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Old February 7th, 2019 #1
Alex Him
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Post Vladimir Putin's speeches and events II

According to the proposal of Ray Allan - , I open the second topic about speeches and events of Vladimir Putin.

You can find the first topic here -

Condolences to President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

January 21, 2019 - 13:05

Vladimir Putin sent a message of condolences to President of the United Mexican States Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador over a pipeline explosion and fire in the State of Hidalgo.

The President of Russia conveyed his condolences to the victims’ families and friends and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

The source of information -

Talks with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe

Vladimir Putin held talks at the Kremlin with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, who arrived in Russia on a working visit at the invitation of the Russian President.

January 22, 2019 - 18:20 - The Kremlin, Moscow

The two leaders discussed the state of and prospects for the development of bilateral cooperation in the political, trade, economic and humanitarian areas. Following on from the agreements reached at the previous meetings in Singapore and Buenos Aires, issues related to the conclusion of a peace treaty between the two countries were reviewed. The two leaders also exchanged views on major international and regional issues.

Following the talks, Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe made statements for the press.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Prime Minister, dear Shinzo, friends. I am delighted to welcome you to the Kremlin.

I am very pleased that our meetings have become regular, which allows us to discuss various issues related to the development of bilateral relations and the situation in the region.

I want to thank you for accepting our invitation and coming to visit us in Moscow on the way to an international event in Switzerland. Tentatively, our colleagues worked on many areas, including the economy and foreign policy, and issues pertaining to the peace treaty.

I am very glad to see you. Welcome!

Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe (retranslated):

Mr President, colleagues. I am happy to meet with you here at the beginning of this year as we agreed in Singapore and Buenos Aires.

Let me note that 2018 became a turning point in Russia-Japan relations. Now in 2019, Japan is planning many important events, such as the G20 Presidency.

For our part, we are ready to do all we can to make 2019 a year of the rapid [development of relations] between Japan and Russia.

I am pleased to say that our bilateral cooperation is producing tangible results in eight areas, including Japan-Russia cross years.

Today, I am planning to discuss the issues related to the conclusion of the peace treaty, with due account of the results of the foreign ministers’ meeting and the meeting of the negotiators last week. In addition, I hope for a straight exchange of views on bilateral relations and international issues with a view to developing our ties on a large scale.

The source of information -

Press statements following talks with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe

Following the talks, Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe made statements for the press.

January 22, 2019 - 18:30 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen,

Talks with the Prime Minister of Japan were held in a business-like and constructive atmosphere, and have just ended.

I want to mention that Mr Shinzo Abe and I maintain close working contact. This is our fourth meeting in six months. Most recently, in November and December 2018, we met in Singapore on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit and in Buenos Aires at the G20 summit. This dialogue at the highest level is reinforced by strong interaction in the Russian-Japanese Intergovernmental Commission, the two countries’ security councils, their foreign and defence ministries, including in the 2+2 format, and in the national parliaments. I believe that this intensity of political ties serves as confirmation of the interest of the two countries to develop cooperation based on the principles of good neighbourliness, respect and consideration for each other’s interests.

It was in such a positive manner that the Prime Minister and I discussed the bilateral agenda. As is customary, priority was given to the prospects for expanding trade and investment ties. We noted the gradual growth of mutual trade. In January-November 2018, volume increased 18 percent to almost $20 billion. Japanese investment in the Russian economy is about $2.2 billion.

The joint work on implementation of the initiatives that Mr Abe and I approved earlier continues. I am referring to the Japanese Plan of Cooperation in eight areas, which, as a matter of fact, was proposed by the Prime Minister, and the Russian list of priority investment projects. Japanese entrepreneurs are investing in many sectors of the Russian economy and participate in both the St Petersburg Forum and the Eastern Economic Forum.

There is much potential for enhancing energy cooperation. Gazprom, Mitsui and Mitsubishi are building a third technological line at the LNG plant as part of the Sakhalin-2 project. The possible involvement of our Japanese partners in the Arctic LNG-2, the Baltic LNG projects and the construction of an LNG terminal in the Kamchatka Territory is being studied. Russian experts are developing neutron detectors to identify damaged fuel to mitigate the consequences of the accident at the Fukushima-1 NPP.

Cooperation in transport and infrastructure is expanding. Last December Japanese companies purchased a 10 percent stake in the company that is managing the upgrade of Khabarovsk Airport. Joint trial runs of container shipments via the Trans-Siberian Railway were carried out. If they become regular, supplies of Japanese goods to third countries via Russian territory will increase manifold. Transport development along the Northern Sea Route, for LNG exports to Japan and states in the Asia-Pacific region, looks promising.

Thus, in general, Russian-Japanese economic cooperation is making steady progress. There are obvious achievements on this track. However, both Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and I share the view that a qualitative change has not yet been made and that the potential for bilateral cooperation has not been realised in full. Therefore, we discussed the development of more ambitious plans to expand economic ties in key areas: from trade to investment and technological cooperation. In particular, it will be possible, already in the coming years, to set a goal to increase Russian-Japanese trade by at least 50 percent to $30 billion.

We noted an increase in cultural contacts. The Russian-Japanese Cross Years of Culture, which Mr Abe and I launched in May 2018, are enjoying success. The programme includes over 400 different events held in our respective countries. Russia and Japan are co-hosts of the International Theatre Olympiad which will be held in St Petersburg and Toyama in the second half of the year and which will bring together performers from 30 countries.

Of course, we discussed the prospects for concluding a peace treaty. The Prime Minister and I spent a lot of time discussing this issue. We have been in dialogue with Mr Abe on this matter for several years now. In Singapore, we agreed with the Prime Minister to base the negotiation process on the 1956 Joint Declaration of the Soviet Union and Japan. This primarily provides for the conclusion of a peace treaty. We reiterated our interest in having this document signed. We appointed our respective foreign ministers as coordinators and they held the first round of talks in Moscow on January 14 and reported the results to us today.

I emphasise that there is long and painstaking work ahead to create proper conditions for reaching mutually acceptable solutions. Our goal is to ensure the long-term and comprehensive development of Russian-Japanese relations at a high-quality level. Of course, the decision that the negotiators will come up with should be acceptable to the peoples of Russia and Japan and supported by both. We agreed to continue our efforts to organise joint economic activities on the southern Kuril Islands in five previously approved areas, specifically, aquaculture, greenhouse farming, wind power generation, tourism and waste treatment, that is, addressing environmental issues.

In closing, I would like to thank the Prime Minister of Japan and all our Japanese friends and colleagues for the productive and informative exchange of opinions today. The discussion was candid and meaningful. I believe that this visit will be beneficial for our bilateral relations and will bring us closer to resolving the key issues of cooperation.

Thank you.

Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe (retranslated):

I was in Moscow eight months ago in May. With this winter cold and this coat of white snow, Moscow looks even more impressive.

Today, shortly after the new year began, President Putin and I were able to frankly discuss prospects for cooperation between Japan and Russia in various areas. This is a great start for Japanese-Russian relations in 2019.

Eight months ago, Vladimir and I, here in Moscow at the Bolshoi Theatre, announced the start of the first ever Japan-Russia cultural cross year. Now, six months later, we can say that the first half of the cross year was a success with over 500 events held in our countries. I hope that during the next six months (the President and I are expected to participate in the cross year closing ceremony in June) our cultural ties at various levels will become even stronger.

The number of Russians who visited Japan last year reached an all-time high. In general, the number of reciprocal visits is growing rapidly. Last year, it was about 100,000 tourists in each country. Last year, a large number of Japanese football fans went to Russia for the World Cup. They enjoyed a warm reception in all regions of your country. In Japan, a large number of football fans were fighting off sleep – there is the time difference between our countries – as they struggled to watch live televised broadcast of the matches and could feel the atmosphere of various Russian cities. We have set ourselves a goal to add even more dynamics to this trend and, by 2023, double the number of visits, that is, 200,000 tourists in each direction for a total of 400,000.

We will strive to make our economic ties closer and to develop ties in various areas of tourism and, of course, region-to-region relations as well as ties between our universities so that Japan and Russia can reach this goal.

Relations between the deputies and the parliaments of our countries continue to develop. Last July, President of the House of Councillors of the National Diet visited Russia and delivered a speech in the Russian Senate. This was the first such event in the history of the relations between our countries.

In December last year, the Japan-Russia Parliamentary Friendship Association signed a memorandum of understanding on further cooperation. Inter-deputy and inter-parliamentary relations are an important pillar in the development of Japanese-Russian relations, and we will support it this year.

More than two and a half years have passed since I proposed an eight-point cooperation plan. Over 170 projects came to life. Last month saw the beginning of the Japanese companies’ participation in the management of the Khabarovsk airport; a samurai bond was issued by Gazprom – such a decision was made. I welcome this constructive attitude from the companies of our countries to conduct business hand in hand.

Two years have passed since President Putin and I, in my hometown of Nagato, declared our sincere determination to conclude a peace treaty with our hands. We took the course to solve this problem based on a new approach. Our cooperation with President Putin is unprecedented: joint economic activities on three islands and two field studies were held, a business mission was sent, the members of which were mainly from private civil agencies, and a roadmap on proposed projects was developed. We see a concrete path ahead.

At today’s meeting, President Putin and I gave instructions to relevant people and agencies to work together clearly and promptly for the speedy implementation of joint economic activities.

Humane measures for the former inhabitants of the islands to visit the graves of their ancestors play a big role in creating confidence between the peoples of both countries on the way to concluding a peace treaty. In light of the agreements reached in Nagato, this was the first visit to these graves by plane. Today at the meeting, the President and I confirmed the significance of such activities and agreed that visiting the graves of ancestors by plane this year will be implemented in the summer.

President Putin and I spent a lot of time discussing the peace treaty today without hiding anything from each other.

President Putin and I welcome the fact that concrete talks began between our respective foreign ministers last week based on the agreement the President and I reached in Singapore, which is designed to expedite the talks on a peace treaty based on the 1956 Joint Declaration. We welcome the fact that the discussion during these talks was honest and serious. We instructed our foreign ministers to hold the next round of talks on the sidelines of the security conference in Munich in February, and our special heads of state representatives to take the talks to the next level.

This issue has remained without a resolution for over 70 years since the end of WWII. This is not an easy task to deal with, but we must resolve it. Under the firm leadership of President Putin and me, we must join our efforts and work energetically to ensure even greater trust in relations between the citizens of Japan and the citizens of Russia, the relations of friends, and the search for a mutually acceptable solution. Today, President Putin and I reiterated our determination to do this work.

To deepen trust in the sphere of security, this year we will expand ties between our respective defence ministries and border services. Japanese-Russian cooperation has already yielded a number of successful results in countering non-conventional threats, such as drug trafficking. We will be enhancing these efforts and expanding the scope of cooperation.

With regard to North Korea, our countries will continue to cooperate, because peace and stability in Northeast Asia is a major and common goal.

This year, we will be looking forward to a number of important events, such as the transfer of the throne from the emperor to the crown prince and a meeting of the G20 leaders in Osaka. In June, we invite Vladimir Putin to Japan for the G20 Summit. I look forward to our next meeting, the meeting of the leaders of Japan and Russia, as well as the closing ceremony for the cross years, which we will hold together.

In September-November, the Rugby World Cup will be held in Japan for the first time. The opening match will be held between the national teams of Japan and Russia. I am sure that both teams will show the best of what they have, and whatever team wins at the final whistle, we will congratulate and celebrate each other for a beautiful game.

May 2019 be a productive, eventful and good year for the citizens of Japan and Russia.

Thank you very much.

The source of information -

Russia-Turkey talks

The President of Russia met at the Kremlin with President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan who arrived in Russia on a working visit.

January 23, 2019 - 17:40 - The Kremlin, Moscow

During a limited format meeting, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed key aspects of bilateral cooperation in the trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian areas, as well as issues pertaining to a Syrian settlement. Afterward, the talks continued with the participation of members of the delegations.

The heads of state held a joint news conference upon the completion of the talks.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr President,

I am pleased to welcome you here in Moscow.

We continue our practice of regular meetings, consultations and exchange of views, and I should note that this is yielding positive results.

In the first 10 months of 2018, bilateral trade grew more than in the entire previous year. The number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey last year rose by 30 percent to an all-time high of six million.

This goes to show how the citizens of our countries perceive the change in the nature and quality of Russian-Turkish relations.

Mr President, my dear friend, the credit for this largely goes to you personally. It is your personal achievement, because you devote significant attention to this matter.

Major joint projects are being implemented, and everything is going according to plan.

Of course, we also deal with regional security and cooperate extensively on Syria.

Welcome, I am happy to see you.

President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (retranslated):

My dear friend, after the frequent meetings that you and I had in 2018, this will be our first meeting in 2019.

Indeed, our relations are expanding in many spheres, including culture, military and trade.

Undoubtedly, the fact that our relations are expanding is having a ripple effect on regional security. No doubt, our solidarity is making a significant contribution to regional security.

We held trilateral summits in Sochi, Tehran and Ankara as part of the Astana process, which have made a great contribution to promoting this process, and I believe our meeting will also be beneficial for it.

Our expanding relations in tourism show that our respective countries and peoples continue to strengthen their ties.

As you have noted, our trade relations are on the rise, and this trend will continue into the future. During our meetings, you set the goal of taking our trade to the $100 billion mark.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my condolences to the families of those who died in the collision of two ships in the Kerch Strait. It is well known that 16 Turkish citizens died in this accident.

Thank you very much, Mr Putin, for your sympathetic approach to this matter.

(Speaking Russian) Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

I want to express my condolences on the deaths of those Turkish citizens.

The incident occurred outside our territorial sea in neutral waters as fuel was being pumped from one ship to another.

Indeed, our first responders acted promptly and did their best to save the people. Still, it is a major tragedy for the victims’ families and the people who were injured.

Please accept my condolences.

The source of information -

News conference following Russian-Turkish talks

Vladimir Putin and President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a joint news conference after Russian-Turkish consultations.

January 23, 2019 - 21:30 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,

Regrettably, on the eve of our talks, reports of a tragic accident on the Black Sea arrived. We talked about this at the beginning of our meeting. Turkish sailors are among the dead. I would like to express my sincere condolences once again in this connection.

Mr President and I work closely and meet regularly. Our meetings are always intensive and, without exaggeration, productive. This has a positive influence on our practical work.

The Russia-Turkey-Iran summits in Ankara and Tehran, as part of the Astana process, are also very productive. They were devoted to the settlement in Syria. We are preparing to host another summit in Russia soon. Mr President and I have already agreed on the venue and tentative date. We will have to coordinate this with our Iranian partners.

Today, our talks took place in a constructive and businesslike atmosphere, something that is traditional for Russian-Turkish talks. We largely concentrated on economic issues and humanitarian ties but certainly spoke at length about the situation in Syria. We discussed in detail the prospects for the inter-Syrian political process.

Russia and Turkey assume a clear-cut position of principle – to achieve a long-term settlement of the Syrian crisis on a political and diplomatic basis, primarily, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and with strict observance of the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.

It is in this vein that Mr President and I discussed issues of cooperation in the Astana format. At this time, this format is the most effective mechanism for settling the conflict in Syria.

We, of course, focused on establishing a Constitutional Committee, which will deal with key aspects of the future structure of the state in Syria. Let me remind you that Russian and Turkish diplomats, in close contact with their Iranian colleagues, carried out serious work to coordinate the membership of this committee and honoured all agreements we reached with France and Germany in Istanbul.

Sadly, we failed to form this Constitutional Committee before the end of last year, though our efforts laid a strong and balanced foundation for launching a stable and viable political settlement process.

We also discussed issues related to finally putting a stop to all terrorist groups’ activities in Syria. In particular, we talked about implementing the Russian-Turkish Memorandum on establishing a demilitarised zone in Idlib, which we signed in Sochi. We can see that our Turkish partners spare no effort to eliminate the terrorist threat emanating from there.

At the same time, we must work together with the aim of finally relieving tensions in that area. In this context, we discussed what additional steps Russia and Turkey could take to stabilise the situation around Idlib.

We proceed from the premise that supporting the ceasefire should not come at the expense of the struggle against terrorists, which is to be continued.

Another topic of discussion was the US leadership’s intention to withdraw US troops from the north-east of Syria and its effect on developments in the Syrian Arab Republic going forward. If these plans are really executed, it will be a positive step and would help stabilise the situation in this troubled area of Syria, currently under the control of Kurdish formations.

In this context, we support official Damascus entering into dialogue with Kurdish representatives. This dialogue would doubtless promote the consolidation of Syrian society and national accord, which would be in the interests of both Syria and all neighbouring countries.

Cooperation between Russia and Turkey in the post-conflict development of Syria is of great importance. The President and I agreed that the military forces and diplomats of both our countries would continue coordinated efforts in this direction with the aim of encouraging the large-scale return of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons.

When speaking about the current aspect of bilateral relations, we noted that economic cooperation was increasing. Trade for January-November 2018 increased by 18 percent to $23 billion or more than over the whole year of 2017.

The High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council has been working efficiently to coordinate Russian-Turkish partnership in a number of spheres. The council’s next meeting will be held in Russia this year.

Russia and Turkey are working together on major projects, primarily in energy. Last November in Istanbul, the President of Turkey and I took part in a ceremony marking the completion of the TurkStream gas pipeline’s offshore section. I would like to remind everyone that within less than 18 months we have built two underwater lines of this project of major importance for Russia and Turkey; each line will carry 15.75 billion cubic metres of natural gas. We hope the onshore part of the project will proceed at a comparable pace, so that we will be able to launch the pipeline according to plan by the end of 2019.

The launch of this new gas pipeline is important for the energy security of both Turkey and southern and southeastern Europe.

We are on course to implement another major project, the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu. We are building the first power unit for it and plan to put it into operation in 2023, in time for the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, just as Mr President has instructed.

We welcome the Turkish business community’s interest in expanding operations in the Russian market. In this context, we have invited Turkey to attend the INNOPROM-2019 International Industrial Trade Fair, which will be held in Yekaterinburg in July, as a partner country.

Of course, we also discussed our cultural and humanitarian ties. We are preparing to hold the cross-years of culture and tourism in Russia and Turkey.

Russia firmly holds first place in the number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey. Nearly six million Russian tourists visited Turkey in 2018. Our Turkish partners have developed close cooperation with us in order to ensure the comfort and security of Russian visitors.

I would like to conclude by saying that our talks with Mr Erdogan were meaningful and fruitful. They will undoubtedly help strengthen Russian-Turkish relations on the principles of neighbourliness and respect for one another’s interests.

I would like to thank President Erdogan for accepting our invitation to come to Moscow today.

Thank you very much.

President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (retranslated):

Mr President, my dear friend,

Delegation heads and members of the media,

I wholeheartedly greet all of you.

I would like to say once again that I am delighted to be in Russia. In your presence, I would like to express my gratitude to Mr President for the warm welcome accorded to us.

We have come to Russia shortly after the terrible tragedy in the Kerch Strait. Four of the 16 dead are Turkish citizens. The search and rescue operation is still going on.

May those who have died rest in peace. I wish courage and patience to the victims’ families and speedy recovery to those injured. I extend our condolences to the other countries whose citizens have died.

Despite the adverse weather, Russia conducted the search and rescue operation in full. I would like to express our gratitude to Mr Putin and all representatives of the Russian team.

We maintain close and very good cooperation in all spheres, including the economy, trade, energy and culture. Being our countries’ leaders, Mr Putin and I can say that our cooperation is growing stronger from day to day.

Our economic cooperation is growing progressively, and our bilateral trade is on the rise. As Mr President has noted, our trade has reached $26 billion.

Our two main projects – the Akkuyu nuclear power plant and the TurkStream gas pipeline – are moving forward consistently.

This year we plan to hold a large number of events as part of the cross-year of culture and tourism.

Russia holds the leading place in terms of the tourists visiting Turkey. Last year, we had some 6 million Russian tourists. We expect the number to increase considerably this year.

As for visa-free travel, we had this issue on our agenda and we discussed it. The introduction of this procedure would have a great impact on our relations in terms of mutual travel.

As far as Syria is concerned, we discussed both the Idlib memorandum and the quadripartite summit. We also assessed the US decision to pull out its forces.

Cooperation between Turkey and Russia is a touchstone of Syrian peace and stability. Together with our Russian friends, we intend to strengthen our coordination still further. It is of critical importance in this respect not to allow a vacuum of power to take shape after the US pullout.

Our only goal as a state is to fight terrorist groups and to clear the territory from these elements, primarily ISIS and YPG. We know well who supports them. We are particularly opposed to the terrorist organisations that are attempting to undermine our relations with Russia.

We will work in close coordination and will rapidly implement the decisions approved in this area.

A Constitutional Committee should be formed within a brief timeframe. We would like to accelerate work in this area, particularly the joint efforts by the relevant colleagues. We hope and we are certain that the job will be done soon.

We have reviewed the problem of Syrian refugees. This issue is clearly affecting us because my country is giving refuge to 3.5 million Syrians.

Over 300,000 Syrians have returned to their homes in both the Operation Euphrates Shield zone and the Operation Olive Branch zone. These people have resumed normal life that is far removed from terrorism and various problems.

All of this should be implemented and extended to other territories in Syria and the eastern bank of the Euphrates. We will work accordingly in all formats – both bilateral and the Astana formats.

We will hold a new trilateral summit in Russia with my friend Mr Rouhani. We are also planning that Russia will host a meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council.

I would like to express the wish that the decisions we have approved only benefit our countries and to thank my dear friend Mr Putin for his hospitality.

Question (retranslated):

About the security zone [buffer zone]: are there any specific achievements in bilateral negotiations with the American side? Was this question on today's agenda?

Mr Putin, what is Russia’s approach to this issue? Thank you.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

Meetings continue on the creation of a security zone. All the regions that pose a threat to us are very important, and we must take appropriate measures. In our contacts with the Americans, we can see that they have a positive approach to our requirements [to create a buffer zone] of 25–30 kilometres.

We have no problems with Russia in this regard, because these regions will be cleared of terrorists. After that, our respective authorities, the ministers of foreign affairs and the ministers of defence will do the required work, and we will remain sensitive to this issue.

Vladimir Putin:

In this connection, I would like to remind you that the American military personnel are present on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic illegally. There are no international legal grounds for having them there, neither an invitation from the legitimate government, nor a decision of the United Nations Security Council.

At the same time, as you know, we have established constructive cooperation with our American partners in the fight against terrorism, including in Syria. I hope that this work will continue. This is my first point.

The second. We respect the interests of our Turkish friends in ensuring their security.

And the third. The 1998 treaty between the Syrian Arab Republic and the Republic of Turkey is still valid, and it deals specifically with the fight against terrorism. I think this is the legal framework that covers many issues relating to ensuring Turkey’s security on its southern borders. Today we have been discussing this issue thoroughly and intensively enough.


Mr Erdogan, Mr Putin,

My question will have several parts but all of them deal with the same subject.

First of all, I would like to ask you to clarify the situation in Idlib, where, despite a degree of success, terrorists continue to operate actively and where more and more violations of the ceasefire regime are recorded. What agreements have you reached today for resolving this situation?

Another matter I would like to ask you to clarify is the Constitutional Committee that was mentioned today. Its membership has not yet been made public. What, in your opinion, are the main obstacles to finalising this process, and how do you plan to overcome them?

Vladimir Putin:

The first part of your question deals with Idlib and the Idlib security zone.

Indeed, we have discussed this matter in great detail today (I talked about it, and President Erdogan has also noted this). I would like to repeat once again, we can see that our Turkish friends are working hard to fulfil all our agreements in order to guarantee security and set up a buffer zone there. Unfortunately, many problems persist there, and our Turkish partners and we can see all this.

We have agreed on how to coordinate our work in the short term. Defence ministers held additional consultations in our presence, and they are drafting additional joint measures. We will implement them, and we will see to it that all our agreements are fulfilled. We agree that we must continue to jointly fight terrorists wherever they are, including in the Idlib zone.

Regarding the second question about establishing the Constitutional Committee, we believe that this is a very important process that should reinforce our achievements on the ground in the fight against terrorists because all long-term issues can only be completely resolved by political and diplomatic methods alone.

It is essential to press for accord between all warring parties in Syria. This can only be accomplished through talks, including talks on establishing a stable institution of state authority that would be accepted by all denominations and ethnic groups. This institution should make everyone feel that they are involved in the future of their homeland, the Syrian Arab Republic.

As for difficulties, they have, unfortunately, arisen, and I have also noted this. All of us, all the parties involved in this process, should display additional political will, greater consistency, and a sincere desire to achieve results. I want to emphasise the latter aspect.

As you know, the leaders of Russia, Turkey, France and the Federal Republic of Germany met in Istanbul at the initiative of the President of Turkey, and agreed to jointly establish this committee.

Our colleagues asked Russia to coordinate these matters regarding this committee’s line-up with the Syrian Government and our Iranian partners. The Republic of Turkey had to accomplish a difficult task and to coordinate this list with representatives of the opposition.

We have completed this difficult job. I assure you that we have coordinated this matter during a difficult discussion with Damascus and Tehran. I am sure that it was not easy for our Turkish friends to coordinate this list with the opposition.

However, we know, and not just know, but, I think, Mr President will confirm this: we coordinated and agreed with what was declared by the Turkish side. The work was over, but suddenly, at the final stage, when it was necessary to put a full stop, we heard in Geneva that some of our partners regarded this job as unfinished.

For us, this was absolutely unexpected. I think this can be found even in the Internet. I mean a letter to the UN Secretary-General, a letter signed and sent on behalf of the permanent representatives of France, Germany, and Great Britain. Item 5 of the letter states that Special Representative Mr de Mistura is not to approve any statement concerning the Constitutional Committee which the Astana guarantors will make in Geneva on December 18–19.

For us, this was absolutely unexpected, and now I even find it difficult to comment on this appeal to the Secretary-General by our partners. But we will, of course, practice patience and will continue working with them, too, although we can hardly understand what their position is based on.

I have already had conversations with my counterparts from France and the Federal Republic of Germany. I hope our foreign ministries will manage to organise this work in such a way as to restore the former level of trust.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

My dear friend has given a clear and concise reply on both Idlib and the Constitutional Committee, because we had been in contact on these matters earlier.

In Idlib, we will fight the terrorist organisations jointly, as we agreed, because this fight is a protracted rather than a one-time affair. Our main goal is to make sure that the Syrian people enjoy calm and stability, and to deprive the terrorist elements of opportunities. We have once again reiterated our support for each other in this matter.

As far as the Constitutional Committee is concerned, we have clearly stated on this issue that our foreign ministries will go on with their work.

Mr De Mistura was present at our summit and we have his representative here.

How will the new process continue and what it will be like?

But the letter that was quoted just now really surprised all of us. But this is sooner their problem, not ours.

At the Istanbul summit, we all demonstrated that a joint solution had been reached and we will continue advancing in this direction. In this regard, my dear friend and I are of the same opinion. We hope that this effort will be crowned with success. But the work must continue in this direction.

Thank you.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov.

January 24, 2019 - 17:45

The discussion covered a number of important current issues of bilateral cooperation, including in the field of energy.

The source of information -

Greetings to participants, organisers and guests of 30th KVN International Festival gala concert

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to the participants, organisers and guests of the gala concert devoted to the 30th anniversary of the KVN International Festival.

January 24, 2019 - 19:00

The message reads, in part:

“The current Festival has brought together in hospitable Sochi thousands of talented and creative young people from Russia and other countries, for whom being a member of the friendly and cohesive fraternity of the Club of the Funny and Inventive (KVN) has become an important, inalienable part of their lives. It has given them a wonderful opportunity to work on the same stage, exchange positive experience and meet with their devoted fans who are sincerely fond of the thrilling game called the Club of the Funny and Inventive, know its participants and the wonderful traditions that pass from one generation to another. After all, there are no former members of this club and many of those whom this project made famous remain in contact with this club to this day.”

The Club of the Funny and Inventive (KVN) is a popular humorous television gameshow, in which teams from universities, businesses, cities and countries compete in offering humorous answers to questions, and performing improvisations on set themes, rehearsed genre scenes, etc.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro.

January 24, 2019 - 19:35

The President of Russia expressed support for the legitimate Venezuelan authorities amid the worsening of the internal political crisis provoked from outside the country. He emphasised that destructive external interference is a gross violation of the fundamental norms of international law. He spoke in favour of searching for solutions within the constitutional framework and overcoming differences in Venezuelan society through peaceful dialogue.

The President of Venezuela provided his assessment of the dangerous turn of events in his country in recent days and expressed gratitude for the principled stance taken by the Russian Federation.

The presidents reaffirmed their shared desire to continue Russian-Venezuelan cooperation in a variety of areas.

The source of information -

Condolences to President of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro

January 27, 2019 - 12:00

Vladimir Putin sent a message of condolences to President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro in connection with the tragic aftermath of the disaster in Minas Gerais.

The President of Russia conveyed his deepest sympathy and support to the victim’s friends and families and his wishes of a speedy recovery to the injured.

The source of information -

Condolences to President of the Republic of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte

Vladimir Putin sent condolences to President of the Republic of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte in connection with the tragic aftermath of the terrorist attack in Jolo.

January 27, 2019 - 13:20

The message reads, in part:

“A crime committed against civilians who had congregated for church services is shocking in its cynicism and cruelty. I expect that the masterminds and perpetrators of this crime will sustain the punishment they deserve.

I would like to reiterate our readiness to further step up interaction with our Philippine partners in combating the terrorist threat in all its forms and manifestations.

People in Russia share the grief of the victims’ friends and families and hope for a prompt recovery of the injured.”

The source of information -
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
Old February 7th, 2019 #2
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Meeting with Accounts Chamber Chairman Alexei Kudrin

Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Accounts Chamber Chairman Alexei Kudrin, who briefed the President on the Chamber’s performance, as well as on its cooperation with the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) on financial audits.

January 21, 2019 - 13:45 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Kudrin, you are, of course, a very experienced person, and we both know this. However, the position you now occupy is something new for you. Six months have passed since your appointment, haven’t they?

Chairman of the Accounts Chamber Alexei Kudrin:


Mr President, we have summed up the results for the Accounts Chamber’s work. Over the past year and under my chairmanship, the Accounts Chamber Board held 42 meetings and reviewed 272 initiatives by supervisory agencies, including control activities, as well as expert and analytics reviews.

Expert and analytical reviews usually focus on system-wide problems that we study across the country, such as the use of land resources or the operation of magistrates’ courts. This can also include, for example, the use of the 112 System in emergencies or SMEs promotion. In all these cases we carry out comprehensive nationwide reviews.

Vladimir Putin:

Do you want to say that instead of just looking at spending figures, you review the matter in question in its entirety?

Alexei Kudrin:

We look at how the entire system works and whether it is efficient. It is for this reason that we have increased the number of inspections of this kind in keeping with the Law on the Accounts Chamber. The Accounts Chamber’s mission is to assess the performance of strategic goals and under strategic documents. We now pay more attention to these matters.

The innovative methods as well as approaches practiced by the Accounts Chamber include strategic audit techniques which is a global trend, and most audit chambers around the world are increasing the share of strategic audit in their inspections, thereby working for the state and explaining what works and what does not in achieving strategic goals.

In this regard, already in 2019 we will more strictly monitor the implementation of national tasks and national projects as a control authority that is independent from the executive branch, often working together when discussing the reasons for failure to fulfil or, conversely, best practices. In this sense, we are partially conducting such a restructuring.

In addition, we are increasing the share of digital data analysis methods that would allow us to do off-site analyses of a wider range of events. Of course, data in our country is still maintained very poorly. We need to improve the quality of databases and their compatibility. In this sense, we also identified the risk-based approach as one of our spheres of focus. We are looking for places where the risk of theft and the risk of non-fulfilment of strategic goals is the greatest.

During my chairmanship, 170 representations were sent to the ministries, departments and heads of institutions, 15 orders (in cases where the initial representations were not acted upon), and 220 information letters. In addition, 23 materials were sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office, 8 to the Federal Security Service, and 4 to the Investigative Committee, which are also being worked on. As a rule, the materials are confirmed and follow-up actions continue.

In this connection, as I have already said, today we enhance the quality of our work being guided by new approaches of strategic audit and improving the quality of the financial audit too.

There is one more event of interest to the Accounts Chamber next year.

Vladimir Putin:

Next year or this year?

Alexei Kudrin:

In the year 2019.

In September, Russia will host INCOSAI XXIII, a triennial congress of supreme audit institutions. The International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) is an umbrella organisation of the global audit community. With 194 countries as its members, it is the second largest organisation after the UN. The member states are represented at a high level, usually by former ministers and deputy prime ministers. They are usually regarded as independent professionals in charge of supreme government auditing in their countries. Therefore, it will be a very representative congress, during which some 850 delegates will discuss the organisations’ performance over a period of the past three years.

Russia will be the chair of INTOSAI for the next three years. This is why we are drafting a declaration of the congress together with working groups from many countries. Such declarations usually stipulate the implementation or the promotion of new modern approaches to auditing. Part of the approaches in our declaration will have to do with the development of strategy-related auditing as well as digital methods.

