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Meeting with students and faculty at Harbin Institute of Technology

May 17, 2024, Harbin

During his state visit to China, Vladimir Putin visited Harbin Institute of Technology and met with Chinese and Russian students and faculty at the university.

The President of Russia was also shown around the institute’s museum and was given information about its history and achievements. The exhibits include archival photographs and documents, as well as new projects for various industries and economic domains.

Harbin Institute of Technology is one of China’s leading providers of higher education in technology, with over 58,000 students, and a major R&D and innovation centre.

The school’s history is closely linked with the life of the Russian diaspora in Northeast China in the early 20th century and the Chinese Eastern Railway. In 1954, Harbin Institute of Technology became one of the first six schools in China that trained engineers, and which employed professors and scientists from the USSR.

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Excerpts from transcript of meeting with the faculty and students at Harbin Institute of Technology

Xiong Sihao (retranslated): Your Excellency, President Putin.

Dear guests, members of the faculty, students, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

My name is Xiong Sihao and I am the Secretary of the Party Committee of Harbin Institute of Technology.

It is a great honour for me to welcome President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on behalf of the faculty and students of this university.

Along with President Putin and the Russian delegation, representatives of China are attending this event. They are Deputy Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui, Vice Governor of the Heilongjiang Province Zhang Qixiang, and President of Harbin Institute of Technology Han Jiecai. Also in attendance are representatives, members of the faculty and students of Harbin Institute of Technology. Welcome, everybody.

This year, China and Russia mark 75 years of diplomatic relations. We are also launching the Year of Chinese and Russian Culture. Under the strategic leadership of our presidents, our overarching strategic partnership and cooperation maintain a high growth level in this new era.

The President of Russia chose China for his first foreign visit after re-election. This step demonstrates the immense importance President Putin places on the China-Russia strategic partnership, and reflects the deep and enduring friendship between the peoples of China and Russia.

 Harbin Institute of Technology is well-known as a cornerstone of China-Russia cooperation in higher education. For more than 70 years, this university has exemplified the strong friendship between our two nations, fostering close ties with leading Russian universities in education, science, technology and other fields. Together, we are working on building a world-class university, and continuing to write a new chapter of friendship between our nations.

Please join me in giving a warm round of applause to President Putin and inviting him to the stage.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends.

I am delighted to have this opportunity to visit Harbin Institute of Technology, one of China’s leading R&D and innovation centres, and to meet with its students, faculty and professors.

We have just now learned about its rich history and taken a tour of an excellent exhibition about the institute’s development. As you know, the institute has been inseparably connected with Russia since its establishment over a century ago. Moreover, it was established by Russian professionals as a Russian-Chinese technical college to train personnel for the Chinese Eastern Railway, a major transport route in the Pacific region.

When the grain is planted correctly and given proper care, it will produce good results. A small college set up to train personnel the country needed at that time has grown into a wonderful university, which is rapidly developing and meets all the modern requirements.

Thanks to the efforts of our compatriots, the college was subsequently transformed into the Harbin Sino-Russian School for Industry. As I have learned at the exhibition just now, two years after that, the length of tuition was extended from two to five years, providing a sufficient time for a quality higher education. The school was later reformed as Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), which now offers tuition in a broad range of academic and applied subjects.

It is notable that HIT carefully maintains strong traditions of cooperation with our country and has fruitful partnerships with Russia’s leading scientific and educational institutions, such as the Russian Academy of Sciences and its Far Eastern branch, Lomonosov Moscow State University, the Moscow Aviation Institute, the Far Eastern Federal University, and the Pacific National University.

The HIT Bauman Institute of Technology opened at Harbin Institute of Technology in cooperation with Bauman Moscow State Technical University several years ago. It is a unique bilateral project that gives its participants the opportunity to receive education under generally accepted tuition programmes and teaching methods while splitting their time equally between Russia and the People’s Republic of China.

