Yevgeny Shevchuk: Dear journalists, I want to welcome you and thank you for taking time and opportunity for our regular meeting. I take this opportunity to congratulate the Pridnestrovian people, the citizens of Pridnestrovie on the fact that it was on this day in 1995 when a referendum was held as a result of which the version of the current Constitution of the PMR was approved. This is of particular importance for Pridnestrovie, because the basic postulates of government system were approved by the people in that referendum. I propose to go directly to the questions that the media representatives are interested in. 

Reuters News Agency: As may be seen from the statements made by senior Ukrainian officials, the actions by current Ukrainian authorities, such as digging trenches, tightening the regime of crossing of the part of the Pridnestrovian - Ukrainian border, today's Ukraine, the Ukrainian authorities see Pridnestrovie as a kind of threat. Does Pridnestrovie see Ukraine as a threat, and what kinds of threats from Ukraine are expected? Thank you!

Yevgeny Shevchuk: As is known, Ukraine is a guarantor country in the negotiations and peaceful settlement. It is very important for us what is happening in Ukraine, in the neighbouring country, with which we have relationship, economic ties. It developed over the centuries. Pridnestrovians treated and treat Ukraine friendly. The fact that certain political forces in Ukraine, who have original vision of relations with Pridnestrovie, came to power, of course, is for us quite a serious problem, because we feel not only the information pressure through spreading mainly in the Ukrainian media misinformation related to the possible so-called war risks. Concrete restrictions are directed against Pridnestrovie. These are primarily restrictions against the Russian citizens living in Pridnestrovie. We once believed that those restrictions would be applied due to some circumstances for a short period of time. However, we see that the situation has not changed. Restrictions are imposed on a fairly long period to certain categories of Pridnestrovians who have Russian citizenship. Advisors to the President of the PMR received the relevant documents. The documents state that they are not allowed to enter the territory of Ukraine for 2-3 years. This, in my opinion, demonstrates certain aggressiveness towards Pridnestrovie. I mean the last statements. Although they were repeated with some frequency over the past 6-8 months.

Ukraine began additional restrictive measures against the Pridnestrovian economy. From 20 or 25 August this year restrictions on imports, in particular, of excise goods in the PMR were introduced. There is a problem with the restriction of railway communication on the station Slobodka in Pridnestrovie –export mode. And they began to operate recently. We also know that the consultations between Ukraine and Moldova are held regularly, I mean the public authorities, on how actually to expand the Moldovan legislation in Pridnestrovie through Ukraine outside the negotiation process. These actions, in our opinion, are not constructive. The problem cannot be solved through provoking tensions - it can only become worse. In this regard, we have always openly stood for good neighborly relations. We have never showed any aggression towards Moldova or Ukraine. We have not concentrated armed forces on the border of the PMR. However, there is something else: the representatives of the power ministries of Ukraine declare certain military threat that is simply a lie. Why it is done, it is difficult to say. Some experts suggest that to be on the territory of Ukraine, closer to the Pridnestrovian border, is much safer than near Donetsk. Others suggest that it is necessary to write off a certain amount of money in the budget of Ukraine. This is the right of Ukraine to concentrate some armed groups on its territory, but they thus definitely demonstrate aggressive actions.

I hope that it will take a little more time, when the objective situation in Ukraine itself on the Pridnestrovian-Ukrainian border gives reason to believe that the war risks and threats to Ukraine from Pridnestrovie do not exist. Thus, when the Ukrainian media constantly discussed this topic, in my opinion, it has clearly contract character. These media do not have an alternative opinion so that Ukrainian citizens can analyze what is really happening. As is known, Ukrainian, Russian media are broadcasted in Pridnetrovie, different from Ukraine. European media are also represented in the television package. Pridnestrovian citizens have the opportunity to compare information messages and draw appropriate conclusions. In my opinion, the Ukrainian media do not have insufficiently reliable information about what is happening.

Regarding economic issues. We have already felt the effects of the restrictions imposed since August: there are losses on customs duties, excise taxes caused by unilateral unilateral actions of Ukraine. We believe that the attempts of some officials in Ukraine to ignore the fact that there is Pridnestrovie run counter to the documents of the negotiation process, which clearly set out how Kishinev and Tiraspol, the guarantor countries or parties to the negotiation process should act. Let me remind you one of these postulates: any decisions of Moldova on matters affecting the interests of Pridnestrovie in the international arena should be taken with the consent of the parties that is with the consent of Tiraspol and Kishinev. However, we clearly see that since 2003, 2004, 2006 Kishinev has taken a different position, which is certainly contrary to the documents of the negotiation process. I think that it is necessary for a constructive dialogue to move away from various cliches and charges which have no relevant substance behind. Then we can look for win-win solutions for stability in this region of Europe.

