Highlights: Russian President Putin's end-of-year news conference

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The following are highlights from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual end-of-year news conference on Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during annual news conference in Moscow, Russia December 20, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov


“Inflation remains at levels that we welcome... We will go outside the Central Bank’s 4 percent reference point somewhat.”

“We have the first net budget surplus since 2011.”

“Twelve national projects were created, a plan for developing infrastructure... (Though) it’s true that there are questions about the controls over how these are implemented.”

“If we don’t set ourselves ambitious goals, we won’t reach any of them at all.”


“We can’t create GDP growth for the breakthrough we need without changing the structure of our economy. That’s what our national goals are geared toward... to giving the economic structure an innovative character.”

“From 2021, the government is planning for 3 percent growth, even more perhaps.”

“We need to enter a new league of economies, not just in terms of scale... We need to enter a new league in terms of the quality of our economy, that’s what our national goals are geared toward.”


“I think (the value added tax increase) will be a one-off event. And a small rise in prices and inflation will end at the start of the year. And then after all it will start to fall.”


“Industry growth is overall higher than GDP growth... Overall, these are good indicators. When it comes to light industry, it is developing even faster. Food production has grown in the past ten months by 13 percent, which bolsters figures on consumption, which has grown overall.”

“(Support for manufacturing) is not enough, that’s why we have created a whole host of programs linked to supporting different industries… by 2024, this will consist of 1.367 trillion roubles.”


“If, God forbid, something like that were to happen, it would lead to the end of all civilization and maybe also the planet... These are serious questions and it’s a real shame that there’s a tendency to underestimate them. It is a legitimate issue, and it is even growing.”

“There are currently certain specifics, there is a danger... We are essentially witnessing the breakdown of the international order of arms control.”

“Then (the U.S.) took another step, they left the (Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces) Treaty... Let them not say afterwards that we were trying to achieve some sort of advantage. We are not aiming for an advantage, we are aiming to retain balance and to provide for our own safety.”


“Provocations are always bad. A provocation is geared toward escalating the situation. Why do our Ukrainian partners need this development? They need to escalate the situation around the elections, to raise the rating of one candidate for the post. Did the provocation achieve its aims? In terms of raising ratings, maybe.”

“He achieved his aims, at the expense of (Ukraine’s) interests and I believe these are poor methods. (The sailors) were sent, and it was expected that one of them would die. And the fact that not one of them died was a great dissatisfaction in its ruling circles.”

“An investigation is ongoing. After the proceedings it will become clear, what will happen to (the sailors).”

“Trade between Russia and Ukraine, despite Ukrainian rulers’ best efforts, is growing. But while Russophobes walk the corridors of power in Kiev, this unnatural situation will continue.”

Reporting by Moscow bureau