Two main reports will be delivered at the congress. Russia will report on the analysis of achieving national goals and the analysis methods, the so-called strategy-related auditing. Another report will be made by China and will deal with the development of digital technology in auditing. Both Russia and China are cooperating with working groups, which usually include up to 20 countries. The drafts of these reports are now being discussed in the international audit community. In other words, Russia will become the central venue for government auditing this year.

Vladimir Putin:

Very good.

Mr Kudrin, you have mentioned strategy-related auditing. I believe that as a former government member who prepared documents that are comparable to the current national projects, and also in your current capacity, you are in a position to gauge the efficiency of the state in attaining its goals. I hope that with you as its head, the Accounts Chamber will operate in this spirit and will provide considerable assistance to the implementation of our national projects.

Alexei Kudrin:

This is exactly what we intend to do.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

The source of information -

Visit to Moscow State University

Vladimir Putin visited the historical building of Moscow State University at Mokhovaya Street ahead of Russian Students Day.

January 23, 2019 - 14:50 - Moscow

During his visit to the MSU Museum of Anthropology, the President was shown the veil from the reliquary of St Zosima of Solovki (died on April 17, 1478), a co-founder of the Solovetsky Monastery. The image embroidered in gold thread on gold cloth was found in the museum’s collection in 2017 and subsequently restored at the Grabar Art Conservation Centre. According to the centre’s experts, the veil was manufactured at the turn of the 19th century. A similar veil of St Zosima made in 1661 is kept in the collection of the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg.

Vladimir Putin also met with MSU students, who showed him their designs for a digital culture and education centre for students and for the National Student Theatre Festival. They also told the President about the LANAT School Research Laboratory, which aims to encourage talented children to get involved in research projects.

The source of information -

Meeting of Moscow State University Board of Trustees

A meeting of Moscow State University Board of Trustees was held under Vladimir Putin’s chairmanship in the historic building of the Lomonosov Moscow State University on Mokhovaya Street.

The participants discussed interim results of implementing the Moscow State University development programme, further steps to enhance its competitiveness, as well as its participation in advanced research.

January 23, 2019 - 16:10 - Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, friends.

I am happy to welcome you all to this meeting of the Board of Trustees of Moscow State University. First of all, I would like to thank you all for the substantial support that you are rendering to the country’s leading university.

Today we will discuss the results of our joint work and map out plans for the future.

The high prestige of Moscow State University and the quality of its fundamental education – in both science and the humanities – are recognised in the entire world. Obviously, this is the result of the work of many generations of outstanding professors and researchers that created unique scientific schools here.

Today, Moscow State University’s research teams are playing a tangible role in advanced international projects, such as LIGO, dedicated to the study of gravitation waves and the origin of the Universe, thereby making a substantial contribution to the development of modern astronomy and cosmology.

Students and post-graduate students have grants from the Russian Science Foundation and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research; laboratories with a broad range of scientific subjects – from chemistry and physics to neurosciences and medicine – are being established for young researchers.

Clearly, the university’s vast scientific and educational potential should be used more effectively in training highly skilled specialists capable of dealing with national development tasks in public administration, the economy and in the social sphere, and ensuring a breakthrough in the areas that matter in this new technological era.

In a word, the entire Russian higher education system and, of course, Moscow State University as its flagship – which it certainly is – are designed to play a significant role in reaching the strategic goals facing the country.

In particular, we need discoveries, pilot projects and finished products in priority areas, including, for example, artificial intelligence, and people who are able to come up with such breakthrough solutions. All the more so as Moscow State University boasts strong competences in math and physics, including quantum physics, big data analysis and complex mathematical simulation, and it enjoys advantages in information technology.

Incidentally, last year the university team won the World Programming Championship in Beijing – we just discussed this with the rector – and surpassed not only the traditionally strong hosts of the championship, but also outperformed its competitors from a number of Russian universities, including, I believe, some that are based in my native city of St Petersburg.

We also hope that Moscow State University will play a significant role in implementing the genetic research programme that will focus on biosafety, medicine, pharmaceuticals, microbiology and agriculture.

Advanced research in these areas is impossible without biobanks, which are global repositories of biological materials. A group of young researchers from Moscow State University has been actively working on this since 2015.

In general, the university has accumulated significant findings in biomedical and chemical research in recent years. It is no coincidence that the National Anti-Doping Laboratory is opening at Moscow State University.

Colleagues, I would like to repeat that the dynamics of technological change is very high; today, it is not enough to just move forward, not enough to just move. It is necessary, as the saying goes, to rapidly gain pace and rapidly improve one’s positions.

Of course, Moscow State University, by most indicators in reliable ratings, is ahead of all Russian higher educational institutions. This is an obvious fact. However, at the same time, new and strong university leaders are strengthening their position. This means that both global and domestic competition is on the rise, and I am hopeful and looking forward to continued growth, which is an important condition for our science and universities to raise their levels. This is certainly a good thing but also a challenge to Moscow State University.

Other universities are already breathing down your neck, as they say, and – I think Mr Sadovnichy will agree with this – they are pressing Moscow State University hard in a number of areas, such as physics, which has traditionally been a strong discipline here. Incidentally, some of the best secondary school graduates, including winners and prize winners at the All Russia Olympiad of School Students, choose – generally, this is certainly highly positive where education is concerned, but Moscow State University should think about this – often choose not only Moscow State University but also other leading Russian universities, including in the Russian Federation’s regions.

Moreover, talented young people are placing increasingly higher demands. Those, who during their school years participated in Russian and international Olympiads, say that sometimes there is a lack of substance and a similarly intense rhythm, and that contrary to this, they are ready to dive deeper in the hope that it will bring important results.

So, in order to be and remain among the leaders, and in this particular case – the leader, the university should constantly seek to renew itself, while retaining the fundamentality and best traditions; it should eliminate anything that can hinder development or, what is more, somehow affect the prestige of our leading university.

What I mean, what I would like to draw your attention to, and I believe the university administration will agree with me. It is good to study related disciplines in different departments: they can look at a problem from different angles, which is very good, because many of the discoveries over the past century have been made at the junction of different sciences. But when they simply start cloning departments and faculties for the same programmes, this is a bit too much, probably.

I am aware that life is complex and diverse, and it is often difficult to avoid this kind of department cloning, because the people are good and deserving, and you need to do something for them, create something for them, but you still need to be primarily guided by the end cause and work for the end result.

Three different departments at Moscow State University train economists; seven offer management programmes. Does that mean the degrees are the same, but the skillsets are different? We need to understand how effective this is, we have to take a closer look. This is not a catastrophe, but it requires attention.

I am sure that the university administration is well aware of this: today we need cross-cutting education and research programmes, a more intensive development of the interdisciplinary approach, including at the junction of the humanities and the exact sciences (those cognitive sciences that Mr Sadovnichy repeatedly spoke of – they are at the junction of disciplines) in the areas of scientific and technological development that we have talked about many times.

The most important task is to strengthen the research and teaching staff, to attract truly outstanding researchers, both Russian and foreign, who possess expertise and competencies in promising, emerging areas, to develop academic exchange programmes with other universities.

This kind of openness should promote dynamic, confident development, and increase the attractiveness and authority of the Russian education system among the post-Soviet states and beyond. The university should further promote the best education traditions through its branches, centres of Russian language and culture, and the training of foreign students.

We certainly need projects aimed at resolving the major challenges of the future. For example, we should speed up the process of creating a science and technology centre to combine the potential of Moscow State University, the Russian Academy of Sciences and our leading companies. We have just discussed one component of this plan.

A special law has been passed to implement this project. I very much hope that the practical steps will not be slow to arrive.

Let us talk about all these things, and others that you consider important for the development of Moscow State University.

The source of information -

Meeting with Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova who told the President about preparations for the upcoming regional elections.

January 24, 2019 - 13:40 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Ms Pamfilova, there was a major election campaign last year, our colleagues worked actively and professionally, they coped effectively with this amount of work. This year, almost 50 percent of Russian regions will hold multi-level elections, including gubernatorial elections and those to local legislatures. What else can we do to help you carry out the work as effectively this year?

Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova:

Yes, Mr President, first of all, thank you very much for your constant attention and support.

Indeed, we are continuing with the intensive work on the development of the election system. We are using a systemic approach here. We need to simultaneously improve all key aspects, including the legal framework, practical law enforcement, as well as retooling and re-equipment. Issues dealing with the human resources potential, including the training of personnel and all measures in general, are very important. And I have brought some proposals to you in connection with this.

I would like to once again thank you for your support in giving us access to the Digital Russia programme. This is very important, and will allow us to continue developing. When we came up with the Mobile Voter concept (thankfully, you and the legislators supported us), people came to believe in it. Over seven million people have made use of this facility to date. We will continue to expand it.

Vladimir Putin:

Guaranteeing the constitutional right to take part in elections.

Ella Pamfilova:

Yes. In effect, we eliminated many barriers, and we suggested the Voting is Easy slogan. Naturally, voters might face a difficult choice, especially during competitive and important elections. Voting is not easy, and thoughtful people need to know how to vote. On the other hand, the voting process must be easy, simple, transparent and accessible. This includes long-distance options; and everything must be available. We are now working in this direction, and I want to say that we will try to make everything as simple and accessible for everyone as possible, as well as understandable and transparent for civic control.

Much has already been accomplished in this area with your help. In 2012, we started installing CCTV cameras on your initiative. We later went even further, and CCTV cameras are now installed at territorial election commissions. Today, we are working with Rostelecom to provide regular, long-term and better video equipment and surveillance with QR codes and other measures to ensure the system is as transparent as possible. Young people like this. We will continue our work. In effect, we are creating new capabilities, and the Digital Russia software allows us to do this.

We are now using everything; we work with integrated government and municipal services centres and the Integrated Government Services website. We are set to create new digital voting capabilities in the run-up to federal and regional elections. We are planning to streamline a pilot project as soon as 2019, that is, during the upcoming elections in Moscow. For example, a number of polling stations will open in Moscow, and the Mobile Voter system will allow people currently staying in Moscow, rather than in their own respective regions, to vote for their governors and legislators in all regions and territories, due to host elections at specially equipped digital polling stations in Moscow.

In time for the 2021 major election campaign, we plan to open some 5,000 digital polling stations, which will lift all the obstacles, so that voters will be able to take part not only in the federal but also in regional elections even when they are not in their home regions on voting day. This is what we plan to do and, I hope, what we will accomplish.

These unique digital services are designed not only for voters, but also for the candidates, observers and members of the media. In other words, these services will take public monitoring of the election process to a fundamentally new level. This will enhance public trust in the election results. We want to involve everyone in the zone of responsibility. This is our first goal.

Where do we need your assistance? Mr President, we do need your help. In addition to what I have said and where you have already helped, we have a problem with the role of law enforcement agencies in ensuring election compliance, that is, in preventing violations. For our part, we have done everything we could. The lawmakers have upgraded punishment for violations and falsification, and we use all the available technical means to prevent this. We have replaced the heads of election commissions and other personnel in the regions where we had complaints.

As a result of this, the number of violations and complaints is gradually decreasing. When we reveal violations, we resolutely cancel elections. We replace [commission] heads and punish those we have the authority to punish. But this is not enough; people must be aware of the inevitability of punishment for their misdeeds.

Unfortunately, there were problems even at the latest elections. Who is responsible for the cancellation of elections? We cancelled the elections. Who is to blame for this? We suspect or know who, but we do not have the investigative authority. I believe that it is vital to get this procedure into shape. I have forwarded the available material to the Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Committee. There are only a few unresolved matters, but we must deal with them. We must identify and punish the organisers of these violations. Those who are to blame for the cancelled elections must not evade punishment, so that nobody would try to do what they did. This is where we need your help.

There is another very important matter that has to do with law enforcement agencies. We process a tremendous amount of candidates’ case files during large-scale campaigns. Sometimes, we have to process 260,000–300,000 documents, and we need to see whether there have been any convictions. This does not concern just the candidates. We have another problem. If we deal with them in such a tough and exacting manner, then we must also be tough and exactingly with election commission members. Under the law, we must also find out whether any prospective election commission members have any valid convictions or not.

Unfortunately, we are facing major problems here. We do not have such an integrated centre and database. Every agency has something. Overall, the Interior Ministry cannot cope with this. Therefore, I suggest that this issue either be resolved under the law, or the Interior Ministry should be vested with the relevant powers. Or we should establish some inter-departmental centre because, to be honest, this is a national security issue and there are many aspects to it. This is my request.

Vladimir Putin:

All right, let us work on the first and second issues. And what are the current levels of technology and equipment for your work this year?

Ella Pamfilova:

This year… I have a number of proposals. First of all, this concerns minor legislative amendments. Second, technical support for the Elections state automated system, our federal information centre is also important. I hope that you will support us.

We also need support in some other areas. There are plans for a nationwide census in 2020, and we have generally established a good basis for it. This does not amount to support. To my mind, it is necessary to use the potential of election commissions during the upcoming census because we have done a lot to finalise the lists of voters. We have worked with the Foreign Ministry, the Interior Ministry, all immigration services, all agencies and our diplomatic missions abroad to complete this database.

Vladimir Putin:

Yes, I agree.

Ella Pamfilova:

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Your highly professional colleagues are working in a well-organised manner. Therefore, it would be best to involve your colleagues in the population census. I agree, let us do this.

Ella Pamfilova:

Thank you.

The source of information -

Meeting with permanent members of the Security Council

Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting with permanent members of the Security Council.

January 25, 2019 - 14:30 - The Kremlin, Moscow

The President informed the meeting participants about his recent talks with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The participants exchanged views on Syria, specifically prospects for a political settlement.

They also discussed developments in Venezuela, reiterating Russia’s position on the inadmissibility of any outside interference in that country’s internal political situation.

In addition, some urgent issues on Russia’s domestic socioeconomic agenda were discussed.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov and Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov.

The source of information -

Greetings to Golden Eagle National Film Awards

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to the participants and guests of the XVII Golden National Film Award Eagle Award ceremony.

January 25, 2019 - 20:00

The message reads, in part:

“2018 saw several premieres of outstanding and memorable films. Talented producers, actors, script writers and camera operators submitted for the consideration of their colleagues and spectators serious works that evoked broad public interest and became landmarks in cultural life.

By established tradition, the best of the best will receive one of the country’s most prestigious creative national awards today. For many years the Golden Eagle has been awarded for an outstanding contribution to the development of Russian and world cinematography and is rightly considered to be evidence of top professionalism and impeccable artistic taste.”

The source of information -

Greetings on the Opening of St Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2019 tournament

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to participants, organisers and guests of the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2019 tournament, which is being held for the fourth time.

January 26, 2019 - 09:30

The message reads, in part:

“This year, the tournament once again brings together at the famous Sibur Arena many guests and devoted tennis fans who will cheer for the athletes they love, and support this honest, fair and beautiful sport. They will see famous women tennis players on the court, including winners in the most prominent international tournaments who are true stars. It is very important that this event has always been popular among young people, since the future of tennis both in Russia and across the world is in the hands of the younger generation.”

The source of information -

75th anniversary of lifting of siege of Leningrad

President Putin attended events marking the 75th anniversary of breaking the Nazi siege of Leningrad

January 27, 2019 - 15:00 - St Petersburg

The President laid flowers at the Landmark Stone monument at Nevsky Pyatachok military historical complex, and visited Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery where he honoured the memory of fallen residents and defenders of Leningrad by laying a wreath at the Motherland monument.

The President also viewed an exhibit organised by the Lenrezerv patriotic society for the 75th anniversary of breaking the siege of Leningrad at the society’s venue. A street in the besieged city was recreated on the museum’s territory using authentic exhibits; the Road of Life diorama with an area of over 500 square meters was unveiled.

Following that, Vladimir Putin attended a gala concert Listen, Country, this is Leningrad speaking at the Oktyabrsky Grand Concert Hall.

The source of information -

A concert marking 75th anniversary of complete liberation of Leningrad from Nazi siege

Vladimir Putin attended a concert titled Listen, Country, this is Leningrad Speaking at the Oktyabrsky Grand Concert Hall.

January 27, 2019 - 15:10 - St Petersburg

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Dear veterans, friends, fellow city residents,

I congratulate you on the 75th anniversary of the complete liberation of Leningrad from the siege.

This will always remain a great event for Leningrad residents, for Russia and for the whole world, as will the 872 days of the dreadful horrendous ordeals the city residents went through. Their sufferings and sacrifices cannot be measured.

We must surely live for today, the present and future, yet the events in Leningrad must not be forgotten. Ever.

There is no forgiving the Nazis who decided to break our unassailable city using cynical attrition, deliberately exterminating hundreds of thousands of civilians. This is what is called a crime against humanity.

Under the enemy’s plan, Leningrad was to be erased from the face of the earth. However, the enemy was not capable of grasping that Leningrad’s residents could not be conquered and that they would never betray their native city, their Fatherland. And this act of high bravery of the besieged residents of the city and their spiritual power serve as the greatest example of loyalty to the Motherland.

Locked in by the siege, under infernal conditions of cold and hunger, Leningrad residents worked and fought on the frontline, in the militia, in factory shops and hospitals, to the deafening rumble of bombings and to the quiet, exhausting clicking of the metronome. They lived with hope, they believed in victory and thought about future generations, about us; they thought about their children and grandchildren; they preserved cultural values and unique monuments for them.

It is our duty to continue passing on to the victors’ great grandchildren the entire heroic truth about besieged Leningrad, our feelings of admiration for the honour and dignity of Leningrad residents and our pain over the hundreds of thousands of victims, for those who rest at Piskaryovskoye, Smolenskoye, and in dozens of other cemeteries and mass graves.

We, and our descendants as well, must do everything possible so that such tragedies never happen again. We must stand up for the memory of everyone who brought victory that much closer, for the memory, which is bequeathed to unite all nations, to call people to peace and justice. And this is why dates like today’s will never be irrelevant or routine for us.

Our deepest gratitude goes to the residents of besieged Leningrad, our fathers and mothers, our grandfathers and grandmothers, all those who defended and saved this beautiful city, breaking the siege and driving the enemy back, who fought and won against Nazism with guns in their hands or on the home front.

Happy holiday. I greet you, unconquerable Leningrad residents, on the day of your complete liberation from the enemy’s blockade.

The source of information -

A meeting with Acting Governor of St Petersburg Alexander Beglov

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Acting Governor of St Petersburg Alexander Beglov.

January 27, 2019 - 15:50 - St Petersburg

During the conversation Alexander Beglov, in particular, thanked the President for allocating funds from the Presidential Reserve Fund to set up a new exhibit at the State Memorial Museum of the Defence and Blockade of Leningrad.

Earlier in the day, Vladimir Putin attended commemorative events marking the 75th anniversary of the complete liberation of Leningrad from the Nazi blockade.

The source of information -

Greetings to Russian athletes on winning team relay competition at Luge World Championships

Vladimir Putin sent a message congratulating Tatyana Ivanova, Semyon Pavlichenko, Vladislav Yuzhakov and Yury Prokhorov on winning the team relay competition at the 2019 Luge World Championships in Winterberg, Germany.

January 27, 2019 - 17:45

The message reads, in part:

“You performed excellently and achieved what you set out to. In the face of fierce competition, you showed yourself to be a strong, united and well-prepared team.

“With your impressive, memorable performance and your victory you overshadowed the recognised favourites and won Russia’s first 'gold' in the luge team relay at the World Championships.“

The source of information -
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
Old February 9th, 2019 #3
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Meeting with President of Moldova Igor Dodon

Vladimir Putin met in the Kremlin with President of the Republic of Moldova Igor Dodon, who is in Russia on a working visit.

January 30, 2019 - 17:15 - The Kremlin, Moscow

The two leaders discussed key topics on the bilateral agenda as well as current regional issues.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr President, colleagues, friends,

We hold these meetings regularly, and they have yielded some results. In just 11 months of 2018, our trade grew by almost 29.5 percent, reaching a total of $1.38 billion – more than in the whole of 2017.

At your request, we took additional decisions concerning fruit and vegetable and wine products. Now we can say that these decisions – as reflected in the Government resolution – will remain in force until March, 2019. Together, we will monitor the progress and take further decisions.

We also took another decision concerning labour migration to support those who never seriously violated Russia’s migration laws.

You surely have some questions. Please, go ahead. We are very glad to see you today, and are ready to discuss any issue that you believe to be of vital importance for the development of Russian-Moldovan relations, which I know you work very hard to promote.

President of the Republic of Moldova Igor Dodon:

Mr President, colleagues,

First, I am very glad that the foreign policy agenda of the President of Moldova starts this year with a visit to the Russian Federation. We maintain dialogue for the sake of our continued strategic partnership.

As you know, we consider Russia our strategic partner. Our peoples have always had fraternal relations that have been tested by centuries.

Incidentally, this year we will celebrate in Moldova, under the President’s patronage, the 75th anniversary of the country's liberation from the Nazis. I am referring to the famous Jassy–Kishinev Operation that was executed at a very high level.

This year we in Moldova will celebrate the 660th anniversary of Moldovan statehood.

As you noted, trade between our countries is developing very dynamically. I would like to thank you for supporting our initiative to zero out customs duties on five commodity items starting January 1. This will provide considerable support to our producers.

Now a few words about migrant workers: the measures that have been adopted concern 170,000 our citizens and I am hoping that our citizens will use this opportunity to come home and then return to the Russian Federation without any problems.

I would also like to tell you that in the next few weeks the first batch of Russian equipment, KAMAZ trucks, which we agreed upon – I asked you and you consented – will arrive in Moldova for municipal enterprises throughout the whole of our country: both in the north and south.

One question has arisen on trade and I hope we will discuss it today – it concerns the transit of some categories of our goods via Ukrainian territory. We will discuss this in more detail today.

I would like to thank you for the Russian Federation’s consistent position on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova.

As you know, the leader of Transnistria and I have a very good dialogue – I had five meetings with him and the last one took place right before the New Year.

We resolved many issues that had remained outstanding and will keep moving forward on them. Of course, everything will depend on the results of the parliamentary elections.

Vladimir Putin:

When will elections take place?

Igor Dodon:

On February 24.

We decided that the office of the President will not be involved in this campaign. Let the parties vie for parliamentary mandates but the President will not take part in the election campaign.

I would also like to thank you for our cooperation at international venues. Last year we received the status of EAEU observer. I think this is a very good opportunity that we should use to the utmost in the commercial interests of our countries.

We are watching very closely what is happening in the CIS. I am sure we will continue our productive cooperation within it and at other venues.

Vladimir Putin:

Needless to say, we in Russia are not indifferent to the future Moldovan Parliament because it forms the country’s Government and the future development of Russia-Moldova relations will largely depend on this, as well as the future Government’s support of the initiatives made by the President of Moldova on the development of our bilateral ties.

Igor Dodon:

Russia is considered a friendly country by 65 percent of our population. We are hoping that the opinion of the people will be clearly reflected in the future Parliament. But it is up to the people to decide…

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko.

January 31, 2019 - 11:50

The two presidents discussed the further development of bilateral cooperation and the schedule of upcoming bilateral contacts.

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Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
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Meeting with Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev and Head of Rosselkhoznadzor Sergei Dankvert

Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev and the Head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision (Rosselkhoznadzor) Sergei Dankvert. They discussed, among other things, the current developments in agriculture and the introduction of an electronic veterinary certification system.

January 28, 2019 - 13:40 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

We undoubtedly often discuss the development of agriculture in general and support for agriculture at meetings in various formats; I hope that the Minister will now say a few words on the industry’s performance results over the past year.

We also discuss the work of Rosselkhoznadzor from various perspectives, its role and significance, including with regard to animal health. This is a major problem, and we know how it looks and in its regional aspect, as well as from the federal level.

Let us talk today about these issues in a broader format, including the system of electronic veterinary certification – I know you are developing it intensively now. Let us talk about it. But first, I would ask for a few words on the sector’s results.

Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev:

Mr President, allow me to report briefly on the current situation in agriculture, and in the agro-industrial complex as a whole.

A few words about the progress in the winter crop sowing and forecasts for the 2019 harvest. In 2018, we collected a decent harvest of 112.9 million tonnes, and now we are already working on the 2019 harvest.

Our winter crops have been sown on an area of 17.7 million hectares. According to regional reports, about 90 percent of all crop areas are in good condition. The situation with the rest will be known after the snow melts.

Vladimir Putin:

What was the situation at this time last year?

Dmitry Patrushev:

It was about the same, but we estimate that this year will probably be slightly better than last year. The total sowing area for 2019 will be about 80.5 million hectares, 1.2 million hectares bigger than last year.

Now over to the harvest prognosis. Of course, it is too early for this, but we can say that this year, considering the pre-conditions we have, we will probably collect about 108–110 million tonnes. This is a wild guess, so to speak, but still. We plan to harvest about 67 million tonnes of wheat. Of course, as I have said, we will aim to do this and will do our best. Now we are actively preparing for the spring sowing season.

As of mid-January, we have 5.5 million tonnes of seeds available, and we need a total of 5.63 million tonnes for the spring sowing. However, there is no question that we will have enough when the sowing begins.

In addition, farmers have purchased over 101,000 tonnes of active ingredients for mineral fertilisers, which is 13,500 tonnes more than last year. The agricultural equipment is also being prepared for the sowing.

I would like to talk separately about state support and loans to agricultural enterprises and organisations, especially state support.

This year, 303.6 billion rubles have been allocated to implement state support projects, which is significantly more, 50 billion more, than last year. The rise in state support was largely due to the increased financing under the Exports of the Agricultural Products federal project within the May Executive Order, as well as to the new federal project to establish a support system for farming and rural cooperation.

This means that, among other things, state support will be channeled into preferential loans – about 73 billion rubles; supporting exports of agricultural products – about 39 billion rubles; and separate support for crop production – about 11 billion rubles.

In addition, about eight billion rubles is allocated to subsidies aimed at increasing productivity in dairy farming, which means that we continue to support dairy production.

Also, about seven billion rubles are being used to establish a system to support farmers and develop rural cooperation.

And quite a lot of money will go to a single subsidy for the regions, and the regions will decide. But we still want them to do this after consulting with us.

Vladimir Putin:

When will it get to the regions?

Dmitry Patrushev:

We will be transferring throughout the year. Last year, a very high level of funding went to the regions, very little money was returned.

Vladimir Putin:

I see. But still, when will the bulk of the funds arrive?

Dmitry Patrushev:

Mr President, if necessary, when they are ready, they will receive money. We do not have a situation where we give a certain amount of money by the end of a year. We will allocate funds steadily throughout the year.

Vladimir Putin:

That is what I meant.

Dmitry Patrushev:

Throughout the year, we will allocate funds steadily, as needed. And I do not think that there will be any problems.

Last year everything was done on time. It was not as if we gave them money by the end of the year, and they failed to spend it.

Vladimir Putin:

We need to work more closely with the regions.

Dmitry Patrushev:

Yes, Mr President, we will definitely do that.

In addition, I would like to say a few words about exports before I talk about electronic veterinary certification.

As of January 13 this year, the statistics showed that in 2018 we exported $25.8 billion worth of agricultural produce and food.

Last time I reported that we aimed to reach 26 billion, but I do not think we will manage. The figure will be about one hundred million short of our goal.

At the end of February, we will get a more accurate figure, but I think that it will amount to 25.9 billion – approximately this amount of export earnings.

Grain makes up a major part of our exports – about 40 percent, fish and crustaceans – about 20 percent, foods and processed products – 13.5 percent, and oil and fat products.

Under the export project, we will still try to export products with higher added value.

Vladimir Putin:

What do you believe the grain export potential will be this year, given the fact that we still have reserves?

Dmitry Patrushev:

Mr President, taking into account the carryover stocks, I think we will be able to export about 42 million tonnes of grain, 36 million tonnes of wheat, if my memory serves me. And these are quite good figures for us, which form a serious export revenue.

However, in the coming years, we will try to work on the quality of the grain that we export in order to gain a foothold in the world market as a producer of high-quality grain. That is, we will be popular among countries that need good, high-quality wheat, high-quality grain.

A little later, we will draw conclusions about how much we will manage to export next year, depending on the overall results of grain production.

Now about electronic veterinary certification. To carry out your instructions regarding the creation of a single traceability system, as of July 1, 2018, all veterinary-related documents in Russia have been drawn up in electronic form.

In December last year, the number of documents processed per day reached six million. That is, according to the results for the month as a whole, more than 137 million veterinary certificates, these veterinary documents, were issued.

Among the leading regions are Moscow and Moscow Region, St Petersburg, Krasnodar Territory, Chelyabinsk Region, Nizhny Novgorod Region, and Sverdlovsk Region.

In general, the work on the introduction of electronic veterinary certification, in our opinion, is proceeding according to the planned indicators, and many regions have already completely switched over to it.

Thanks to this system, we will be able to ensure complete traceability of products: in fact, from raw materials to the shelves in the shops. Therefore, we believe the circulation of counterfeit and forged goods will gradually become impossible.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to carry out illegal activity; the electronic veterinary certification makes every process sufficiently transparent for us and, most importantly, for our consumers, too.

Sergei Dankvert, Head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision:

It just so happened that you personally took part in this whole process. Back in March, 2015, when this decision was being taken, I was asking for fishermen to be left out of this, as they were tiring me out. As it turned out, however, you took the right decision back then. Today, our fishermen are trying to stay in line with everyone else, which yields fascinating results.

The introduction of the changes to the 2015 veterinary law, which came about through your decision, resulted in an interesting dynamic that has been developing ever since. In December 2018, we actually reached 137 million. Previously, there was a total of only 57 million paper certificates issued in Russia…

Vladimir Putin:

137.5 million, to be exact.

Sergei Dankvert:

Yes, 137.5 million.

Earlier, only 57 million paper certificates were issued per year. In them, one could write something like “assorted meat products, a total of 200 kg” and, as a result, one was free to transport anything from cervelat sausage to animal hides.

That is why this decision was taken at just the right time. I believe that today we are, in fact, ahead of many countries. Take for instance China, where we were recently, our Chinese colleagues have encountered African swine fever. They simply have no idea what to do, whereas we have already solved this issue by now.

We have electronic certification, regionalisation, which is automatically introduced with the help of an electronic system, compartmentalisation, too, meaning the dividision into compartments according to biological safety levels.

As it turns out, countries with high levels of biological safety can export goods to any location, while countries with low levels cannot export anywhere…

Vladimir Putin:

This was one of our goals.

Sergei Dankvert:

This was our goal, and we achieved it. And I will tell you that now our European colleagues…

We attended the Green Week, where we met our European colleagues. Of course, they meet us with caution and their reaction is not quite clear, though there are some working issues, but they are interested in using our experience.

Unfortunately, their situation is developing without any control, because, let us say, the number of cases of African fever we have in ten years, they have in one.

Vladimir Putin:

Is it increasing?

Sergei Dankvert:

Yes, and very significantly. Unfortunately, there are no regulatory mechanisms.

When we explained to our Chinese colleagues that we have a compartment, regionalisation and even online certification and you cannot transfer this any further, they could not understand this yet.

We are achieving now what we strived for and, and, let me say that many regions react in the right way. As I have said, unfortunately, our foreign colleagues have not been supportive from the beginning. It is hard to understand why, but so be it.

As of today, 332,285 legal entities are registered in our system as well as 388,229 self-employed entrepreneurs (farms) and 1,407,489 individuals who have private farms or own cattle.

We tried to do this without much ado and we worked on the system step by step, because, of course, developing such a system for the entire country takes time.

Critics say that we must have spent a lot of money. We have counted almost all the money that has been allocated for electronic support: 130 million.

Vladimir Putin:

Establishing order in this area will certainly contribute to the civilised development of agriculture as an industry, and, most importantly, will have a positive effect on people's health.

Sergei Dankvert:

Certainly. And it will be very easy to control.

Vladimir Putin:

It really works for the consumers.

Sergei Dankvert:

It is easy to inspect. And we certainly need to make changes to consumer legislation, because if black caviar was aquacultured, then it should be written that it is aquacultured. If it was made in Russia from Chinese raw materials… When I was in Germany, the labels said ‘aquaculture production – China, packed in Germany’. We also need to avoid misleading labeling – we can already thoroughly trace where something comes from, what it is made of, and how.

Vladimir Putin:

This concerns not only caviar, but also ordinary, as they say, basic foods.

Sergei Dankvert:

To date, we have all the ready-to-use products… Only ready-to-use dairy products are not included, but all the rest – sausages and that sort of thing. There is no hustle, everyone is working. The number of those involved – you can look through the successful results: large chains and small businesses are applying for veterinary certificates.

Vladimir Putin:

You know, this will certainly strengthen our position on the market, and above all, on the domestic market, because it will work in the interests of the consumers.

Sergei Dankvert:

And for export, it will be easier to prove the origin …

Vladimir Putin:

Of course.

Sergei Dankvert:

That is, we aimed to streamline things on the Russian market and have a way to prove the origin and traceability of our food exports. We are making progress.

Vladimir Putin:


Sergei Dankvert:

Thank you very much for supporting me then.

Dmitry Patrushev:

Yes, thank you for the support.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you for having these plans implemented and introduced in practice.

As for current work, January is already ending, and agricultural field work will soon begin, especially in the southern regions, so I hope that the industry will be ready for this.

Dmitry Patrushev:

We will try, we will do everything.

Vladimir Putin:


The source of information -

Meeting with Head of Tambov Region Administration Alexander Nikitin

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Head of the Tambov Region Administration Alexander Nikitin. The regional leader updated the President on the region’s socioeconomic situation.

