Medvedev’s Speech at the World Economic Forum

Following today’s news of Medvedev’s nomination to run for president, Reuters has published some extracts from his January World Economic Forum speech, which is viewed by some analysts as his most official “keynote” address:

ON PLANS BY KREMLIN RIVALS TO INTRODUCE RUSSIAN-STYLE “SOVEREIGN DEMOCRACY””I believe that what we have in Russia is real democracy – and so does the person (rival Kremlin official Vladislav Surkov) who talks of sovereign democracy. Terminology games of this kind add nothing.”We are well aware that no non-democratic state has ever become truly prosperous for one simple reason: freedom is better than non-freedom.”ON RUSSIA’S FUTURE”The Russian economy will not only realize our historical mandate of the Euroasian energy and transport centre. We will also restore our position as one of the largest scientific centers and turn our financial market into one of the most efficient and popular markets in the world.”ON STATE INVOLVEMENT IN ECONOMY”We aim to create big Russian corporations and will back their foreign economic activities. But the role of the state certainly should not involve telling any particular company or sector how to carry out diversification.”Even if the state retains a controlling interest (in the crucial energy sector), we aim to create public companies with a substantial share of foreign investment in their capital.”ON TAXES”Taxes should be as low as possible at any given moment.”ON THE FUTURE OF PREFERENTIAL GAS PRICES FOR EX-SOVIET NEIGHBOURS”There will no longer be free gas.”ON KOSOVO”We believe that this problem cannot be solved in isolation from the general situation with ‘frozen conflicts’ of this kind. If this problem is solved in one way in one location, then a similar mechanism for solving similar problems may at least be proposed in another location.”