Putin takes questions from the media in annual year-end press conference
19 December 201913:33 GMT
The presser ends. This year it lasted for about 4 hours and 30 minutes, beating most of Putin’s previous big conferences.
- 13:29 GMT
Putin goes into the complexities of ethnic identities, citing the example of Ukrainian identity, which, he said was more or less invented, including by Polish thinkers who claimed Ukrainians were not even a Slav people. This is true, but it doesn’t make the identity any less real, Putin said, adding that it deserves respect.
- 13:25 GMT
The president was asked about the relationships between ethnic groups in Russia and said this issue was one of the most crucial, citing the suffering caused by ethnic conflicts and the grudges left by the persecutions of some people by the Soviet Union.
- 13:23 GMT
Putin is asked about his daughters and whether he was going to recognize them publicly. Two women, who are widely presumed to be the president’s children, are public figures. The journalist alleged that they benefit from the relationship, stopping short of saying that it was done in a corrupt way. Putin responded to the de-facto accusation, saying it was misleading and possibly misinformed.
- 13:18 GMT
- 13:16 GMT
A journalist from Altai asks for help in building a school, where teaching is done in the Altai language of the original residents of the region. Putin promised help will be coming.
- 13:13 GMT
Putin promised there will be no more need to raise the retirement age in Russia in the foreseeable future and said pensions in the country will continue to grow.
- 13:12 GMT
A young journalist uses her time to invite Putin to an event that her outlet organizes each year and asks who she can ask to organize a visit. “Here is the boss,” Putin says, pointing to his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, who serves as the moderator of the event.
- 13:08 GMT
A correspondent from the Russian international network Sputnik complained that the government of Estonia has launched a major attack on the local Sputnik outlet, including threatening its employees with sanctions unless they resign.
Putin said there was little that the Russian government could do in this situation. Of course such attacks on the media are cynical, but if Russia responded by imposing sanctions on Estonia, it would only feed the anti-Russian narrative.
The Estonian government is apparently scared of the reporting done by Sputnik journalists if they resort to such drastic measures, he added, promising to support Sputnik journalists.
- 13:06 GMT