January 29, 2019 - 14:20 - The Kremlin, Moscow

Alexander Nikitin reported that the agriculture-dominated region had enhanced its industrial potential in 2018, with its growth amounting to 14.4 percent. A significant contribution to this increase was provided by the food and processing industry, which showed an even higher growth of 22 percent. In terms of industrial production growth, the region ranks first among the central black earth regions and fifth in Russia.

Every year, investment in the regional economy is kept at the level of 100–110 billion rubles. During the last two or three years, three industrial parks and one territory of advanced socioeconomic development have been established.

The consolidated regional budget revenue increased by 8 percent; wages rose by 5.6 percent, and commissioning of new housing, by 2.2 percent.

The region ranks ninth in grain production, eighth in sunflower production, fifth in sugar beet production, and second in the production of meat and poultry in Russia. It manufactures more than 70 percent of all dyes (paints and lacquers, and acrylic emulsions) in Russia.

The Governor spoke in detail about major investment projects. A large meat production project with Auchan involves a new model of agricultural development – a contractual model, with investment of almost 3.5 billion rubles. The second phase of the Russian-Spanish turkey meat project is being implemented. Modern equipment has been supplied for the second stage of one of the largest flourmills in Europe and Russia. A greenhouse farm is being established in Michurinsk – 20 billion in investment, 30 hectares at the first phase.

A special subject of pride, according to the Governor, is that Tambov Region has been at the top of Russia's environmental ranking for six years in a row.

The President and the Governor also talked about the construction of social facilities – schools, kindergartens, and a new perinatal centre. This year, the region plans to open a gerontology centre, and a sports centre for martial arts.

The source of information -

Meeting with Government members

Vladimir Putin had a meeting with Government members at the Kremlin.

January 30, 2019 - 14:20 - The Kremlin, Moscow

The participants focused on measures to boost the tourism industry. Reports were delivered by the heads of the relevant agencies. The agenda also included several current issues.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues.

Today we will discuss tourism.

Before we start working, I have a question for a tourist. Mr Oreshkin, tell us about your work with our colleagues [at the World Economic Forum in Davos], the meetings you had and whether you have anything interesting or useful to report.


Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin:

Overall, the forum was a rather negative experience. The international mood has greatly worsened over the past year, also because the global economy was rapidly losing momentum in the last quarter.

Vladimir Putin:

The IMF also mentioned a downswing.

Maxim Oreshkin:

The IMF first said so in January. In other words, they have only started adjusting their forecasts, even though negative trends became apparent in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Second, socio-political tensions are growing, with the French yellow vest protests and other events. Taken together, this had a negative impact on the forum participants.

Representatives of major companies and countries are aware of the rising problems but they do not see any solutions to them.

It is clear that some countries have reacted to this by trying to replace domestic problems with a foreign agenda, including sanctions and trade wars. All of this is the result of domestic political issues, which ultimately lead to global problems.

One of the reasons for the slackening economic growth is the trade wars, which are splitting the world into separate blocs and destroying the system that was effective for the past years.

Vladimir Putin:

How much has the global trade system lost as a result of all types of restrictions?

Maxim Oreshkin:

According to the WTO analysis for last year, the global economic growth shortfall was around $500 billion, which is a great deal. All this is having a negative impact on the economy.

We recently had a WTO ministerial conference. So far, there are no visible solutions to the current problems because the countries involved are not ready to seek agreement.

A large group of countries, including Russia, are willing to look for solutions. No US delegates attended that conference, which means the problems will persist.

In fact, solutions to global problems are unlikely to be found until domestic political problems are settled.

In terms of the Russian delegation’s work at the forum, the outcome was positive. We had a great deal of bilateral meetings with representatives from France, Switzerland, Portugal, Turkey, Qatar and South Korea, as well as with OPEC delegates.

We had many other meetings to discuss bilateral cooperation. The attitude towards Russia is positive. We have joint projects with all of these countries, and we are working to implement them.

I would like to add that our European partners have changed their attitude to Russia. It is gradually improving because the Europeans are seriously frustrated with what the United States is doing, in particular, increased steel and aluminium tariffs and several other things.

Vladimir Putin:

We have nothing to do with this. It was a separate [US] decision regarding the European economies.

Maxim Oreshkin:


In our opinion, all the business people who wanted to attend [the Davos Forum] did so and discussed the issues they wanted.

The forum organisers said that certain [Russian] business people would not be welcome at Davos. But I met with them, and they apologised for their actions last year. The conflict can be considered settled, but there is an unpleasant aftertaste, of course.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you very much.

A lot has been done over the past 13 years to promote vaccinations prior to the flu season, for example, in the autumn and the winter. Could you update us on the flu rates and vaccine manufacturing?

Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova:

Mr President, colleagues,

Since the launch of the first national project in 2006, we have expanded the vaccination coverage 2.6-fold, while the influenza incidence rate dropped 13 times during the same period.

This season we planned to have at least 45 percent of the population vaccinated, but the actual coverage was 49 percent or 70.8 million people, while the vaccination coverage among children was as high as 63 percent, totalling 18.5 million. I would like to thank employers who took part in the vaccination campaign at their own expense, helping to vaccinate almost six million people.

Through this campaign, we have reached a sufficient level of population immunity. The flu rates started to increase in the last two weeks of 2018, and did not exceed the baseline epidemic threshold until last week.

Since last week, the baseline epidemic threshold has been exceeded by seven percent, and the incidence rate now stands at 77 per 10,000 people. The weekly indicators are 26.5 percent above the epidemic threshold.

So far we are facing a low-intensity epidemic, although the epidemic threshold has been exceeded in 23 regions, and local flu outbreaks have been reported. The highest incidence rates were reported in Buryatia, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and the Jewish Autonomous Region, more than double the threshold. The Far East and Siberia are more than 30 percent above the threshold, and the epidemic is on the rise the Northwestern, Central and Volga federal districts. According to our flu reference centre, next week we will see an increase in the flu incidence rate across the country.

We are expecting a medium-intensity epidemic dominated by type A influenza, which currently accounts for 76 percent of the total, with a H1N1 strain similar to the swine flu and H3N2 at similar levels.

This year, we used three high-tech Russian vaccines that contain all the strains that are currently relevant, as recommended by the World Health Organisation. It can be said that people are well equipped for this epidemic.

We checked regions to see whether they are prepared. Every region has a two-week inventory of personal protective gear and flu medicine at all times. More than 100,000 places were set up in infection wards, and we have the potential to further increase their number. There are more than 15,000 places in intensive care units. Over the past two years we upgraded equipment in all intensive care units dealing with infectious diseases. The number of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines doubled. So we are well prepared.

We also expect ordinary people to contribute to these efforts by protecting themselves from the epidemic. It is recommended that people avoid mass events in the coming weeks unless they really need to attend, use individual protective gear, wash their hands more often and keep devices they bring up to their faces clean.

For people who do get sick, we strongly recommend seeking medical help instead of self-treatment. This is especially important for people who can get severely ill, including people with weakened immune systems, children under the age of five years, pregnant women, people suffering from chronic diseases.

This also applies to risk groups, including people working in medical and educational institutions, transport and utilities services, and those who interact with a large number of people throughout the day.

Mr President, I wanted to highlight that we have achieved substantial progress in vaccine manufacturing. The flu virus goes through antigenic drift every three to four years. As a result, the prevalent flu strains may not fully coincide with those covered by vaccines.

Vladimir Putin:

Have the vaccines hit the mark this year?

Veronika Skvortsova:

This year everything is fine, but last year we faced this situation with type B flu.

In 2018, many countries, pursuant to the WHO recommendation, started transitioning from triple to tetravalent vaccines.

At the Healthcare Ministry’s initiative, three Russian producers embarked upon the development of these vaccines in 2018. As of today, three drugs have been developed, with one of them registered. We expect that one drug will be registered in August or September of this year. Yet another drug will be registered in late 2020.

Jointly with the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor), we have drafted a plan for transitioning from triple to tetravalent vaccines starting from the next epidemic season. The high-risk population groups prone to the gravest forms of the disease will be the first beneficiaries.

Another point: two of the Healthcare Ministry’s research centres developed three universal anti-influenza vaccines in 2018. These are primarily intended against pandemic influenza and the conservative influenza epitope that does not change following changes in the strain.

Two drugs have passed the first phase of clinical testing with a very good, highly effective result. This is a safe vaccine. The drugs will be registered shortly.

Thus, this country has created a range of medications that will fully protect us against any antigenic drift of the influenza virus or emergence of pandemic strains, including H5, or the bird flu.

Therefore, I would like to report that the situation is under control and that we have taken all measures to prevent it from going beyond the usual seasonal fluctuations.

Vladimir Putin:

Ms Skvortsova, the recommendations that you have voiced just now should be repeated many times by specialists in the media. In addition, it is certainly necessary to intensify work with the regions and the relevant healthcare agencies in the regions to induce them to pursue this work at the local level.

Veronika Skvortsova:

We have been doing this and will continue to do so, Mr President. We will continue and intensify this work.

Vladimir Putin:


To get sick less often we must go into sports more. There are the Children of Asia Games. Can you please tell us more about this?

Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets:

Mr President, Mr Prime Minister, colleagues,

The Children of Asia Games will take place in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on February 9–16. This is one of the largest competitions for children. One of its founders is the Olympic Council of Asia that includes 45 countries.

Let me recall that over 60 percent of the world’s population lives in Asia. The games are expected to be very serious and professional. Over 20 teams have applied for participation. These competitions will be held in the winter in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk for the first time. They basically open a new agenda for children’s sports competitions.

The games will consist of competitions in eight Olympic sports: figure skating, hockey, short track, alpine skiing, snowboard, biathlon, cross country skiing and ski jump. Figure skating and hockey are the most popular competitions.

We expect over 1,300 athletes to take part in the games and are looking forward to the arrival of more than 20 delegations from Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Nepal, Thailand and many other Asian countries,

Over 20,000 fans will watch the competitions at sports facilities in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The games will be broadcast to a huge audience. We estimate that several million people will watch the games.

As of today, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is fully prepared to host these major competitions. With your permission, Acting Governor of the Sakhalin Region Valery Limarenko will tell us in more detail about the sports facilities.

Vladimir Putin:

Sports facilities and hotels?

Olga Golodets:

Yes, the entire infrastructure.

Acting Governor of the Sakhalin Region Valery Limarenko:

Mr President, colleagues,

The sports infrastructure, which comprises six key sports facilities that comply with all current requirements, is fully ready for the games.

It includes an athletic tourism complex and a ski centre, a ski-jump, two ice arenas, a snowboard park and a ski and biathlon complex. These facilities are ready for the athletes, judges, coaches and other specialists from 20 countries.

Mr President, I would like to note that, importantly, these facilities will be used in the future to promote sports in the Sakhalin Region. We believe that about an additional 5,000 young athletes will be able to use these sites for various sports, and we will hire 170 more instructors for classes.

I would like to note that such a large complex could form the basis for a national sports camp in the Russian Far East. We suggest doing so, and would like you to support this idea.

This complex can also be used as training grounds during preparations for important sports events and a venue for holding important international sporting events.

Now a few words about organisational issues. Transport for athletes and anyone else arriving in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, including tourists, is in place. Travel time between hotels, restaurants, training grounds and competition sites should be under 15 minutes to ensure comfort and convenience.

About 60 facilities in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk will be available to athletes, team members and guests to meet their catering and accommodation needs. More than 1,000 volunteers, who are now undergoing training, will help our guests get around.

A medical support system has been put in place as well. Eight ambulance crews and seven first-aid stations will be on duty at the sports facilities at all times. A total of 16 medical organisations will be supporting the event.

Of course, security is important. We have completed the necessary preparations in cooperation with the FSB, the Interior Ministry and the Emergencies Ministry.

We believe this will be a festive event not only for our guests, but Sakhalin residents as well, so we have come up with an extensive entertainment and sightseeing programme.

I am here to report that Sakhalin is ready to welcome the athletes and guests.

Vladimir Putin:

Do you need any additional assistance?

Valery Limarenko:

No, we are working closely with the federal agencies and have made all the necessary arrangements in the region.

Vladimir Putin:

Good. Good luck.

The source of information -

Meeting with Education Minister Olga Vasilyeva

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Education Minister Olga Vasilyeva.

January 31, 2019 - 15:10 - The Kremlin, Moscow

Olga Vasilyeva discussed the ministry’s work, in particular, the development of pre-school education, the construction of new schools and the renovation of old ones.

She also talked about the All-Russian Olympiad, which had a total of six million participants, with most of them competing in the field of mathematics. Russia’s participation in international Olympiads has yielded a total of 38 medals, including 22 gold ones.

The Minister paid special attention to the importance of early occupational guidance. In 2018, over one million people were admitted to specialised secondary education institutions. The success of Russian participants in WorldSkills and Euroskills competitions has played a major role in these results. This year, the WorldSkills competition will be held in Kazan, Russia.

The Minister also spoke about the Abilympics professional contest for children with disabilities, which results in employment contracts for participants.

Russia is now working to create a total of 100 priority development centres to provide further training for teachers, Olga Vasilyeva explained, as well as a total of 340 IT-CUBE centres. Each region will have its own quantoriums and local Sirius centres, which will be provided with special programmes developed by the Sirius federal centre.

The President drew the Minister’s attention to the necessity of monitoring teachers’ wages in order to prevent them from dropping below the regional average.

The source of information -

Gathering in honour of the 10th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church Local Council and the Patriarch's enthronement

The President visited the State Kremlin Palace, where events are being held to mark the 10th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church Local Council and the enthronement of the Patriarch.

January 31, 2019 - 17:30 - The Kremlin, Moscow

Earlier, the President met with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and heads of the delegations of local Orthodox churches from different countries who arrived in Moscow to participate in the festivities.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Your Holiness, primates and representatives of local Orthodox churches, priests, ladies and gentlemen,

I am glad to welcome all of you in the heart of Russia, in the Moscow Kremlin, with its holy shrines that mean a lot to every Orthodox believer.

Today’s gathering is dedicated to a special date. At the end of January 2009, the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church met to elect a new primate – Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

I would like to warmly and sincerely congratulate His Holiness on the 10th anniversary of his enthronement.

In December 2017, we came together to celebrate the centenary of the restoration of the patriarchate in our country and recognised the decisive role played by the primates of the Russian Orthodox Church in many respects in the destiny of the Fatherland, the greatness of their devotion and service to our people.

Like his outstanding predecessors, Patriarch Kirill carries out his archpastoral mission with honour. Abiding by the Christian commandments, he seeks to help people find their way to the church, to bolster their faith, and to support them in word and deed. His wisdom and honesty, his openness and generosity have earned him respect and trust both in Russia and far beyond its borders.

His Holiness and Orthodox hierarchs, together with representatives of other traditional religions, are making a significant contribution to strengthening social harmony, helping resolve profoundly important, sometimes very sensitive issues that people are concerned and worry about.

I know how much has been done in recent years to expand the Church’s social services; the enormous, tireless work in this area the churches are doing, bringing in volunteers, benefactors, and all those who seeks to selflessly help other people.

This work is invaluable; it cannot be measured by statistics, but still, allow me to cite a few figures.

In 2009, there was only one church shelter in Russia for women with children who ended up in difficult life situations. Last year their number grew to 58. More than 100 new humanitarian aid centres have opened. Nursing care and social rehabilitation services are developing.

The Russian Orthodox Church is always found where people are experiencing difficulties; it is always with people who are in trouble. That was the case in the summer of 2010, when Russia was confronted with the elements, when fires raged across many regions of our country; that was the case in Krymsk and in cities and villages of the Far East affected by floods.

Today, the Russian Orthodox Church coordinates and contributes to over 6,500 social projects, thereby significantly strengthening the efforts of the state and society in this area.

I would like to offer special thanks to Patriarch Kirill and the Church for the spiritual guidance of the Russian army. Your sincere, heartfelt words help the soldiers and officers to defend their homeland with honour, instil in them confidence in their military prowess and moral righteousness.

The educational activities of the ROC deserve great respect, as do the restoration of old churches and the building of new ones. Patriarch Kirill and I recently attended the ceremony to consecrate the foundation of one of them – a majestic cathedral commemorating the soldiers of the Great Patriotic War, named the Resurrection of Christ.

The noble devotion of the Russian Orthodox Church extends over its entire canonical territory. And we are grateful to His Holiness for his constant attention to our compatriots and the support of foreign communities, for his tireless work to build trust between countries and peoples, to expand humanitarian contacts.

I must emphasise that such honest, impeccable service that Patriarch Kirill demonstrates is an example of true love for the Fatherland and for our people, and the successes achieved in this field lay the foundation for the development of the Church for decades to come.

Your Holiness, participants of this solemn gathering,

Today, as for many centuries before, the high purpose of the Russian Orthodox Church remains exceptionally important.

I emphasise that the state will continue to actively promote constructive partnership with the Church in all significant areas, primarily, bringing up younger generations, preserving cultural heritage and solving pressing social problems.

Russia faces major challenges and ambitious goals and, without exaggeration, historic tasks in demography, social development and improvements in the quality of life, as well as efforts to achieve economic, scientific, and technological breakthroughs.

But we are well aware that in order to reach new heights, it is important to preserve our identity, unity and solidarity, which rely on values that have been cherished at all times by Orthodoxy and other traditional religions of Russia, such as compassion, honesty and justice, caring for your neighbour and family, respect for parents and children and, of course, love for the Motherland.

Neglecting these values can lead to the most destructive consequences, to the depersonalisation and degradation of the individual, and make people victims of the most vile and base manipulations.

To reiterate, the common duty of cooperation and responsibility of the state, the Church, religious leaders, and society lies in preserving and strengthening our spiritual, moral and ethical foundation, passing it on to the young, to future generations, so as not to lose ourselves in an era of turbulent global change.

Of course, we hope that the Russian Orthodox Church will remain an effective force for peace, promote friendship and neighbourliness, and support our compatriots and people belonging to Orthodox culture.

Brotherly interchurch ties have historically united nations and served to promote equitable relations between Russia and many foreign countries.

Unfortunately, we can see other examples as well where speculation, politicking and parasitism on matters of religious life have led to disunity among people and provoked anger and intolerance.

Precisely such a project that is unrelated to faith and is false through and through, focusing on the struggle for power, is unfolding in Ukraine. Regrettably, the Patriarchate of Constantinople got dragged into it. In fact, we are witnessing flagrant interference in church life. Its initiators seem to have taken after the godless people of the previous century, who expelled believers from churches and attacked and persecuted the clergy.

To reiterate, the state, the Russian authorities consider any interference in church affairs to be absolutely intolerable. We have and will always have respect for the independence of church life, all the more so in a neighbouring sovereign country. Nevertheless, we reserve the right to respond and do our best to protect human rights, including freedom of religion.

In closing, I would like to once again congratulate Patriarch Kirill on the occasion of a significant date, ten years since his enthronement. I wish His Holiness vigour, longevity and every success in his archpastoral work. May your prayers keep the Russian Orthodox Church and our Fatherland.

Thank you.

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Meeting with permanent members of Security Council

Vladimir Putin met with permanent members of the Security Council to discuss the developments in Venezuela, the US intention to pull out of the INF Treaty and current domestic issues.

February 1, 2019 - 14:50 - The Kremlin, Moscow

While on the topic of Venezuela, the meeting participants noted that the country should be able to settle the internal political crisis without foreign interference.

They also had an in-depth discussion on strategic stability and international security in the context of the expected US withdrawal from the INF Treaty.

The council members also discussed current socioeconomic development issues.

The meeting was attended by Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Dumas Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin and Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov.

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Meeting with Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu

Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

February 2, 2019 - 12:00 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, please provide an update on the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, and the disarmament dossier in general. What is going on in terms of limitation of offensive arms?

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov:

Mr President,

Regarding the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, as you know, it has been in force since 1988. It had an indefinite term. According to the information at our disposal, the United States has been violating the Treaty since 1999, when it started testing combat unmanned aerial vehicles that have the same characteristics as land-based cruise missiles banned by the Treaty.

The United States went on to use ballistic target missiles for testing their missile defence system, and in 2014 they began the deployment in their missile defence system positioning areas in Europe of Mk 41 vertical launching systems. These launchers are fully suitable as they are for Tomahawk intermediate-range attack missiles.

Vladimir Putin:

And this is an outright violation of the Treaty.

Sergei Lavrov:

This is an outright violation of the Treaty. Launchers of this kind have already been deployed in Romania, and preparations are underway to deploy them in Poland, as well as Japan.

Another matter of concern for us is that only recently, just a year ago, the United States in its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review set the task of developing low-yield nuclear weapons, and it is probable that intermediate-range missiles will serve as a means of delivery for these weapons. It was also announced only recently that this provision of the US nuclear doctrine is beginning to materialise with missiles of this kind entering production.

In October 2018, the United States officially declared its intention to withdraw from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles. We did everything we could to save the Treaty considering its importance in terms of sustaining strategic stability in Europe, as well as globally. The last attempt of this kind was undertaken on January 15, when the US finally agreed to our request for holding consultations in Geneva.

In coordination with the Defence Ministry, we proposed unprecedented transparency measures that went far beyond our obligations under the INF Treaty in order to persuade the US that Russia was not in violation of this essential instrument. However, the US torpedoed these proposals. Instead, the US presented yet another ultimatum. It is obvious that we cannot accept it since it contradicts the INF Treaty in both letter and spirit.

The US announced that it was suspending its participation in the INF Treaty, launched the official withdrawal from it, and said that it will no longer consider itself restricted by the INF Treaty. As far as we can see, this means that the US will make missiles in addition to engaging in research and development activities that have already been factored into the current budget.

There is no doubt that these developments make things worse overall in the sphere of nuclear disarmament and strategic stability. It all started with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, when the US decided to withdraw from it in 2002, as you know all too well. This was done despite numerous initiatives by the Russian Federation at the UN General Assembly to save the ABM Treaty. The UN General Assembly passed a number of resolutions supporting the ABM Treaty. However, this did not stop the United States from withdrawing from it.

As a partial replacement for the ABM Treaty, the US and Russia signed a joint declaration that same year, 2002, on new strategic relations with a promise to settle all issues related to the so-called third positioning area of the missile-defence system being deployed in Europe at the time. The declaration provided for holding consultations as a way to reach common ground. This did not happen due to the unwillingness of the United States to take up Russia’s concerns in earnest.

In 2007, we made another gesture of good will at your instructions by coming forward with an initiative that consisted of working together to resolve the problems related to US missile defence system’s third positioning area in Europe. Once again, the US backed out of this proposal.

However, at the Russia-NATO Summit in Lisbon in 2010, we once again called for Russia, the US and Europe to work together on a continental missile-defence system. This call was not heeded. Nevertheless, two years later, in 2012, at the NATO Summit in Chicago it was NATO that called for dialogue with Russia on missile defence. However, all this good will boiled down to the US insisting that we simply come to terms with their missile defence approach, despite all the obvious risks and threats to our security posed by this approach.

Let me remind you that in 2013 Russia once again called on the US Department of State to open consultations, and came forward with concrete proposals. There was no reply. And in 2014, the United States brought the dialogue on missile defence to a halt and declared the intention to deploy its positioning areas in Europe and Asia, while also strengthening other systems, including in Alaska and on the east coast.

Talking about other essential international security and strategic stability instruments, the approach adopted by the United States to performing its commitments under the universal Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons has been a matter of concern for Russia. In fact, despite numerous reminders on our part, the United States commits serious violations of the Treaty in its actions within NATO. The Treaty commits nuclear powers to refrain from transferring the corresponding nuclear technologies.

Despite these provisions, NATO engages in so-called joint nuclear missions whereby the United States together with five NATO countries where US nuclear weapons are deployed conduct nuclear weapons drills with countries that are not part of the five nuclear-weapons states. This is a direct violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Another treaty that had a special role in removing the threat of nuclear war, or, to be more precise, whose preparation was a source of hope for addressing these threats, was the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty [CTBT]. The United States did not ratify it even though doing so was among Barack Obama’s campaign promises when he ran for president.

Right now, this instrument is completely off the radar, since the United States has lost all interest in any consultations on joining this Treaty. Being a party to the CTBT and acting in good faith, Russia holds special events at the UN General Assembly every year in order to promote the Treaty and mobilise public opinion in favour of its entry into force, which requires the United States to join it, among other things.

Apart from the INF Treaty, there is the Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty [START] that remains in force. It is also essential for preserving at least some measure of strategic stability and global parity. It is also under threat, since its effective functioning has come into question after the recent move by the United States to remove from accountability under the treaty 56 submarine based Trident launchers and 41 heavy bombers by declaring them converted into nun-nuclear.

This is possible under the treaty, but the other party has the right to make sure that once converted these weapons cannot be reconverted back into nuclear arsenals.

Vladimir Putin:

An inspection has to be carried out.

Sergei Lavrov:

Yes, an inspection. And there have to be technical means to persuade us that these systems cannot be reconverted and returned into the nuclear arsenal.

We have been holding talks since 2015 to make sure that the United States complies with its obligations on this matter. So far, there have been no results. The technical solutions we have been offered so far cannot persuade us that more than 1,200 warheads, which is an enormous amount, cannot be returned to the nuclear arsenal. Unfortunately, repeated proposals by Russia to launch talks on extending the Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty beyond 2021, when its first term is set to expire, have fallen on deaf ears in the United States. All we hear is that the decision on the New START has yet to be taken.

All in all, the situation is quite alarming. Let me reiterate that the decision taken by the United States on the INF Treaty is of course a matter of serious concern for the entire world, especially for Europe. Nevertheless, the Europeans followed in the footsteps of the United States with all NATO members speaking out in explicit support of the position adopted by the United States to refrain from any discussions on mutual concerns. All we hear are groundless ultimatums requiring us to take unilateral measures without any evidence to support unfounded accusations.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

Mr Shoigu, what is the Defence Ministry’s view on the current situation? And what do you propose in this regard?

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu:

Mr President, it is obvious to us, despite the murky language that we hear, that apart from openly conducting research and development on the production of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles, there have been actual violations of the INF Treaty, and this has been going on for several years. To put it simply, the United States has started producing missiles of this kind.

In this connection, we have the following proposals regarding retaliatory measures.

First, we propose launching in the coming months research and development, as well as development and engineering with a view to creating land-based modifications of the sea-based Kalibr launching systems.

Second, we propose launching research and development, followed by development and engineering to create land-based launchers for hypersonic intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles.

We ask you to support these proposals.

Vladimir Putin:

I agree. This is what we will do. Our response will be symmetrical. Our US partners announced that they are suspending their participation in the INF Treaty, and we are suspending it too. They said that they are engaged in research, development and design work, and we will do the same.

I agree with the Defence Ministry’s proposals to create a land-based version of the Kalibr launchers and work on a new project to develop a land-based hypersonic intermediate-range missile.

At the same time, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that we must not and will not let ourselves be drawn into an expensive arms race. I wanted to ask you, would it be possible to finance these initiatives using the existing budget allocations to the Defence Ministry for 2019 and the following years?

Sergei Shoigu:

Mr President, we closely studied this matter, and will propose adjustments to the 2019 budget in order to be able to carry out these initiatives within the limits set by the state armaments programme and the defence procurement orders for 2019 without going over budget.

Vladimir Putin:

This should not entail any increases in the Defence Ministry’s budget.

Sergei Shoigu:


Vladimir Putin:


In this connection, there is one more thing I wanted to ask you. Every six months we hold meetings in Sochi to discuss the implementation of the state defence order with the commanders of the Armed Forces and the defence sector representatives.

Starting this year, I propose modifying this format. I want to see how efforts to deploy our systems are progressing. This refers to the Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched ballistic missile, the Peresvet combat laser weapon, which has already been delivered to the army, and the Avangard system, which is now in serial production, having completed the test phase. I want to see how the production of the Sarmat missile is advancing alongside preparations for placing it on combat duty.

Several days ago, you reported to me on the completion of a key stage in testing the Poseidon multipurpose strategic unmanned underwater vehicle. We have to look at how these efforts are advancing.

We are aware of the plans by some countries to deploy weapons in outer space. I want to hear a report on how this threat can be neutralised.

There is another important topic I wanted to raise with both the Foreign Ministry and the Defence Ministry.

For many years, we have been calling on numerous occasions for holding meaningful disarmament talks on almost all aspects of this matter. In recent years, we have seen that our partners have not been supportive of our initiatives. On the contrary, they always find pretexts to further dismantle the existing international security architecture.

In this connection, I would like to highlight the following considerations, and I expect the Foreign Ministry and the Defence Ministry to use them as guidance. All our proposals in this area remain on the table just as before. We are open to negotiations. At the same time, I ask both ministries not to initiate talks on these matters in the future. I suggest that we wait until our partners are ready to engage in equal and meaningful dialogue on this subject that is essential for us, as well as for our partners and the entire world.

Another important consideration I would like to share with the senior officials of both ministries. We proceed from the premise that Russia will not deploy intermediate-range or shorter-range weapons, if we develop weapons of this kind – neither in Europe nor anywhere else until US weapons of this kind are deployed to the corresponding regions of the world.

I ask the Foreign Ministry and the Defence Ministry to closely monitor developments and promptly submit proposals on ways to respond.

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Telephone conversation with President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov.

February 7, 2019 - 12:00

The discussion covered the future of bilateral cooperation and preparations for Vladimir Putin’s upcoming state visit to Kyrgyzstan.

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Meeting with Head of British Petroleum Robert Dudley

February 7, 2019 - 18:55 - The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin received the Chief Executive Officer of the oil and gas transnational British Petroleum Company, Robert Dudley, at the Kremlin. They discussed the prospects for BP’s continuing operations in the Russian market.

Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov and Rosneft Chief Igor Sechin attended the meeting.

Russian President Vladimir Putin:

Mr Dudley,

I am delighted to see you; we have met on many occasions. ВР is a major investor in the Russian economy: over 17 billion dollars. You own over 19 percent of our largest oil and gas company Rosneft.

We regard you as a reliable strategic partner; we have always assisted you in doing business in Russia, and we will do so in the future.

I would like to discuss with you the possibilities and prospects for further cooperation, both in your joint projects with Rosneft and separately in the projects that you think are interesting, important and promising.

BP CEO Robert Dudley:

Thank you very much Mr President.

It is good to see you again. And as you know we have been working and competing in the Russian market for more than 30 years. And we have had a strategic partnership with Rosneft now for more than five years and it has worked extremely well.

We have tremendous respect for the company and the results that it is providing not only to the country but to BP as a shareholder. I am sure, Mr President, you are aware of it from a perspective as a shareholder.

I have to say there have been remarkable results in 2018 in the efficiency of Rosneft, record production – 286 million tonnes, more than four times the cash flow from the years before, the technology that has been put in Rosneft has resulted in its largest profit ever. So, in addition to the other projects, we observe Rosneft's great success last year, and I also note that it is now one of top ten largest oil and gas companies in the world.

I would like to thank you for your support of the company and BP’s business over the years. It is very important for me to thank you from the perspective of BP.

Thank you.

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Greetings on the opening of the Children Of Asia First International Winter Sports Games

The President sent a message of greetings to the participants, organisers and guests of the Children Of Asia First International Winter Sports Games.

February 9, 2019 - 10:05

The message reads, in part:

“These large-scale competitions with a wide representation carry an important and responsible mission of promoting and spreading Olympic values, developing children’s and youth sports, and enhancing friendship and mutual understanding between people.

I am confident that the Games will be a real holiday for the young participants, an opportunity to show their abilities, strong will and commitment to win and to get involved in the world of big sports. This will also be an unforgettable and happy event for everyone attending it.

I sincerely wish the Children Of Asia International Winter Sports Games to establish their own traditions, uniting gifted, enthusiastic young people from Russia and other countries around their noble goals.”

The Children Of Asia games are being held in Sakhalin on February 9–16. Around 1,200 young athletes from 20 countries will compete in eight disciplines – alpine skiing, snowboarding, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, figure skating, short track and ice hockey.

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Meeting with President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov

Vladimir Putin had an informal meeting in Sochi with President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov.

February 9, 2019 - 17:10 - Sochi

The two leaders had a detailed discussion of bilateral relations and exchanged views on a number of regional issues.

The discussion also covered preparations for the Russian President’s upcoming visit to Kyrgyzstan in spring.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Jeenbekov, thank you for accepting my invitation and coming for such a brief and in-depth, I would say, working visit.

As we agreed, we will be preparing for our next meeting in late March, to be held in Kyrgyzstan. We will continue our conversation both regarding economic cooperation and our joint efforts to consolidate the Eurasian Economic Community – there is work to be done.

We just spoke about our efforts to protect the common customs contour. Here, Russia did everything it could to render Kyrgyzstan the necessary support. We will of course continue to discuss our work in the field of military construction and cooperation. We need to examine the defence industry in order to keep your enterprises busy.

And, of course, migration policy. We understand how sensitive this is for Kyrgyzstan.

There are some other issues that you raised today for joint discussion and joint work in the nearest future. In the upcoming one and a half months our colleagues will work on them, and at our meeting in Kyrgyzstan we, I hope, will finalise those issues that you highlighted today.

President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov:

Thank you very much for the opportunity to meet with you and discuss relevant issues of bilateral cooperation.