Another leading Russian school, St Petersburg State University – incidentally, I graduated from it and worked there as an aide to the university’s rector – will open an education centre in partnership with HIT soon. Over 1,500 Russian and Chinese students will study mathematics, physics, chemistry and other natural sciences under excellence programmes at this centre. I have no doubt that it will become a leader in Russian-Chinese science and education cooperation in the near future. These intensive academic exchanges are extremely important, allowing us to combine the best traditions and experience of the Russian and Chinese schools of engineering and to train top class professionals, who are in great demand in the economies of both Russia and China.

During our talks with President Xi Jinping yesterday, we pointed out with satisfaction that our cooperation in research and education is of priority significance for developing the entire range of Russian-Chinese relations, comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction. I would like you to understand that these words – comprehensive partnership, strategic cooperation and interaction – hold immense importance. You can see this from the practical steps we take and the results we achieve.

To date, about 50,000 Chinese citizens are receiving a higher education in Russia. At the same time, 16,000 Russian citizens are studying in China, and this is not the limit. Moreover, the number of our students has decreased during the pandemic because of the mandatory sanitary restrictions. However, I have no doubt that the number of Chinese students in Russia and Russian students in China will continue to grow.

China and Russia have 167 bilateral education programmes and there are 28 institutes with Russian participation in China. Overall, there are 12 Russian-Chinese university associations, which include about 600 institutes. The largest among them is the Association of Sino-Russian Technical Universities, which comprises 40 Russian and 36 Chinese universities, including Harbin Institute of Technology.

It is noteworthy that in 2023, Russian and Chinese consular offices collectively issued a total of 34,000 student visas, which is a twofold increase compared to 2022.

I want to emphasise that all bilateral educational programmes are conducted in both the Russian and Chinese languages, which are undoubtedly challenging to learn. I believe that both the Russian and Chinese students present here are well aware of this.

However, I believe you would also agree that proficiency in a second language always broadens horizons, not only for personal communication but also for career advancement and the pursuit of innovative scientific research. Moreover, the ability to speak any foreign language serves as a gateway to a new world and another culture. It is true that without knowledge of a foreign language one can still read and explore various materials, especially in today’s digital age with the help of the internet and translation tools, but there is a distinct difference. When you speak a language fluently, you gain an insight into the soul of the people who speak it as their own, and that is an entirely different story.

It is notable that active contacts are not only maintained between our universities but also between our scientists, who are doing research at the forefront of technological progress and in widely different fields, such as medicine, biology, innovative materials, space exploration and microelectronics.

In this context, I would like to mention the successful cross years of scientific, technical, and innovative cooperation held between 2020 and 2022. During this period, over a thousand joint studies were conducted with the participation of leading scientific institutions and departments from both Russia and China.

In this context, it is worth noting that Harbin Institute of Technology serves as a key talent pool for the nuclear industry in the People’s Republic of China. Interestingly, its graduates play an active role in the execution of Rosatom projects for building Russian-designed power units at the Tianwan NPP and the Xudapu NPP in China.

The construction of these critical energy facilities is progressing according to schedule. Upon completion, these new nuclear units will significantly bolster China’s energy supply, providing affordable and clean energy to both Chinese enterprises and households.

Moreover, in China, with Russian participation, an experimental fast neutron facility has been built, facilitating joint research projects. Concurrently, the construction of a new demonstration fast reactor is underway. With active support from Chinese partners, a unique NICA accelerator complex is being built in Dubna, near Moscow, based on Russia’s Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. I am confident that experiments conducted at this collider will lead to groundbreaking discoveries and advance scientific and technological progress, benefiting not only our two nations but also, without exaggeration, humanity as a whole.

The short-term agenda for Russian-Chinese applied scientific cooperation includes the implementation of additional groundbreaking mega-science projects that surpass the capacities of any single country in the world. By pooling our expertise, we can undoubtedly achieve remarkable results together.

Significant progress is being made in cutting-edge fields such as the integration of artificial intelligence across various economic sectors, big data processing, and quantum computing. Collaboratively, Russia and China are engaged in initiatives focused on nature conservation, safeguarding biodiversity, and combatting climate change.

