On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki for talks with Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö. The presidents were held behind closed doors, followed by a press conference with participation of the presidents. On it Vladimir Putin once again spoke on the topic of the protests in Moscow, almost word for word repeating his theses, played two days ago at the negotiations with President of France Emmanuel Macron.
Vladimir Putin again linked the protests with the aggravation of the election campaign. He also said that the organizers violated the electoral law. According to the Russian President, in the lists of voters ‘ signatures, which the candidates gathered in support of the nomination, election commissions found “dead souls” – signatures of long-dead people. He stressed that “this is not a bug, it’s fraud”, reports “Interfax”.
He also reminded about the lawful way to get access for participation to the election is the court. “And at least one such treatment ended in a positive decision in favor of the plaintiff, and this person reinstated to be elected to the Parliament of Moscow”, – the President said, without mentioning the name of a politician from the party “Yabloko” Sergei Mitrokhin.
According to Putin, it is important that both protesters and law enforcement officers complied with the law. Violators, he warned about administrative and criminal liability. “At an unsanctioned event in Moscow, as well as in other European capitals, law enforcement agencies react accordingly”, – he said.
Finnish journalist said that the protests testify to the failure to comply with Russian rules of the Council of Europe. Putin said that Russia can do without involvement in this organization and then the Russians will not be able to apply to the ECHR. “As for our work in the Council of Europe. We did not rush. If we want to see, we can do without this,” he said.
At the same time Vladimir Putin assured that “Russia respects human rights and respects the rights of its citizens.” He also expressed the opinion that this issue is overly inflated. “The events you mentioned, the protests in Moscow are not something unique to the world in General and Europe in particular. We are watching the events of this kind in many European capitals. And the events that happen there are much more extensive, is also under political slogans, and have quite serious consequences for participants in these demonstrations,” – said Putin. His words leads TASS.
The Russian President also again noted the connection of the protests with the electoral cycle. “As for the events in Moscow, it is connected with aggravation of the situation during the election campaign,” he said.
We will remind, since mid-July in Moscow are held weekly protests in connection with the authorities ‘ refusal to register independent candidates for elections to the Moscow city Duma. For these actions, the officials said large-scale reprisals, including criminal charges, arrests, beatings of protesters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin during a protest prefer to dive in a submersible in the waters of the Gulf, to ride with bikers in Crimea. However, with the beginning of the meetings at the international level the head of state still had to comment on the events in Moscow, although since the beginning of active protests has passed more than a month. For the first time to answer tough questions to Putin had during a working visit to France. The Russian President said nothing new: not eligible for election candidates passed the fake voter signatures to challenge the refusal in registration in court, peaceful protests are allowed, but in accordance with the law.
Putin also tried to give the events in Moscow in the eyes of the European observer a certain routine, linking the protests with an “electoral cycle”. However, all the more incomprehensible why the authorities responded to the unprecedented scale and strength of the repression (for example, a criminal case under article about mass riots, which was not).
According to Putin, in Moscow came to “clashes with the authorities.” That outright violence is committed only to the actions of the security forces, the President of the Russian Federation to the foreign audience did not speak. He also recalled the French demonstration of “yellow jackets”, which were killed and injured a lot of cops, noting that he does not want a repetition of this scenario in Russia. The President of France Emmanuel macron made a bet with his colleague, noting that representatives of the “yellow jackets” in the end were able to present their candidates in the recent elections to the European Parliament, and we need to distinguish between freedom of expression and the observance of public order.
Russia and Finland intend to strengthen cooperation
The presidents of Russia and Finland at the end of the meeting discussed various aspects of further cooperation, despite differences in basic values and the protection of civil rights. So, Putin announced the completion of the laying of the pipeline “Nord stream – 2” in the Finnish economic zone. “I can tell you that today we finished work on laying the pipeline at the Finland plot, Finland’s exclusive economic zone,” Putin said.
The Russian President also expressed gratitude to Finland, “for a pragmatic approach” to the project “Northern stream – 2”.
The project “Northern stream – 2” involves the construction of two pipelines with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year from the coast of Russia through the Baltic sea to Germany. The pipeline route passes through the exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. “Gazprom” August 16 reported that “Nord stream – 2” built at 73,6%.
Putin said he was satisfied with the relationship with Finland. “Relations with Finland, we have traditionally maintained a very progressive, and in all directions. Pins go on all lines – the line of parliaments, governments, non-governmental organizations and, of course, traditionally pay considerable attention to the humanitarian relations”, – said the President of the Russian Federation.
The President of Finland Sauli Niinistö considers it important that Russia continues to participate in the work of the Council of Europe. “Since June, Russia takes a full part in the work of the Council of Europe. Finland has also contributed to the problem. It is extremely important that Russia remains the European human rights system,” said Niinisto.
According to the President, he is very happy, Russia’s position on the issue of black carbon in the Arctic. “When Finland chaired the Arctic Council, we are very great attention was paid to the fight against black carbon, or soot. And I’m very happy with what we have heard today from the President [Putin] that the Russian Federation is really serious about this challenge, the solution to this problem,” – said Niinistö.
Moscow and Helsinki have agreed to expand cooperation in the field of ecology. “Russia and Finland cooperate closely in the area of environmental protection, in September the representatives of about 30 regions of Russia will come to Finland to exchange experience in the environmental field. Agreed to further expand cooperation on environmental issues, including within the framework of the Arctic Council”, – Putin said.
The parties also discussed the issue of ensuring strategic stability in the world. “Touched on the theme of security in the Baltic sea region, – said Putin at a press conference following the talks. – I think we will have time to talk about strategic stability and security in the world as a whole.”
Putin also said that during the meeting with Niinistö has already raised the issue of settlement in the South-East of Ukraine and expects to continue discussing this topic over dinner. “I informed Mr. President on the problems of the South-East of Ukraine and as Mr President just said, we will have the opportunity to continue over a working dinner our discussion,” – said the Russian leader.
In General, speaking about Russian-Finnish relations, the Russian President noted for their high standards and the availability of contacts at various levels. Putin stressed that the trade turnover between the two countries is growing, and counter-investment has exceeded $ 7 billion.
The Russian leader said that expanding humanitarian contacts between Russia and Finland. So, in October in Tula will take place on XX the Russian-Finnish cultural forum in June 2020, it is planned to organize Days of Karelia in Finland and in Tver will be held VI Congress of United cities. Also, Putin continued, is developing the two countries ‘ cooperation in the sphere of science and education. In particular, as the President noted, the Russian and Finnish scientists will work together on innovative research in the field of mining, processing and transportation of natural resources.