We are looking forward to your visit, a state visit, to Kyrgyzstan. This is a very important political event for us. We are always glad when you visit Kyrgyzstan. When we meet, many issues of our bilateral cooperation are resolved

We appreciate that you always support us practically in all issues of bilateral, multilateral cooperation between our countries. We highly value our historic friendship, which has been consolidating for centuries. We highly value this and are looking forward to seeing you in Kyrgyzstan.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

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Meeting with Head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin

Vladimir Putin had a meeting with General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities Dmitry Rogozin to discuss the performance and development plans for the space industry.

February 4, 2019 - 13:20 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Rogozin, let us discuss the space industry’s performance last year and development plans.

General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities Dmitry Rogozin:

Mr President,

We were working to improve our performance in three fields. The first had to do with the choice of our development priorities. The second concerned the reduction of non-manufacturing expenses by at least 15 percent and increasing the corporation’s revenue by adopting new competences and entering new markets, about which I would like to speak later. We also needed to dramatically improve production discipline at the corporation and all the subordinate agencies. I have introduced a system of the officials’ personal responsibility for budget execution and have taken measures to reduce the corporation’s budget.

I would like to comment on the following charts. The consolidated proceeds of Roscosmos increased from 304 billion rubles in 2017 to 387 billion. This year we plan to increase the revenue to 445 billion rubles. It was the first time we reported a consolidated net income, which we hope to increase fourfold in 2019. Our labour efficiency has also increased.

The next chart shows our indicators. In the past, we failed to properly organise the use of budgetary allocations. As of July 1, 2018, we distributed only 22.5 percent of the approved budget commitments.

To improve the management of budgetary funds and reduce our arrears, a system of my personal operational control as well as monitoring by other corporation executives was introduced at the corporation. In the second half of 2018, we improved the cash execution of the budget to 97.4 percent, thanks to the use of the treasury-based system of execution. We have used all our budgetary allocations to sign contracts.

I would also like to report on our debt portfolio. The Roscosmos management team has taken measures to reduce the corporation’s debts by 10 billion rubles in the fourth quarter of 2018. We will further reduce them by another 10 billion rubles this year.

As regards the structure of our receivables, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that 90 percent of the debt was formed under contracts concluded before 2018. At the same time, more than 80 percent of overdue receivables are from before 2015, that is, arise from long-term contracts that were not divided into stages. Last year, the accumulated overdue receivables were zero.

We have some results in terms of balances on treasury accounts. Due to the measures we have taken, the balances on the treasury accounts of Roscosmos companies for the second half of the year were reduced by 6 billion rubles. This year, we will reduce their balances by a third – by no less than 20 billion rubles.

The so-called revolving money advancing is a structural measure we use to reduce the balances. That is, we do not pay advances to enterprises until they have concluded agreements, contracts with their cooperative entities, and until they have accounted for the use of the previous advances. This policy immediately yields tangible results.

I would like to specifically report on the Khrunichev State Space Research and Production Centre. In autumn 2018, together with the Ministry of Finance, we promptly worked out an arrangement to provide support to the enterprise within the limits of the available funds under the state programme. In a short period of time, we reached agreements with its creditors to postpone the repayment of the body of the loan to 2029. Now they are making payments on all their loans.

The company is working, and has fully restored its production activities, while the current burden on the Khrunichev centre has been cut by 30 billion rubles in just six months. The situation remains difficult, but Roscosmos is in control.

As for the production activities, I would like to report that the control system itself is being optimised. We are beginning to shape an integrated structure. The first unit will be established at NPO Energomash. By the way, I would like to invite you to visit the enterprise, to show the quality of production, and the work process. This is our leading engine manufacturing asset.

This year, we are proceeding to build an integrate structure in satellite construction, in rocket building, and instrument making. This way we will avoid duplicating functions in enterprises and introduce a single technical policy throughout the industry.

As for the new medium rocket, the Soyuz-5, the project has been launched, the cooperation of enterprises has been established, and production facilities have begun to prepare for this project. In 2022, we plan to begin flight tests of the Soyuz-5 with the new manned ship.

About the super heavy rocket, the general schedule has been endorsed for building the ground-based space infrastructure, and the exterior design of this rocket has practically been chosen. I will also report to you in more detail.

Vladimir Putin:

Is it for the lunar programme?

Dmitry Rogozin:

Yes, exactly.

The tests of the Angara-A5 heavy lift launch vehicle are to be resumed this year. On December 21, shortly before the New Year, we successfully launched the Proton-M rocket. This year we are sending six Protons to Baikonur. That is, we are restoring our positions in the market of heavy lift launch services.

I must note that, in 2018, we had 22 launches; in 2019, Mr President, 45 launches are planned – more than double. The workload is large, but I believe we can handle it.

As for the Sarmat combat missile, I will also report that we are proceeding according to schedule.

Vladimir Putin:


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Congratulations to Russia’s Buddhists

Vladimir Putin congratulated Russian Buddhists on the Lunar New Year and the beginning of the White Moon.

February 5, 2019 - 09:20

The message reads, in part:

“Relying on the centuries-old historical, cultural, spiritual traditions of their ancestors, Russian Buddhists widely celebrate this festive event. During these days that symbolise the renewal of man and nature, people reflect on the results of the outgoing year, sincerely wish each other good health and fulfilment of plans. It is a time to support our loved ones and anyone who needs care.

It is important that Buddhist communities are actively involved in the life of our country. Their interaction with state and public organisations grows, and a great deal of attention is given to educating young people and implementing popular charity and educational initiatives. Such fruitful work deserves the deepest respect.”

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Winners of the 2018 Presidential Prize in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists announced

Vladimir Putin signed Executive Order On the 2018 Presidential Prize in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists.

February 5, 2019 - 12:30 - Moscow

Established in 2008, the annual prize will be awarded to young scientists and professionals for the tenth time this year. The prize is awarded for contribution to advancing Russian science, for creating new equipment and technology that can boost the innovative development of the economy and social sphere, as well as for strengthening national defence.

The winners were announced at a special briefing by Presidential Aide Andrei Fursenko.

Vladimir Putin analysed the recommendations of the Presidential Council for Science and Education and decided that the 2018 Presidential Prize in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists and the honorary title of prize-winner shall be awarded to the following individuals:

Yevgeny Gorlov and Viktor Zharkov, for the development and use of lidar technology for the remote detection of explosives. Both are Candidates of Sciences (Physics and Mathematics) and are research associates at the Zuyev Institute of Atmospheric Optics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Yekaterina Grizanova, for discovering previously unknown mechanisms of agriculture and forest insect pest resistance to bioinsecticides based on Bacillus thuringiensis. She is a lead researcher at Novosibirsk State Agrarian University, Candidate of Sciences (Biology).

Vyacheslav Dyachuk, for discovering previously unknown mechanisms underlying the development of invertebrate and vertebrate nervous systems. He is a senior researcher at the Zhirmunsky National Scientific Centre for Marine Biology, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Candidate of Sciences (Biology).

Ivan Oseledets, for creating breakthrough computing technologies for solving multidimensional problems in physics, chemistry, biology and data analysis based on tensor expansion. He is an Associate Professor at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Candidate of Sciences (Physics and Mathematics).

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Meeting with Moscow Region Governor Andrei Vorobyov

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Moscow Region Governor Andrei Vorobyov, who updated the President on the socioeconomic development of the region, primarily the implementation of national projects and the creation of education clusters.

February 5, 2019 - 13:05 - The Kremlin, Moscow

Andrei Vorobyov said that 817 billion rubles and about $1 billion of foreign funds had been invested in the fixed capital of regional companies in 2018. Economic zones and industrial parks have been established with all the needed infrastructure. Medium-sized agricultural companies, in particular in the dairy and cheese sectors, receive subsidies for infrastructure development. This is why investments have increased by some 15 percent. More new jobs will be created in 2019, the Governor said.

Mr Vorobyov said he had received letters addressed to the President from the companies Daimler and Mercedes. The German businesses have quickly built a passenger car plant in an industrial park in the Solnechnogorsk District and plan to open it in April. It is the first Mercedes plant not only in Russia but also in Eastern Europe. The plant will roll out some 40,000 cars of four models annually. Mercedes is working closely with the colleges that will train personnel for the plant.

When the President mentioned an attractive idea of education centres, Andrei Vorobyov told him about the plans to establish two education centres for pupils from the Moscow Region and other parts of Russia, which would be modelled after the Sirius educational centre in Sochi. The first project provides for the expansion of the PhysTech School of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in Dolgoprudny, with the number of students growing from 600 to 1,500. The second project has to do with the popular Primakov humanities school. Both projects are in the advanced stage of preparations.

The Governor also updated the President on the opening of a bridge across the Volga River in Dubna, where the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research is located, in late 2018. The bridge leads to the Dubna Free Economic Zone, which has been expanded by 35 hectares because investors bring their money and jobs are highly paid there.

Other issues discussed at the meeting include the plans to build a general children’s hospital and the construction of an oncological block as part of the Healthcare national project, which will promote preventive examination and diagnosis at the early stages of the disease.

The source of information -

Delovaya Rossiya forum meeting

Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary meeting of Delovaya Rossiya national public organisation’s 11th Business Forum.

February 6, 2019 - 15:20 - Moscow

The organisers of the Forum invited to the Moscow International House of Music over 1,500 guests, including representatives of ministries and government agencies, heads of Russian regions, owners of major Russian companies, and members of the expert community.

The key theme of discussions at the forum is the role of business in achieving national development goals.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, friends, colleagues.

I am sincerely glad to welcome all of you at the regular Delovaya Rossiya Forum. The theme of today's meeting is the role of business in achieving national development goals, which is evidence of our common attitude, the business community’s commitment to working efficiently and cooperatively. It shows that Russian business leaders understand perfectly well their responsibility for our country’s future and are ready to make a significant, if not a decisive contribution to its economic development, and to Russia’s development in general.

The role of businesses in meeting strategic goals is truly very big, not to say enormous. It is the entrepreneurial initiative that creates jobs, which means it increases salaries and incomes of millions of our citizens. And the stronger and more dynamic companies we have in both conventional and emerging industries, the more stable our economic growth will be. This is important, first of all, for our country to become richer, and for the people’s prosperity and quality of life to grow.

Allow me to underscore that the national projects are aimed at achieving a breakthrough in Russia’s development. I talk about this regularly, and I am sure that you agree with me. We need this breakthrough; it is our main, paramount goal, and having achieved it, we will have what we have been living and working for: strong and steady growth in the welfare of our country’s citizens.

These national projects should certainly become an incentive for Russian businesses, for the rapid development of advanced technologies, the emergence of new products and services, so that our companies strengthen their foothold not only on the national market, but also on global markets, and confidently join global production chains.

To achieve this, we must focus on several important things. Firstly, we must consistently remove barriers and expand entrepreneurial freedoms. The quality of our business climate must be commensurate with the scale of the goals facing Russia. It is the flaws in the national jurisdiction, I have to admit, and the insufficient guarantees of private property protection that have forced many business owners to register their assets abroad and to export these assets.

As you know, we have announced an amnesty of capital, which is valid until March 1, 2019. Moreover, individuals are exempt from liability for certain offences under economic, currency and tax legislation.

Naturally, my colleagues and I have discussed the situation in this area, and we believe that the capital amnesty for those bringing back assets or registering their businesses in special administrative regions with special legal conditions for companies returning to the Russian jurisdiction can be extended at least for another year. Such regions have been created, as you know, on Oktyabrsky Island in Kaliningrad and on Russky Island in Vladivostok.

I also consider it expedient to exempt citizens from paying personal income tax for one year on the profits of foreign companies controlled by them– if they become tax residents in the Russian Federation in 2019.

The second area of our work is expanding competition. The projects that we are implementing create a huge demand for industrial, infrastructural, agricultural and social products. I want to point out again for the Government that all order placements and purchases by government and municipal bodies as well as companies with state participation must be open and transparent. We need additional measures to build a competitive environment. I know that you have specific proposals and we will discuss them by all means.

As concerns your idea, we do not communicate with your colleagues as often as we should but still we do it on a regular basis and we are aware of these proposals. As concerns your suggestion that the supplier selection procedure be started as early as possible, we are already working on it. I agree that it would be reasonable to categorise this project by groups of products or services so that companies have time (for example, at least six months) to prepare thoroughly for a tender.

Third. We are building an integrated system to promote our products in global markets. A similar mechanism is required for exporting services. Following a proposal from Delovaya Rossiya, this approach will be reflected in legislation, including in taxation terms. I am not only talking about developing exports but about stimuli for businesses to invest in healthcare, education, logistics and tourism – the areas that create a comprehensive economic, social and technological effect.

Naturally, a key issue is greater support for the Russian business’s technological development, assistance in implementing innovation and modernising production. We have already adopted certain decisions in this area. As one of the measures, I would like to ask regional governments to more actively provide businesses with tax rebates on renewed capital funds.

Clearly, the budget always needs revenue, and this applies to budgets at any level, but, without a doubt, we need to think long term and create favourable conditions for opening and modernising enterprises, boosting labour productivity, which would increase tax returns and the region would move forward. Necessary legislative initiatives already exist at the federal level; now it is the turn of regional governments to make such decisions. Unfortunately, so far only ten regions of the Russian Federation have done that.

Here is one more proposal. Breakthrough solutions and ideas for large companies are often developed by smaller business and research teams. They need to be provided with the necessary funding, primarily at the very early stage of development. As a matter of fact, this is something we always talk about. It is important to create incentives for private investment, to create preferential conditions, including in taxation, for people who invest their own funds in startups. They are imaginatively called ‘business angels’. I ask the Government and Delovaya Rossiya to submit appropriate proposals shortly.

At the same time, I believe we must improve the legal protection of intellectual property, and to create attractive conditions for the registration of patents – here in Russia, of course. Certain steps have already been taken in this area, but many issues, unfortunately, still require effective solutions and development.

Colleagues, we have always worked together closely and constructively. I expect that today we will attain some practical solutions to issues that are important both for the state and for business.

Today’s meeting is taking place in the Moscow House of Music, and it is certainly difficult to avoid analogies here. There is a comparison, well, I will not go into details now, but we know that global developments are unfolding very actively, at a rapid pace, and we should also work in this manner – allegro.

I hope that our meeting will be productive and will help me to formulate proposals and ideas for this year’s Address to the Federal Assembly.

Thank you.

The source of information -

Meeting with Rector of Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University Andrei Rudskoi

The discussion covered ongoing work and future prospects of the university.

February 6, 2019 - 17:20 - Moscow

Andrei Rudskoi outlined his vision of how higher education institutions and the Russian Academy of Sciences should work with industry in order to achieve a concrete synergy between science, education and production.

Mr Rudskoi noted that the university he leads has extensive experience in this area. A number of specific industrial projects have been completed over the past five years, and real-world technological issues have been resolved. A consortium was established with major companies, such as Rostec, UAC, USC, Rosatom and the Kurchatov Institute.

Separately, Mr Rudskoi discussed the university’s cooperation with Kamaz, with which it has signed an agreement to develop technology for a universal platform for advanced means of public transport, such as buses, electric buses and trolleybuses.

In addition, Mr Rudskoi told the President about cooperation between St Petersburg Polytechnic University and the new St Petersburg administration.

Vladimir Putin extended his greetings to Andrei Rudskoi on the coming anniversary of the university, which was founded on February 19, 1899.

The source of information -

Meeting with winners of Nemaly Business Prize

Vladimir Putin received at the Kremlin the winners of the 2019 Nemaly Business Prize, an open contest for young entrepreneurs.

February 6, 2019 - 19:00 - The Kremlin, Moscow

The purpose of the contest is to support outstanding small business representatives who create new production facilities, products and jobs, helping to boost the economy and solve social problems.

A long list of 100 companies was compiled by experts from the many submissions. Then the top 25 contestants were determined by online voting, with the winners in six categories selected from this number.

The prize in the Good Business category has gone to Artyom Malanin, Director General of the company VeloLider, which manufactures and sells rehabilitation exercise equipment for disabled people, including children.

Ilya Sachkov, Director General and co-founder of the company Group-IB, has won the prize in the Innovative Breakthrough category for projects aimed at detecting and preventing cyber threats.

Artyom Kopylov, Director General of the company Agromig manufacturing grain dryers, has won the prize in the Practical Product category.

Yulia Kuznetsova, head of the Leo Language School chain, has won the prize in the Early Success category.

Andrei Dukhovsky, Director General of the Domashniye Retsepty (Home Recipes) company producing natural kvass and fruit drinks, has won the award for rapid growth.

Nikolay Kuzyakov, Director General and co-founder of the Vanyushkiny Sladosti (Vanyushka's Sweets) candy company has won the Grand Prix.

The prize was awarded for the first time this year.

The source of information -

Presentation of 2018 Presidential Prize in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists

Vladimir Putin presented Presidential prizes in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists in the Kremlin. The ceremony was traditionally timed to Russian Science Day marked on February 8.

February 7, 2019 - 14:00 - The Kremlin, Moscow

Established in 2008, this year the annual prize is awarded to young scientists and professionals for contribution to advancing Russian science, for creating new equipment and technology that can boost the innovative development of the economy and social sphere, as well as for strengthening national defence.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues, friends.

We are meeting on the eve of Russian Science Day, so I would like to wish you and all scientists of Russia the very best on the occasion of this upcoming event.

The role of national science, its traditions, schools, and achievements have been important for our country and its development at all times. Today, when we are faced with a goal of a large-scale technological breakthrough, its value has increased many times over.

It is very important that young scientists are actively involved in this work, that they contribute to the creation of advanced technologies in medicine, ecology, energy, agriculture, construction and other fields, that they participate in space exploration and the study of world oceans, as well as in projects that strengthen national security.

I would like to stress once again that all our national projects require a strong scientific foundation, including the tasks of Russia’s spatial development, building new mechanisms of economic, scientific, technological growth across its vast territory.

This is why very shortly we are launching the development of world-class science and education centres and research facilities. They will first be built in the regions where science and its achievements are particularly important for the socioeconomic development, including Siberia and the Far East.

These new points of growth are particularly important for young people. Sirius has already become a point of attraction for children who are passionate about science and invention. I am certain that the opening of genetic and mathematical advanced research centres will significantly expand the opportunities for their professional careers in science.

Friends, it is well known that the success of science is determined by talented, passionate people, including young scientists, who think in modern terms, who have new and advanced knowledge, who are devoted to their work and strive to fulfill their most advanced ideas.

To support their ambitions, to strengthen their motivation, we launched a line of grants, scholarships and awards that expand their opportunities for professional growth, for achievements in science, innovation and technology.

Thus, the Russian Science Foundation started a special programme in 2017 to support young scientists from the moment they defend a dissertation until they create their own scientific groups.

Over the past two years, more than 1,500 young researchers received the grants; more than 500 started research teams and organised work in such promising fields as digital production technology, personalised healthcare and resource-saving energy.

One of this project’s advantages is reduced bureaucratic formalities. This has always been appreciated by the scientific community. I expect that the same approach will be fully applied to the Science national project.

In recent years, we have significantly increased the number of researchers who are under the age of 39. Strong, talented young people join scientific research teams. This trend is also manifest in the growing number of nominees for this award each year.

You know that its format is limited to four categories, but there are many more worthy projects competing for the prize this year, which made it even more difficult to make the choice.

We will certainly continue attracting young and promising personnel to science, as well as building a unified system of schools for gifted children, leading universities, graduate students working in various laboratories and world-class research centres.

This way we will be able to saturate our development programmes with research staff, open up opportunities for free cooperation between scientists from different teams, including foreign ones, to address relevant interdisciplinary problems.

Friends, I am pleased to present the prize winners to you. All of them have proposed bold scientific solutions and achieved high results.

A study by Yekaterina Grizanova determined the minute mechanisms of insect pests becoming resistant to biological plant protection products, making it possible to create effective and, most importantly, environmentally friendly products that help protect crops and forests.

The work by biologist Vyacheslav Dyachuk significantly contributes to understanding the fundamentals of nerve cell development, and consequently, advancing the treatment of various pathologies, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. This is highly important for increasing the duration of a healthy and active life.

Ivan Oseledets proposed breakthrough solutions in computational technology. They focus on efficient processing of large arrays of mathematical data on the object of study. The software developed on this basis is extensively used by research groups around the world for solving complex applied tasks. The approach proposed by this laureate is already included in matrix analysis textbooks.

Tomsk physicists Yevgeny Gorlov and Viktor Zharkov developed a new method to discover ultra-low concentrations of explosive substances. The method allows to expose sources of danger in an intense passenger flow at a distance and basically can replace service dogs. Experts estimate that these solutions are substantially more advanced than similar foreign developments.

Friends, congratulations on your great professional success. Congratulations on your promising work that sets a high bar for all Russian research.

This is a huge achievement of your mentors, leaders in the scientific fields that you chose for your career. I expect that in the future you will do all you can to strengthen the succession of the Russian research schools.

Do not ever stop, overcome all difficulties and move on confidently towards new scientific horizons.

Thank you.


Vladimir Putin:


Once again, congratulations to our laureates, and to all mentors who helped these young researchers to achieve these results.

We are speaking of the protection of people, protection of plants, as well as development in general. Overall, we are speaking of the development of our country and global research as well.

I am pleased to see that these results were achieved by young researchers. It means that we have a bright future, a powerful foundation, interesting, prospective and reliable reserves.

I would like to once again congratulate you on your achievements. I really hope that they will not be your last and it is only the beginning of your creative journey.

My very best wishes to everybody on the occasion of Science Day.

The source of information -

Birthday greetings to National Artist of Russia Irina Muravyova

Vladimir Putin wished a happy 70th birthday to stage and screen actress, National Artist of Russia Irina Muravyova.

February 8, 2019 - 09:00

The message reads, in part:

“A fine actress, you are renowned for your deep, multifaceted theatre performances, and striking, unforgettable and truly seminal roles on screen. Your generous talent, remarkable sincerity and charm have earned you the utmost recognition by fellow actors and the audiences’ undying admiration.”

Irina Muravyova has starred in 40 stage and televised productions, and in 44 films.

The source of information -

Meeting with permanent members of the Security Council

Vladimir Putin held a meeting with permanent members of the Security Council.

February 8, 2019 - 14:00 - The Kremlin, Moscow

The Security Council members exchanged opinions on various aspects of Russian-Belarusian allied relations ahead of the working visit by President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko scheduled for next Wednesday, February 13, and his talks with Vladimir Putin.

The meeting participants also discussed the situation in Syria in the context of the upcoming summit of the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran on February 14.

The agenda also covered current issues of the domestic socioeconomic agenda.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin and Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov.

The source of information -

Condolences to family and friends of Sergei Yursky

Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the family and friends of Soviet and Russian actor Sergei Yursky.

February 8, 2019 - 14:10

The message reads, in part:

“Sergei Yursky was a remarkable actor and director, a brilliant and multi-faceted talent. A masterful actor, he performed on the most prominent theatre stages in this country. Sergei Yursky created amazingly accurate, unforgettable characters on screen, and served as a model of unconditional and selfless devotion to art.”

Sergei Yursky passed away on February 8 at the age of 83.

The source of information -

Greetings to participants, organisers and guests of the 37th Lyzhnya Rossii nationwide mass ski race

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to participants, organisers and guests of the 37th Lyzhnya Rossii [Russian Ski Track] nationwide mass ski race.

February 9, 2019 - 11:00

The message reads, in part:

“These traditional competitions are famous for their friendly informal atmosphere and are rightly considered one of the season’s most important and large-scale events. They unite skiing fans across the country into one closely-knit team, offer everyone a chance to try test their skills, to compete alongside professionals and recognised athletes, and to feel the support of their families and friends.

Of course, the famous Russian Ski Track race makes it evident how important fitness and sports, as well as an active and healthy lifestyle are for the young and people of all ages.”

The source of information -

Greetings on Diplomats’ Day

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to current and former staff of the Russian Foreign Ministry on their professional holiday, Diplomats’ Day.

February 10, 2019 - 10:00

The message reads, in part:

“The foreign policy service of our country is proud of its rich history and glorious traditions, as it should be. Russian diplomats of many generations have served the Motherland with honour and have remained faithful to their professional duty.

Today, our diplomacy is making a significant contribution to strengthening peace, resolving important regional and global issues, and promoting cooperation with our foreign partners.

In today’s challenging circumstances, when international security and the rule of law are subjected to serious tests, you, the diplomats, face important and major tasks. In particular, it is imperative to enthusiastically uphold the basic principles of international law and the universal role of the UN and to strive to rally the international community in fighting the terrorist threat. Maintaining strategic stability needs much attention, especially now that the arms control and non-proliferation regime has been challenged.

Much remains to be done to further advance the peace process in Syria, as well as to find solutions to other crises by political and diplomatic means.

Of course, efforts should be stepped up to promote Eurasian integration processes and to expand the external relations of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) with an eye to forming the Greater Eurasian Partnership.

I am confident that the staff of the Foreign Ministry’s central office and overseas missions will continue to work proactively, with full dedication and creativity in the interest of ensuring Russia’s dynamic development and further strengthening of its standing and influence on the international stage.“

The source of information -
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
Old February 19th, 2019 #7
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Meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko

Vladimir Putin had a meeting with President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi. The Belarusian President is in Russia on a three-day working visit.

February 13, 2019 - 14:45 - Sochi

The two presidents discussed the main issues on the bilateral agenda and also prospects for the development of the Eurasian integration processes. Members of their delegations participated in the meeting.

Later that day, the President and his Belarusian counterpart took a break from negotiations and went skiing at an alpine ski resort.

On February 15, the presidents of Russia and Belarus will meet with their ministers of education, culture and sport to discuss practical proposals for the further development of the cultural and humanitarian cooperation between the two countries.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr President, friends, we are delighted to see you, this time in Sochi.

As agreed, we will have an informal conversation. We will have the opportunity to get together and talk today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. I hope you will get the chance to relax a little, at least for a few hours. We have an extensive programme for today and the next two days.

To begin with, I would like to reiterate with satisfaction that our relations are getting stronger. Russia remains Belarus’ largest trade and economic partner and accounts for over 49 percent of the republic's trade.

Our financial relations are going from strength to strength as well. A fairly large amount of state loans – over 6 billion plus 58 billion rubles and six EAEU Fund tranches totalling $1.6 billion – was granted to Belarus over recent years.

In this regard, I would like to note that Belarus is financially responsible when it comes to fulfilling its obligations which makes it possible for us to operate major projects, including the construction of a nuclear power plant, which is nearing completion.

This allows us to expand purely commercial relations in various fields, including agricultural produce which accounts for over 34 percent of Belarus’ total exports to Russia.

I am aware that we occasionally go through rough patches and complications when it comes to our relations but, as it should be between friends, I hope these issues will be resolved the same way they were resolved before.

Of course, energy is one of the critical areas. The volumes of hydrocarbon supplies, both oil and gas, will remain at the level that we agreed upon.

I am aware that our colleagues – Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and his Belarusian counterpart – meet regularly. Their most recent meeting was in late 2018. They are working to coordinate the positions that need coordination.

Of course, our cooperation in the sphere of international relations and the situation in the region is important. For us, Belarus is a critical strategic partner and an ally, and it is important for me to compare notes with the President of Belarus on these matters, including, by the way, integration within the post-Soviet space.

We are very pleased to see you. Welcome!

President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko:

Mr President, first, thank you for the invitation, as we sometimes get bogged down in our own problems and fail to see things from the proper perspective.

You were correct when you said that we can use an hour or two to take a breather. I took advantage of it this morning. Thank you for getting the ski runs in good condition. The people who joined me skiing are quite happy. So, we are already familiar with the Sochi trails.

For me, this is home. As I was riding along the new road late last night, I thought back to that difficult, terrible Soviet-made road that we used and were scared to look down.

Today, the resort and the area have changed beyond recognition. I am glad that Belarusians made this place their home at one point. We operate two hotels, mansions, here that are packed with tourists, and have so far managed to do so without a loss.

So, thank you for the invitation and the programme outlined by our Russian colleagues. Indeed, we have the opportunity to discuss not just the economy, but cultural matters as well.

Frankly speaking, we rarely talk only on the Union State agenda, but we will invite the ministers to Sirius at the level of two presidents. We are creating a children's technology park; I told you about it when you were planning Sirius, and now we have a technology park. Therefore, this is relevant.

Thank you for the invitation to talk to our colleagues, who will visit you tomorrow, on important international issues. You should know that in the context of international relations, the relations between Belarus and Russia are stable, no matter what anyone writes or says. I do not need to convince you of that: you and I know this well.

As for the support of our economy, I am also grateful to you. I often tell the Russian ambassador that Belarusian economy works as the final processing part of the Russian economy. We buy 60–70 percent of commodities and components for our main engineering products and oil refining in Russia.

Therefore, this is our common economy, and supporting us, you actually support approximately 35–40 million people, together with their families, who work at Russian enterprises that supply products to Belarus. Therefore, if someone in Russia or Belarus does not understand this, I think they will understand it soon.

Of course, there are always questions and there will be more, but we have always found solutions to all issues. I do not think this is a big problem for us.

As for food, I was surprised to hear this – because it’s the same in Belarus: poor-quality water and food – although both Russia and Belarus have both water and food – three-quarters of the population suffer and die from poor-quality food and water.

Both our countries have done research, and we have every opportunity to provide quality food to the people. Therefore, whatever conflicts or scandals may happen, you must remember that we will never deliver bad vodka or a bad snack to Russians. You must understand this clearly.

Thank you again, Mr President, for the invitation. I think that our meetings here over these few days will be beneficial for the Belarusian-Russian relations.

Vladimir Putin:

I am sure they will.

The source of information -

Greetings to the 12th Winter International Arts Festival in Sochi

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to participants, organisers and guests of the 12th Winter International Arts Festival in Sochi.

February 14, 2019 - 09:30

The message reads, in part:

“This remarkable festival inspired by its irreplaceable director, an outstanding musician of our time, Yury Bashmet, is rightly believed to be one of the most impressive and successful projects of international cultural cooperation, a momentous event in the cultural life of Sochi and the entire country. The festival is known for its eventful and intensive programme, for friendly, vibrant and festive atmosphere. It brings together talented performers and creative groups from across the world as well as numerous art lovers, and always leaves us beautiful memories.”

The source of information -

Meeting with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Vladimir Putin met with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan before the fourth trilateral meeting of the heads of states, guarantors of the Astana process for facilitating the Syrian peace settlement held in Sochi.

February 14, 2019 - 14:00 - Sochi

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr President, colleagues and friends, we are delighted to welcome all of you to Sochi, Russia, for consultations on a settlement in Syria.

Before we begin our meeting, I would like to express my condolences for the loss of life when a residential building collapsed in Istanbul on February 6.

Mr President, you visited Moscow only recently. Today we have met in Sochi for the fourth summit meeting of states – guarantors of the Astana process. I am confident that we can give a fresh impetus to normalisation in the Syrian Arab Republic both on the ground and as part of political and diplomatic efforts to launch an intra-Syrian dialogue.

Friends, we have accomplished a great deal together, we have come a long way. All of us know that this was not a straightforward task, and it is not over yet. Not all the goals have been achieved, but if we continue working actively, coordinate our efforts and seek compromises, we will definitely succeed.

Of course, we are glad to have this opportunity to exchange opinions on the overall situation and to discuss the development of our bilateral relations.

I would like to thank you once again for accepting the invitation to come to Russia.

The source of information -

Meeting with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani

Vladimir Putin had a meeting with President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani, who has come to Sochi for the trilateral summit of Russia, Turkey and Iran on the Syrian peace settlement.

February 14, 2019 - 15:10 - Sochi

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr President, colleagues,

I am delighted to welcome all of you to Sochi for a trilateral meeting on Syria and the settlement of the Syrian problem. I would like to thank you for accepting the invitation to come here. However, I would like to begin our meeting with expressing our condolences over the loss of life in the recent terrorist attacks in Iran. I would also like to offer our sympathy to the Iranian people and to the victims’ families, to all who were injured in these terrorist attacks.

Today we also have an opportunity to talk about our bilateral relations, and we will certainly use it. I would also like to say how grateful I am to Iran for its contribution to the settlement in Syria. We have been working hard in a coordinated manner, which is the only way to attain our goal.

Not all the problems have been settled. We definitely have enough subjects to discuss in the trilateral format today. As for bilateral relations, I would like to say that our plans are being implemented overall, but we do need to work even more efficiently in this sphere.

I would like to say that between January and November 2018 our bilateral trade increased by 7.5 percent and reached $1.5 billion. It is notable that imports from Iran have grown by over 40 percent. We are working to implement major joint projects in nuclear generation, the oil and gas sector and other fields. We are delighted with this progress. I hope that our meeting today will give a fresh impetus to the further development of our bilateral ties.

Thank you.

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani (retranslated):

I am very happy to visit you and Russia together with the accompanying delegation. It is my fifth trip to Russia and my sixteenth meeting with you.

Thank you for the words of sympathy you have offered to the people of Iran over the tragic terrorist attacks. They show that we need to work together and to coordinate our efforts in the fight against terrorism more closely than ever.

Happily, relations between Russia and Iran are very good and continue to develop. They are moving towards a strategic level. We hold consultations on various international and regional matters, including Syria. Our cooperation on the settlement in Syria is going forward very well. We are confident of our cooperation in the fight against international terrorism.

