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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  February 15, 2021 4:30am-5:01am GMT

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supporters of russia's jailed opposition leader, alexei navalny, have held short valentine's day torchlight protests across the country, using their mobile phones or candles. they posted photos under the hashtag �*love is stronger than fear�*. a human rights monitor says several people had been detained. the duke and duchess of sussex have announced they're expecting their second child later this year. a spokesperson for harry and meghan said the couple is overjoyed, and looking forward to the arrival of a little brother or sister for their first son, archie. that's all from me for tonight. now on bbc news, it's hardtalk with stephen sackur. welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur. right now, the world is seeing two sides of vladimir putin's russia. the one he wants you to see is the scientifically advanced nation offering the world an effective covid vaccine known as sputnik v.
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the one he'd rather you ignore is the repressive, authoritarian state that ruthlessly eliminates those who threaten the status quo. my guest today is kirill dmitriev — a putin ally, the boss of one of russia's sovereign wealth funds and a key backer of the russian vaccine. is russia ripe for change? kirill dmitriev in moscow,
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welcome to hardtalk. thank you, stephen. let us start with the project which has occupied so much of your time and energy in recent months. that is the development of the sputnik v vaccine, which your investment fund has effectively financed. how satisfied are you with what you've achieved? well, i think we really created a vaccine for humankind and we actually call it the sputnik v, not sputnik five and that is just one of the smallest misunderstandings that we've seen in the history of the vaccine, because it is recognised, including the lancet publication, as having one of the most efficient vaccines in the world — with efficacy more than 90%. that's a safe vaccine based on human viral vector and being able to be stored at refrigerator — ordinary refrigerator — temperature, which makes it very easy for logistics as well as being very affordable, so we are very pleased, and the world, we understand,
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is pleased as well. you worked with the gamaleya institute and their scientists have clearly worked very hard on this, but what the world hasn't really seen is full transparency — all of the research data going back to last summer and before when you began the trial work. why will you not be fully transparent with your data? well, stephen, of course, that's a loaded question and the question is completely incorrect. so, we showed complete transparency with the data. lancet publication, which has been peer reviewed by five of the greatest scientists, and the articles that have been coming out from the lancet publication, including such publications that really are not big fans of russia — washington post, the new york times and others — are incredibly positive, so russia have been incredibly as part of the transparency we're actually transferring our technology to other countries to produce the vaccine.
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we also have done clinical trials in uae, india, belarus and venezuela, so complete transparency on our side and lack of transparency is the fake storytelling that we've seen so much west trying to do about the russian vaccine. well, i do not mean for one second to belittle the achievement here, because, as you say, the latest research from the lancet and others suggest that your vaccine, sputnik v, is highly efficient, but there is a legacy issue with the way you rolled it out. there are many senior scientists who've looked at your work and who really worry that in russia you registered and then certified this vaccine for human use when you were still in phase one trials. now, in most of the rest of the world, that simply couldn't and wouldn't happen, and it has left a residue of mistrust in many scientists�* minds. would you at least acknowledge that?
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no, definitely not. and first of all, you know, there is lots of myth around the vaccine. right now, for example, none of the vaccines finished phase three trials. moderna and pfizer will only finish phase three trials in 2022 and 2023, and now there are no doubts of scientific minds — and you can go to our twitter account to see all of the scientists really rave about the great results of our vaccine, including in the fight against mutation. but what really we had initially not recognised is that our vaccine has been built on a very safe human adenoviral vector that has been studied for decades and we knew it's a light flu virus. us soldiers get it from 1971 in the us army. so we knew it's a very safe technology and that allowed us to authorise it in august and start saving people in september and october
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and other countries followed, so us and britain also registered their vaccines before phase three studies have been completed even though their vaccines are based on a much more novel and less—proven technology. yeah, but without getting too technical, you're talking about phase three trials not being completed. i'm talking about you giving this certification and beginning its use when you were still at the end of phase one. now, robin shattock, who's a highly—respected leader of the vaccine team at imperial college in london, said, "russia granted a licence based on phase one data. "it wouldn't have been done anywhere else in the world, "and their trial process wasn't even close to amassing important data, "clearing key milestones that would have been the prerequisite "for emergency use in almost all other countries." stephen, so, i'll correct you right here. so, first of all, it wasn't after phase one. it was after phase one and two. and, secondly, you actually
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have to look into the details. so you have astrazeneca — they did phase two of 1,000 people and there was some argument we only did that on 100 people, but then if you look at how many people have actually received two components of astrazeneca vaccine, you're actually down to fewer than 100 people, so there is no question right now and you just need to read the washington post and other major publications. you can just go to bloomberg, that says sputnik vaccine is the favourite of vaccines right now, and one of so i'lljust leave it there. you can go to our twitter to read what other scientists say, or you canjust refer to bloomberg, who calls our vaccine really the favourite among all of the vaccines right now. right, i guess more important than any analysis from outside is what russians themselves think, and there is some evidence that russians are still somewhat sceptical about your vaccine.
