Question: What was your impression of the meeting you had with leading Russian businessmen on July 28?
Vladimir Putin: I am satisfied with the results of the meeting. The main thing is that we could speak openly about the current situation in the economy and prospects for Russia’s development, including our desire to join the World Trade Organisation.
We agreed that such meetings would be held on a regular basis, and not only with the President, but with Government leaders. All participants in the current meeting pledged to prepare suggestions on the issues discussed. But the main outcome of the meeting, as I see it, is that it removed all speculation about a possible redistribution of property in Russia or an attack on business (small, medium-sized, or any other business).
I think our conversation was so convincing that no doubts were left as to our intentions. The Government is extremely interested in the development of Russian business and will support it in every possible way. Naturally – and I’d like to stress this – both the Government and businessmen will strictly obey the rules and act in accordance with the law.