Of course, there are also other problems in Syria that should be settled so as to ensure the future of that country and its territorial integrity, which is a matter of great concern to us. I hope that we will take fresh steps towards this goal at our summit.

Thank you very much.

The source of information -

Meeting with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The fourth trilateral meeting of the heads of states, guarantors of the Astana process for facilitating the Syrian peace settlement has been held in Sochi.

February 14, 2019 - 17:15 - Sochi

The agenda of talks between Vladimir Putin, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani and President of the Turkish Republic Recep Tayyip Erdogan includes further joint steps towards a long-term settlement in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Following the meeting, the heads of state adopted a Joint Statement and gave a news conference.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues, friends, Mr Rouhani, Mr Erdogan,

First of all, I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation and coming to the Russian city of Sochi to discuss the further actions of Russia, Iran and Turkey regarding the Syrian issue.

Within the Astana process, which was launched two years ago, we managed to create a truly efficient mechanism of direct contacts between the Syrian government and the armed opposition. Astana and Sochi have hosted 11 meetings with the participation of Russian, Iranian and Turkish delegations, as well as Syrian parties, international observers and UN representatives. These meetings facilitated the progress in achieving a peace settlement in the Syrian Arab Republic. At the moment, a ceasefire is being observed almost everywhere in Syria and the level of violence is gradually decreasing. It is certainly a positive result that we have achieved together.

The Astana format laid the foundation for a sustainable and viable process of the political and diplomatic settlement of the Syrian crisis based on Resolution 2254 of the UN Security Council. The Syrians themselves agreed to launch the process at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress here in Sochi in January 2018. Our diplomats in coordination with the Syrian parties and the UN did a very good job forming the composition of the Constitutional Committee. It is important that the committee begins its work as soon as possible.

We also need to agree on how to provide for the final de-escalation in Idlib. We are managing the ceasefire in the province, but that does not mean we have to accept the presence of terrorist groups in Idlib. This is why I suggest examining practical steps that Russia, Turkey and Iran might take together to eradicate the terrorist stronghold completely.

We also need to discuss how the situation might develop in northeastern Syria considering the well-known statements made by US officials about the possible withdrawal of US troops from there. Last month President Erdogan and I discussed this issue in Moscow and agreed that security problems in northeastern Syria as well as other parts of the country must be addressed solely on the basis of full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the republic.

Humanitarian aid for Syria deserves constant attention. Russia, Iran and Turkey are making joint efforts to restore normal life in the country and help Syrians with post-war reconstruction. There already are concrete results. Over the last six months alone 130,000 Syrian refugees managed to return home safely. Conditions have been created for the safe and unrestricted access of humanitarian aid to war-stricken districts. The number of Syrians unable to receive such aid is a third of what is was. Nevertheless, about 500,000 people still need help. We hope that the entire international community, especially the UN and its specialised agencies, will become more actively involved in providing support to all Syrians in an unpoliticised way and without preliminary conditions.

Colleagues, I would like to express my confidence that today’s talks will be productive and the agreements we will reach will serve the further restoration of peace and security in the Syrian Arab Republic, strengthen its sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity as well as make a significant contribution to the stability in the Middle East in general.

I would like to thank you for your attention. I would like to give the floor to President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and then to President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. I am sure that our meeting today will be held in a positive atmosphere and yield results that all of us, as well as the region and the Syrian people, need.

Thank you for your attention. Please.

The source of information -

Press statement and answers to journalists’ questions following meeting of presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey

Following the trilateral meeting of the heads of states – guarantors of the Astana process for facilitating the Syrian peace settlement, Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani and Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a joint news conference.

February 14, 2019 - 18:20 - Sochi

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues, friends, Mr Rouhani, Mr Erdogan, ladies and gentlemen,

Just now President of Iran Hassan Rouhani, President of Turkey Recep Erdogan and I have concluded very substantive talks on Syria. They were held in a constructive and business-like atmosphere. Let me note that our trilateral summits have become a regular occurrence. Today we have held the fourth. Such close coordination allows us to effectively organise efforts aimed at long-term normalisation in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Together with our partners, we identified the key areas of further cooperation in the Syrian settlement process. The agreements we have reached are reflected in the final joint statement. It is very important that our three countries intend to strengthen cooperation as part of the Astana process that has proven its worth. We will continue to step up our efforts in fighting terrorism, promoting intra-Syrian dialogue and improving the humanitarian situation in Syria.

We have agreed to continue to hold regular expert meetings with the participation of delegations from the guarantor states, Syrian parties, the government, the opposition and representatives of the United Nations. We have agreed that the next, 12th round of consultations will be held in late March – early April in Astana.

The Astana troika maintains close contacts with regional stakeholders and international organisations. Some states have requested to be made part of the Astana format as observers. In this regard, we instructed our respective foreign ministers to work out a way to grant such status to them.

To reiterate, thanks to the major contribution by Russia, Iran, and Turkey, favourable conditions have been created for Syria to begin the process of peaceful reconstruction. We are convinced that durable stability in Syria can be achieved only by political and diplomatic means in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and in strict compliance with the principles of unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of that country.

It is our common opinion that only the Syrians themselves should determine the future of their country. There is no other way to resolve the crisis in Syria. It was in this vein that we considered issues related to promoting the intra-Syrian political process, and agreed to work together to facilitate the early launch of the Constitutional Committee, which is designed to address the fundamental aspects of the future state structure of the Syrian Arab Republic. The candidates for membership have been largely agreed by the Syrian government and the opposition. Now, it is necessary to approve the list of the committee members and develop regulations on the key parameters of its functioning.

It is believed that the success of the political process in Syria will help further normalise relations between Damascus and the Arab countries, restore the republic’s membership in the Arab League and serve the interests of security and stability in the Middle East in general.

During the talks, the troika leaders reiterated that neutralising terrorist groups in Syria is a top priority. In this regard, they discussed ways of implementing the Russian-Turkish memorandum on the Idlib de-escalation zone. Notably, our Iranian and Turkish colleagues are willing to work together in order to ease tensions and stabilise the situation in Idlib. We have agreed to take additional steps in this regard. We believe that maintaining the efforts to put an end to hostilities should not be detrimental to the efforts to combat terrorism. To reiterate, creating the Idlib de-escalation zone is a temporary measure. Aggressive raids by militants should not go unpunished.

During the talks, we also discussed how the plans announced by the US to withdraw troops from northeastern Syria will affect developments in Syria. It is our common opinion that these steps will play a positive role and help stabilise the situation in this region of Syria, which should eventually come under the legitimate government’s control.

Much attention was paid to providing humanitarian aid to the Syrian people and facilitating the return of refugees. The Astana troika is doing a lot in this regard. With our overall support, Syria can now accommodate up to 1.5 million people. The government has provided firm guarantees of a non-discriminatory approach to all those who wish to return home.

However, in order to radically improve the state of affairs in Syria, to solve acute social problems and to rebuild the economy, there is need for joint efforts by the entire international community. We call on all stakeholders and international organisations, primarily the UN, to step up their assistance to Syria as it tries to restore peaceful life and deal with the aftereffects of the hostilities.

In closing, I would like to sincerely thank our Iranian and Turkish partners, President Rouhani and President Erdogan, for today’s substantive and productive talks. I am confident that the results of the summit will promote productive work in the interest of establishing peace and stabilising the situation in Syria.

Thank you.

Question (retranslated):

Considering that you discussed various issues at the meeting, what can you tell us about the future of Idlib and the eastern bank of the Euphrates River? What issues did you discuss in this context?

Vladimir Putin:

All of us proceed from the premise that observance of Syria’s territorial integrity should be one of the principles of a settlement. This concerns Idlib and the territories adjacent to the Euphrates River, including the eastern bank. And, of course, the struggle against terrorism must go on no matter where the terrorists are. This is the first point.

And the second point. We do not support anything that is related to separatism. We believe that any dialogue, within Syria, should lead to the full restoration of its society and state.

Question (retranslated):

The US decided to withdraw from Syria but called on its NATO allies to establish monitoring areas on these territories. What do you think about this?

Mr Putin and Mr Rouhani, you said we show an understanding for these concerns. What steps can be taken in this area with consideration for Turkey’s concerns? The US has expressed its view on this. However, we are seeing that Mr Trump’s colleagues do not share his opinion. If President Trump made a final decision, the situation would be different. But now we are hearing April and May. It is unclear what will happen next: will the troops be withdrawn?

We are closely watching the Astana format. Our problem is that we want Syria’s territorial integrity to be ensured. First of all, Manbij must be freed from the terrorists. We should not give a single plot of land to the terrorists in Idlib. The people of Syria are the lawful owners of these territories..

Vladimir Putin:

We understand the need to ensure Turkey’s security along its southern borders. We know that Turkey and the Syrian Arab Republic are bound by a treaty that includes principles on the joint struggle against terrorism. This may become the foundation of this work today, too.

Our special services and military departments are in close contact and actively cooperating in this area. I am sure that if we act in concert as we did before, success will be guaranteed. But in the final analysis, we believe, and the President of the Republic of Turkey can confirm this, in the final analysis we believe that the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic will be ensured with the elimination of the terrorist threat about which the President of Turkey spoke.

As for US troop withdrawal, we know that US President Donald Trump is fairly active in implementing his election promises, which is a rare occurrence in US politics. One of these promises is the withdrawal US troops from Syria. But as mentioned earlier, domestic political developments may prevent him from always reaching his goals.

We do not know what will happen next. As of today, we can say that there are no big changes on the territory, but we believe this will still happen. If it does, the only correct decision to ensure security will be to put these territories under the control of the Syrian armed forces.


You have already said much about how bad the situation with Syrian refugees is. What else could the three countries do to get them home? Who else, do you think, could get in on the act? And if they could, why have they not done so yet?

A question for the President of Russia. On January 23, at a meeting with President Erdogan in Moscow, you cited a letter written by UN permanent representatives of Western countries to the UN Secretary-General, in which they actually hampered the creation of the Constitutional Committee in Syria. At the time, you expressed hope that trust can be restored and the political process will continue. Have there been any developments since then?

Vladimir Putin:

To begin with the last part of your question, we have been working energetically with our colleagues, Turkish partners and Iranian partners. Our experts from the military departments and the foreign ministries continued active consultations with the Syrian government and the opposition. I am satisfied that, in general, we have made progress.

It is still too early to say anything definitive, but we expressed our bewilderment at the positions of some of our partners regarding the formation of this Constitutional Committee, because we think we complied with all the requirements, and the result even exceeded expectations, so I had an impression that the process of creating the Constitutional Committee was not just hampered but sabotaged. Although publicly, they are talking about the need to use political means.

Despite these difficulties, we continued to work hard, and I think we will achieve our ultimate goal in the near future. The sooner we do it, the better.

With regard to the humanitarian component, if everyone is interested in having refugees return to their homes, we must do our best to ensure that their living conditions are decent and suitable for humans. So, there is no cause to limit the provision of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people for political reasons. Even more strange is some countries’ decision to impose sanctions on the companies and individuals who provide such humanitarian aid and cooperate with the Syrian government in order to restore infrastructure and provide help in healthcare, education, and so on. Everyone should rally around one thing which is to help Syria restore its statehood.

The source of information -

Informal meeting between presidents of Russia, Iran, Turkey and Belarus

February 14, 2019 - 19:40 - Sochi

Following the trilateral meeting of the heads of states, guarantors of the Astana process for facilitating the Syrian peace settlement, Vladimir Putin held an informal meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The source of information -

Condolences to President and Prime Minister of India on the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir

Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to President of India Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi in connection with the killing of Indian security force personnel in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

February 14, 2019 - 21:00

The message reads, in part:

“Please accept my most sincere condolences for the Indian security force personnel killed in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

We strongly condemn this cruel crime. Those who ordered it and carried it out must undoubtedly be duly punished.

I would like to reaffirm our readiness to further promote antiterrorist cooperation with our Indian partners.

The Russian people mourn together with the friendly people of India and hope for the speedy recovery of all the injured.”

The source of information -

Meeting on the development of the Russia-Belarus cultural and humanitarian ties

Vladimir Putin and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko had a meeting at the Sirius Education Centre, where they discussed the prospects of developing bilateral cooperation in culture, education and sports.

February 15, 2019 - 14:00 - Sochi

Russia was represented by Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov, Science and Higher Education Minister Mikhail Kotyukov and Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky.

Before the meeting, the leaders of Russia and Belarus toured the facilities of the Sirius Education Centre. In particular, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko visited genetic engineering laboratory classes and research labs.

Sirius Centre Director Yelena Shmelyova told the presidents about the centre’s original sports education programmes and presented the ICEBERG unique system of hockey analytics, which proved very helpful in analysing experimental training and selection programmes for young hockey players. The system was created by Russian developers and successfully tested by the NHL, the KHL as well as several Russian and foreign clubs.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr President, colleagues, friends.

Two days ago we opened this session of intergovernmental contacts with a meeting between our colleagues who are in charge of the economy, finances, industrial production and agriculture.

Mr Lukashenko and I agreed that today we will arrange a meeting between our colleagues in the cultural and humanitarian sectors who deal with education, science, sports and arts. Therefore, on the Russian side you can see here Sports Minister [Pavel Kolobkov], Culture Minister [Vladimir Medinsky] and Science and Higher Education Minister [Mikhail Kotyukov].

I hope that today we can start or continue, to be more precise, our dialogue at this high expert level on the issues of cultural and humanitarian cooperation. This is an extremely important area that is crucial for the development of today’s world in general and our countries in particular.

Of course, Mr Lukashenko and I constantly talk about this and look into this but we would like our colleagues at such a high ministerial level to meet and discuss developing cooperation in these areas.


Alexander Lukashenko:

We have built a good system together, Mr President. Look, at the regional level, we are hosting forums, giving the regions a chance to meet. And the effect is tremendous: we are now concluding contracts directly, and so forth. This is a testament to our agencies’ efforts. It is the same everywhere. I reiterate that the fact that we appeal to humanitarian ministries and departments less is nothing to brag about.

Take our ministries of foreign affairs, defence, economy, finance and others – they often meet outside the joint ministerial councils or in other formats. They are probably often criticising us for meeting too often (some get jealous), but they spend even more time together at meetings, discussing these issues.

That is why this is a great event that will keep expanding. This will be a good example for other heads of ministries, agencies and regions, and it will keep enriching our cooperation in general – the cooperation between Belarus and Russia.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr President, colleagues,

Indeed, the President of Belarus said it right. In our practical everyday work we pay much more time and attention to cooperation in the spheres of international affairs, defence, security, economy, finance and industrial production, and to collaboration in these spheres.

What our colleagues here today are doing serves as the foundation and the basis for the development of any society, because everything that is being carried out in this sphere is focused on people and on developing so-called human capital. Without it, it is impossible to solve any issue whatsoever: it will either not be addressed at all or very poorly, which does not meet our interests, our needs, requirements or the imperatives of our time, the imperatives of the present day.

That is why I believe today’s meeting to be of great importance. If the President does not mind, I would like to suggest our colleagues analyse both ongoing work and today’s discussion. It would probably be right to ask our colleagues to host joint meeting of boards of relevant ministries and make joint short- and medium-term plans for work and cooperation. If the President agrees, we would like to ask you to do that.

Thank you all very much.

The source of information -

Answers to media questions

Vladimir Putin and President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko answered media questions following a meeting on the development of the Russia-Belarus cultural and humanitarian ties, during which they discussed bilateral cooperation in culture, education and sports.

February 15, 2019 - 15:00 - Sochi


Mr Lukashenko, Mr Putin,

You have been working for the past three days, and everyone wants to know how the problem related to Russia’s tax manoeuvre was solved…

President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko:

The President and I just a moment ago said that this question would be asked right after the meeting. I felt that this question would be asked as if it was the biggest problem in relations between Russia and Belarus.

This problem does exist, but I am honestly and sincerely telling you, and the President will confirm this, I believe that we have not even mentioned this subject during these three days.

Do you know why? Before the new year, and you monitored the situation too, we agreed with the President (and you did not believe in it much) that we would begin a revision of our relations from the bottom up, starting with the issues of the various directions of our cooperation.

You may have noticed that today, alongside ministers, our colleagues, we reviewed our cooperation in culture, because this area has so far not been given much attention by us presidents. The President of Russia and I tend to speak more about finance, the economy, industry, deliveries, exports, imports, and neglect cultural and humanitarian cooperation. And, as the President just said, a person cannot live without this, nor can the problems that need to be solved be solved. There are several areas of cooperation.

Earlier, we met with the bloc of ministers of the economy, finance, etc. First they discussed their issues face to face, and then we did the same.

We also agreed with the President long ago that we need to assess the development of our allied relations within the framework of Belarus and Russia and to review the Union Treaty and to see what we have failed to implement in the past few years.

We are honestly telling each other that we are not eternal, and that we will be gone someday. As politicians, we cannot help but feel concerned about the legacy that we will leave behind to our children, and how they will continue our policy.

We discussed an entire range of matters before New Year’s Eve, and we are continuing to do this today; I would like to point out that we are doing this from the bottom up. No one prevents us from meeting, while at the same time gathering substantial knowledge …

Today, after hearing what Russian and Belarusian ministers said, I admitted that I don’t know a lot of things; this concerns our joint cultural and sports events, as well as education, etc.; I know a bit more about sports which is in the spotlight. The people of Russia and Belarus have ploughed through a huge layer, while cooperating in all these spheres.

Therefore we saw this and enriched our knowledge in many fields. Before taking serious steps, including the development of the Union State, we should not only know all this as presidents, but we need to assimilate this, so that we could feel convinced about this.

Therefore we have been working in various areas for three days. Yesterday, my colleague invited me to attend the final event of the summit on Syria; and I am grateful to him for this. We are not involved in these events; nevertheless, I found it very useful to attend the presidents’ meeting. And I noticed (addressing Vladimir Putin), and you probably noticed that we reviewed the entire agenda of international relations yesterday, and each president set forth his viewpoint. It is also very useful to know this.

Therefore, we will come to discuss the tax manoeuvre; but, apart from this, we face many other matters that no one will resolve except us. In any event, we should launch this process, and we are doing this. We are doing this not only while sitting at the table, but we are also carrying this out in sports. Mr President and I went mountain skiing and we will visit some other sports facility today. Tomorrow, I am planning to go to Domracheva’s track with a rifle, etc. In effect, practice is also important here.

The Lord did not endow us with the talent of painting pictures; we will not do this, but we will look at them.

I am grateful to the President for this centre. He was thinking what should be done here right in my presence, and I was watching closely. And we are already repeating the Russian Federation’s experience; therefore we have gathered here at Sirius.

Just look, how many topics we have raised. I am making impromptu remarks. You would be even more surprised if we sat down and listed all our activities in the past three days. Therefore manoeuvres are not the only thing that keeps people going.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

I fully support what Mr President has said.

I just want to remind you that we will mark the Union Treaty’s 20th anniversary in December. The President of Belarus and I have agreed to analyse everything we have done recently and coordinate our positions on the integration agenda, keeping in mind that other integration processes are being developed in parallel, including the EAEU.

We must determine where we are ahead and where we are lagging behind what is happening within the EAEU. After all, the momentum for the establishment and development of the EAEU was initially provided by President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, but it was based on the understandings reached within the framework of the Union State. The Union State was to a certain degree a locomotive of integration in the post-Soviet space.

Now the EAEU has even surpassed it and some of the things contemplated by the Union Treaty of 1999 are no longer relevant. Some things are not relevant anymore while others, on the contrary, are gaining momentum and have become very important.

The purpose of our meetings over the past three days was to analyse what has been achieved, what has not been done and what needs to be done, and to consult our colleagues from different fields: the economy, finance, industry, humanitarian sphere, sports, culture and education.

We wanted to listen to them, to find out what they think of the current state of affairs and interaction prospects and determine together with Mr President what we see as most important, promising and possible to accomplish in the near future, in the mid-term and in a more remote perspective. It seems to me that we have done this.

Apart from that, I invited Mr President in the hope that he will be able to take a break for two or three days and ski down these wonderful slopes. Maybe we will also play hockey today.

So, it seems to me that the objectives we set ourselves in planning these meetings have been achieved.


Mr Putin, Mr Lukashenko, I have a question about the Union State: how far will the integration go? In December, when talking to the Russian media and answering a question from my friend, Mr Lukashenko expressed concern over Belarus’ sovereignty. Did you touch upon this issue?

Alexander Lukashenko:

Listen, why would we discuss the sovereignty of Russia or Belarus? It is a sacred thing, an icon. You are a Russian citizen, an ordinary individual, so I can ask you: are you ready to give up or trade your sovereignty? I am not talking about independence.

To me, independence is a relative term, while sovereignty is everything within our borders. No one, not any state – and China is an example –would ever discuss sovereignty. Therefore, we do not have any problems with it and do not discuss it even in this context.

We presume that there are two states today. You know how they were formed: it was not me or the President who initiated the collapse of that state, and we share a common opinion on this issue. It so happened that there are two states.

If you were there to hear our ministers today, you would be pleased: we did not disagree on anything. Honestly, I thought when listening to their reports, look at Ukraine, another Slavic state, there appeared a huge gap in the past few years [between it and Russia and Belarus]. And we speak the same language and have a common approach to problems.

Vladimir Putin:

And there are results.

Alexander Lukashenko:

Exactly, results…

You had a head start on Sirius. I remember thinking, “So we have built it all, and what will we do now and how?” I asked, “What are you going to do with these [Olympic] facilities?” He said, “No worries.” And he gave me a tour around, explaining what he would do here and there. I thought, yes, it would be good but it is not that easy. And he did it! So I say we will do the same.

Therefore this is what is key for us, so it is not about sovereignty. In my opinion, and I think my colleague and friend will agree, we are ready to go as far as you are ready to go in uniting our efforts, states and peoples.

Listen, we could unite tomorrow, we have no problems with that. But are you, Russians and Belarusians, ready for this? This is the question. So you should ask yourself this question. We will execute your will to the extent you want us to. If you are not ready, then however powerful and large Russia is, it cannot impose its will on anyone. And we certainly will not do that, and we do not need to do it.

So you should be ready in your mind. You, I mean the people of Russia and Belarus, should set goals and we will implement them, we are your servants.

Vladimir Putin:

Sovereignty and independence are closely related, of course. But we discussed yesterday and two days ago what the President just said: there are no absolutely independent states in the world.

Alexander Lukashenko:

I would immediately add, not even Russia.

Vladimir Putin:

All countries, including the largest and smallest ones. The contemporary world is a world of interdependency.

Look at, say, Western Europe. The European Parliament has adopted more obligatory decisions for all EU members than the USSR Supreme Soviet adopted for its republics. Would you call that independence?

Or, say, military alliances, such as NATO. Do you think that any European country would want the US’s intermediate-range missiles to appear in Europe? Nobody wants that, but they keep quiet. Where is their sovereignty? But, apparently, they believe that in general, they are interested in such an organisation where they put some of their sovereignty.

We have already created supranational bodies within the EAEU – such as the EAEU Commission – and have given it some national powers. But even within the EAEU there is interdependency. And we gave it part of our sovereignty and independency because we understand that it will provide our countries with greater competitiveness.

We should also sort out in a business-like and friendly manner in what direction we can move forward within the Union State without hurting any country or people, but on the contrary, creating better conditions for the future of our countries.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with President of France Emmanuel Macron

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron.

February 16, 2019 - 18:00

The discussion focused on the situation in Syria. Vladimir Putin informed Emmanuel Macron about the agreements reached in Sochi at the February 14 meeting of the heads of states, guarantors of the Astana process for facilitating the Syrian peace settlement. The parties noted the need to promote the intra-Syrian political dialogue and to launch the work of the Constitutional Committee as soon as possible.

Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron discussed the developments in northeastern Syria and in the Idlib de-escalation zone. The President of Russia cited the available data on the militants’ preparations to stage provocations with the use of chemical agents.

The parties expressed mutual commitment to continuing Russian-French contacts on Syria in order to facilitate the peace settlement and assist in the country’s return to peaceful life.

While exchanging views on Ukraine, Vladimir Putin drew Emmanuel Macon’s attention to the anti-Russia campaign by the Kiev authorities, which has intensified in the run-up to the March presidential election. He stressed that the Ukrainian side’s actions, including their decision to ban Russian observers from the election and not to set up polling stations in Russia, run contrary to universally accepted democratic norms and OSCE principles.

An emphasis was made on the mutual commitment to further joint work, including in the Normandy format, to promote the settlement of the internal Ukrainian crisis.

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Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
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Meeting with Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov

Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov. They discussed the development of mass sports in the country and the preparations for holding large international sports events, in particular, the 29th Winter Universiade that will take place in Krasnoyarsk in March 2019.

February 11, 2019 - 13:40 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, Mr Kolobkov,

Let us begin with the preparations for the Universiade in Krasnoyarsk.

Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov:

Mr President, final preparations are underway for the Universiade, which is just days away now. Let me remind you that the Universiade will take place on March 2–12, but the first teams will arrive in the Universiade village as soon as February 23.

We are fully prepared for the games: athletes will compete for 76 sets of medals in 11 sports. All sports are included in the Olympics, except orienteering and bandy, which will be included in the Universiade for the first time.

Let me say a few words about the readiness of our team, for it is probably one of the most important issues.

Vladimir Putin:

We should congratulate our bandy team on another victory at the world championships…

Pavel Kolobkov:

A youth bandy world championships for athletes aged under 19 has been recently held there [in Krasnoyarsk]. And we won again in a fierce battle and defeated the Swedish team, which is our traditional rival, both during adult and youth events. We hope the team will play in a similar fashion during the Universiade.

It is also of great significance that a new high quality sports palace was built specifically for bandy games. Young athletes are training there and 5,000 spectators attended almost all the matches, because this sport is very popular in the city.

Vladimir Putin:

It is a very spectacular kind of sport.

Pavel Kolobkov:

Our team is practicing intensively now. We have included 800 people on our expanded list and will approve the final team on February 22, according to the International University Sports Federation regulations.

The average age of the team is 21. There are some very young athletes who are just starting their careers in sport, but there are plenty of experienced athletes who are already competing in world championships, well-known athletes.

In all events, we will compete for medals of any value. We are confident that our athletes are fully ready. I think that the audiences will appreciate our teams’ performance.

As we have already discussed, this is about bandy in particular, and, of course, this is an area where we should certainly qualify for winning gold medals, as well as skiing, freestyle, and snowboarding. In all sports, we will aim for gold medals or any medals.

A few words about our preparations. All the sports facilities are operational. All of them have been tested, and representatives of international federations have already visited them. And I must say that all plans have been approved: the medical, transport, and accommodation plans.

We are working on it, and I must say that we are now nearly 100 percent ready to receive the guests: 135,000 tickets have already been sold. We hope that sports fans will come and enjoy the Universiade.

This is not only a sporting event, it is also a cultural event, so there will be a cultural programme as well. The Universiade Cultural Programme has been approved. Its highlight will be the opening ceremony of the Universiade. The director of the Universiade is Ilya Averbukh, who has already directed many such events. He is also a great athlete, so it will be very interesting.

The Match-TV company will cover the Universiade and show the sporting events. Test events have already been held at all the venues, so we are confident that the Universiade will be held at a high level.

Last time, Mr President, you gave instructions regarding the legacy of the Student Games. All venues are already in use and operate either regional schools or municipal youth sports schools.

Two venues will be transferred to federal ownership, specifically, the Rainbow Cluster with a swimming pool, a ski stadium and spacious sports halls. Students and pupils from the youth sports school in the region will go there. We will also use it to train our national teams.

Vladimir Putin:

What sports?

Pavel Kolobkov:

Swimming and cross country skiing. Yelena Vyalbe [President of the Russian Cross Country Ski Federation] and I discussed this issue. Of course, we will also use this centre to train our athletes. The Academy of Biathlon is located nearby. This centre was built a long time ago, but it was brought up to code recently. The biathlon competitions will be held there.

Of course, I am proud of the Sopka Centre that we have built. It is a specialised centre for training freestyle and snowboard athletes and is equipped with all kinds of tracks. There is a dry training facility equipped with a springboard. I think this is a unique structure with trampolines and a gymnastics centre – everything our athletes may need.

You may be aware that Krasnoyarsk is famous for its winter sport athletes. Twenty athletes from Krasnoyarsk – skeleton, bobsleigh, freestyle, snowboarding – a big team overall – took part in the Winter Olympics in Pyongyang. I think this region will give us many more high-performance athletes like this.

Thus, we are already working on matters related to holding major competitions. We hope to invite presidents of international federations to have a look. I want foreign athletes to come and do their pre-season training there and participate in competitions. This is a beautiful one-of-a-kind facility.

So, we are fully prepared for the Student Games and looking forward to our guests coming here and, of course, Mr President, we very much want to see you at the opening of the Student Games in Krasnoyarsk. I think you will enjoy it.

Vladimir Putin:

Good. Thank you very much.

Pavel Kolobkov:

We also hold a lot of competitions around the country. The total number is some 500 annually. This year the federal centre will co-finance 115 events. The largest of them will be the men’s and women’s World Boxing Championships.

It will be elimination contests for the next cycle of the Olympics, World Cups and World Cup series. Sochi is now hosting the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup series, for the first time since the 2014 Olympics. We supported the event, and now we are holding it. I hope that we will host them next year as well, although at a different time.

I will update you on the largest events that are scheduled to take place before 2023. In 2023, we will host the IIHF World Junior Championship for young hockey players aged below 20. We are building a new ice palace where the Sibir team will have its base. The city does need an ice centre which can seat10,000; we believe it will be filled to capacity.

Vladimir Putin:

The Sibir team is playing quite well.

Pavel Kolobkov:

It did not begin well…

Vladimir Putin:

It has become better now, and it has won several matches.

Pavel Kolobkov:

It is a good team, but, as you probably remember, half of it was renewed at the beginning of this season. Of course, every team must have its own traditions. The change of players, when it happens, is a painful matter.

I would like to say that we have won the right to host the 2022 Volleyball World Championship. We have signed the agreement, and now we are creating conditions for holding the event, including the executive directorate. We have prepared a draft government directive on the establishment of the organising committee.

We need to choose the cities that will hold the championship by May this year. The bid includes 10 cities, but the number can be cut to eight cities depending on the championship’s programme. All the cities named in the bid are capable of hosting these events. They have the necessary infrastructure.

Apart from such multisports events as the Olympics, or football world cup, this is another major competition that stands out. We expect to welcome many guests from foreign countries. It will be a really big event. We have already started preparing for it.

By the way, this year we will hold the FIDE World Cup 2019 in Khanty-Mansiysk. Overall, Khanty-Mansiysk has become a major chess centre.

We will also host many other sports events, including the FINA Short Course World Swimming Championship in 2022. Kazan hosts and files bids to host many sports events every year.

It is notable that we are paying attention not only to high performance sports but also to recreation sports. You have instructed us to involve 55 percent of Russian citizens in sports. It is a challenging and ambitious goal, but we know how to attain it.

We have adopted a federal project as part of the Demography national project. In 2018, 36.8 percent of citizens engaged in sports. We believe the figure will grow to 38 percent by the end of 2019.

We have named the project Sports Is a Norm of Life. We believe that everyone must see sports as a norm of life. It entails a much high quality of life and the creation of conditions and the training of coach personnel for achieving this goal.

The project provides for supporting sports clubs through grants, the holding of competitions, a system of championships, as well as support for infrastructure development of the most popular sports such as hockey and football. This is why we are signing agreements with all the regions and have already launched the implementation of this project together with our colleagues in the regions.

Vladimir Putin:


The source of information -

Meeting with representatives of the public: the Housing and Urban Environment national project

During his trip to Tatarstan, Vladimir Putin visited the Moskovsky Centre of Culture and Sports in Kazan where he met with representatives of the public.

February 12, 2019 - 18:15 - Kazan

The President said in his opening remarks that he was beginning a series of meetings with the public on the implementation of national projects. The meeting in Kazan focused on the Housing and Urban Environment national project.

Before the meeting, Vladimir Putin visited the renovated Moskovsky Centre of Culture and Sports. The centre was the city’s pilot project under which old houses of culture are turned into modern multirole cultural centres offering youth and adults opportunities for creative, intellectual and physical development. The Moskovsky renovation project was launched in 2017 and completed in April 2018. The centre has a modern concert and sports halls, dancing, singing and art rooms, as well as a conference and co-working rooms.

The President was accompanied on his visit to the centre by Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Volga Federal District Igor Komarov and Head of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov. The tour was guided by aide to the Head of the Republic of Tatarstan Natalia Fishman.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, friends and colleagues.

Today’s events in Kazan will be the start of a series of meetings, conferences and discussions like this. The subject of these events will be the national projects, which we are launching to ensure forward progress in Russia in key development areas.

As you know, we have allocated a great deal of funding for this and have adopted decisions on funding sources and priority areas for development. Now we must make all this run as smoothly as a Swiss watch and create the mechanisms and instruments necessary for attaining our goals.

As I mentioned earlier, significant funding is being provided by the Federation, but the bulk of the work must be done by the regions. So, it is critical to foster collaboration between the federal centre and the regional and municipal authorities and, of course, the entities that are directly involved in implementing these projects, such as public organisations, primarily, businesses and the professional environment, the professional community. We need to join our forces.