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i'm going to quote to you yevgeny timakov — a doctor, a moscow—based infectious disease specialist. he said, a month or so ago, he said, "people are worried "because they don't understand how this vaccine is made. "they see a lot of controversy about it in the media "and most of my patients..." — and admittedly this is more than a month ago — but he said, "most of my patients, about 80%, do want to get vaccinated "but only 20% are ready to do it right now. " what did you make of that scepticism? yes, stephen, i think we have some vaccine scepticism all over the world because, you know, there are vaccine sceptics everywhere. i think some of the vaccine scepticism in russia has been specifically fostered by this really fake storytelling that you're referring to to try to really malign the russian vaccine in the beginning, but i think really a turning point has been the lancet article and really great support we received from the lancet, which turned
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out to be not only a great scientific publication, but a great diplomatic publication, and they showed that rather than fight with one another let us build bridges with one another. so, there is no question that lancet publication has answered all of the questions that maybe have been answered months ago and we really are in the pole position as one of the best vaccines, because not only is it one of the safest and most efficient and, by the way, we offered our help to astrazeneca and other vaccines, who have efficacy below 90%, to increase their efficacy, but also its one of the most affordable vaccines of the world, so rather than being focused on some of these negative stories of the past, we should look forward to sputnik v being available in 2a countries that already have registered sputnik v for use right now and many more in the months to come. well, that raises a very interesting point, because you said before the end of last year that you hoped that you could produce, in russia, something like 20 to 30 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year.
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as i understand it, you were not able to get anywhere close to that figure, so, as now, you say, many countries around the world want to share the sputnik v vaccine, have you managed to ramp up production? where are you at now? sure, stephen, and you've seen that all of the vaccine manufacturers... pretty much there is no vaccine manufacturer in the world that didn't have some delays because it's a very complicated supply system and basically it is not really used to have to produce billions of doses right away, so we are in very good shape in russia, where we are producing vaccine in four different plants, and we built a huge network of foreign plants in india, brazil, china, korea that will be producing vaccine for us, so we expect to be able to cover 700 million people this year with sputnik v vaccine. now, you obviously see this as a good news story and, frankly, the world sees it as a good news story
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because we need to get as many effective vaccines to the world's population as quickly as possible, but your wider role is to run one of russia's biggest sovereign wealth funds worth, i think, at least $10 billion us right now. you need to convince the world that russia is a stable, rules—based, open economy and political system to encourage foreign investors to join forces with your fund. are you confident that that is the way russia looks to the outside world today? well, we have been able to do itjust as we were able to do the vaccine, just as we were able to do some of the best tests and the drug against covid. we have more than 20 partners around the world who are top sovereign wealth funds and largest investment institutions in the world. we've come together, we made more than 80
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investments in russia, deploying more than $20 billion, and we generated returns in excess of those that are received in other markets, so it's basically around 14% to 15% return a year. back in 2013, you said, "russia does face challenges — "bureaucracy and corruption. "the government is trying to solve these problems." well, eight years on, you are nowhere near solving these problems. indeed, corruption would appear to be a bigger problem than ever before. well, stephen, ithink you are right to the extent that all of us go to different forums, davos forum and other forums, and you expect the world to become better every year and, as you see around yourself, there are problems, you know, not only in russia, but in many other countries in europe, in uk, and each country needs to overcome some of the difficulties. and i think russia is working on this.
