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Putin Addresses Annual Year-End Press Conference

Dec. 18, 2014 (EIRNS)—In his annual year-end news conference, speaking for about three hours before over 1,200 reporters, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin vividly restated Russia’s determination to maintain its sovereignty in the face of the U.S. and the captive European Union, and reiterated his commitment to greater economic ties with with China, India, and the rest of Asia.

But on the leading subject of the news conference, Russia’s financial crisis provoked by the extraordinary drop in oil prices, and to a lesser extent by Washington’s "sanctions," the Russian President declined to endorse the Hamiltonian responses proposed by his advisor Sergey Glazyev, or those of economist Ruslan Grinberg, and instead said that the policy of the Russian Central Bank, which has boosted interest rates to 17%, has been correct. (EIRNS has reported that the Moscow Economic Forum held a Dec. 9 session under the title, "What Is the Central Bank for Russia: Friend of Foe?", with participation of Glazyev and Japan’s Daisuke Kotegawa, both friends of Lyndon LaRouche.)

Putin went so far as to say that the Russian policies used in the 2008 crisis should be re-used today. Glazyev and others of similar views have characterized that 2008 bailout of banks and corporations as an economic disaster. Yet Reuters reports today that Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says that a draft bill has been prepared for Russia’s legislature, which would provide state support for systemically-important banks of up to $16 billion.

And yet it is noteworthy that as recently as his Dec. 4 annual address to the Federal Assembly, Putin had said that the Russian Central Bank would provide earmarked credit for project financing of key projects in the real economy,— a proposal of Grinberg’s.

In a related development, the Russian press confirms that the Russian Central Bank has tested its proposed national payments system to possibly replace the Western "SWIFT" system, from which some anti-Russian ideologues have proposed to cut Russia off.

Today, Putin said that the current crisis would last no longer than two years. He said that Russian industry and the Russian economy would be forced to adjust, and would eventually successfully adjust, to new circumstances.

On the sacredness of Russia’s sovereignty, Putin used the vivid example of the bear of the taiga.

"You know, at the Valdai [International Discussion] Club I gave an example of our most recognizable symbol. It is a bear protecting his taiga. You see, if we continue the analogy, sometimes I think that maybe it would be best if our bear just sat still. Maybe he should stop chasing pigs and boars around the taiga, but start picking berries and eating honey. Maybe then he will be left alone. But no, he won’t be! Because someone will always try to chain him up. As soon as he’s chained, they will tear out his teeth and claws. In this analogy, I am referring to the power of nuclear deterrence. As soon as—God forbid—it happens, and they no longer need the bear, the taiga will be taken over....

"And then, when all the teeth and claws are torn out, the bear will be of no use at all. Perhaps they’ll stuff it and that’s all."