The Housing project is an extremely important one. It is fundamental to developing the country, society and state, because the quality of habitation and the resolution of housing issues determine not only the mood in society, which is important, but also critical sectors of our economy, which affect other areas as well.

There are many issues that need our attention, and many complex challenges, too. At this stage, they are even coming into conflict with each other. Why? Because we need to resolve the core issues related to the so-called defrauded co-investors. This problem did not arise of its own or because there are many crooks, but among other things because the state has so far failed to regulate this sphere in a civilised manner.

In order to have it properly regulated, we must adopt decisions that formally limit operations in this sector of economy and create certain challenges for switching to bank support and bank financing in order to stop the practice of raising money from people and avoid situations where people can lose their money.

This comes with certain difficulties, including financial burdens. On the one hand, we need to bring housing construction up to 120 million square metres, but, on the other hand, the constraints associated with switching to another financing system may lead to a market contraction. Here, we need to resolve a dual problem. We need to stimulate development and construction while at the same time switching to modern and civilised approaches to organising the work.

So, I wanted to first sit down with you and then discuss his subject with public organisations and businesses which have been working in this sphere for many years, to hear you out and to find out what concerns you. After that, we will meet with our colleagues from the State Council Presidium and adopt corresponding decisions which will be made known to our entire country.

To reiterate, this is the first time we are doing this type of work, but I will continue to do this work in other regions and for other national projects. So, let us begin this exchange of information. First of all, I would like, of course, to listen to what you have to say, your thoughts and concerns, so that the governors can take them into account when preparing decisions that will be implemented in order to solve problems and achieve our goals in this sphere.

Let us get to work.

The source of information -

Meeting with KAMAZ-Master team

Vladimir Putin met with the KAMAZ-Master team after its latest win in the Dakar Rally.

February 12, 2019 - 19:20 - Kazan

The President congratulated the athletes on the 16th win for KAMAZ in the Dakar Rally. In January 2019, the crew led by Eduard Nikolayev won the fifth stage of the Dakar Rally. Second place was taken by his teammate Dmitry Sotnikov. The official start and finish of the rally took place in Lima, the capital of Peru. The rally route was 5,000 km. In total, the participants completed 10 stages.

The KAMAZ-Master team was represented in the race by four brand-new sport trucks (KAMAZ-43509) equipped with inline-six engines.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

I would like to congratulate you on your 16th win.

As you know, many people in Russia and abroad followed the rally. Since you are the undisputed leaders in this part of the programme, motor sport fans around the world closely followed it.

The complication when one crew was disqualified caused us to worry. I do not think it was a fair decision. Most likely, the decision was made to just get one of the leaders out of the race.

But your competitors still have the chance to recoup, as we have the Silk Way ahead. So, it is important to always stay in shape.

As far as I can tell, this is a team that builds many things, invents them itself and makes them a reality.

KAMAZ General Director Sergei Kogogin:

Mr President, we are putting their ideas into production after testing.

Vladimir Putin:

Great. Congratulations. Thank you very much for this victory. I wish you new successes.

And you also have a rising generation of good drivers.

The source of information -

Expanded meeting of the State Council Presidium on improving housing and creating a comfortable urban environment

Vladimir Putin held an expanded meeting of the State Council Presidium on the work of regional executive authorities of the Russian Federation aimed at improving housing conditions and creating a comfortable urban environment.

February 12, 2019 - 20:00 - Innopolis, Tatarstan

A short presentation of Innopolis was held for the President before the meeting. Russia’s youngest city was established on June 9, 2015 to catalyse the national IT industry. The city’s master plan was designed by architect Liu Thai Ker from Singapore and implemented by a group of local architects.

Innopolis University, which forms the city core, focuses on IT and robotics education and research and has a tuition system that combines education, science together with business, which is unique for Russia.

The city has a special economic zone with incentives and tax relief schemes for investors and residents from the high-tech industries.

With 3,200 permanent residents, Innopolis has a daily population of over 4,500, who can enjoy a comfortable urban environment with education, healthcare, sports and entertainment infrastructure. The Popov Administrative and Business Centre is the main building in the Innopolis special economic zone and the city. It was designed as an innovation centre and is the main link between fundamental research and commercial production.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

We are holding the second State Council Presidium meeting in the retooled format. Let me remind you that we have 16 permanent working groups headed by regional leaders on the key issues on the socioeconomic agenda of Russia’s development.

Over the last two days the main working group, ministers, agency heads and experts have been focusing on a topic that is important for every Russian. I mean the improvement of housing and how to make cities and towns more comfortable, take residential construction to a new level of quality and, of course, increase its availability.

Let me note that today the industry is in the process of serious changes, a phase of important reforms. Starting from July 1, there will be a new scheme of financing residential construction. It must be safe and not burdensome for people, protect them from unnecessary risks when purchasing residential real estate and also make it possible to form a more sustainable, professional and civilised foundation for relationships between market participants.

The laws on residential construction are changing. The regulations, planning standards and rules must be transparent and suit construction firms but also work effectively and meet people’s demands in terms of living conditions and the quality of the urban environment above all. This is one of the reasons for introducing the Urban Area Development Standard.

And, of course, we must boost the dynamics of the construction sector and increase housing delivery. We must resolve the protracted problems in this area. We have gathered here also because (I will say this now because I met with representatives of public organisations, the construction sector and heads of republics and municipalities) we have a problem. We must ensure that construction volumes grow, while also switching to a new way of operating in the industry that is more complicated and more stringent. How can we resolve both problems? Switching to the new way and ensuring growth? This is not easy.

We have already resettled people (a considerable number) from dilapidated housing that was registered as such on January 1, 2012. Over a million people moved to new flats. This year we launched a programme for housing stock that became substandard between January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2017. Our task is to resettle residents from dilapidated housing, and keep ahead of the pace at which additional housing falls into disrepair in the meantime. In other words, we must resettle people from over two million square metres per year. And we must reach this level no later than 2023. Only in this way will we be able not just to patch up but really upgrade the country’s housing stock.

These tasks are reflected in the Housing and Urban Environment national project. As I have already said, we discussed its implementation before our meeting with the public, business and experts. Many issues and problem points were discussed. I will share with you some of them and some considerations about them. But I know you have been discussing them, for a second day now. I have already been told that your discussions were fairly heated and focused. So, apparently, I will not tell you anything new.

Nevertheless, I will repeat that a new financing scheme for housing construction will be launched on July 1. The role of banks will grow considerably. They will issue loans for specific projects and monitor the course of construction. I would like to draw the attention of the Government and the Central Bank to the following task: it is necessary to smoothly coordinate work with the developers and credit organisations, and to build and adjust all mechanisms so as to make this transition as smooth as possible for the industry and to motivate the banks to issue loans for the developers.

Here is an important consideration. Businesses and customers are concerned that switching to project financing will adversely affect comprehensive development leading to issues with opening socially important sites, which was mentioned earlier, and the developers will have a hard time dealing with it as there will not be enough resources. As you may be aware, under the new rules, it will be illegal to use customer money to build social infrastructure sites. I am here to listen to what you have to say about this.

However, I would like to reiterate that as we develop our cities and new territories, we should stimulate the development that will meet all the needs and demands of our people, including families with children and the elderly. No one needs outlying districts, which have no transport access to schools, medical centres or kindergartens.

There is one more thing that I would like to point out. There are over a million co-investment agreements out there. They must be implemented in full. We must protect the rights of defrauded real estate co-investors, who, due to unscrupulous companies, have lost their homes and savings, and some are left with nothing but debt. Here is what I have to say to the governors: you cannot delay dealing with these people's problems. They expect timely, strong and effective actions from you. There is successful experience with this, including here in Tatarstan. It is necessary to adopt these practices and to come up with new and effective measures, and this, too, I hope, will be discussed today.

Next, steady demand for housing is essential for the progressive development of the construction sector. In this regard, we must look at the situation in the mortgage market. We discussed this today as well. Not too long ago, it was around 9 percent, now it is two percentage points more, up to about 11 on average nationwide. I just spoke with the people – this is an expected outcome, in fact. I hope our forecast that this will be a short-term and one-time effect is true. To date, there is no reason to think otherwise. However, it is imperative to closely monitor this and stimulate the market accordingly.

Yes, last year the Central Bank raised the key rate, which, strictly speaking, was unavoidable. We knew it would raise rates given the decisions in taxation. But it was up by just a half of a percentage point, and also banks raise resources not only through funding from the Central Bank, but a number of other sources as well. There is simply no reason for a violent surge. As I said, it is necessary to monitor this closely and respond accordingly and in a timely manner.

Over 30,000 public spaces will be renovated within six years – parks, pubic gardens, waterfronts, walking areas. This is also a significant area of activity. The world’s best practices and our own experiences should be drawn on, including the experiences in Moscow, Kazan and other Russian cities that hosted the World Cup.

But you know, what I would like to say, addressing especially the regional heads, our colleagues from the regions: the representatives from the Russian Popular Front have just pointed at a very simple thing – the outskirts. Even thriving large mega cities oftentimes forget about the people living in the outskirts of the cities. Let’s go back to that issue.

In fact, so-called pubic space is inexpensive; it really does not cost much to do it properly. I draw your attention to that. This is absolutely right. These so-called bedroom communities must be provided with social infrastructure, kindergartens, hospitals, out-patient clinics and so on. But public space must have a human face – up-to-date and meeting today’s requirements.

We have to use leading design and architectural teams, especially younger ones, of course. We have these specialists including Arkhitektory.RF programme graduates. They are ready to offer their exciting cutting-edge solutions. We also have good universities that do well in training specialists. They must be used also. But the key is the participation of the local residents themselves in shaping the urban environments. People must be trusted to decide what our cities and townships will look like.

Of course, I also talked about that today – there are as many opinions as there are people. So the process should not lead to procrastination. However, if people are involved at the initial stage of drafting a project, it will be more efficient. People will become a party to the process. And if it goes this way, the work will be more efficient. Things are always like that, especially in this area.

If a certain project enjoys support from the local residents, it will always go more positively; this always helps. And attitudes will change. When people feel they are involved in the process, that they co-author a certain decision, the attitude towards the facilities built and spaces created will be quite different. It will be caring, accurate, careful. People will be grateful to you for that.

These issues were also raised at today’s meeting. We talked about this. I hope we will consider this, too.

The source of information -

Working meeting with Head of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov

Vladimir Putin concluded his visit to Tatarstan with a working meeting with Head of the republic Rustam Minnikhanov. Together, they launched via videoconference the commercial delivery of petrol from the TANECO refinery in Nizhnekamsk.

February 12, 2019 - 22:15 - Innopolis, Tatarstan

Rustam Minnikhanov said that the investment in the project exceed 19 billion rubles. TANECO plans to produce some 1.1 million tonnes of automobile gasolines annually. The refinery went into operation in 2011. In 2018, it launched the production of quality fuels of the following types: AI-92, AI-95, AI-98 and AI-100 high-performance and low-impact fuel.

The leader of Tatarstan also updated Vladimir Putin on the republic’s socioeconomic development.

The first head of Tatarstan, Mintimer Shaimiyev, later joined the meeting. Vladimir Putin thanked him for his contribution to the development of Tatarstan and the implementation of strategic projects, in particular, the establishment of the Bulgarian Islamic Academy. The President said that during a recent meeting with President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov they discussed the possibility of sending clerics from Kyrgyzstan to study at the academy. Vladimir Putin asked the current and the first heads of Tatarstan to analyse this possibility and create conditions for implementing it.

Head of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov:

Mr President,

We have completed the plant that will produce 1.1 million tonnes of automobile gasolines. The project cost over 19 billion rubles. It is a modern facility that will produce the AI-93 and AI-95 fuels without any additives.

I would like to ask you to give the go-ahead to our colleagues at the TANEKO plant, who have received the necessary documents, to launch production.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

We have launched two facilities before; this is the next one.

It is a major positive event in the republic’s economy that will benefit the country as a whole. A great deal of funds has been invested in it.

We are delighted at the speed of the company’s development. I congratulate all of you on this, and I am happy to take part in launching a new plant.

Rustam Minnikhanov:

Thank you, Mr President.

I give the floor to TATNEFT General Director.

Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues.

TATNEFT General Director Nail Maganov:

Good afternoon, Mr President, Mr Minnikhanov.

Mr President, a year ago you launched the new naphtha hydro treatment and isomerisation units at TANECO. Since then we have built several other modern oil refining units.

One result of this is the launch of a new facility to manufacture Euro-5 fuels, from AI-92 to AI-100. We believe there will be more. The plant can produce 1.1 million tonnes of fuel. We agree with our colleagues that it is a preliminary figure and that we can increase production to 1.2 or 1.3 million tonnes.

As Mr Minnikhanov said, over 19 billion rubles has been invested in this project. We plan to deliver over 3,000 tonnes of motor gasoline a day. A whole trainload of modern-type fuel will leave the plant every day.

This is our victory. Overall, the construction of the high-tech refinery, TANECO, was made possible thanks to your personal support and the system-wide decisions that have been taken at the government level to encourage the development of the national refining sector.

Overall, we have invested some 363 billion rubles in this project – even more now. By this time, we have refined over 60 million tonnes of crude oil, reaching a record-high depth of refining for Russia, 99 percent. We do not produce any heavy petrochemicals. We only turn out light ones.

In primary production, we have achieved a capacity of 9.3 million tonnes per year. We produce 20 types of high-quality oil products, including Euro-5 diesel fuel which is the best in Russia based on its cetane rating. We also produce aviation fuel, base oils, petrol and we are certain that they are the best in Russia and Europe.

This project produced a large-scale socioeconomic effect by creating new jobs. TANECO currently employs over 3,500 people and during peak periods up to 10,000 construction workers from more than 20 Russian regions provided their services here.

The facilities are expanding. Some 5,500 workers are involved in the construction work.

In 2018, TATNEFT transferred more than 509 billion rubles to the budgets of all levels. The monthly construction and assembly works come to 3 billion rubles. As per initial concept, the project’s priority is to support the Russian industry and science.

Relying on years of experience and engineering competence, we can confidently declare that we are able to deliver turn-key projects of a similar kind anywhere in the world, if we are instructed to do so.

Mr President, TANECO has ambitious goals to achieve. As part of the TATNEFT 2030 strategy, in 2019 we are finishing the construction of new primary refinery facilities that will allow us to almost double the processing capacity and exceed 15 million tonnes per year.

Moreover, the company’s board of directors issued a resolution regarding the construction of petrochemical facilities that will be the first to produce certain types of engineering plastic in Russia as well as other petrochemical products.

Finally, I would like to assure you, Mr President, that TATNEFT will do its utmost and use all its potential to fulfil the strategic tasks of this industry and our country.

Please, order the launch of the production and shipping of petrol at TANECO.

Vladimir Putin:

You know, we provide systemic support to TATNEFT at the federal level. This targeted support is due to the specifics of your resource base.

I am very pleased to note that this targeted support proved very effective, including and perhaps primarily thanks to your work. Congratulations on these new results for TATNEFT and, of course, this new project.

Please launch the facility.

Nail Maganov:

Ok, go ahead.

It is done.

Vladimir Putin:


Nail Maganov:

Mr President, thank you very much and I would like to wish the leadership of our country all the very best.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you very much. We will do everything that was planned together. Thank you for the results you have achieved.

* * *

Rustam Minnikhanov:

Mr President, I would like to report briefly on the 2018 results. Two trillion and 818 million rubles’ worth of production goods were shipped elsewhere. The gross regional product (GRP) highlighting preliminary economic development results totalled two trillion and 440 billion rubles.

Vladimir Putin:

How did it increase on the previous year?

Rustam Minnikhanov:

The industry grew by two percent, with the GRP growing by an estimated 1.5 percent so far. But I believe that the situation is currently being specified. Preliminary fixed capital investment volumes topped 660 billion rubles. I hope that the final statistics will coincide. Foreign trade volumes increased and reached $19 billion. Retail trade volumes grew by over six percent. Average wages totalled 35,154 rubles. Unemployment rates decreased to 0.5 percent.

Vladimir Putin:

0.5 percent?

Rustam Minnikhanov:

0.5 percent; there are no problems here.

Vladimir Putin:

I have noticed that the share of your non-commodity exports has increased considerably.

Rustam Minnikhanov:

Yes, as a result of processing and refining. You can see that we had refined seven million tonnes of crude oil, and now we have reached the 17-million tonne mark. We will start refining additional six million tonnes, and this will account for about 23 million tonnes annually.

Vladimir Putin:

And the processing industry’s share has increased by six percent.

Rustam Minnikhanov:

Yes, this is also good. This includes our KAMAZ truck plant, as well as the helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft plants.

Vladimir Putin:

When will the Mil Mi-38 helicopter take to the skies?

Rustam Minnikhanov:

The Mi-38 helicopter is currently available, and it has already been certified. This modern helicopter is being delivered to the Defence Ministry, and it will also be delivered to various economic sectors. Sales of the Ansat helicopter are very good. First of all, it is used by the entire Russian police force. Our republic operates it, and people think highly of the helicopter. The People’s Republic of China is extremely interested in this helicopter, and we will promote and market it.

Vladimir Putin:

Very good to hear that.

Rustam Minnikhanov:

I would like to present a brief report, Mr President. Our economy makes it possible to address system-wide tasks. We had 38 projects last year.

First of all, I would like to say that we are working closely on the transport infrastructure. Last year we invested 25 billion rubles of our own money and with federal support under the Safe City programme in the road network: this includes repairs, rural roads and the use of gravel and sand mixture. We use this material where the burden is light to make the best quality-price ratio.

This year we will be implementing 40 projects. We are launching a huge three-year-long project to repair children’s summer camps. The estimated cost is 7–7.5 billion, with 94 facilities. We have developed the standards for camps: sports, culture and catering complying with all the standards. I think we will complete this project in three years because what we have today is partly renovated facilities and some old Soviet children’s camp. We will tackle this project. Other projects include schools, hospitals, outpatient clinics and local councils. We try to work systematically on the water and electricity supply systems. In addition, we actively use the referendum system: per ruble raised by people to address some task we add 4 rubles. This is also a good project.

I would also like to report on a large event that Russia will host…

Vladimir Putin:

The world competition?

Rustam Minnikhanov:

The WorldSkills competition. You launched it. We won over Paris and the Belgian city [Charleroi] in a tough race.

Vladimir Putin:

Yes, Tatarstan knows how to win.

Rustam Minnikhanov:

Not just Tatarstan. We were supported by Rosatom and the Government. This event will take place on August 22–27. The opening ceremony will be held on August 22. Mr President, let me be straight, we will not begin it without you.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you very much.

Rustam Minnikhanov:

The opening ceremony will be held at the football stadium. We have agreed that Igor Krutoi’s team will prepare the programme for the opening and closing ceremonies. This will be very good.

We have 56 skills with 1,500 participants from 67 countries so far. We expect 250,000 visitors. We would like very much to adopt a declaration on working skills, and we have already agreed to do this with [Deputy Prime Minister] Tatyana Golikova and the Organising Committee with the participation of Rosatom. Nobody has done this before. We would also like to ask you to give instructions to hold such an event and adopt this declaration before the competition begins, because all countries need to promote and train specialists.

Vladimir Putin:

I think many people will support this.

Rustam Minnikhanov:

Everyone will, but we would like our President Vladimir Putin to initiate it.

Vladimir Putin:

Very well.

Rustam Minnikhanov:

I would like to report that the 140,000 square metre facility has been completed, and it is ready. Tomorrow, the Agriculture Ministry Board will hold a meeting there, and the Federal Road Agency Board has already held a meeting there. It will also have a cinema and a concert hall for 3,000 people. <…> This unique structure allows us to host major events.

Vladimir Putin:

The media should cover this.

Rustam Minnikhanov:

I have shown this to you, and television channels will certainly show everything. We would like young people from all Russian regions to come here for the WorldSkills Competition, to see these standards and competitions, and they should see how prestigious this is.

Today, we have 31 resource centres [modern training centres, including colleges and technical schools]. Some resource centres offer one vacancy per six applicants. Almost 50 percent of our school students study to be workers after graduating from the ninth grade. Most importantly, these resource centres cooperate with our commodity producers, and they provide equipment; all processes are coordinated with companies.

Here is another interesting issue. We have restored and built a very good judo centre. We believe this facility is in high demand. We have turned this former wrestling centre into a specialised facility.

Vladimir Putin:

Is the centre called Batyr?

Rustam Minnikhanov:

Yes, Batyr.

And here is another highly interesting facility. The former Shamov Hospital, a cultural landmark, is being converted into a hotel with the assistance of a Turkish firm. This is a good project. We have the opportunity to invite the President of Turkey here.He is already expecting an invitation from you.

Vladimir Putin:

I will meet with him the day after tomorrow, and I will tell him.

Rustam Minnikhanov:

We were on the verge of losing this facility. Investment volumes totalled 50 million. The second stage is underway. This is a good top-category hotel. I believe we will be able to provide accommodation if you invite Mr Erdogan for an event. You meet often.

Vladimir Putin:

I am confident that Kazan will host events of the WorldSkills Competition in the best manner possible.

Rustam Minnikhanov:

We will do our best. Tatyana Golikova, Rosatom and major companies are actively involved. We have reached agreement on everything.

Vladimir Putin:

Good. I wish you success.

The source of information -

Greetings to participants of the Healthy Life: Towards 80+ forum

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to the participants, organisers and guests of the Healthy Life: Towards 80+ forum.

February 13, 2019 - 15:00

The message reads, in part:

“Promoting the health of our people, extending life expectancy, and improving the quality of life for the older generation are important national goals and a priority for government agencies at all levels.

It is therefore encouraging that these matters feature prominently on the agenda of your forum, which has brought together in Sochi scholars, medical doctors, heads of relevant ministries and agencies, and representatives of the expert and business communities.

I have no doubt that this will be a successful event and will become a regular fixture on the calendar. I am sure that your constructive, fruitful discussions will produce concrete proposals and new approaches aimed at further improving healthcare and demographic policy in Russia.”

The source of information -

Visit to the Yug-Sport Training Centre

Vladimir Putin visited the Yug-Sport Training Centre in Sochi. The President toured the facilities and briefly spoke to members of the Russian national boxing, judo and freestyle wrestling teams. He also took part in a training session.

February 14, 2019 - 21:30 - Sochi

Yug-Sport is the largest sports centre in southern Russia. It has the facilities for training athletes in 54 summer and winter sports. In the past three years, the centre hosted more than 100 Russian and international competitions, including competitions in taekwondo, karate, fencing and table tennis.

The source of information -

Visit to the Ice Cube Curling Centre

The President was updated on the performance of the Curling Centre in the Sochi Olympic Park and met with head of the Russian Curling Federation Dmitry Svishchev.

February 14, 2019 - 23:55 - Sochi

The Ice Cube Curling Centre was built between 2010 and 2013 in the coastal cluster of the 2014 Olympic facilities. It is the only sports arena built in Russia especially for curling. The arena has six curling paths and can seat 3,000 spectators.

Apart from the central arena, the Ice Cube also houses a choreography and fitness rooms, locker rooms, restaurants, as well as administrative and medical premises. There are three football fields of different sizes with artificial turf nearby.

The Ice Cube is the main training centre of the Russian men’s and women’s national curling teams. Teams from other Russian cities and CIS countries also come here for training and competitions. Some 100 children are learning to curl in the arena’s special section.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Svishchev, tell us about the operation of this centre, your problems, if any, and whether you need our assistance to settle them.

President of the Russian Curling Federation Dmitry Svishchev:

Mr President, thank you for visiting this Olympic facility. It is an honour for us and we appreciate your attention to sports. We unveiled this arena together six years ago, and now we have met here again.

The Olympic curling stadium is the only large world-class international stadium in Russia. But curling is not a popular sport in Sochi. We try to use the stadium for all kinds of events, not only curling competitions but other sports as well, such as martial arts and ice hockey. We also organise cultural events here. However, according to the statistics (and we have been using this stadium for five years), unfortunately, it is difficult to develop a sport like curling in a southern region. Although we do have 100 children from the city and 140 from all over Krasnodar Territory who train here. They have grown to the level of world championships.

However, we have to ask you, Mr President, to support us in the construction of a curling stadium in Moscow and another very important region, the Far East, in Vladivostok. Why? Because China is hosting the next Olympic Games and it would make sense to develop this sport there [in the Far East]. Both the time zone and the climate are favourable. Therefore, these stadiums in Moscow and the Far East will be widely used.

Vladimir Putin:

How big is the stadium?

Dmitry Svishchev:

The stadium has an area of 11,500 sq m. All the facilities are occupied. Unfortunately, we do not get many spectators. There are 3,000 seats here. But not so many people come to watch curling. Although we are doing the utmost to promote ourselves. We have achieved a lot and have many more fans.

Vladimir Putin:

As I understand, curling athletes can train wherever there is ice? No specialised ice facility is necessary?

Dmitry Svishchev:

We need to prepare special ice for curling, with special circles. Curling ice is not even and must have frozen water bubbles in it. This requires special preparation and special equipment.

Vladimir Putin:

Are the land and the facility under a lease? The stadium was built using a loan from VEB, wasn’t it?

Dmitry Svishchev:

The land, around six hectares, was leased under the Olympic programme for 49 years. We used our own funds and a loan from VEB, which is an Olympic investor, to build the stadium. The loan was a big help.

Vladimir Putin:

But you still require debt servicing, is that correct?

Dmitry Svishchev:

Unfortunately, yes. We need the debt to be restructured and this can be possible with your instruction. We are in the middle of negotiations with VEB. They do want to help and, I have to give them credit, VEB is really being a partner here. However, it is still a bank and payment is our responsibility. Still, we are negotiating.

Vladimir Putin:

I see, thank you.

The source of information -

Congratulations to Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theatre

Vladimir Putin congratulated the company of Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theatre and all its followers on the theatre’s 100th anniversary.

February 15, 2019 - 10:00

The message reads, in part:

“For many years, your wonderful theatre has brightened up the cultural world not only of St Petersburg but the entire nation. It is our genuine treasure and pride. The theatre brings joy to the audience with captivating and well thought out productions and is open to bold artistic ideas and projects, keeping in step with the times and remaining true to its creative principles.

I strongly believe that the secret of this enduring popularity and relevance lies in the inspired and dedicated efforts of the many generations of talented actors and actresses and directors, and their sincere commitment to the work they love. Of course, great Georgy Tovstonogov played a major role in creating and developing the legendary Bolshoi Drama Theatre. It was he who set the high standard of professional excellence and established the tradition of selfless dedication to the theatre, a tradition perpetuated by your company.

I wish you all every success, packed out houses, and further creative productions. May many new names join the ranks of this exquisite company enhancing your already rich cultural heritage.”

The source of information -

Vladimir Kovtun granted the title of Hero of Russia

The President signed Executive Order on Awarding the Title of Hero of Russia to Vladimir Kovtun.

February 15, 2019 - 12:15

Vladimir Kovtun was awarded the title of Hero of Russia for heroism, courage and bravery displayed while performing special assignments in life-threatening conditions.

[They say that during the war in Afghanistan, he captured the first sample of Stinger MANPADS from the Mujahideen. In total, during his service in the special forces, he received seven bullet wounds, three heavy contusions. In 1999, he was discharged for health reasons as a colonel.]

The source of information -

Greetings on the 30th anniversary of the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

On the Day of Memory of Russians who served abroad, Vladimir Putin sent a message to participants in the ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

February 15, 2019 - 17:00

The message reads, in part:

“February 15, 1989 is an unforgettable date for those who saw combat and for our entire people. On that day the last columns of military vehicles, soldiers and officers of the Soviet Army left the territory of Afghanistan and came home.

In difficult conditions far from home, service members and civil specialists faithfully performed their duty and upheld the interests of the Fatherland, demonstrating supreme professionalism, unparalleled courage and strength of mind as they carried out their serious mission.

Today, you veterans do not shy away from important deeds. You play an active role in the life of the country and society, keeping faith with the wartime brotherhood forged on Afghan soil. You help people with disabilities and families of fallen heroes, and devote special attention to the patriotic upbringing of the younger generation.”

The source of information -

Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko took part in an ice hockey game

Vladimir Putin and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko took part in a training hockey game held on the ice arena at the Shaiba sports complex in Sochi.

February 15, 2019 - 17:30 - Sochi

The two presidents played for the Tigers in red and white against the Bears in blue and red; Russian and Belorussian athletes played with them.

The game lasted three periods, 15 minutes each. The Tigers won 16–1.

The source of information -
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
Old February 25th, 2019 #9
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Telephone conversation with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. The discussion focused on current aspects of bilateral cooperation.

February 19, 2019 - 16:30

The two leaders praised the high level of cooperation achieved, including in trade, economic and investment areas.

They expressed mutual commitment to further strengthening multi-faceted Russian-Saudi ties.

When exchanging views on the global hydrocarbon markets situation, the parties reaffirmed their readiness to continue coordination between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

They also discussed the schedule of upcoming contacts at various levels.

The source of information -

Meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino

Vladimir Putin met with President of International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) Gianni Infantino at the Kremlin. They discussed issues related to making effective use of the legacy of the 2018 FIFA World Cup held in Russia.

February 20, 2019 - 15:50 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Infantino, it is a pleasure to see you.

We are currently engaged in active work on the World Cup legacy. I would like to thank you once again for your help in preparing and holding the World Cup. As you may know, I have signed an Executive Order awarding you the Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation to thank you for this collaborative work.

This event is not only important for Russia. Above all, it is important for the young people, for the upcoming generation, because people are getting involved in sports. We have discussed this many times.

Today we are facing a different task: to use everything that was done for the World Cup and to use it effectively; and here we are counting on your support too.

I am very happy to have this chance to discuss all of this with you.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino:

Thank you very much, Mr President.

(In Russian.) Thank you very much.

(In English.) It is of course a great pleasure to be back here in Moscow and to meet you.

The honour that you award me is an incredible, unbelievable honour for me. And, of course, I want to say clearly that this is an honour for the whole football movement as well.

And I can just repeat that we witnessed last year the best World Cup ever, here in Russia. Once and for all, we have finished all this negative prejudice that existed because instead of all the bad predictions we experienced a wonderful event with a country that is beautiful and that welcomed the world to celebrate here in Russia. So I think football has transformed Russia a little bit maybe but certainly the way the world is looking at Russia. And it was only possible thanks to the work from yourself and all the Russian people who contributed to this incredible success.

But it is not the end of it; it is actually the beginning of a new story. And we are here to discuss the legacy and to continue working together very closely. Thank you very much.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu at the initiative of the Israeli side.

February 21, 2019 - 12:35

In advance of the planned working visit by the Israeli Prime Minister to Moscow, the two leaders exchanged opinions on current issues regarding international and bilateral affairs.

Benjamin Netanyahu extended his greetings to Vladimir Putin on the upcoming occasion of Defender of the Fatherland Day.

The source of information -
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
Old February 25th, 2019 #10
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Join Date: Aug 2015
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Presidential Address to Federal Assembly

The President of Russia delivered the Address to the Federal Assembly. The ceremony took place in Gostiny Dvor.

February 20, 2019 - 13:30 - Moscow

The presentation of the Address was attended by Federation Council members, State Duma deputies, members of the Government, leaders of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court, governors.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies, citizens of Russia,

Today’s Address is primarily devoted to matters of domestic social and economic development. I would like to focus on the objectives set forth in the May 2018 Executive Order and detailed in the national projects. Their content and the targets they set are a reflection of the demands and expectations of Russia’s citizens. People are at the core of the national projects, which are designed to bring about a new quality of life for all generations. This can only be achieved by generating momentum in Russia’s development.

These are long-term objectives that we have set for ourselves. However, work to achieve these strategic goals has to begin today. Time is always in short supply, as I have already said on numerous occasions, and you all know this all too well. There is simply no time for getting up to speed or making any adjustments. All in all, I believe that we have already completed the stage of articulating objectives and outlining tools for achieving our goals. Departing from the targets that were outlined would be unacceptable. It is true that these are challenging objectives. That being said, lowering the requirements for specific targets or watering them down is not an option. As I have already said, these are formidable challenges that require us to undertake major efforts. However, they are in step with the scale and pace of global change. It is our duty to keep pushing ahead and gaining momentum.

If someone prefers to work in the business as usual mode, without challenges, avoiding initiative or responsibility, they had better leave immediately. I already hear that some things are “impossible,” “too difficult,” “the standards are too high,” and “it will not work.” With such an attitude, you had better stay away.

Besides, you cannot fool the people. They are acutely aware of hypocrisy, lack of respect or any injustice. They have little interest in red tape and bureaucratic routine. It is important for people to see what is really being done and the impact it has on their lives and the lives of their families. And not sometime in the future, but now. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past decades and wait for communism to arrive. We have to change the situation for the better now.

Therefore, the work of the executive branch at all levels should be coordinated, meaningful and energetic. The Government of Russia must set the tone.

At the same time, I would like to emphasise and repeat: our development projects are not federal and even less so agency-based. They are national. Their results must be visible in each region of the Federation, in every municipality. It is here, on the ground, that the majority of specific tasks is implemented.