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we at the fund are bringing best corporate practices from our top investment institutions around the world, so we invest in the new economy, we are giving jobs to younger people, to have them do interesting jobs, so we do our part to foster good investment environment, to foster, you know, really good ethical practices for investments in russia, and everybody has to do what they can do. so this is what we are doing from our side. before we get to the politics of this, just a word on how you think majorforeign investors are going to look at one particular case going through the russian courts right now — the case of michael calvey, a major american investor in moscow who's currently facing charges of criminal embezzlement that could carry with it a ten—year sentence in prison. it is a case that has shocked and frightened many businesspeople in moscow. are you concerned that this case, off the back of many
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years and many other cases — i could mention khodorkovsky, i could mention bill browder, i could mention many others — are you worried that the business and investment climate in your country today still looks deeply negative to outsiders? stephen, so i was actually one of the first people to condemn this case of michael calvey. i spoke up about eight hours after his arrest, the minute i found out about this. i know him as a highly ethical individual. his fund is one of the best investment funds in russia. since the development, we have continued to do investments with his fund. and i met with him as soon as he was released from his sentence and i believe him to be a highly ethical person, and i've been very vocal about this. forgive me, he hasn't... unless i'm misunderstanding, he hasn't been released from his sentence. he's still facing these very serious charges. he was just released
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from detention, but he still faces these charges. that sends a very negative message. well, i've been vocal about my support to my colleague and i continue to do so, and we need to have courts work through their system. and i am not the russian court, but i've been very vocal to say that mike is a very ethical person and he had been a great, you know, invest in russia, and i'm confident that, you know, he will go forward. and we talked about this — he actually will continue to invest in russia. and i believe he is a great man. this isn't just about foreign investors looking at the fate of foreigners. it's about foreign investors looking at the overall climate in russia. what do you, yourself, personally make of the sight of alexei navalny, who hasjust survived an assassination attempt by novichok nerve agent, being forced into a russian courtroom, facing some trumped—up charges, being convicted and locked up for 3.5 years,
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all because he is an anti—corruption campaigner and has revealed the truth about the endemic corruption going to the very top of your government? what do you make of that? well, stephen, first of all, we really stay away from politics because we are not a political entity, we're an investment fund, and we do the best we can, which is develop one of the world's best vaccines. this is about the state of your nation. are you telling me you look at what has happened to navalny, the attempted murder, the locking up for 3.5 years, the statements he made from the courtroom saying, "this is all about one man trying to impose fear on millions of russians," you look at all of that and you have no feelings about it whatsoever? well, a feeling i have is that there is no question the majority of russian people support fully president putin, and they support him because he really took russia from very shattered economic condition — and russia has had some of the highest growth in economy — and really
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restored its industry, and he has done lots of great things. so there is no question that majority of the people support president putin. it's confirmed by all of the position polls as well. do you think they also support... but... hang on. ..staying away from politics. well, you can't stay away... you cannot use politics... let me finish, please. you cannot use politics to tarnish everything russian. do you think... we, for example, have the best vaccine and it has nothing to do with politics, so always trying to put russia in black colours, always trying to tarnish russian reputation, always trying to say, "don't go russian, "don't take russian, don't go to russia," is just wrong. it's not good for the west to do this. people who went, for example, to see our soccer championship have been fearful because they get all this western propaganda, but when they came to russia, they saw friendly people, great people, very friendly, theirfamilies, etc. so russia is not black.
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russia is a positive place. mr dmitriev, let me get a word in. this has nothing to do with my feelings or other western people's feelings about russia. this is about what russian people make of their own government. alexei navalny released that video, which showed a vast palace on the black sea worth, it seems, $1 billion, which he says was built with oligarchs�* money for president putin. now, it's not a question of what i make of that — it's a question of what more than 20 million russians who have watched that video online make of it. do you think russians are prepared to live in a system which, to so many of them, looks deeply corrupt? stephen, i already told you, the west needs to learn to really understand russia the way it is and not try to paint it black. i think we all have to recognise the great russian economic recovery from the fall of the soviet union that
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has taken place. we have to be honest, the majority of the russians strongly and unequivocally support president putin, and that's just a reality. and west needs to learn to live with this reality and find areas to work together with russia, such as health care, such as fighting terrorism, and this is where the focus of efforts should be, because if we always have negative attitude to russia, it doesn't lead to any compromises, doesn't lead to any solution, and, frankly, makes situation much worse. so we are the force for partnership, and we are the force to really have a realistic view, and the realistic view is that majority of people definitely support president putin very strongly. just one point of detail, which is important as we are discussing the way russia works today — the russian investigative website istories has linked you directly with vladimir putin's daughter and the man who is believed to have been,
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if not now, was her husband. now, he is one of russia's richest men, you had a close relationship with him going back to 2012, 2013, and the istories website says that there is an email trail showing that you shared confidential information with him about certain companies, which could have made him a vast amount of money. is that true? of course it's not true. it's one of the thousands of fake stories that try to go into fake storytelling about russia. nothing confidential has ever been shared. if there are confidential documents that we are sending to our investors, it is for them to consider this information and not to share it with anybody else. so we are inundated with fake news, fake storytelling, and russian vaccine is the perfect example,
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so west was willing to throw it away, to really not consider it, even though it now agrees it's one of the best vaccines in the world. and we need to learn from this example — to think about other fake storytelling that's being told and really recognise it as such. so this is a fake story to do fake storytelling. let us look to the future, then. and we now have a new us president. we know from the mueller report and other reporting that you were, in effect, an envoy that was trying, at the beginning of the trump administration, to reach out to donald trump and some of his allies to establish a warmer relationship between russia and the united states. well, trump's gone now, president biden is in office, and we know that president biden has a much more negative view of vladimir putin. i'lljust quote to you one 2011 statement from biden when he said that he recalls meeting putin and saying,
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"i'm looking "into your eyes and i don't think you have a soul." that was biden to putin in 2011. what is going to happen, in your view, to the russia—us relationship now? well, again, i went to school in the us and i've been very consistent that i think we need to build bridges from the us and russia with any administration, and we will continue to do so if us businesses want to do that. and again, for us, it's very important to have bridges to russia and workjointly on anti—terrorism and other fronts.