The scientific communities of both countries are currently collaborating on technical solutions aimed at significantly reducing carbon emissions. A programme to establish the so-called carbon measurement supersites is underway, with projects already in progress in Russia. Technological solutions for minimising hydrocarbon emissions are being actively tested. Additionally, joint efforts are planned for certifying green electricity, hydrogen, and wind power.

Naturally, Russian and Chinese students and educators are not only engaged in educational and scientific exchanges but also actively participate in bilateral cultural, social, creative, and volunteer initiatives. Each of you, dear friends, is making a tangible contribution to the advancement of friendly and neighbourly relations between Russia and China.

Allow me to extend my sincere wishes for your success, new discoveries, and accomplishments. May you enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding career, personal achievements, and contribute to the betterment of your homeland, China, and its people, as well as to the advancement of Russian-Chinese relations and the friendship between our two nations.

Thank you for your attention.


Vladimir Putin (answering a question on how young people can deepen cultural exchanges between Russia and China to strengthen mutual understanding, solidarity, and resistance to challenges): To achieve results in any activity, you must first love what you do. If you love it, you will focus on every detail, day and night. You will wake up thinking about it and go to sleep thinking about it. This way, you will always be able to find a solution.

In today’s world, especially in science, education and the economy in general, one condition is very important. Without a doubt, it creates a competitive advantage for those striving to achieve their goals. This condition is the ability to work in a team.

When I spoke about Russia-China cooperation, including in education, science and technology, I emphasised that by joining international efforts and working in international teams, you can multiply your chances to achieve success. Young people looking into the future, thinking about it and working for it, can achieve many things together by joining efforts. Russia and China have already made significant progress, and it is very important to young people, regardless of the area, whether it is education, learning, achieving results in research, developing technology or cooperating on other important projects, to follow one rule: instead of thinking about how to defeat someone, think about how to become better. By joining our efforts, we can achieve great results. The future is yours, and I want to wish you success.

We, the heads of state and government agencies, will do everything we can to create these conditions for you.

Good luck.


Vladimir Putin: By the way, this is not just a Q&A session. Perhaps you have ideas you would like to share about organising the study process or cooperation between our countries and universities. While I may not be able to answer every question as I am not the internet, I will try to offer my opinion on the issues that matter to you.


Question: Can you explain what measures can be taken to increase the number of Russian students in Chinese universities?

Vladimir Putin: I would like to emphasise the fact that relations between Russia and the People’s Republic of China are developing very rapidly in all areas, which leads to a greater demand for bilingual specialists who can understand each other and work together in corresponding fields.

Russia is actively expanding its network of Chinese language instruction. Currently, about 90,000 people are studying Chinese at schools and universities. At the same time, over 80,000 people are studying Russian in China. This number will continue to increase.

How can we explain this? The explanation is simple: as cooperation between our countries expands, businesses and various fields of activity require professionals with essential knowledge and fluency in corresponding languages. It’s just that the circumstances and our life require the availability of such professionals. Our state will do everything possible to support this process because it is crucial to have specialists, including those fluent in foreign languages, in order to develop strategic areas. Both countries will undoubtedly support this process.


Question: Russia currently devotes great attention to the development of its Far Eastern regions, while China prioritises the development of its northeastern territories. What are your thoughts on the future of cooperation between these two regions?

Vladimir Putin: Thank you for this question. It allows me to emphasise the importance of various aspects related to the development of Russia’s Far East and China’s northeastern territories. These neighbouring regions share a 3,000-km border. Russia is improving its infrastructure and creating favourable conditions for the development of the Far East. We have introduced a range of incentives for our partners and friends from any country, including China, to encourage them to explore the opportunities and expand business operations in Russia’s Far Eastern region. But first of all, we are talking about our friends and neighbours. This is a natural way to interact and cooperate with those who are our closest neighbours, with whom we have maintained friendly relations for decades.