ITAR-TASS Russian News Agency: Yevgeny Vasilievich, Pridnestrovie and Russia have an extensive programme of cooperation in economy, culture, and the humanitarian sphere. How does the policy of sanctions against Russia impact on the implementation of these programmes? Have you felt it firsthand? And if there are some difficulties, how are you going to overcome them?

Yevgeny Shevchuk: Thank you! There are objective economic difficulties which were brought by the world economic instability and sanctions policy, in our view, also illegal under international law. We all know what, unfortunately, was happening with the rate of the national currency in the Russian Federation. Economic agents that export or have exported products to Russia, suffered losses on a number of transactions. This is due to the fact that the refund was identified under contracts at a later period. We feel the effects not only of the situation in the Russian Federation, but also in Ukraine, Moldova. There is the instability of the currencies, demand on markets, and drop in business activity. The effects will be felt much more in the next 3-4 months. In connection with these problems a number of industrial enterprises have already scaled back production output, some are on the verge of stopping, others have lost to 50% of the market. Of course, it will hit the tax and employment.

As for social projects and programmes that are being implemented in Pridnestrovie by Russia’s NGO “Eurasian integration”. You know that the project continues. And we look forward to its successful completion within the target dates that have been previously defined.

The Dobry Den Newspaper: The official information recently appeared that the state was able to start in Bendery three companies that previously had belonged to bankrupt firms, which had had a multimillion debt. Can Rybnitsa hope that the state will help to get back at least two companies such as Dairy Plant and Pumping Plant on their feet? If lack of mutual understanding with the owners prevents it, then have the authorities a possibility to return the enterprises to the state ownership, as in the case of Rybnitsa’s Bread-Making Plant, for example? Thank you!

Yevgeny Shevchuk: Firstly, I want to emphasize that we do not face the task of returning previously privatized enterprises to the state ownership. The situation varies between Bendery and Rybnitsa companies that you named. The point is this. Basically, a number of companies was returned to state control due to the fact that in the period up to 2011 the banking system of Pridnestrovie, the former Gazprombank, Savings Bank issued unsecured loans for the whole group of companies. A serious amount of money - about 70 million dollars – was transported outside the country. When those issues became clear, we tried to get the money back, but they were already transferred outside Pridnestrovie. We had no choice but to seize the property under state control in partial compensation of disposed financial resources.

Concerning the Dairy and Pumping Plant in Rybnitsa. They were privatized in accordance with existing legislation. They have owners, and all risks in productive activities in accordance with the Civil Code and the Constitution are on the owners. The state is interested that these companies work successfully. In this regard, the state supports enterprises of the PMR. The amount of support is significant. I will name only a few figures. In accordance with the tax legislation, the support for various tax benefits for a year amounted more than a billion rubles, the amount of support for the provision of energy is lower than the real cost - about 3.5 billion rubles. That is, it is about 4.5 billion rubles of state support for various enterprises and individuals, for those who earn incomes on the territory of the PMR. The amount of support is even higher than the tax payments. It is necessary to invest resources in order to develop the enterprise. Simply removing the company and leaving it in the same position without resources will mean that it will not be effective. Therefore, the Government in 2014 initiated a draft bill which now operates as a law, and which provides an opportunity to discuss joint efforts of both the owner and the public authorities towards the revitalization of business activity in any enterprise. If the owner will provide a bailout plan for an enterprise, the Government will defend these proposals on mutual conditions and is able to assist. The practice when benefits were provided to all without exception, without monitoring the effectiveness of those benefits in specific enterprises, is flawed.

Of course, it is regrettable that one of the flagships of the Pridnestrovian industry – Rybnitsa’s Pumping Plant – has virtually ceased to exist. As you know, the majority of fixed assets were sold there, part of the territory is sold off. There are serious wage arrears.

The state has enough tools to impact on property owners in order to induce them to a greater involvement of investment funds to enhance production. The government offered a number of options. I remind you, it was a tax on the property of legal entities so that all property in the territory of the PMR, which was not involved in the economic cycle, not only be taxed, but also spurred owners in the need to involve all the property in the production cycle, generate revenues. Unfortunately, the issues on the change of the inefficient owner in the PMR’s law have still not been resolved. The draft proposal of the Government was not accepted, but also other proposals were not incorporated in the legislation of Pridnestrovie. There is a serious gap in economic policy, which should be tied to the effectiveness of any enterprise.

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