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so i think we hope that president biden consider, you know, the reality of the situation and the reality is that russia can be a great partner on many issues, and it's important to reach out and have this discussion. and we'll be happy to work with any us administration to build any bridges, because you really need to have communication, and if you don't have communication, you really put the world in danger. and i think with lack of communication between us and russia, the world has really become much more dangerous place than many of us recognise right now. let's get real, mr dmitriev. we know that president biden regards the continued occupation of crimea by russia as completely unacceptable. he said just a few days ago, "we will not hesitate "to raise the cost on russia and defend our vital "interests and our people. "the days of the us rolling over with regard to putin "and russia are over." now, you are a businessman trying to encourage western investors that russia's a great place to put their money. frankly, with sanctions in place and maybe going to get tougher, it doesn't look that way. well, as i told you, we already are investing and continue to invest with major funds around the world. russia continues to generate great returns and it's a very promising economy in many sectors, including high technology and health care, as we mentioned about vaccines, and all i can do is to do my
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role and i actually talked at one of the think tanks, to actually somebody who is very negative on russia and has been very negative on russia historically, "look, we are at such a critical point right now, we're at a very dangerous point. "i, the enemy of russia, am willing to actually have "dialogue and to start to see what we can do together." and i think this is where we are, and the west needs to really recognise that by constantly attacking russia, including the fake stories and fake storytelling, is not going to make things better. kirill dmitriev, we have to end there, but i thank you very much indeed forjoining me on hardtalk. thank you, stephen.
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hello. having another week as very could it was last week could be quite an achievement but so is swinging the weather pendulum so quickly into the very mild category which is exactly what we're doing this week. temperatures so very different by day and by night but the change is coming with a fair bit of rain, rather than snow and it is a blustery week. the high pressure that was pumping cold at us from the east is now retreating. it's low pressure is in control this week and it's a flow of air around the low pressure systems from the south—west. as long as it stays that way, we will have temperatures above the average for the time of year. and it looks to be staying that way for quite a while.
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and as we start off on monday morning, look at that, no frost out there. for some of us temperatures will have headed up a few degrees overnight. plenty of cloud though to start the day. misty and murky in places, and a bit of rain still to clear away from parts of east anglia and south—east england. elsewhere, some showers into northern ireland. they are going to run across scotland, a few into northern england, and especially west of the pennines. one or two for wales and the odd one reaching towards the midlands. away from the showers though, it will gradually brighten up in the afternoon, in fact, many of us will end the day dry. it'll be breezy, not as windy as it was over the weekend, but look — look at these temperatures. 10—14 degrees and we are talking above freezing. and although we are largely dry to end the day, here comes the next set of weather fronts, the wet weather pushing across us overnight and into tuesday morning. and it will be another mild night and mild start to the day. still with a bit of rain to clear away from east anglia and south—east england on tuesday morning. brighter skies following. some showers though quickly moving in towards the west. some of these could be heavy
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and possibly thundery. a few will push further east during the day, accompanied by a strengthening wind across north—west scotland, where it will stay quite windy into wednesday. and for the most part, temperatures are in double figures. into wednesday, there'll be another area of showery rain pushing its way eastwards, still with those quite strong winds in north—west scotland. a few sunny spells. and then to end the day, the next area of wet weather showing its hand out towards the south, and that's going to push in wednesday night and into thursday, with further maybe rain heavy in places. the temperatures take a step backwards on thursday the rain and got to see a bit of sunshine, it could turn out to be exceptionally mild for you.
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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. the burmese military deploys tanks and troops across myanmar in an increasing hard line against protesters — as aung san suu kyi's detention is extended. catalonian separatists win more than half of the seats in the regional parliament in spain. from today, passengers arriving in the uk from 33 countries will be quarantined in a government—approved hotel for ten days at their own expense. and solving covid is easy — what's hard is fixing the climate. so says bill gates in a new interview with bbc news.

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