Yesterday, I spoke to our consul who is working here. He said that a very conducive environment has been created for our cooperation here in China, specifically in Harbin, and importantly, it has to do with everyday work. I assure you that the same holds true for the Russian Far East. It is extremely important to foster such a favourable environment, I would even say it is crucial, on a daily basis, when people like each other, want to interact with each other, when people are drawn to each other and feel trust. This is a vital condition for developing cooperation at the highest level. Russia and China have this, and it is a huge advantage, which sets them apart from all other regions.

As concerns the substantive work we do, we strive to create favourable conditions for business development in the Far East. We have built a network of priority development areas, with tax incentives, customs concessions, a free port of Vladivostok and a whole range of preferential regimes. Here in China, in this province, in Harbin, our long-term friends have been implementing preferential regimes for the development of this province for a long time. And they have been doing this job well. We should pay much attention to what we do, share experience, and adopt each other’s practices to create the best possible conditions.

I believe the Russian Far East has already witnessed positive results. We can see them. For example, the Russian Far East has been able to attract three times more investment than any other Russian territory. This indicates that investors are responding to the proposals we make.

We try to create conditions not only for businesses but also for living – mainly for Russian citizens, of course. We provide housing incentives, primarily available to new families and families with children. We are developing the healthcare system on a fast-track basis, which is another area where we can cooperate.

Currently, we are building a large cultural cluster in Vladivostok that will comprise a world-class opera and ballet theatre, a music school, a dance school, and branches of leading Russian universities, as well as The Hermitage, the Russian Museum and several Moscow museums. I really hope that this cluster will appeal to the entire Asia-Pacific Region – but mostly to our friends and neighbours. One of the reasons why it is important is because young men and women will be able to study culture and art, perform, share experience and best practices, and work in these attractive and important areas.

So, I believe the prospects for our cooperation are quite promising. However, success depends not only on us, the people directly responsible, but on our joint efforts, including the contributions of interested young people like you.

Question: I am a student at the School of Engineering. My name is Zhang Zihan.

When you held talks with Xi Jinping in March last year, you wished our countries new achievements in the fields of aircraft manufacturing, space exploration, trade and the economy. We have excellent facilities for training specialists in space exploration at the HIT, and we maintain close exchanges with Russian lecturers and students.

Do you think universities and research institutes in our countries should continue to develop cooperation in these spheres?

Vladimir Putin: I am absolutely certain about it.

But first, I would like to congratulate you as a professional in this field and the leadership of your university on creating such a powerful cluster for training professionals in space exploration and aircraft manufacturing. Much has been achieved in these spheres. However, I would like to offer the best and warmest congratulations to the leaders of your country and your Communist Party for focusing the country’s attention on this crucial sphere of development and for achieving notable or even remarkable results in space exploration. China has done a great deal in this sphere. I am not going to enumerate all your achievements here, which include the lunar exploration programme and a national space station in low Earth orbit.

There are many good and promising spheres of cooperation. Russia has good competencies as well. Russia largely was the leader in space exploration, and it has kept its leadership in some fields. The field we can currently be proud of, where we have kept undivided leadership, is the creation of engines for spacecraft, including the use of nuclear technologies in deep space exploration. There are also other things we are proud of, which we will certainly continue to develop.

All these programmes are capital-intensive, including deep-space and lunar exploration, where we have common plans with our Chinese friends. Our work in all these fields will certainly require the training of professionals, whom both our countries need and who would be able to work in joint teams, as I mentioned at the beginning of this meeting. In other words, our opportunities for cooperation in space exploration are as infinite as space itself.

As for aviation, there are also interesting areas to explore. Although they are not developing as fast as I would like, the work on a wide-bodies jet is, in my opinion, one of interesting and, most importantly, necessary efforts.

Of course, we need to cooperate with the entire world, primarily with entities that achieve the best results in specific areas. Unfortunately, the structure of today’s world often leads to unfair competition.

For example, the Americans recently imposed sanctions on Chinese electric vehicles, specifically electric cars. Why? What is the purpose? Because Chinese cars have become better – that is the only reason. This is an example of unfair competition.

