedoms. Therefore, we should not expect that many Ukrainians will want to become the ‘new oil’, in which the Russian authorities are trying to turn their own people.
Ukrainians are free people in a free country. Independent, sovereign and indivisible. Ukrainian citizenship is freedom, dignity and honor. This is what we have protected, and we will protect. Ukraine will not give up its mission to serve as an example of democracy for post-Soviet countries. And part of this mission will be to provide protection, asylum and Ukrainian citizenship to all who are willing to fight for freedom. We will provide shelter and assistance to all – all who are willing to fight side by side with us for our and your freedom.”
I wonder who wrote this text for the newly elected clown in the country that increases utility fees every six months to meet the IMF requirements? Being constantly pressured by the price of gas and water, Ukrainians – this is the “new oil”.
What’s funny, by the way, is to read statements that Russian passports will be firstly given to those who protected the Donbass republics from Ukrainian [international] death squads.
Here’s how this statement is explained by my colleague, Vladimir Kornilov:
“Ukraine declares that Russian passports in Donbass will first be given to the ‘militants of LDNR’. Wait, aren’t those ‘militants’ supposed to be the ‘Russian Army,’ ‘combat Buryats’, etc.? Then why do they need passports, if they are, according to official propaganda, are citizens of the Russian Federation???”
“Or does it mean that Kiev admits that this entire time it was at war with it’s own citizens, with Donetsk miners and tractor drivers?”
If Putin really considers the possibility of simplified adoption of all Ukrainian trident passport holders who aren’t sick with the Bandera ideology, then those who “fight for your and our freedom” ultranationalist clowns will soon have major problems with human resources.
The main thing is that the one who will be the last to leave [from Ukraine] should not forget to turn off the lights.