Warm and fuzzy Russia The highlights from Putin’s annual press conference, in a nutshell
On Thursday, December 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin held his sixteenth annual marathon press conference — albeit via video link. He answered questions from journalists for nearly five hours straight, covering everything from Russia’s “Sputnik V” coronavirus vaccine, to the latest allegations about opposition figure Alexey Navalny’s poisoning, and New Year’s benefits for families. Here are the highlights, in a nutshell.
What do you mean it was a bad year? There were pluses and minuses. A sea of problems. And the sea is an ocean! But we met these problems with dignity. No country in the world was ready for the pandemic, but our healthcare system and economy coped, and we already have a vaccine — a reliable, safe one, not a single case of side effects. I didn’t get vaccinated, because I’m not in the right age group, the vaccine hasn’t reached those like me yet. There will definitely be foreign interference in the [2021 State Duma] elections, but this isn’t important. In general, [former governor Sergey] Furgal worked quite well and did his best, but the charges are very serious. The investigation on Navalny’s poisoning, is a legalization of materials from the American intelligence services. But this in no way means that it’s necessary to poison him, who needs that? If they’d wanted to [poison Navalny], they would have finished [the job]. But our intelligence services ought to keep an eye on him. We will open the borders as soon as possible. I haven’t yet decided if I will run in the 2024 [presidential] elections or not. Compared to Western countries, we’re warm and fuzzy. We will pay 5,000 rubles [about $69] for each child under seven years old by New Year’s. The secret to family happiness is love. But that’s no secret. For me, my friends, and my family the main toast is always the same: “For Russia!”
Cover photo: Mikhail Klimentyev / ТАСС / Scanpix / LETA