The same applies to aviation. Russia has encountered similar restrictions. However, there is a flip side to the coin. It is not ideal, that we have faced these difficulties but it is encouraging because it pushes us to intensify our work in this area. Furthermore, given that China also faces similar challenges, more or less, we can see that this is a reality in the modern world. Therefore, we need to have our own competencies in key areas of development. This includes being able to produce high-tech items, particularly aviation products, which are indispensable for our country.

Another promising area is helicopter engineering. Some time ago, our Chinese friends suggested working together on a heavy helicopter. Our progress in this area is quite good. Hopefully, we can collaborate to create a high-quality chopper based on our heavy helicopter.

There are also other promising areas that we must work on together. And we will do it.

I wish you success and hope that you will also join this work. This applies to everyone in this hall who is engaged in this sphere.


Question: I am a student at the Institute of Space Technology, Harbin Institute of Technology.

You have been to China many times. Could you please tell us, what is your favourite Chinese food? I can also recommend some Heilongjiang dishes. I am sure that you can also recommend some Russian dishes.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: It is good that someone who works in space thinks about food. Our poet Pushkin once said: One can be a man of action and mind the beauty of one’s nails. This is relevant to this situation.

In fact, this is not a trivial question, because any ethnic or national cuisine is a part of its people’s culture. There are not many truly great world cuisines, but Chinese cuisine is certainly one of them.

What is my favourite dish? I can only mention what I know well, but it is known all over the world; I am ashamed to say that I cannot name any other dishes. Everyone knows Peking duck, which is also very popular in Russia.

For example, yesterday my friend, the President of China, treated me to Peking duck. There were two pieces. At first, I thought I would only eat one piece. But, as you can understand, I could not resist and ended up eating the second one as well. It was too delicious.

By the way, Chinese and Russian cuisines are very different, but there is one thing they have in common: various dumplings. Russians also enjoy dumplings and cook them often, just like in China.

You know, this is probably not the most important thing. The most important thing is that both Russians and Chinese are very hospitable. We love having guests, we love our friends, and we always welcome them with pleasure, making sure that they enjoy everything, including the food that is served.

This is a great question. Thank you.


Question: Mr President, I am an Electronics student at Harbin Institute of Technology, and I am graduating this semester.

I would like to ask you about the opportunities available for us in Russia, I mean for new energy researchers. If I apply in Russia, will I be supported?

Vladimir Putin: You know, employers are hard to please. They would always judge their future employee, especially a young specialist, quite fastidiously, eager to find the right person for the job. That’s why I just told your colleague, another student at Harbin, that we in Russia are trying to establish wide-ranging contacts with potential employees.

Major businesses are currently collaborating with our top universities, selecting their future employees even before they graduate and offering them internships. I don’t know what exactly you are doing but generally our high-tech companies are looking for specialists.

Today, thanks to various circumstances, primarily to the economic policy pursued by the country’s government, unemployment in Russia is at an all-time low. It is below three percent – 2.8–2.9 percent actually, almost non-existent. Why am I saying this? The point is that the labour market is not fully saturated, this is especially true for high-end professionals: Russia needs them. And if you send your CV to some of the companies that are of interest to you, I am sure that you will get an answer. I am ready to help you. Give your CV to your bosses, and we will send it out.

Our companies are also recruiting internationally and, strange as it may seem, despite all this sanctions business, all the geopolitical tensions, people from Europe and North America still come to work for us. And their salaries are often higher than the compensation they were paid in their home countries, again, including North America and Europe. They come and work here.

Of course, your potential employer will want to evaluate your skills and professional growth prospects, but getting an offer is quite possible.

Question (retranslated): I am also from the Space Institute, where I am doing a master’s. You just mentioned that we maintain active cooperation across the board. I would like to ask you about satellite navigation systems, as well as lunar research. Is there a chance to expand cooperation on building space stations?

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Satellite navigation systems are certainly very important, and the demand for this kind of equipment is high throughout the world. Actually, the more technologically advanced a country becomes, the higher is the demand. Personally, I believe soon there will be no industries in the world that could successfully grow without using space technologies.

Navigation is a critical component of any high-tech economy. The good news is that we began to develop a relevant project in good time, I think, and now our GLONASS system is being used quite successfully.

