Russian President Vladimir Putin has attended the opening ceremony of an oil terminal at Primorsk, Leningrad region, on the Baltic Sea. Putin pointed out that the Baltic Pipeline System passes through four regions of the Russian Federation and ends in the Leningrad region, This is a "very good project, a New Year present from builders to the country, whom I want to thank most heartily", the president said. The president recalled that it has long been argued that Russia should get rid of the dictate of its partners following the changing of the geopolitical situation and Russia's losing many of its port facilities on the Baltic. "Discussions on whether to build additional port facilities, including for oil refining and oil pumping, began as far as 1992 ... A good deal of long and extensive work has been done with oil people, with our partners to keep them from feeling concern that Russia was departing from other countries, including the Baltic ones," the president said. On the other hand, Russia had to ensure its security and independence. The bulk of the work was done in the shortest time possible - instead of 40 months the port took 18 months to build at a very good technological level. Its construction, the head of state noted, was not cheap - costing almost half a billion US dollars.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election