Radio 1 (PGTRK /Pridnestrovian State Enterprise “The Russian Television and Radio Company”/): Yevgeny Vasilyevich, you have already touched on the foreign policy of Ukraine and Moldova. In this regard, I would like to ask a question. Apparently, Ukraine and Moldova do everything that the life of our country was more difficult. What can we oppose this with? Thank you!

Yevgeny Shevchuk: It is obvious for many citizens of the PMR that certain approaches that change in relations between Tiraspol and Kishinev, Tiraspol and Kiev entail consequences for the freedom of movement of citizens and also goods, economic entities. Of course, the economy and income suffers from that.

I remind one of the decisions of authorities of Ukraine made in June-August 2014, which imposed restrictions on the import of excise goods into the territory of Pridnestrovie, immediately resulted in a decrease in the revenue part of our budget by about $ 30 million. This amount is almost comparable with today’s debt to state employees. Here is a concrete result of the consequence of certain decisions that are reflected both on the economy and on the budget, and on the citizens of the PMR.

We are in a situation where the rules of foreign economic activity change and impact on the movement of citizens, where restrictions were imposed on the freedom of movement of citizens across the Moldovan-Ukrainian border. Today we know that there are problems and certain concerns about the freedom of movement of Pridnestrovian citizens moving in vehicles with Pridnestrovian plates already in 2016. We know about the protocols agreed between Moldova and Ukraine, connected with the possible placement of the customs authorities of the Republic of Moldova on the Pridnestrovian-Ukrainian border. We have already been aware of the decision taken on railway, which, in our opinion, will complicate the functioning of the Pridnestrovian economy. Much time could have been spent in enumerating the list of possible risks that entail consequences, primarily for economic actors.

We assess these steps as non-constructive, aimed at reducing Pridnestrovie’s capability to carry out its social functions by itself, primarily, the payment of pensions, salaries, etc. The actions can be not aimed deliberately, but their result really involves difficult consequences. So it is very important for us to build transparent relations both with Kishinev and Kiev, which would help to ensure that there would be fewer problems for economic actors, which can then hit the income of our citizens.

We believe that political problems should be separated from the economic ones. You cannot use the economy to suppress the economic potential in order to achieve political results. Today the impression is that they still try through these actions to undermine the economic basis of the PMR, to extend the sovereignty of Moldova to Pridnestrovie and to solve more global problems of settlement under the pressure of economic problems. I think it’s a wrong step, a wrong direction. Our history has already seen it, but we have faced for the first time the fact that Kishinev and Kiev act in the same way, following a common plan. This complicates our resource capabilities to respond to new challenges.

I hope that in 2016 - during Germany’s OSCE Chairmanship – we will succeed or we will take additional various efforts through political, diplomatic methods to reduce the risks of economic turbulence due to the new risks and conditions that Pridnestrovie will face in early 2016.

Vesti PMR News Agency: Yevgeny Vasilyevich, could you comment on your vision of the foreign trade situation around Pridnestrovie due to the fact that the European Union adopted new rules for trade and in connection with the situation that is developing on the Pridnestrovian-Ukrainian border area and generally around the state border of Pridnestrovie. Your vision for the next six months or a year.

Yevgeny Shevchuk: Thank you! Good thing, not for more, otherwise I would be probably an astrologer.

Firstly, the situation is developing from objective conditions that form the environment for the demand for Pridnestrovian goods, form the situation on raw materials markets for Pridnestrovian economic agents. It is clear to everyone.

In the first ten days of December this year we got information that the European Union took a unilateral decision that, at least gives reason to believe today that the terms of trade for Pridnestrovian economic agents in EU countries will not change.

What would have happened if, for example, the EU had used other approaches, which it had declared in March, April, September, when the representatives of European Commission’s leadership said that Pridnestrovie would live in 2016 in the new environment? What consequences would have been there? It is difficult to predict the consequences, but they would have been extremely severe. We could have lost about 46-48 per cent of the export market. Approximately ten thousand people could have lost their jobs. According to various estimates, it is approximately $ 30 to 50 million of revenue budgets.