I can tell you that for me, GLONASS is a source of certain pride because an operational satellite navigation system requires a certain number of spacecraft constantly orbiting the Earth to provide permanent global coverage.

Unfortunately, in the past few years, Russia had a problem with putting enough satellites into orbit, and the coverage was never quite complete. As we were ready to launch the next satellite, some of the previous ones had to be decommissioned, and the constellation was deficient again. Finally, that warranted a serious talk with the Government, with the Ministry of Finance, and I asked them: are we going to keep having an insufficient number of satellites in orbit? We need a full-fledged constellation to ensure the system’s operation. Such projects always require budget financing. Fortunately, we reached agreement and created a full-fledged space constellation. This is my first point.

Second, I don’t know how long Chinese satellites remain in orbit, I will have to consult our colleagues, but in Russia, we have significantly extended the in-orbit lifetime of satellites. The system is now functioning steadily. China’s BeiDou is working very well. The two systems complement each other, and we can exchange information. This certainly benefits sea and air transport, motor and railway transport, significantly reducing costs and saving energy in transport and other domains. This work is highly important. There is always room for improvement, too, as signal accuracy and other parameters are of the essence. So we are working on this and will continue to do so.

As for lunar research, once again, we have certain joint plans that include our friends, the Chinese specialists. These are capital-intensive projects, but they are fascinating and have great potential. Perhaps you will take part in some of them.

Dmitry Chesnokov: Good afternoon, Mr President.

My name is Dmitry Chesnokov. I am a master's degree student at the College of International Education, Harbin Institute of Technology.

We are aware of the fact that you love sports, including judo, skiing, hockey, and racing. Share with us ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to develop healthy habits in our daily work and everyday life. Also, how can sports influence the path to success and ways of cooperation between two great nations of Russia and China?

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: The first question was, if I understood it correctly, how can we engage in sports?

I am addressing everyone in this audience: we are all lazy people, you and I, we are all lazy. People are lazy by definition. We need to shake off laziness. You get out of bed in the morning and do your morning routine. If you do not have time for it, you need to adjust your schedule to make sure you can put in a certain amount of exercise every day. Do so every single day. When it becomes a habit, you will not be able to live without it. This is a very good way of organising your workday.

In general, the more you do during the day, the more you get accomplished. This is how it works. Do not feel sorry for yourself. As soon as you start feeling sorry for yourself, you start to go downhill across the board, including sports.

Of course, everything should be done in moderation. But you should do it every day. Choose something that you like and enjoy doing it. It is important to enjoy what you are doing.

With regard to cooperation in sports, I think it is crucially important for relations between countries in general and between Russia and China, in particular.

We keep saying that Russia is a great sporting power. But I can assure you with good reason that China is also a great sporting power. We are proud of the fact that we have held major international competitions at the top level. And China does so too and does so brilliantly. Our cooperation expands our capabilities. It is important in high-performance sports, and it is important at the level of physical fitness and mass sports.

I am not sure about the number of people who stay active on a regular basis in China, but we set a goal of having at least 70 percent of the people engage in physical fitness and sports on a regular basis by 2030.

We see the number of people who consistently engage in physical fitness and sport grows every day, but we have not yet reached the 70 percent we are striving for, but we will definitely get there. To do so, the Government needs to create proper conditions for people, create incentives, including, material incentives, create athletic facilities, including basic and, at first glance, primitive athletic grounds which enjoy demand and are conveniently located. We will do this in our country. Without a doubt, we will promote sports jointly with our Chinese friends. After all, you know, sports promote communication, especially among young people.

President Xi Jinping and I often discuss this. Yesterday, we discussed it too. We had a working dinner yesterday in a fairly restricted format, literally four or five people from each side, and talked about sports quite at length. So, sport has been and will always remain the focus of our attention.

Question (retranslated): Mr President, good afternoon.

I am a student at the School of Materials Science and Engineering.

You said that you really love to study. Studying is a very good way of life. Do you still like reading? You have such a busy schedule. Do you have time to read books, fiction? And which writer had the greatest influence on you?

