Russian President Vladimir Putin has stood up in defence of Russian agricultural producers. Addressing the Presidium of the Central Council of the all-Russia public organization Russian Agrarian Movement during a meeting in the Kremlin, the president said protection of agricultural producers was especially important now that Russia was getting ready to become a member of the World Trade Organization.
Pointing out that Europe, the USA and the rest of Russia's foreign partners were "ardently protecting the interests of their commodity producers," Putin stressed that Russia, too, had to "work out its own strategy and tactics" and remember to protect the interests of the agroindustrial complex while negotiating for WTO membership.
At the same time, he warned that it wouldn't do to run to the opposite extreme: "Absence of competition and creation of artificial 'greenhouse' conditions for the agrarian sector won't take us anywhere." "Re-introduction of a system of ineffective grants will result in stagnation" and do nothing to develop the agrarian sector, he said.