In this situation, such decisions, consequences would have meant a serious and deep crisis for Pridnestrovie with the need to take any further emergency measures to manage the social sphere and economy. Therefore, those risks were considerable. To date we can say according to preliminary information the Pridnestrovian economy will function almost in the same regimes in 2016 in terms of tariff taxation when sending goods to the European market. This is the first positive signal. The second positive signal about which I can tell today publicly: as a result of interaction and consultation with our strategic partners from the Russian Federation there are serious reasons to believe that in January there will be additional incentives for those economic agents who will trade Pridnestrovian products on the Russian market. Why? Because of the devaluation of the Russian ruble a number of economic agents of Pridnestrovie, who traded with Russia, faced the situation where they were forced to drastically reduce the volume of trade on the Russian market. Today we have certain arrangements that in January we will be able further stimulate these companies to trade on the Russian market. Thus, we hope that there could be some progress in 2016. But here, I hasten to say: if there are no further problems with the non-tariff regulation measures, with railways, with permission documents so that Pridnestrovie will be able to provide the export of these products to these markets.

When in the economy there are a lot of “ifs”, when there are a lot of risks, it is necessary to understand that all these risks cost specific money and have to be compensated by something. At present there is no firm assurance what real regimes there will be for economic agents with the proviso that there are variable factors at the border. And this is one of the global problems for Pridnestrovie - the lack of information on the stable possibilities of functioning in foreign markets.

However, I want to note that, whatever the risks and whatever the challenges for state authorities, the most important thing for Pridnestrovie and society rise above the despondency, it is necessary to make decisions which should minimize problems. Definitely it is clear that the situation in the economy, in the opinion of many experts of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Moldova, and Pridnestrovie, and in the opinion of the state authorities of Pridnestrovie, will be more difficult than in 2015. Market instability demonstrates it primarily. And there is an understanding that the 2016 will be harder, if it’s God’s will, these predictions would not come true. Moreover, it should be understood that the number of problems increases, and resource capabilities are insignificant. 80 percent of the problems cannot be solved by 20 percent of resources.

The 2016 will determine the need for additional measures aimed to stabilize the socio-economic situation in the republic and maintain the functioning of economic agents.

The Semya newspaper (Family): Yevgeny Vasilyevich, we express you our support for the restoration of justice in the republic. We are all families with many children of our organization, as well as participants of the conference held recently, on Saturday, the conference of public organizations of patriotic kind. We express you our support in the fight for justice.

I have two questions. The first question. The executive branch of the government represented by the government forms the budget. We know that the budget is very complicated for the 2016. But I do not understand why people have formed the opinion that only the executive branch is responsible for what is done in the state? My understanding like a common man is that: the Supreme Council looks for sources of financing of the arrears, which exist for next year, and the responsibility falls only on the government. I think it is necessary to inform the population that all branches of government are responsible. And you as the arbiter over all branches of government watch how these branches operate.

And the second question concerns the media. I would like to draw your attention that especially lately a commercial channel like the TSV channel perceives all your positive things happening in the country very critically. I'll tell you honestly, they constantly disgrace you. I understand the freedom of expression, which must be present in the country. But it is not the freedom of expression, it is permissiveness. Are you going to influence the media in some way in the near future in establishing order, including on the state television? Unfortunately, the state television is toothless today, and I do not see any state ideology there. If the TSV is critical, the PMR TV channel shows everything in an neutral way.

Finally. I would like to make an appointment with you, because I could not do it until now. Thank you very much.

Yevgeny Shevchuk: Thank you! Certainly, I must to receive you as a citizen of the PMR. We will receive.

