Рус Eng
Select episode
20 questions with Vladimir Putin
TASS Special Project
First time-ever video interview online
On amendments to the Constitution and the new government
On sanctions and high-profile cases
On freedom of speech and oligarchs
On a presidential double and a tsar's image
Watch 14 episode Putin on sanctions as an economic booster
Andrey Vandenko
We’ve been hit with sanctions because of Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin
To hell with those sanctions. According to various estimates, we have lost 50 billion but we have earned the same amount.
Andrey Vandenko
That’s quite a lot.
Vladimir Putin
A lot, but it made us use our brains. We spent quite a lot of money on the so-called ‘import substitution’ program and started to produce such items and technologies that we did not have before or we simply forgot about them and lost them. We recreated all of this. And we are undoubtedly benefiting from it. It diversifies our economy. In fact, it helps tackle the prevailing priority.
Andrey Vandenko
But counter-sanctions give the impression that we’re deliberately hurting ourselves.
Vladimir Putin
Nonsense. Counter-sanctions helped boost the agroindustry. They unshackled our domestic market. In our country, if we look at the past years from 2000s and onwards everyone here spoke about the agroindustry as if it was a black hole, surely you do remember. Where is it now? I don't even remember how far ahead agricultural production has leaped. I think 2.6-fold. We always purchased grain but now we are the world’s leading exporter of wheat. We have outperformed the United States, Canada and Australia. They produce more but consume more as well. We supply more on the market. We started to produce enough to meet our basic food needs: dairy, poultry, pork, and basic products. We need to work more on vegetables and start working on beef. And we are doing it. Nobody could have imagined that our export was going to total USD 25 billion last year. This year it will be [USD] 24 [billion], I think. As far as our weapons sales go, they bring in [USD] 15 billion. Nobody would have ever thought that we would become such a major exporter. And we will raise this volume. So, in terms of developing ‘import substitution’ high-tech industries and in terms of agroindustrial development… Is it good or bad? On the one hand, it’s good, it has served us well. On the other hand, it is bad. It is bad because it is distorting the entire global and European economic space. Competition should be natural without any external restrictions. But the fact is our partners also lose approximately the same. Europe has lost roughly the same, according to their estimates. Actually, they’ve been losing even more sensitive things.
Andrey Vandenko
There are 40 countries in Europe, but we are one.
Vladimir Putin
You see, they are losing jobs. Yet, right now, we have the lowest unemployment in history. Here, we lost nothing. By contrast, they are losing jobs. Because imports have nosedived. And as a result of a wide range of circumstances. And those include sanctions.
Sources: Russia's Ministry of Agriculture, Russia's Ministry of Economic Development, Federal State Statistic Service, UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database.