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: I am eager to say that I am so well-educated and I have this stereotype to reading constantly. But I cannot lie: unfortunately, I cannot read as much as I would like. I have books on my nightstand in front of my bed, and I sometimes open them. Actually, when I manage to do it, I do it with pleasure.

As for literature’s impact on personality formation, it is definitely among the main ones. In any case, during my school years, the Soviet system had its advantages as people of my generation were brought up on Russian classics. However, I must honestly say that young people were not ready for some of the works studied at school, at least in the past. Only later, when rereading some books, you begin to perceive them differently and understand the depth of what is written there. This applies to such classics as Tolstoy and even Chekhov, and especially Dostoyevsky.

In fact, it is very important to be able to communicate with intelligent people who expressed their thoughts about life and living in written works. It really shapes a person. So as soon as I have time, especially before going to bed, I try to open a book, leaf it through, and read a little.

Media change. In the past people in Russia wrote on birch bark, and in China they wrote on clay tablets, like we also did at some point. Then they began to write on paper. Now they write in the internet. The media are different. Content is what matters. What matters is not where you got information from but what it contains.

And it is very difficult, especially in today’s world, to select content in a huge information flow. But I must admit that the classics still help: I would say that they create guidelines for choice and cultivate taste. This is very important.

Therefore, no matter how much you want to click on and read something in the internet, the companionship of books still matters.

Question (retranslated): Good afternoon, Mr President.

I am from the School of Energy Science and Engineering. We have joint projects to develop engines, and I went to Moscow to participate in the aircraft engine-related research.

What can the two governments do to support research in these technological areas and to engage in language training to be provided by the partner?

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: You have a very engaging and popular specialty which is exactly what Russia has always been proud of. Engine building was a highly developed industry in Russia and is expanding now. We lost certain competences after the Soviet Union collapsed, because a number of engines were produced in different parts of the Soviet Union, not in Russia, such as marine engines. But we restored all the competencies fairly quickly. Using the professional lingo, we “marinised” everything we needed to, meaning that we created marine engines.

Our aircraft engine building industry is doing quite well. Just a few years ago, we created an aircraft engine, which we had not produced in previous 20, or maybe 25 years. Now, we are making an even more powerful engine for widebody aircraft. Everything is working out well for us. I maintain contacts with the specialists who are involved in this work. There are things we can be proud of. This is something that can be the subject of our cooperation with our Chinese friends. Because if we do end up making a widebody long-range aircraft, which I would very much like to see us do together, this engine would come in handy. In general, it will be in high demand with us as well.

I brought this up, because we need a market. Our friends are fully aware of that. We are ready to provide technological solutions. We need a market. The Chinese market is enormous. If it’s a piece production, it will not make economic sense, but the designs are good. True, we can use this engine not only for civil aviation, not only for Il-96, which I use now, but we can also use it for military and transport aviation. There are many options here. There is a lot to work on. There are good prospects for cooperation.

It is good that you went to Moscow, and I think you should visit Moscow more often, and your colleagues should visit the corresponding research centres in China more often, and success will come. I wish you this kind of success.

I think we should probably wrap it up.

Xiong Sihao: Today Mr President spoke to our faculty and students. Once again, I would like to thank President Putin.

We have prepared a present to express our gratitude to the President for his visit. In the 1950s, more than 70 Soviet specialists came here to help build our university. They played a very important part in developing our university and left many warm memories. We have put together an album with the photos of Soviet specialists who worked and lived here. We would like to present it to President Putin to express our gratitude and good wishes for strong friendship between China and Russia. On behalf of the university, I would like HIT President, Academician Han Jiecai to present it to President Putin.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you for your applause, thank you for the patience you showed while listening to me, and thank you for this engaging and lively conversation.

I would like to wish you all the best in your lives and careers. You are young and ambitious people who are in the process of acquiring the necessary knowledge. I am sure that you will have the chance to use all of it in your career.

The best of luck to you all.

Thank you very much.

May 17, 2024, Harbin