There are many questions. I will try to answer briefly. First, indeed, in accordance with the Constitution the socio-economic environment in the republic is regulated at two levels - legislative and sublegislative. The Supreme Council is the legislative level. Adoption of the law determines the fundamental principles of taxation, and all taxes are approved by laws rather than president’s decrees and government’s decisions. And second. The legislative body approves the government’s drafts and proposals on budgets, expenditures of the state. As I understood your question, it probably comes from the last stage of already passed election campaign, when there really was an attempt, and in my opinion, successful, to turn the focus of attention for the social and economic situation to the president or only to the government. But that was undertaken for the purpose of election campaign, to achieve a political result – to get into the legislative body of the government. And it is far from the actual functional responsibilities of legislators and the government. I remind that the budget is a derivative of the economic situation in the country, reflecting the state of economic entities, actually received by the state taxes and the expenditures that should be performed to carry out state functions. Given the fact that the regulation of these processes is realized fundamentally by legislative acts, it is simply wrong to turn the responsibility to only one body - whether the government or the Supreme Council. The formation of fundamental conditions that are manifested as a result in specific revenue - it is the consolidated responsibility of both branches of power. It is clear that both the legislative body and executive body are not responsible and cannot be fully responsible for the external environment: the prices in the international markets - this is an objective situation, this is different, but also a factor affecting the environment. And it must be understood. When during the political struggle, whether in elections, whether at meetings with voters representatives of state authorities bodies often provide false information, then it certainly does not serve to strengthen and develop the Pridnestrovian state. When, conditionally speaking, the problems are placed on other people’s shoulders, some are good - some are bad ... It serves to split the efforts of state authorities. And the state policy is interested in the realization of unity of the implementation of state functions and efforts through the effective mechanism. We have concrete examples of 2015, which indicate that even legislators adopted the conditions under which initially when adopting the budget social budget items were not provided with the necessary income. That is, the budget was adopted following the common way with a budget deficit of about 550 million rubles. Sources of funding for those purposes were not budgeted. If there are no sources of funding, then how executive authorities can finance these costs? Those who more or less clearly understand it, separate the populism and the real situation. But when trying to thrust the opinion upon a certain group of the population, which does not know these details, that, for example, there were delays in pensions only due to the fact that the government or the president wanted it, then these are elements of the unscrupulous policy, these are often elements of an outright lie. It does not meet Pridnestrovie’s interests and it is not in conformity with the fact that there would be such approaches in state executive and administrative bodies.

As for other media. In Pridnestrovie there are state media and a commercial channel. Everyone understands well even assessing the situation not only in the republic, but also how the media work in other, even the most democratic countries in Europe, in the United States: commercial media operate with a certain ideological message, which is often formed by those who are involved in financing these media. Everything is clear: who orders, who pays, form ideological messages. I do not offend any media. These are just the principles that really are the basis for formation of an ideological agenda of media. Some of the founders of the media have goals to reflect objectivity, the commercial media have this too. Some, like it was happened and is happening in other countries, have other purposes - fitting elections, the destruction of a state. Therefore, we, the citizens of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, have to learn to separate in the entire volume of information the alien, the ordered from the real. That is to analyze more on the basis of all the information, which comes not only from the media, but what we see with our own eyes, in order not to be taken in by the information trick.

As for Pridnestrovie, I think state authorities’ approaches to media are really democratic. And you saw, during the election campaign as well, that everyone who wanted to say – said whatever they wanted. Whether the president, the authorities liked it or not. You had the opportunity to make sure that the level of accessibility, in particular, to the state media, was quite high. The state channels provided the opportunity to speak both for those candidates who, conditionally speaking, supported the president or the state’s efforts on the whole, and for those candidates who did not support and were opponents to any extent. And we saw how everyone expressed their views calmly and freely on the state television. On the commercial channel, we watched other approaches, when, in my opinion, other candidates were not been allowed selectively or were not invited.

The second point. The level of democracy, the attitude of media to authorities. The following fact is illustrative: when the press service of the president asked, for example, the TSV channel to broadcast the President’s address to the people, and the commercial channel informed the press service of the president that it had no possibility. This indicates that the commercial media can indeed form their ideological agenda by themselves without the influence of state authorities. One can argue now whether it is good or bad, but it's still a tool to ensure the real freedom of speech. Unfortunately, with this freedom of speech many hidden, concealed factors operate, when it is clear that a number of politicians begin to work in the ordered line, towards certain theses. Elections come - political commitment change to suit to the elections. A political leader had some approaches earlier, relatively speaking, quite another approaches are activated before the elections. It is inherent in human nature, when people - not all, but some – for a number of reasons, including the material ones, change their principles and approaches, opinions about one or another events. Therefore, in the society there is a different spectrum of people, different opinions, citizens with different cultures, education, attitude, even with different power of love for their country.

Those - in media, public organizations, government - who love their country will not lie to citizens, will not distort the real situation. And those who do not love, as people say, they couldn’t care less, they will do anything for money: they will dance, as people say sometimes, at the funeral as well. The election campaign has also showed it.

