President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.

Mr Reshetnikov, I would like to begin by thanking you for the work you did as head of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies. A great deal has been accomplished over the past seven years. I hope that Mr Fradkov will carry on this good work and will not just stand at the head of a very effective agency, but will also do his best in this position. (Addressing Mikhail Fradkov) I am confident that you will be able, using your past experience, to organise the work so that the institute will provide support to the Presidential Executive Office, the Government and other agencies, which need relevant and objective open information and analyses.

I would like the institute to have close, strong and stable ties with the media and to provide them with reliable, full and relevant information and analytical materials.

Director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Mikhail Fradkov: Mr President, thank you for these directions and for the trust you have yet again invested in me and the agency I currently head.

I am taking over a very good agency from Mr Reshetnikov, an agency that has won high prestige and has implemented important projects. We are ready to work to fulfil the tasks you set for us. Frankly speaking, these are difficult tasks, but we can fulfil them with your support. I hope that we will continue to receive material, financial and moral support from you. We are ready to work hard.

I would also like to express gratitude to Mr Reshetnikov. We worked together for a long time before. Considering Mr Reshetnikov’s current possibilities, I believe that the institute stands to gain from the new position he is assuming.

Leonid Reshetnikov: Mr President, thank you very much for the attention you have given to the institute. I would like to say that we did our best for nearly eight years to implement your foreign policy concept. The policy of Russia and the policy of the President of Russia have been the cornerstone of our operation. I am sure that the institute staff, who worked hard these past years, will continue to provide analytical support for the implementation of the country’s foreign policy under Mr Fradkov’s guidance.