Russia has firmly opted for freedom, democracy and market reforms, President Vladimir Putin said at a party in the official residence of Lord Mayor of the London City on Wednesday.
"Trade and economic relations to this day remain the best means of strengthening mutual understanding and friendship," said the Russian leader. "Today Russia views the European vector of development as a priority. We have firmly opted for freedom, democracy and market reforms. Russia today is an increasingly attractive partner for the business community."
Vladimir Putin recalled that 24 billion dollars fled Russia annually in the past three or four years. "But last year the sum dropped to 11 billion dollars," he said. And "last year, the volume of investments in Russia was larger than the sum of the flight capital, for the first time in the past few years."
"We are facing the task of developing the domestic stock market," he went on to say. "We will go over to the international bank accounting standards in 2004." At the same time, the president pointed out that "regrettably, common people are not well off so far." "But we are trying to pursue a substantiated economic policy and, acting on our economic possibilities, we are trying to plan for higher living standards. Since the beginning of this year, the real incomes of the population have grown by 14%," he said.
The president also noted the growth of understanding between the power departments and special services of Russia and Britain in the fight against terrorism, "which that had not happened before." "In this struggle, we must not lose what humankind has accumulated over decades. I mean international law, where the UN is playing the key role," Vladimir Putin said. "This system has served well in the past few decades and there is nothing to replace it. Its potential can be used to the full."
President Putin invited the guests to drink to the Lord Mayor and the Corporation of London.