I emphasize: I do not denounce anyone, but I have my opinion as a citizen of Pridnestrovie about the events that took place and that I witnessed. I am concerned as Head of State that one deliberately tries to run the additional mechanism of negativity in people, when the basest qualities are singled out and used. And this factor destabilizing many internal components of the population destabilizes the republic itself. For example, over the last six months or a year the majority of projects that the government, the presidential administration were implementing, were described in a negative way or they are unnoticed at all. They notice that during a certain period of time pensions were paid partially, and on the other hand they do not notice that we have a stable currency. I’m asking everyone a rhetorical question: “Name a CIS country, which did not devalue the national currency in 2014-2015?” Look what is happening in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine.

And the fact that we have protected, first of all, those citizens with low incomes and pensioners, and those receiving benefits, receiving salaries from the budget, etc. is not the result of some efforts, is it? And what do we have? We have something that is inherent in political campaigns in the other countries - it is not new for us, it is inherent in many countries - when populism, certain promises were in demand and were a stepping stone or a basis for getting to power structures. During the election campaign, for example, I liked the slogans that said “if you elect us, we will pay you the 13th pension”. And there were like this one: “If you elect us, we will intimidate the president, and then he will pay pensions”. Therefore, I take this opportunity to ask, first of all, the citizens of the PMR to assess more carefully the spreading information that exists in media and Internet. Mainly they have specific goals aimed at protecting certain economic, primarily, and political interests of different circles: or of those who started to pay more taxes as a result of decisions taken, but they, maybe, do not like it, or of those who were removed from power once and moved to another job, or of those who simply try to impose the ideology of destruction on society. And the ideology of destruction is that we do not see anything positive, we take the negative as a major factor, we say that everything is bad, everything is lost, we do not say how to fix it, and come to the results, which, unfortunately, exist, for example, in Ukraine.

Even so the Pridnestrovian society, the Pridnestrovian state has resisted even on the eve of the election campaign, during the period of such openness, of media accessibility.

In spite of that, those who lied, who deceived in the elections, provided this lying and broadcast the inaccurate information – they will still answer. They will answer, first of all, to God.

The authorities have done everything right in terms of the strategy: they allowed the society to look and see who and how behave. And, certainly, we will be able in the near future to see the results of the discussion of new individuals in the political arena, the results of their work. And all this is interdependent. I want to stress once again that I do not condemn anyone, do not blame anyone: some have such work, for others – it is a tool to achieve their certain goals. But, unfortunately, declared goals, objectives and ways to get to power structures do not correspond and contradict sometimes here. The difference between words and results is big.

And finally I want to say that the election campaign passed, but, in my opinion, there were little specific programmes and proposals to fix the situation. There was not much substantive discussion on what to do and how to do, which could be seen in figures. And that's bad. But the state is developing, and now this is history. I think we all will learn lessons: in the work of media and state authorities. We go forward, life does not stop: the state like the child's body will come down with these diseases, and then we will be healthy.

Novosti Pridnestrovya News Agency (PGTRK): I have a few questions, if I may. The first one: over the past four years, compared with previous periods of our country’s development, real changes in the areas of health, education, development of cities and regions, repair of schools and kindergartens are obvious. What is the secret of such transformations?

The second question: we have already touched on the economy a little bit. It is obvious that Pridnestrovie need to diversify the economy, to create new kinds of production, development of services. What areas can become points of growth of the economy?

And one more question about the devaluation. Will the course of the state towards maintaining the ruble’s rate continue or will we follow the path of the economy of neighbouring countries?

Yevgeny Shevchuk: Thank you! As for kindergartens, schools, medical facilities. I have already talked partly about it in my opening speech. The State should determine for itself the priorities to be implemented in the form of specific programmes. One of the functions of the state is the health of the nation, the other - education. This is the fundamental basis for the formation of living environment of Pridnestrovian citizens.

Of course, I read on the Internet, hear the statements of some deputies of different levels, that it is not necessary to build hospitals, we do not need medical equipment. In other words, raise our pensions, salaries and so on. But I assume the other. You can eat through everything. But all states which consider themselves as states, they should not only consume, but also form the basis for future generations, the basis for a decent standard of health care and education. This is a contribution to the future. Certainly, education and medicine are the contribution to the future!