Allow me to underscore: thanks to years of common work and the results achieved, we can now direct and concentrate enormous financial resources – at least enormous for our country – on development goals. These resources have not come as a rainfall. We have not borrowed them. These funds have been earned by millions of our citizens – by the entire country. They need to be applied to increase the wealth of Russia and the wellbeing of Russian families.

Very soon, this year people should feel real changes for the better. It is on the basis of their opinion and assessments at the beginning of next year that we will evaluate the first results of our work on the national projects. And we will draw the appropriate conclusions about the work quality and performance at all levels of executive power.


Let me now share some specifics on our objectives. I will begin with the key objective of preserving our nation, which means providing all-around support to families.

Family, childbirth, procreation and respect for the elderly have always served as a powerful moral framework for Russia and its multi-ethnic people. We have been doing everything in our power to strengthen family values and are committed to doing so in the future. In fact, our future is at stake. This is a task shared by the state, civil society, religious organisations, political parties and the media.

Russia has entered an extremely challenging period in terms of demographics. As you know, the birth rate is declining. As I have already said, this is caused by purely objective reasons, which have to do with the immense human losses and birth dearth experienced by our country in the 20th century, during the Great Patriotic War and the dramatic years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This does not mean, however, that we must accept this situation or come to terms with it. Definitely, not.

We succeeded in overcoming the negative demographic trends in the early 2000s, when our country faced extreme challenges. This seemed to be an impossible challenge at the time. Nevertheless, we succeeded, and I strongly believe that we can do it again by returning to natural population growth by late 2023 – early 2024.

Today, I wanted to talk about a new package of measures that has already been prepared to support families.

First, it is important that having children and bringing them up do not put families at the risk of poverty or undermine their wellbeing. As you know, we have already provided for the payment of subsidies for the first two children until they reach 18 months. Benefits for the first child are paid from the federal budget, and families can use the maternity capital subsidy for obtaining benefits for their second child. The size of the subsidy depends on the regional subsistence level for a child. It may vary from 8,000 rubles in Belgorod Region, for example, to 22,000 rubles in Chukotka Autonomous Area, with the national average of over 11,000 rubles a month per child. Currently these allocations are reserved to families whose income does not exceed the subsistence wage multiplied by 1.5 per person. It is time that we make the next step.

Starting January 1, 2020, I propose raising the bar to two subsistence wages per family member. This is what people have requested and these requests come directly into the Executive Office. This measure will increase the number of families entitled to additional benefits by almost 50 percent. Some 70 percent of families with one or two children will be able to benefit from help from the Government.

Second. At present, carers looking after children with disabilities and people disabled since childhood receive an allowance of only 5,500 rubles. I suggest increasing this to 10,000 rubles, starting July 1. Of course, I understand that it is still a small amount. However, it will be an additional measure of support for families with a child who needs special care.

Third. The income of Russian families must, of course, increase. This is a serious task that requires a comprehensive solution. I will speak about this in greater detail later. But we need direct measures. First of all, the tax burden on families needs to be relieved. The approach should be very simple: the more children there are, the lower the tax. I propose increasing federal tax relief on real estate for families with many children. I also propose lifting taxes on 5 square metres in a flat and 7 square metres in a house per each child.

What does this mean? If, for example, right now, 20 square metres in a flat are not subject to tax, the new measure will mean that for a family with three children, an extra 15 square metres will not be subject to tax. Regarding plots of land that belong to families with many children, I propose that 600 square metres should be exempt from tax, and this means most plots of land will be free from taxation. Let me remind you that this benefit is already available to pensioners and people of pre-retirement age. Of course, in many Russian regions there are local tax benefits on land and property for large families. However, the benefit being imposed at the federal level guarantees that it will be available everywhere in the country. I want to ask regional officials to propose additional tax measures to support families with children.

Fourth, the Government and the Central Bank need to consistently maintain the policy to lower mortgage rates to 9 percent, and then to 8 percent or below, as stipulated in the May 2018 Executive Order. At the same time, special measures of support should be provided for families with children, of course. As a reminder, last year, a preferential mortgage programme was launched for families that have had their second or subsequent child. The rate for them is 6 percent. Anything higher is subsidised by the state. However, only 4,500 families have used the benefit.

The question is why. It means that people are somehow dissatisfied with the proposed conditions. But it is also clear why. A family making a decision to buy housing certainly makes plans for a long or at least medium term, a lasting investment. But with this programme, they take out a loan, start paying the instalments, and the grace period ends. The interest is actually subsidised only for the first 3 or 5 years. I propose extending the benefit for the entire term of the mortgage loan.

Yes, of course, it will require additional funding, and the cost will be rather high: 7.6 billion rubles in 2019, 21.7 billion rubles in 2020, and 30.6 billion rubles in 2021. But the programme is estimated to reach as many as 600,000 families. We certainly need to find the money. We know where to get it. We have it, and we just need to use it in the areas that are of major importance to us.

And one more direct action solution. Considering the sustainability and stability of the macroeconomic situation in the country and the growth of the state’s revenues, I consider it possible to introduce another measure of support for families having a third and subsequent children. I suggest paying 450,000 rubles directly from the federal budget to cover this sum from their mortgage. Importantly, I propose backdating this payment starting January 1, 2019, recalculating it and allocating relevant sums in this year’s budget.

Let us see what we have. If we add this sum to the maternity capital, which can also be used for mortgage payments, we will get over 900,000 rubles. In many regions, this is a substantial part of the cost of a flat. I would like to draw the attention of the Government and the State Duma to this issue. If need be, the budget will have to be adjusted accordingly. An additional 26.2 billion rubles will be required for this in 2019. The relevant figures for 2020 and 2021 are 28.6 billion rubles and 30.1 billion rubles, respectively. These are huge funds but they should be allocated and used in what I have already described as a very important area.

It is necessary to give families an opportunity not only to buy ready-made housing but also to build their own housing on their land. I would like to ask the Government to draft in cooperation with the Central Bank convenient and, most importantly, affordable financial instruments for supporting private housing construction because it is not covered by mortgage loans today.

And, last but not least, the tax on land must be fair. Obviously, the cadastral or market value of a land plot can change but tax rates must not go up and down unpredictably like roller coaster rides. We have already limited to 10 percent the annual growth of the tax rates for residential property. I suggest establishing the same limit for land plots.

Moving on, today, when construction companies build social facilities and transfer them to the state or municipalities, they have to pay profit tax and VAT. We need to relieve construction companies of this burden (including our innovations in the construction sector). This will serve as an impetus for the comprehensive development of cities and townships, ensuring that families have everything they need near their homes: clinics, schools and sports facilities. By doing this, we will enable parents to work, study, live happily and enjoy parenthood.

We have come close to guaranteeing universal access to kindergartens, but by the end of 2021, we will have to resolve the problem with nurseries by enabling them to accept 270,000 more children, including in the private sector, with 90,000 places to be created as early as this year. The federal and regional budgets should allocate 147 billion rubles for this purpose, over a three-year period. Let me add that enrolling in a nursery group, kindergarten, getting subsidies, benefits or the tax deductions that I have already mentioned and, I hope, that we will come up with, together with you, all this should happen without any additional applications, excessive paperwork or having to visit various social services. By the end of 2020, all the key government services must be provided in a proactive format where a person will only need to send in a request for a service that he or she needs, and the system will take care of all the rest independently and automatically.

I would like to emphasise that the package of measures to support families proposed today is not an exhaustive list of initiatives. It sets the priorities. Considering the challenges posed by the state of Russia’s demographics, we will continue to channel more and more resources into this area. I ask all of you, colleagues, including both the Government and the Federal Assembly, to think about it and suggest solutions.

Colleagues, solving our demographic problems, increasing life expectancy and reducing mortality rates are directly related to eradicating poverty. Allow me to remind you that in 2000, there were more than 40 million people living below the poverty line. Now there are about 19 million, but this is still too many, too many. However, there was a time when their number dropped to 15 million, and now it has grown a little again. We must certainly focus our attention on this — on combating poverty.

Furthermore, there are even more people facing serious financial problems than those officially living below the poverty line. They are forced to cut spending on such essentials as clothes, medicines and even food. Those most often faced with poverty are large or single parent families, families with members with disabilities, as well as single pensioners and people who cannot find a good job, a well-paid job because there are no openings or they lack qualifications.

There are many reasons for poverty, not only in our country, but also in the world, but it always literally crushes a person, dimming their life prospects. The state must help people, help them out of difficult life situations. The experience of some of our regions shows that it is possible to work effectively for this. I will name these regions: Kaluga, Ulyanovsk, Tomsk, Vologda, and Nizhny Novgorod Regions, and a number of other regions of Russia. Their experience shows that so-called social contracts can be a working mechanism of such support.

How does it work and what is this all about? The state helps people find jobs and improve their skills. The state provides financial resources to families to run a household farm or to start a small business, and by the way, these are substantial resources of tens of thousands of rubles. Let me emphasise that support programmes will be tailored to meet the needs of every specific applicant. The allocation of these resources creates some obligations for the recipients: they have to go through training, find a job in the given field and provide a steady income for their family and children. Mechanisms of this kind are in place around the world and are very effective. Social contracts can change the lives of those who really want to do it.

It is estimated that more than 9 million people will be able to benefit from these support measures over a five-year period. I instruct the Government to assist the regions that are proactive in introducing social contracts and work with them on co-financing mechanisms.

Moving on, there are currently many people and families taking out loans for various purposes, including consumer loans. Of course, borrowers have to be aware of their obligations and refrain from assuming an excessive burden. That being said, anything can happen: people can lose their job or become ill. In this case, the last thing is to force people into a corner, and it is also pointless in economic terms. Additional legal guarantees are needed to protect people. I propose introducing mortgage payment holidays, as we have recently discussed in Kazan, to enable people who lose their income to suspend mortgage payments. They must get a chance to keep their home, if it is the only property they own, and postpone loan payments. This is not an easy task, and we have to understand how this can be done so as not to harm financial institutions while supporting the people. This can be done, however.

I also ask the Bank of Russia and law enforcement agencies to put things right without delay in the microlending segment and protect people from fraud or extortion by dishonest lenders.

Let me emphasise that as we seek to overcome poverty and develop the social security net, we need to reach every family in need and understand the problems it faces. It should not be possible to refuse assistance simply because the life circumstances a person is facing are slightly inconsistent with the criteria set by a programme.

And, of course, it is necessary to be scrupulous and attentive to every detail. By way of example, and this is not a very good example for our work, I would like to say the following: pensions were adjusted for inflation under the pension reform this year. But if a pensioner’s income exceeded the subsistence rate, the social payments were no longer made at the same level. They were either cancelled altogether or reduced. As a result, the pensions were not increased at all, or the increases were much less than a pensioner expected. So many people feel cheated with good reason. Probably, many people in this hall understand what this is all about. We made payments from the regional or federal budget to achieve the subsistence level. We made adjustments for inflation and the cost of living either matched or exceeded it. So these payments were discontinued and that was it.

It was necessary to take into account all the nuances but this was left undone, and of course, this should not be allowed to happen. This injustice, and it is certainly an injustice, should be sorted immediately. Starting this year, adjustments of pensions and monthly payments should by all means be above the subsistence rate of pensioners that is established every year. In other words, the state should first bring pensions to the subsistence level and only after that make adjustments in pensions and monthly payments. Payments for the first months of this year must be recalculated and people should be paid the money due to them that they have not received.

I would like to emphasise that all those who work in the social sphere or join the government or municipal services in order to help people resolve their urgent problems, must meet the highest professional standards. I believe by and large this is the case. Of course, this is a very complicated job. We all understand that working with people every day, from morning until night, is indeed difficult. But if you have this job you should realise that it is no less important to understand people, to know what they feel, empathise, share their worries and concerns and never permit yourself arrogant attitudes or a lack of respect for people, either in word or deed. I would like you to always remember this.


The next important subject is healthcare. I know that, on the one hand, its current state seems to be improving, and medical treatment is becoming more accessible. Nevertheless, many people are not satisfied. It is easy to understand the reasons for this. As a rule, people judge the healthcare system by its primary component, that is, outpatient clinics and paramedic stations. People voice complaints with regard to their work. Quite often, they have to wait many days to see a specialist, and it is impossible to quickly undergo the required tests free of charge. People in remote communities are even having trouble getting appointments with medical personnel. Yes, the number of paramedic stations and mobile medical units continues to increase, but people in areas where there are no such facilities care nothing about the overall statistics.

I want to emphasise that medical treatment should become accessible for everyone by the end of 2020 in all populated areas across Russia without exception and for all citizens, regardless of their place of residence. For your information, an additional 1,590 outpatient clinics and paramedic stations are to be built or renovated in 2019–2020, and I hope that this will be accomplished.

Today, a number of regions are implementing the Thrifty Outpatient Clinic project. As a result, the waiting time to get an appointment and see a doctor is reduced three or four times over, on the average. I have visited such outpatient clinics, and they are operating very well. Much better conditions are created for people with disabilities and for parents with children. Unfortunately, there are very few such outpatient clinics so far; they are rather an exception than the rule all across the nation.

Considering the best regional practices , and, I repeat, there are such practices, I hereby instruct the Government to approve the high standards of thrifty outpatient clinics by the end of the year and their certification regulations. Next year, you have to team up with the regions to introduce mechanisms incentivising managers and medical personnel to improve the quality of their work. First of all, we have to completely convert all paediatric outpatient clinics to new standards already in 2021. Please note that the sign “Thrifty Outpatient Clinic” is not what counts. Most importantly, people should at long last perceive the state’s respectful and truly considerate attitude towards their health.

Improving IT penetration in healthcare will make it more accessible. Online links between medical institutions, pharmacies, doctors and patients must be streamlined over the next three years. Let me add that social security medical assessment boards must be finally included into this digital network in order to free elderly people, people with disabilities and families with children from waiting lists and the need to produce various certificates that are often useless.

Primary care is understaffed. To address this matter, comprehensive efforts to develop medical education should be accompanied by initiatives that produce immediate results. In this connection, I propose removing age restrictions for the Country Doctor programme so that professionals over the age of 50 can also receive a one-time payment when moving to a rural area or a small city: 1,000,000 rubles for doctors and 500,000 rubles for paramedics.

The most complex surgery is currently performed not only at federal, but also at regional clinics and centres using the most advanced equipment. At the same time, patient recovery is also critical. We have never had a system of this kind, but we have to start with something. A lot has to be done in this area. Let us begin by creating at least two world-class recovery facilities for children, just as we did with perinatal centres, and proceed from there.

In my last year’s Address, I proposed a programme for fighting cancer. At least 1 trillion roubles will be allocated to this effect over the next six years. This is about providing timely, effective and accessible treatment, using advanced technologies that are effective in most cases and enable people to overcome this dangerous disease. Today, the leukaemia recovery rate for children exceeds 80 percent, and for certain types of cancer, more than 90 percent of patients recover. Not that long ago, in the mid-1990s, this disease was almost untreatable and only 10–20 percent of children could be saved. Russia lacked both the technology and capabilities at the time. In many cases, the only option was to turn to foreign clinics. Those who could afford it did so.

We were aware of how tragic this situation was, which prompted us to focus on improving cancer treatment for children, developing oncohaematology, using the capabilities offered by our research institutions, the healthcare system, and worked proactively with our foreign partners (some doctors simply moved from Germany to Moscow, and spent a lot of time here, and probably still do), which yielded results.

We will continue working to overhaul the system of cancer care. Early detection is of crucial importance. In fact, we have revived the system of health screening and regular medical check-ups. These have to include cancer screening. It has to be made obligatory. People must have the opportunity to make appointments remotely, to choose a suitable time for visiting an outpatient clinic, including in the evening or at the weekend, so that the check-up can be carried out without any additional formalities.

Next, over the next few years we must create a number of new areas combining healthcare with social services. Thus, we must overhaul the system of assistance for people who need long-term help at medical facilities or at home, adjust this system to the needs of specific families and individuals, support people with their everyday needs by assigning district nurses or carers, or training relatives in medical or other necessary skills. The application of these recipient-oriented principles of assistance began last year in Volgograd, Kostroma, Novgorod, Pskov, Ryazan and Tula regions. We must introduce them throughout the country within a timeframe of four years.

Palliative care is a matter of not only medical but also of social, public and moral concern. According to the available information, some 800,000 people need this assistance, and volunteers have told me that the figure is around one million. As you know, in January I visited a children’s hospice in St Petersburg, where we discussed this matter. I know that yesterday the State Duma adopted in the second reading amendments to the legislation on palliative care. I would like work on this law to be completed as soon as possible. We will then monitor its application so we can promptly make amendments, taking into account the opinions of volunteers, whom I have mentioned, doctors, carers, members of the public and religious associations and benefactors, that is, everyone who have long been providing heartfelt palliative care.

Colleagues, people have increasingly high demands on environmental safety issues. Perhaps, the most painful topic is municipal waste. If you remember, it came up for the first time during one of my Direct Lines. Yes, we have probably neglected the waste disposal problems for maybe a hundred years, which means we have never paid attention to them. Many landfills are overfilled because waste has been accumulating there for decades. The landfills have turned into real mountains of garbage near residential areas.

By the way, I am also interested to know how you issued permits for the construction of residential neighbourhoods next to these dumps and landfills. Didn’t you think of that? You should have. I urge the representatives of the authorities at all levels: pretending that nothing is happening, turning away, brushing aside people’s needs is absolutely unacceptable. These issues are difficult, of course, but difficult issues must also be addressed.

This year, the regions began adopting a new system of solid municipal waste management. However, if the only change is a rise in rubbish clearance prices – well, this is not real work; it is a sham. People need to see what they are paying for and what real changes are happening. It is necessary to restore order in this area, to get rid of shady businesses that do not bear any responsibility and only get super-profits dumping trash at random sites.

We need to build a civilised and safe system of waste treatment, recycling and disposal. Surprisingly, a year ago I personally had to interfere on some matters. I had to talk to the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor’s Office several times. You know, surprisingly, I would like to say it again, almost nothing moved forward until I gave an order to station a guard there and not to let anyone in. This is the only way it works, because these shady companies, the so-called fly-by-nights, they just make quick profits and shut down their so-called business.

I ask the Russian Popular Front to ensure effective public control here, including reliance on public environmental inspectors. Their signals regarding any violations must be considered by the authorities, who must adopt specific measures. In the next two years, 30 large problem landfills within city boundaries must be closed and rehabilitated, and in six years, all the rest. At the same time, it is necessary to increase the share of waste treatment from today's 8–9 percent to 60, so as not to accumulate new millions of tonnes of trash.

It is necessary to introduce stricter environmental requirements when it comes to utility services and energy and transport enterprises. In part, I am urging businesses to play a more active role in natural gas motor fuel projects, and invest in the formation of a network of fuelling stations and fuel systems using liquefied natural gas. We have enough of it, more than any other country. Indeed, this is a complicated and costly project but it should be carried out because it will produce results not only for businesses but for the people as well.

A positive effect from the industry’s transfer to the best affordable technologies and strict environmental standards should be felt by residents of major industrial centres of the country, primarily the 12 cities I mentioned in the 2018 Address. These places should be finally removed from the zone of real environmental disaster. Over a period of the next six years, the amount of polluting emissions in the air should be reduced there by no less than 20 percent.

To prevent anyone from the temptation of dodging the implementation of this job, it is necessary to strictly monitor industrial and other companies responsible for this, to map out the specific steps they should take to minimise environmental damage, and to register all this in a law on emission quotas. I know all too well what this is all about. I know that fairly influential lobbyists are trying to impede this draft law as much as they can. I know their arguments very well too: the need to preserve jobs and a complicated economic situation.

But this cannot go on endlessly in this manner. It must not. Let me recall that in making such decisions we should be guided by the interests of the people of Russia rather than corporate interests or interests of some individuals. Colleagues, please pass this law during the spring session.

Finding solutions for environmental problems is the job of our researchers and people in industry. Each of us is responsible for this. I am urging young people, among others, to take a more active part in this work. We must hand over to the future generations an environmentally safe country and preserve Russia’s natural potential as well as its specially protected areas. This year new national parks will open in the republics of Daghestan, Komi and Sakha (Yakutia), Altai Territory and Chelyabinsk Region. However, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that many specially protected areas do not yet have precise borders and their regulations are not observed.

I have instructed the Ministry of Natural Resources to conduct a detailed audit. All sanctuaries must be registered in the cadastre. It is also necessary to adopt a law according to which only environmental tourism can take place in nature reserves, without any withdrawal of territories, wood cutting or major construction work. Naturally, it is necessary to take into account the interests of the locals but these issues should be resolved in a package.

Colleagues, the number of students from small towns and remote areas studying at the best Moscow and regional universities is increasing. According to international assessments, our elementary, middle and high school students demonstrate good results in the humanities and hard sciences. We can see it ourselves, based on the results of contests and various student competitions. All this is an indicator of qualitative changes in our school education.

However, despite all these achievements, we must not overlook the obvious problems in this crucial area. The share of schools with modern study conditions has increased from 12 percent in 2000 (only 12 percent) to 85 percent in 2018. But even today, some 200,000 children still go to schools where there is no proper heating, water supply and sewage system. Yes, it is less than 1.5 percent of all schoolchildren, but when their parents see these conditions, any words about justice and equal opportunities only irritate them. I want to draw the attention of the heads of the regions where poorly equipped schools still exist. This problem can be completely resolved within two years. We can do it. I know that the Government is thinking about it and making certain decisions. I am asking you to support the regions that lack their own resources.

When in 2006 we started providing internet connections to schools, the technology was completely different. You know, it seemed like a real breakthrough. And it was indeed a breakthrough at the time. Right now, this technology seems ancient, and we have new tasks to resolve. By the end of 2021, all Russian schools must have a high-speed internet connection rather than just a connection. Let me remind you that in 2006, when schools were being hooked up to the internet, the recommended speed was 128 kbps. Now we need 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps, which is at least 400 times higher. This will help our kids to gain access to lessons and lectures by prominent teachers, to contests and Olympiads; it will allow them to significantly expand their capabilities and get involved in online projects with their fellow students from other regions and countries. The content of educational programmes must also change. The national standards and programmes must reflect the priorities of the country’s science and technology development, while the federal lists of recommended textbooks must include the best of the best books.

Of course, human resources are the most important issue. I have already spoken today about expanding the Country Doctor programme. I propose starting a similar programme for education, the Country Teacher. Teachers who decide to move to smaller towns and villages will receive a one-time payment of one million rubles.

We must work consistently to strengthen the common environment of education and culture. The culture and education centres in Kaliningrad, Kemerovo, Vladivostok and Sevastopol will open no later than in 2023. Our leading museums and theatres will be represented there, and branches of art schools will start working there already next year. The demand for a rich cultural environment is very high, primarily in the regions, where a great number of talented and committed people are working.

I propose greatly expanding assistance to local cultural initiatives, that is, projects dealing with local history, crafts and the preservation of the historical heritage of our peoples. For example, additional allocations can be made towards this from the Presidential Grants Fund. In addition, we will allocate over 17 billion rubles within the Culture national project for the construction and renovation of rural culture clubs and over 6 billion rubles for supporting culture centres in Russia’s small towns.

I would like to remind you that medical and educational institutions are exempt from profit tax, but only until January 1, 2020. I propose making this incentive of unlimited duration and also extending it to the regional and municipal museums, theatres and libraries. By the way, this will allow them to save some 4 billion rubles, which they will invest in development or will use to raise salaries. And lastly, this measure will encourage private investment in local cultural establishments.

Colleagues, I would like the heads of regions to ensure that salaries in education, healthcare, culture and other public sectors are kept on a par with the average wage in the given region’s economy. Colleagues, this is very important. I keep talking about this at all my meetings. We must not lower this standard. At the same time, the average wage in the economy must grow. Over 40 million people who work in the public and defence sectors and are non-working pensioners receive fixed payments. These payments must grow together with the inflation at the least. I ask the Government to take this into account.

More than 70 million people work in manufacturing, agriculture or the services or are small business owners. The state of Russia’s economy has a direct bearing on their income, wellbeing and confidence in the future. The primary tool for achieving steady wage increases is to promote quality employment and free enterprise, qualified, well-paid jobs in all regions, including both traditional and new sectors. High economic growth rates are essential. This is the only way to overcome poverty and ensure steady and perceptible increases in income. This is the key to success. As soon as in 2021, Russia’s economic growth rate must exceed 3 percent and stay above the global average afterwards. This objective should not be discarded.

The Government and the Central Bank are once again tasked with complying with the target inflation rate. I have already said this, and we knew that this would happen when we put aside financial resources for the national projects. This was an expected outcome, and now we need to make sure that the situation gets back to normal. We can do this. As I said, the Government and the Central Bank must ensure that the inflation targets are met and create a favourable macroeconomic environment for facilitating growth in general. We have a strong financial safety cushion.

I have something positive to share with you. For the first time ever, our reserves fully cover not only the sovereign debt, which is quite small, but also private borrowings. These funds are at work, and investment of the National Welfare Fund generates budget revenue. Therefore, I would like to address those of our colleagues who constantly criticise the Government, its financial and economic ministries and ask where the money went and where we invested it. We set a target to reach a certain level, after which we can use these funds, although cautiously so as not to cause any macroeconomic disturbances. We are about to reach this level, and are beginning to do it. The proceeds from these investments go to the federal budget. In 2018, proceeds from investing the National Welfare Fund in the amount of 70.5 billion rubles were added to the budget.

To achieve high growth rates, it is also necessary to resolve systemic problems in the economy. I will highlight four priorities here.

The first one is faster growth in labour productivity, primarily based on new technologies and digitalisation; the development of competitive industries and, as a result, an increase in non-primary exports by more than 50 percent in six years.

The second one is to improve the business climate and the quality of national jurisdiction, so that no one moves their operations to other jurisdictions, to ensure that everything is reliable and runs like clockwork. Growth in investment should increase by 6–7 percent in 2020. Achieving this level will be one of the key criteria for evaluating the Government’s work.

The third priority is removing infrastructural constraints for economic development and for unlocking the potential of our regions.

And the fourth thing is training modern personnel, of course, and creating powerful scientific and technological foundations.

Now I would like to expand on our specific tasks in these fields.

A colossal guaranteed demand for industrial and high-tech products is being formed in Russia, I can say this without any exaggeration. So the words I would like to use – we are faced with historical opportunities for a qualitative growth of Russian business, mechanical engineering and machine-tool making, microelectronics, IT-industry, and other industries. The national projects alone include – just think of it – 6 trillion rubles worth of procurement plans for medical and construction equipment, instruments, telecommunications systems, and systems for housing and public utilities. And these resources should work here in Russia.

So I am urging the Government, the regions, the representatives of state-owned companies I see here in this room – you certainly want to buy all the most modern equipment and as inexpensively as possible. Naturally, everyone wants to be and should be competitive, but wherever possible, you need to rely on our producers, on domestic ones. We must find them, and even work together with them. Of course, there must be a competitive environment, but we already have the tools to support Russian manufacturers. We must not forget about these tools, and use them.

I would like to emphasise that access to state contracts must be equal (at least for our own, for national companies), and the orders should go to those who prove their sustainability with hard work and results, with willingness to change, to introduce advanced technology and increase labour productivity, and offer the best competitive products.

As concerns the defence industry, we must use our current capacities for diversification, to expand civil production. Colleagues understand what I am talking about here. There are certain targets for each year. And they must be achieved, no matter what.

And of course, now is the time for more daring initiatives, for creating businesses and production companies, for promoting new products and services. This wave of technological development allows companies to grow and win markets very quickly. There are already examples of successful companies, innovative companies. We need many more of them, including in such fields as artificial intelligence, Big Data, the Internet of Things and robotics.

I am instructing the Government to create the most comfortable conditions for private investment in technological startups and to involve development institutions in their support. I am asking members of parliament to promptly pass the laws that are most crucial for creating the legal framework of the new digital economy, laws that will allow to close civil deals and raise funds using digital technology, to develop e-commerce and services. The entire Russian legislation must be geared up to reflect the new technological reality. These laws must not restrict the development of innovative and promising industries but push this development forward.

The most crucial indicator of a business’s efficiency and competitiveness lies in expanding export and entering external markets. The success of our agricultural industry is, of course, a good example of such development. Our agricultural export increased by 19.4 percent in 2018 reaching $25.8 billion. In 2024, we must reach $45 billion. Incidentally, we are not only one of the largest wheat exporters (last year we exported 44 million tonnes). We have at least one more significant achievement. Thanks to the developments of Russian researchers we are no longer dependent on other countries for wheat seeds. Experts will confirm how critically important this is. Russia must have the entire range of its own advanced agricultural technology, which must be available not only to large but also to small farms. This is literally a matter of national security and successful competition in the growing food markets.

Improving the quality of life for those who work in rural areas is a key long-term factor of the agricultural industry’s steady growth. I would like to point out to the Government that as soon as this year, they must approve a new development programme for rural territories that must be enforced as of January 1, 2020.

One more thing. I think everybody will agree that our massive natural resources constitute our natural advantage. They need to be used for increasing the production of organic produce. I am instructing the Government to create a protected brand for clean products, a brand that will guarantee safety of the technology used and win the reputation of high quality both on the domestic and foreign markets. Trust me, it will be extremely popular abroad. There is hardly anything clean left there.

Colleagues, to achieve the ambitious goals facing the country, we must rid the system of everything that restricts freedom of enterprise and business initiative. Honest businesses should not face the risk of criminal or administrative prosecution. I have already noted this matter in one of my Addresses, and I have cited the relevant figures. Unfortunately, the situation has not improved much.

Today, almost half of all cases (45 percent) opened against entrepreneurs do not get to trial. What does this mean? This means that they were opened in a slipshod manner or under some unclear pretext. And what does this mean in practice? As a result, 130 jobs are lost on average every time a business closes down as result of an investigation. Let us think about this figure; this is becoming a major economic problem.

The business community points to a number of legislative and law enforcement problems. I agree that we need to closely analyse the criteria under which all employees of a company can be considered to be part of a group that is guilty of collusion just through the fact of working for that company. To be honest, this is complete nonsense, but, unfortunately, it happens time and again. And this leads to a stricter detention during the investigation and a more substantial penalty later on. Additionally, we need to strictly limit the grounds for extending the term of detention during the investigation of so-called economic criminal cases. Today, this sometimes happens without any grounds, simply because the investigators had no time to conduct the required expert checks or as a result of delays in the investigation.

We have discussed this matter with the Prosecutor General and the President of the Supreme Court. This is what happens: a person is kept behind bars, and he has not been summoned for questioning for several months. The prosecutor wants to know why he had not been questioned, and they tell him that the investigator was on holiday. Of course, investigators, especially those at the Interior Ministry, handle a tidal wave of criminal cases, and we need to do something about that, we need to take a closer look at this matter. Perhaps we should set aside additional resources and increase the number of investigators. Nevertheless, how can this be explained? A person is kept behind bars while the investigator has left on holiday and has not questioned him for several months. This should not happen, we need to sort this out. I ask the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor General’s Office to analyse all these problems once again and to submit their proposals.

I suggest that our business associations and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives create a special digital platform – in fact, they themselves have advanced this initiative – which entrepreneurs will use to make public any instances of pressure on business and to demand a formal court hearing.

I urge the heads of law enforcement agencies not to be wary of this. This initiative will serve as an additional support, so that senior officials at these agencies will promptly receive the objective information they need to make decisions, at least at the departmental level. I ask the Government and the business community to discuss the technological solutions and the legal framework for implementing this initiative, and the law enforcement agencies – the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Investigative Committee – to coordinate regulations for working with the entrepreneurs’ complaints, including deadlines. This platform must start working, at least in pilot mode, by the end of the year.

Next, the Government has proposed overhauling the regulatory framework. This is good, and we must give all-round support to this. However, I believe that this is not enough. We must take even more radical steps. Indeed, let us draw the line and suspend all the existing regulatory laws and departmental regional orders, letters and instructions as of January 1, 2021. In the two years until then, we must update the regulatory laws together with the business community, retaining only those documents that satisfy current requirements and shelving the rest.

When we discussed this issue, many of our colleagues said honestly that they were terrified. Yes, this is scary, but the problem does exist. It will not be an easy job. The files are really thick in some areas and departments. They have been piling up for decades since the Soviet era, or even “as far back as Ochakov and the Crimean war.” [The quote is from Alexander Griboyedov’s Woe from Wit written in 1824.] I am not referring to the year 2014, of course. (Laughter) Some of these documents go back to the time of Alexander Griboyedov or even before him. So much has been written and regulated. But frankly, I doubt that even the personnel of these agencies know everything that is written in these documents. Hence, we must complete their analysis within two years. There is nothing to fear. We must roll up our sleeves and do it, keeping or updating only the documents we really need to properly organise our activities.

Colleagues, infrastructure upgrades need to be accelerated using state-of-the-art technology. This is essential for enhancing a country's connectivity, and especially for Russia, the world’s largest country with its vast territory. This is essential for strengthening statehood, unleashing the country’s potential and driving national economic growth.

This year, the railway section of the Crimean Bridge will be launched, and will become a powerful impetus. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the construction and railway workers. We saw that a bypass railway was built near Krasnodar alongside an approach railway to this junction from the Caucasus coast. As I have said, trains will begin using the Crimean Bridge in 2019, creating a powerful development driver for Crimea and Sevastopol.