I remind you, the situation was simply critical in some areas of health care system. 96 babies were saved. And why were they saved? Because certain works were carried out to assess the situation in that area. And it became clear that because our doctors do not have basic and at times expensive equipment - and there are, by the way, few medical professionals here- there is no opportunity to save human lives. There were situations here in which people with certain forms of pneumonia died due to lack of an artificial lungs ventilation machine. Because we did not have that equipment. And exactly the same in maternity wards. Therefore, the state should step its efforts up, to reorient resources to save even one human life. And if it is a matter of tens of saved human lives? I'm sure it will be a matter of hundreds in a year, and in three or four years - of thousands of lives saved. And these are people’s destinies! And not only of those who survived, but the destinies of their loved ones! That is why the state policy should be directed to the fundamentals that ensuring life of Pridnestrovian citizens.

Given this, the president of Pridnestrovie identified the areas of health and education as a priority since 2012, which the president takes into account during his tenure as president. The situation is changing. Those who do not see these facts, who do not notice them, they just do not see the obvious. Basically, the situation in these sectors changes not by taxes, the economy of Pridnestrovie, but due to the fact that we have the opportunity to realize the project of our friends from the Russian Federation, due to the fact that we have the opportunity on the basis of personal contacts to attract funds of various businessmen, including from Russia, and invest them in municipal government institutions. Not in the business, I stress, but in the state municipal institutions that perform state municipal functions. For example, a school is a municipal institution.

You will find examples in the Odessa Oblast, in Moldavia, where such quantity of repairs were carried out in such a short period of time in schools, village first-aid stations, in the regions in general, rural areas. I remind you that the programme “Priority” of this year has handled 116 sites. Some of them have not yet been completed, but due to the weather repairs are underway.

Who chooses what priorities. Of course, one could argue that the money should be sent to the other areas. But I believe that the president of Pridnestrovie made the right decision and, consequently, orders were given to the government to make further efforts in those sectors.

Let me remind you that the education sector has also received new textbooks - and it is half a million new books for Russian schools with new programmes. 80 schools were covered by repair of varying degrees this year. This is an unprecedented scope of investment. And I know that it has already produced results today and will give the result in the near future to doctors, teachers and children, patients. In strategic terms, it will create the conditions under which our citizens will live longer, be healthier, will be able to provide for themselves here in Pridnestrovie.

There is a tendency, when due to the increase of equipment of health care facilities, fewer our citizens go to Odessa and Kishinev, because they have the opportunity to get these services here - in their homeland. This is also a very important achievement of the four-year period. Of course, there are problems in these sectors, we know about them. But it is impossible to deny what is happening, because it is obvious.

As for new growth points. There is more “verbiage” around these points of growth than a real economic analysis. Creating or providing new points of growth requires resources. Those resources that are available to Pridnestrovie are actually involved today in its entirety in order to maintain economic activity. I remind, our taxation is rather liberal, democratic. Over 50 percent of income tax returns to citizens, that is not taxed in fact.

The government adopted a series of incentive-based solutions when considering external market conditions energy costs were reduced and additional incentives for domestic producers were created. Such tools can be effective in the case where the business will be competitive in terms of its ideology, flexibility in domestic and foreign markets. More than 90 percent of economic potential are in private hands here. The government creates only a certain shell. I hope that they together with legislators will develop new anti-crisis proposals, which will be able to show the points of growth that may still exist, but they were not obvious and were not connected to the activation of economic processes.

With regard to the devaluation. These issues are the government and parliament’s competence. At the same time the main macroeconomic parameters, socio-economic indicators are the focus of attention of the president, and they will remain so.

With regard to the devaluation of the national currency. Certainly, there are different points of view on this situation. We know that a number of economic agents, also at the meeting with the president, repeatedly expressed the need for devaluation of Pridnestrovian currency in order to increase their competitiveness in foreign markets. We know how problems are solved in the states, when there are not enough tax resources, there is a need in the payment of pensions, salaries, etc. It is often easily solved by the devaluation of national currency. And we all know it. There is a need to show the political will here in order to hold the taken position firmly.

I want to say that there will not be any changes as for the 2015. As for the 2016, no one really can predict the impact of external factors, on which many economic components depend today, including our potential to maintain the national currency. To cooperate fully in order to continue to maintain the national currency will be the main focus. But we should be objective, reasonable and understand that this will depend on many components of the outer perimeter in 2016. We must strive to make the impossible, but still there are certain laws in the economy, certain imbalances that cannot be eliminated by only a desire. Therefore, additional efforts will be made, and time will show results.

Source: website of the president of the PMR