In addition to this, the expressway linking Moscow and St Petersburg is expected to be completed, creating new business opportunities and jobs for people living in Novgorod, Tver, Leningrad and Moscow regions.

More than 60 airports will benefit from upgrades over the next six years, including international airports in Khabarovsk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

In 2025, the throughput capacity of the Baikal-Amur Mainline and Trans-Siberian Railway will grow 1.5 times, reaching 210 million tonnes, which is very important for the development of Siberia and Russia’s Far East.

Let me reiterate that key indicators related to social and economic development and quality of life in all Russia’s Far Eastern regions are expected to exceed the national average. This is a national cause, and a major priority of our efforts to promote Eastern Siberia and the Far East as strategic territories. All agencies have to constantly keep this in mind.

In September, we will have a meeting in Vladivostok to discuss what each of the federal agencies has done and intends to undertake for the Far East. All the plans for building and upgrading roads, railways, sea ports, air service and communications must prioritise regional development, including promoting these regions as travel destinations.

There is enormous interest in Russia, our culture, nature and historical monuments. Taking into consideration the success of the World Cup, I propose making greater use of e-visas and thinking more broadly about how to streamline visa processing for tourists coming to Russia.

Next. This year we must adopt a master plan for developing the infrastructure of a digital economy, including telecommunications networks, as well as data storage and processing capacities. Here we need to look ahead as well. The task for the next few years is to provide universal access to high-speed internet and start using 5G communications networks.

To achieve a revolution in communications, navigation and systems for remote sensing of the Earth, we must dramatically increase the capabilities of our satellite group. Russia has unique technology for this, but such tasks require a fundamental upgrade of the entire space industry. I am instructing Roscosmos and the Moscow Government to establish a National Space Centre. My colleagues came to me and told me about it. This is a good project is designed to unite relevant organisations, design bureaus and prototype production facilities, and to support scientific research and the training of personnel.

We are seeing that global competition is increasingly shifting to science, technology and education. Just recently, it seemed inconceivable that Russia could make not just a breakthrough but also a high-tech breakthrough in defence. This was difficult, complex work. Much had to be restored or started from scratch It was necessary to break new ground and find bold, unique solutions. Nevertheless, this was done. It was done by our engineers, workers and scientists, including very young people that grew up with these projects. Let me repeat that I know all the details of this large-scale effort and I am completely justified in saying, for instance, that the development of the Avangard strategic hypersonic glide vehicle is tantamount to the launching of the world's first artificial satellite. And not just in terms of enhancing the country’s defence capability and security, although this is the primary goal, but in influencing the consolidation of our scientific potential and the development of unique technological assets.

At one time, the nuclear defence project gave the country nuclear power. The construction of a missile shield that started with the launch of the world's first artificial satellite allowed the country to begin peaceful space exploration. Today, we need to use the personnel, knowledge, competences and materials we have acquired from developing the next generation of weapons to produce the same kind of results for civilian applications.

We have yet to implement new ambitious scientific and technological programmes. An Executive Order on genetic research has already been signed, and I propose launching a similar large-scale programme at the national level on artificial intelligence. In the middle of the next decade, we should be among the leaders in these science and technology areas, which, of course, will determine the future of the world and the future of Russia.

To implement such projects, we need to accelerate the development of an advanced scientific infrastructure. Incidentally, the reactor PIK, a mega-science class research unit was recently launched in Leningrad Region. Over the next 20 years, it will be one of the world’s most powerful sources for neutron research, enabling scientists to conduct unique research in physics, biology, and chemistry, and to develop new drugs, diagnostic tools, and new materials.

For the first time in decades, Russian shipyards will break ground for several modern research vessels capable of working in all strategic areas, including the Arctic seas and the Antarctic, exploring the shelf and the natural resources of the World Ocean.

To promote powerful technological development, we need to build a modern research and development model. This is why we are setting up research and education centres in the regions that will integrate all levels of education with the potential of research facilities and business. Within three years, centres like this should be established in 15 regions in the Russian Federation, the first five this year. Three of them – in Tyumen and Belgorod Regions and Perm Territory – are close to completion and are to open this year.

We need specialists capable of working at advanced production facilities, developing and applying breakthrough technology solutions. Therefore, we need to ensure a broad introduction of updated curricula at all levels of professional education, to organise personnel training for the industries that are still being formed.

At the end of August, Russia will host the WorldSkills world championships – so let us wish our team success. Their success is significant for increasing the prestige of the skilled labor occupation. Relying on the WorldSkills movement experience, we will accelerate the modernisation of secondary vocational education, which includes installing modern equipment at more than 2,000 shops in colleges and technical schools by 2022.

Passion for a future career and creativity is formed at a young age. In the next three years, thanks to the development of children’s technology parks, quantoriums and education centres for computer skills, natural sciences and the humanities, around one million new spots in extracurricular education programmes will be created. All children must have access.

The Sirius educational centre in Sochi is becoming a true constellation. The plan was for centres supporting gifted children, based on its model, to open in all regions by 2024. But our colleagues said they can finish this work early, within two years. Such proactive efforts deserve praise.

I think every national project has reserves for increasing the pace. I expect that our companies and the business community will get involved in such projects as Ticket to the Future that provides school pupils in their sixth year and above with the opportunity to discover their career interests and intern at actual companies, research centres and other places.

I want to speak directly to our young people. Your talents, energy and creative abilities are among Russia’s strongest competitive advantages. We understand and greatly value this. We have created an entire system of projects and personal growth competitions in which every young person, from school to university age, can show what they are made of. These include ProeKTOriYA, My First Business, I Am A Professional, Russian Leaders and many others. I want to stress that all this is being created for young people to take advantage of these opportunities. I urge you to take a chance and use them, be bold, realise your dreams and plans, do something of value for yourself, your family and your country.

Colleagues, Russia has been and always will be a sovereign and independent state. This is a given. It will either be that, or will simply cease to exist. We must clearly understand this. Without sovereignty, Russia cannot be a state. Some countries can do this, but not Russia.

Building relations with Russia means working together to find solutions to the most complex matters instead of trying to impose solutions. We make no secret of our foreign policy priorities. These include strengthening trust, countering global threats, promoting cooperation in the economy and trade, education, culture, science and technology, as well as facilitating people-to-people contact. These tenets underpin our work within the UN, the Commonwealth of Independent States, as well as within the Group of 20, BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

We believe in the importance of promoting closer cooperation within the Union State of Russia and Belarus, including close foreign policy and economic coordination. Together with our integration partners within the Eurasian Economic Union, we will continue creating common markets and outreach efforts. This includes implementing the decisions to coordinate the activities of the EAEU with China’s Belt and Road initiative on the way to a greater Eurasian partnership.

Russia’s equal and mutually beneficial relations with China currently serve as an important factor of stability in international affairs and in terms of Eurasian security, offering a model of productive economic cooperation. Russia attaches importance to realising the potential of the special privileged strategic partnership with India. We will continue to promote political dialogue and economic cooperation with Japan. Russia stands ready to work with Japan on finding mutually acceptable terms for signing a peace treaty. We intend to promote deeper ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

We also hope that the European Union and the major European countries will finally take actual steps to put political and economic relations with Russia back on track. People in these countries are looking forward to cooperation with Russia, which includes corporations, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, and European businesses in general. It goes without saying that this would serve our common interests.

The unilateral withdrawal of the USA from the INF Treaty is the most urgent and most discussed issue in Russian-American relations. This is why I am compelled to talk about it in more detail. Indeed, serious changes have taken place in the world since the Treaty was signed in 1987. Many countries have developed and continue to develop these weapons, but not Russia or the USA – we have limited ourselves in this respect, of our own free will. Understandably, this state of affairs raises questions. Our American partners should have just said so honestly rather than make far-fetched accusations against Russia to justify their unilateral withdrawal from the Treaty.

It would have been better if they had done what they did in 2002 when they walked away from the ABM Treaty and did so openly and honestly. Whether that was good or bad is another matter. I think it was bad, but they did it and that is that. They should have done the same thing this time, too. What are they doing in reality? First, they violate everything, then they look for excuses and appoint a guilty party. But they are also mobilising their satellites that are cautious but still make noises in support of the USA. At first, the Americans began developing and using medium-range missiles, calling them discretionary “target missiles” for missile defence. Then they began deploying Mk-41 universal launch systems that can make offensive combat use of Tomahawk medium-range cruise missiles possible.

I am talking about this and using my time and yours because we have to respond to the accusations that are leveled at us. But having done everything I have just described, the Americans openly and blatantly ignored the provisions envisaged by articles 4 and 6 of the INF Treaty. According to Item 1, Article VI (I am quoting): “Each Party shall eliminate all intermediate-range missiles and the launchers of such missiles… so that… no such missiles, launchers… shall be possessed by either party.” Paragraph 1 of Article VI provides that (and I quote) “upon entry into force of the Treaty and thereafter, neither Party may produce or flight-test any intermediate-range missile, or produce any stages or launchers of such missiles.” End of quote.

Using medium-range target missiles and deploying launchers in Romania and Poland that are fit for launching Tomahawk cruise missiles, the US has openly violated these clauses of the Treaty. They did this some time ago. These launchers are already stationed in Romania and nothing happens. It seems that nothing is happening. This is even strange. This is not at all strange for us, but people should be able to see and understand it.

How are we evaluating the situation in this context? I have already said this and I want to repeat: Russia does not intend – this is very important, I am repeating this on purpose – Russia does not intend to deploy such missiles in Europe first. If they really are built and delivered to the European continent, and the United States has plans for this, at least we have not heard otherwise, it will dramatically exacerbate the international security situation, and create a serious threat to Russia, because some of these missiles can reach Moscow in just 10–12 minutes. This is a very serious threat to us. In this case, we will be forced, I would like to emphasise this, we will be forced to respond with mirror or asymmetric actions. What does this mean?

I am saying this directly and openly now, so that no one can blame us later, so that it will be clear to everyone in advance what is being said here. Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapons that can be used not only in the areas we are directly threatened from, but also in areas that contain decision-making centres for the missile systems threatening us.

What is important in this regard? There is some new information. These weapons will fully correspond to the threats directed against Russia in their technical specifications, including flight times to these decision-making centres.

We know how to do this and will implement these plans immediately, as soon as the threats to us become real. I do not think we need any further, irresponsible exacerbation of the current international situation. We do not want this.

What would I like to add? Our American colleagues have already tried to gain absolute military superiority with their global missile defence project. They need to stop deluding themselves. Our response will always be efficient and effective.

The work on promising prototypes and weapon systems that I spoke about in my Address last year continues as scheduled and without disruptions. We have launched serial production of the Avangard system, which I have already mentioned today. As planned, this year, the first regiment of the Strategic Missile Troops will be equipped with Avangard. The Sarmat super-heavy intercontinental missile of unprecedented power is undergoing a series of tests. The Peresvet laser weapon and the aviation systems equipped with Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missiles proved their unique characteristics during test and combat alert missions while the personnel learned how to operate them. Next December, all the Peresvet missiles supplied to the Armed Forces will be put on standby alert. We will continue expanding the infrastructure for the MiG-31 interceptors carrying Kinzhal missiles. The Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile of unlimited range and the Poseidon nuclear-powered unmanned underwater vehicle of unlimited range are successfully undergoing tests.

In this context, I would like to make an important statement. We did not announce it before, but today we can say that as soon as this spring the first nuclear-powered submarine carrying this unmanned vehicle will be launched. The work is going as planned.

Today I also think I can officially inform you about another promising innovation. As you may remember, last time I said we had more to show but it was a little early for that. So I will reveal little by little what else we have up our sleeves. Another promising innovation, which is successfully being developed according to plan, is Tsirkon, a hypersonic missile that can reach speeds of approximately Mach 9 and strike a target more than 1,000 km away both under water and on the ground. It can be launched from water, from surface vessels and from submarines, including those that were developed and built for carrying Kalibr high-precision missiles, which means it comes at no additional cost for us.

On a related note, I want to highlight that for the defence of Russia’s national interests, two or three years ahead of the schedule set by the state arms programme, the Russian Navy will receive seven new multipurpose submarines, and construction will begin on five surface vessels designed for the open ocean. Sixteen more vessels of this class will enter service in the Russian Navy by 2027.

To conclude, on the unilateral withdrawal by the USA from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, here is what I would like to say. The US policy toward Russia in recent years can hardly be called friendly. Russia’s legitimate interests are being ignored, there is constant anti-Russia campaigning, and more and more sanctions, which are illegal in terms of international law, are imposed without any reason whatsoever. Let me emphasise that we did nothing to provoke these sanctions. The international security architecture that took shape over the past decades is being completely and unilaterally dismantled, all while referring to Russia as almost the main threat to the USA.

Let me say outright that this is not true. Russia wants to have sound, equal and friendly relations with the USA. Russia is not threatening anyone, and all we do in terms of security is simply a response, which means that our actions are defensive. We are not interested in confrontation and we do not want it, especially with a global power like the United States of America. However, it seems that our partners fail to notice the depth and pace of change around the world and where it is headed. They continue with their destructive and clearly misguided policy. This hardly meets the interests of the USA itself. But this is not for us to decide.

We can see that we are dealing with proactive and talented people, but within the elite, there are also many people who have excessive faith in their exceptionalism and supremacy over the rest of the world. Of course, it is their right to think what they want. But can they count? Probably they can. So let them calculate the range and speed of our future arms systems. This is all we are asking: just do the maths first and take decisions that create additional serious threats to our country afterwards. It goes without saying that these decisions will prompt Russia to respond in order to ensure its security in a reliable and unconditional manner.

I have already said this, and I will repeat that we are ready to engage in disarmament talks, but we will not knock on a locked door anymore. We will wait until our partners are ready and become aware of the need for dialogue on this matter.

We continue developing our Armed Forces and improving the intensity and quality of combat training, in part, using the experience we gained in the anti-terrorist operation in Syria. Much experience was gained by practically all the commanders of the Ground Forces, by covert operations forces and military police, warship crews, army, tactical, and strategic and military transport aviation.

I would like to emphasise again that we need peace for sustainable long-term development. Our efforts to enhance our defence capability are for only one purpose: to ensure the security of this country and our citizens so that nobody would even consider pressuring us, or launching an aggression against us.

Colleagues, we are facing ambitious goals. We are approaching solutions in a systematic and consistent way, building a model of socio-economic development that will allow us to ensure the best conditions for the self-fulfillment of our people and, hence, provide befitting answers to the challenges of a rapidly changing world, and preserve Russia as a civilisation with its own identity, rooted in centuries-long traditions and the culture of our people, our values and customs. Naturally, we will only be able to achieve our goals by pooling our efforts, together in a united society, if all of us, all citizens of Russia, are willing to succeed in specific endeavours.

Such solidarity in striving for change is always the deliberate choice of the people themselves. They make this choice when they understand that national development depends on them, on the results of their labour, when a desire to be needed and useful enjoys support, when everyone finds a job by vocation one is happy with, and most importantly, when there is justice and a vast space for freedom and equal opportunity for work, study, initiative and innovation.

These parameters for development breakthroughs cannot be translated into figures or indicators, but it is these things – a unified society, people being involved in the affairs of their country, and a common confidence in our power – that play the main role in reaching success. And we will achieve this success by any means necessary.

Thank you for your attention.

The National Anthem of the Russian Federation is played.

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Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
Old February 25th, 2019 #11
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Meeting with Rostelecom President Mikhail Oseyevsky

Mikhail Oseyevsky reported to the President on the company’s 2018 performance results, plans to implement the new five-year strategy, and the introduction of digital technology in education and healthcare, as well as cybersecurity projects.

February 18, 2019 - 13:45 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon. Let us start with last year’s performance results.

Rostelecom President Mikhail Oseyevsky:

Mr President, last year the company started implementing the new five-year strategy that will transform Rostelecom into a digital company working for the benefit of the population, business and the government alike. That is why we are now switching from the traditional services provided by telecom companies, such as transmission and storage of data, to a whole complex of modern digital services, while staying focused on developing the basic infrastructure.

Last year, we used our own investment programme to wire up a total of more than one million new apartments and private homes so that people could make use of all the latest improvements right away. We are continuing work on the programme to provide internet access to remote communities. Last year, in accordance with your instructions, we laid an undersea cable to the Kuril Islands, and today, residents of the three islands of Iturup, Kunashir and Shikotan can access the same services as Sakhalin, and, importantly, at the same rates. We are now actively working on these islands, and planning to complete the process of connecting homes, social facilities and businesses to the internet during the first quarter. This is, without a doubt, of great importance to people living so far away from the centre.

In accordance with your instructions, we have completed the provision of internet access to medical facilities (more than 9,000 of them). We can see that this was really necessary. Telecommunications and telemedicine services are developing rapidly; there is technology for remote consultations, and much more. Now we are in discussion with the Government about a programme that will provide a high-speed internet connection to schools.

Vladimir Putin:

How much will it cost?

Mikhail Oseyevsky:

We can connect 40,000 schools at a cost of 40 billion rubles, with traffic paid for until 2025.

Vladimir Putin:

What are your priority projects for 2019, 2020 and 2021, for the next three years?

Mikhail Oseyevsky:

We are still convinced that we must finish the internet coverage programme because it is the basic environment for the development of all digital technologies, for individuals, businesses and the government. And this project, a significant part of which has already been carried out, needs to be finished, of course, because schools have to some extent been neglected. There are modern electronic content solutions which we are discussing with the Ministry of Education but our priority remains to provide internet coverage to schools. It is very important to give children in remote villages an opportunity to access modern solutions and be able to communicate with teachers.

The second priority area is, of course, the further development of digital technology in the state. One of the positive examples of this is a digital technology development programme for the prosecution service. The programme facilitates the provision of more than 50,000 modern workstations in 3,000 public prosecution offices across the country. The Prosecutor General has strongly supported this project. We are moving really fast. By 2021, a vast amount of work, including document storage and transfer, will be carried out digitally. Of course, this is very important for a country like Russia.

We are working on cybersecurity projects which are in great demand by both businesses and the government. There are several hundred people in the company dealing with these issues. We have several cybersecurity centres that operate 24/7 to monitor the current situation and respond rapidly to cyber threats.

Vladimir Putin:

What do you think is important in this industry but not exactly appealing to businesses? Which areas require support from the government? What are the key areas?

Mikhail Oseyevsky:

Education. With regard to cybersecurity, it is a very popular area both for us and for the country in general. Last year, we even held a national competition [Cyberchallenge Online Olympiad]. More than 4,000 children took part and the winners went to study at Sirius. We will continue this practice.

Of course, since technology is changing very fast, it is difficult for higher education to catch up with us and, apparently, major Russian companies have to play a big role in training professionals for the industry. In many cases, second- and third-year students are already highly qualified and they need to apply their knowledge and skills. Of course, we need to find new formats so that eighteen-year-old students can continue to study for their bachelor degrees while working at the same time. This is possible. We can see that they are very proactive and want to realise their professional potential.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

The source of information -

Greetings on the opening of the 1st Russian Fathers’ Forum, Fathers’ Role in Modern Families: State Policies and New Prospects

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to the participants and organisers of the 1st Russian Fathers’ Forum, Fathers’ Role in Modern Families: State Policies and New Prospects, in Ekaterinburg.

February 19, 2019 - 10:15

The message reads, in part:

“The government prioritises supporting families and improving the demographic situation. That is why it is so encouraging to see significant events, including your forum, which contribute to improving the efficiency of these important and much-needed efforts.

By bringing together participants from many Russian regions, leading experts and specialists in the sphere of family relations, representatives of relevant ministries and agencies, as well as researchers and cultural figures, this forum addresses important issues of enhancing the role of fatherhood in the process of strengthening family values and educating younger generations. Throughout the ages, the head of the household in our country has always been the pillar of prosperity and stability that embodied confidence in the future and, by being a mentor, defender and a trusted friend, has had immense respect and undisputed authority among children.

In this regard, I would like to commend the large-scale, multifaceted activities of the Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights office, which created the Fathers’ Council in Russia. Today, the father community is expanding its working forms and methods, actively participating in implementing social projects and programmes, and is taking concrete action to contribute to solving pressing issues in the sphere of family and child protection.”

The source of information -

Greetings to the 30th Congress of the Association of Peasant Farms and Agricultural Cooperatives of Russia

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to the participants, organisers and guests of the 30th Congress of the Association of Peasant Farms and Agricultural Cooperatives of Russia (AKKOR) and congratulated them on the 30th anniversary of the agrarian movement in Russia.

February 19, 2019 - 11:00

The message reads, in part:

“Year after year, the farming sector has been playing an increasingly prominent role in enhancing the potential of Russia’s agriculture, improving the quality of life in rural areas and driving regional and national economic development. Working in all sectors of agriculture, farmers preserve and build up the best traditions of Russian farming, showing diligence, creativity and leadership. They are proactive in introducing the most advanced technology, expanding output and farmlands, and making products to the highest international standards.

It is with great satisfaction that I note that these outstanding results were largely achieved through AKKOR’s diligent and constructive efforts to bring farmers together around common goals, objectives and interests. Let me emphasise that the government will step up its support to the farming sector, accompany it on the way to becoming more competitive and promote the most effective forms of cooperative agriculture.”

The source of information -

Greetings to participants and guests of the Fourth National Contest of Professional Skills Do as I do!

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to the participants, organisers and guests of the Fourth National Contest of Professional Skills Do as I do! Its final has started in Moscow.

February 19, 2019 - 16:00

The message reads, in part:

“Your forum is carrying out a responsible and important mission by uniting heads and cadets of military patriotic centres from across the country.

It is called upon to facilitate the improvement of professional competence of specialists in this important area, and promotion of advanced forms and methods of educating the youth. Therefore, I am pleased to note that the number of this contest’s participants is growing every year and its agenda is becoming more intensive.

I would like to emphasise that it is teachers and instructors, their knowledge, talent and love for the chosen profession that is producing a major influence on the world outlook of young men and women, their commitment to the traditions of patriotism and civic spirit and a choice of a profession.

It is necessary to develop in the younger generation respect for the heroic events of Russian history, and the feeling of pride for the enormous moral and cultural legacy of our people. Only by returning to one’s roots and preserving the link of times it is possible to move forward and achieve lofty goals.”

The source of information -

Meeting with representatives of Russian news agencies and print media

Vladimir Putin held a meeting with representatives of Russian news agencies and print media.

February 20, 2019 - 19:30 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good evening,

I think you have managed to listen to at least a part of today’s Address [to the Federal Assembly]. Therefore, this is a good opportunity to discuss or explain some things in more detail. It covered a lot of different material, so let us use this chance to talk. I also invite you to have some lunch, so bon appetit. I am listening.

Alexei Abakumov:

Mr President, the first question, if I may. I am Alexei Abakumov, RBK, television.

The question is as follows: everyone noted that today’s Address, this year’s Address, was very different from last year's. If last year’s Address was accompanied by the noise and even roar of missiles and artillery, this one was mostly accompanied by the whisper of banknotes – the money allocated to the social sphere, for pensioners above all, for disabled persons, to address social problems, for children and so forth.

Two questions. One is a bit simpler. First, why was there such a difference? And the second one: isn’t it time to define where our country is going, what are we moving towards and what should we expect in the medium term? Thank you.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

First, I do not think that the previous address was accompanied by cannonades, as you said. We had to explain to the country where we had spent a lot of the resources and to calm people, because we had already announced that we were going to decrease defence spending. We are decreasing it now, and many people are worried that it may result in decreasing our defence capability. We have completed a range of projects, and it would be quite natural to speak of what we have done.

And last but not least, everything we did and continue to do is, to a degree, as I have already said, a response to the withdrawal of our American partners from the ABM Treaty. We needed to tell the nation that everyone can live calmly and feel secure, that we are responding to these events, and that we are doing this in the manner I have described.

As for today’s Address, it indeed focused on domestic matters and socioeconomic development. This is logical. The reason is that we are launching national projects and have earmarked huge funds for this, a total of 26.5 trillion rubles. We never allocated this much money in a targeted manner for nationwide goals before. Over the past nine or ten months, we were preparing to launch these mechanisms, defining goals and identifying sources of funding. I hope the initial results will be visible by the end of this year and that more will be achieved in 2020 and 2021.

However, we need to settle some obvious problems to be able to start these projects effectively. I have mentioned these problems today. It is vitally important to allocate 1 trillion rubles for fighting cancer, but our primary healthcare system needs additional funding and special attention from the state.

Take the demographic situation. It is very serious and, as I have said dozens of times before, there are objective reasons for this. We can say confidently that we have been doing our utmost to resolve the problem. But all our efforts were not enough because of the two demographic setbacks, one in 1942–1943 and the other in the early 1990s. We must deal with these setbacks by investing more funds. We can use a set of instruments, such as direct support, support to families to allow mothers to resume their careers as soon as possible, mortgages and the like. This set has taken a definite shape and can be applied now, which is why we are paying so much attention to this. Most importantly, these efforts must be made before we launch the national projects on a large scale. I believe that this is clear, logical and timely.

I would like to remind you that this address carried on from last year in terms of military and strategic aspects.

Alexei Abakumov:

Mr President, about the path Russia is following.

Vladimir Putin:

Yes, sorry, the path, the second part of your question. I would very much like people to hear about this development path today, the path towards accomplishing high-priority economic tasks, in the first place. You have probably noted, since you specialize in these matters, that, as I have already said, our economic success must become the key to resolving all these matters. This includes greater labour productivity, in the first place, as well as efforts to attract private investment, first and foremost. There is an entire range of matters linked with state-of-the-art technologies, and so on. These are the main tasks we intend to accomplish by implementing national projects. At the same time, we have never forgotten, and we will never forget the fact that, in order to feel confident, we must ensure our own security. We are doing this. I have said a few words about this today, but, to my mind, enough has been said.

Alexei Abakumov:

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you for your question.

Komsomolskaya Pravda Editor in Chief Vladimir Sungorkin:

Mr President, you have compared the Avangard system with the first near-Earth satellite today. Does this not seem to be an overstatement because the first satellite is a far cry from the Avangard system? What happened? Why did you use such a powerful comparison?

Vladimir Putin:

I see, thank you for your question.

As you can see, I have made a reservation. This system absolutely compares with the first near-Earth satellite in terms of maintaining our security. I will explain. The launch of the first space satellite implied, in terms of ensuring security, that the Soviet Union had received systems, or ballistic missiles, for delivering nuclear warheads to the territory of the potential enemy. In effect, that launch ushered in an entire missile programme. Of course, that programme had been developing before that event, but, in effect, it began with that launch. This implies ballistic missiles. But our American friends invented the anti-ballistic missile defence system to safeguard against these ballistic missiles. Therefore, we had to provide an adequate, asymmetrical but serious response. What kind of a response is this? The Avangard system is our response. A winged glider vehicle moves at Mach 20-plus inside dense atmospheric layers; it was difficult to imagine this in the past. In terms of of our defence capability, this amounts to the same landmark achievement as the launch of the first space satellite. This is because that launch implied ballistic missiles, and we are now talking about a new strategic weapons system that moves along a flat trajectory inside dense atmospheric layers.


This is another delivery vehicle.

Vladimir Putin:

Yes, of course, this amounts toanother delivery vehicle. But this is an absolute breakthrough in terms of modern technologies and materials. This winged glider vehicle’s nose section heats up to almost 3,000 degrees Celsius. Can you imagine this? What does 3,000 degrees feel like? The Sun’s surface heats up to 6,000 degrees, and here we are talking about 3,000 degrees. I have already mentioned the chocolate-coated ice cream effect, when the vehicle flies along and melts away as it goes. It is coated with a plasma layer, and its sides heat up to 1,900–2,000 degrees. At the same time, the vehicle is controlled accordingly.

You know, when I attended the latest tests and when I watched them, the operator said “Acknowledge message” which means that the vehicle had hit the bull’s eye, the target. The Russian science, engineering school and defence sector have scored an amazing success. Indeed, this is absolutely tremendous. Therefore, a comparison with the first near-Earth satellite is quite adequate and appropriate.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta Editor in Chief Konstantin Remchukov:

Mr President, regarding the targeting of decision-making centres. I have two clarification questions. First, does this mean that Brussels and Washington can be such targets if we believe that the decisions are made there? It is my first question.

The second, does this mean that today you have declared the right to deliver a pre-emptive strike if we believe that the missiles deployed near us pose a real threat?

Vladimir Putin:

We have a nuclear weapon strategy or concept that does not stipulate pre-emptive strikes. We are talking here about commensurate matters related to threats facing us, commensurate primarily in terms of time periods. If we have more time, we may not have to make pre-emptive strikes. It is in this connection and for this reason that I have asked our partners if they can count. Yes, they can, so let them calculate the speed and range of our future arms systems.

Here is another example. Professionals will understand this. I have not said this, but I can tell you now, not once again, but for the first time: they should look where these weapons will be deployed. I have said they will be sea-launched either from submarines or surface ships. We can do this, and given their speed and range we do not need to deploy them in territorial waters or even in the exclusive economic waters of a certain state. We can deploy them in neutral waters, in the world’s ocean. Nobody can prohibit warships and submarines from navigating in neutral waters. Plus, they will not be stationary, they will be on the go, making it more difficult to detect them. It cannot be very difficult to detect them, but it will not be very easy either. So, make your calculations. At a speed of Mach 9, these missiles can strike a target more than 1,000 km away. Under the Law of the Sea, the exclusive economic zone is defined at some 400 km or 200 miles. Do the maths. The distance of 1,000 at Mach 9. How soon, in how many minutes can these weapons reach their targets? This is it.

Just compare, the flight time to Moscow is between 10 and 12 minutes. How long would it take to reach the decision-making centres that are creating threats to us? The calculation is not in their favour, at least, not today. This is obvious. This is what I meant. Let them do their maths. It is not a threat. If they create threats to us, they should be aware of the potential consequences, so that they will not accuse us of unnecessary aggressiveness or whatever later. They have announced their decision; we know what can follow it. We tell them, “Do the maths. Can you count? So, do it before making any decisions that would create additional threats to you.” This is it. By the way, we have openly told them so behind closed doors long ago.


Did they get it?

Vladimir Putin:

I do not know; ask them. They are grown-up people who can count, as I have already said. So, let them do the maths before making any decisions. I can say this again. We will see what happens.

Overall, we maintain good contacts between our militaries. There are things we can do together, and that professionals are doing together. We maintain regular contacts and hold meetings at the level of general staffs. They are working on Syria. Yes, there are problems. But they are creating more and more problems. There are joint mechanisms and instruments for dealing with these problems. I hope they will be used to prevent a new global crises such as the Cuban missile crisis. There are no reasons for this, no reasons for aggravating the international situation to this level.

Is there any harsh confrontation between two world systems, as it happened during the Cold War? Absolutely not. Yes, we do have mutual complaints and different approaches to problems, and the complaints are mutual. But this is no reason for aggravating this to the level of the Cuban missile crisis of the 1960s. Anyway, I think we do not want this. If somebody else wants this, they can do it. I have said today what will follow. Let them make their calculations.

Sergei Agafonov, Editor in Chief of Ogonyok magazine:

Mr President, following this logic, trying to project a move from the other side – it could be a clue to Ukraine, or to Georgia. That is, if it happens there, then it is not a 12-minute flight, but six? What would our response be then?

Vladimir Putin:

Well, make your calculations, I told you, you know how to count: the speed is Mach 9 and so many kilometres. How many minutes will it take? There you go…

Sergei Agafonov:

No, I am talking about Georgia and Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin:

So am I. It is as simple as ABC. Count how many minutes. Neither Georgia nor Ukraine will give the West any great advantage. All this will depend on the threat level that they create for us.

Vladimir Todorov, Editor in Chief of

Mr President, you have devoted a lot of time and attention to the development of the digital economy and, in particular, the availability of high-speed internet. There has been much talk lately of a bill on the sustainable operation of Runet, and in this regard, I am interested in your opinion: is there really a threat that Russia will be cut off from the global net, as they say? In fact, it would be the first such precedent in history.

Vladimir Putin:

You know, I cannot say for our partners what they have in mind. I think that it will cause them enormous damage, politically, let alone economically. But not only that; there are also the interests of their special services. It is their invention. They can see, hear, and read all that you say, and accumulate defence information. And that would no longer be possible. I think they will think a hundred times before doing this. But theoretically, anything is possible. Therefore, we must certainly create such segments that do not depend on anyone. This much is absolutely obvious. And technologically, of course, this can be done.

Vladimir Todorov:

But would this not affect the functioning of the Russian internet, in particular, in terms of speed, something you spoke about today?

Vladimir Putin:

You know, that is possible, too. Therefore, we need to develop our systems, we need to invest more in them, not cut any corners, keeping in mind that this is one of the key fields of development in the world in general, and for our country as well – that is what I already said in my Address today. Therefore, we must bear this in mind, but we are not going to cut ourselves off – we are simply not going to do this. But if they do this, I repeat, the damage for them will be great, if not enormous. In all spheres –their special services, the economy, and politics. But it must be borne in mind that theoretically, this is possible, and one needs to be ready for this anyway. Well, in general, the more sovereignty we have, including in the digital field, the better. And this is a very important area.

The source of information -

Meeting with FNPR Head Mikhail Shmakov

Vladimir Putin met with Chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR) Mikhail Shmakov. They discussed, among other things, the procedure for adjusting incentive payments and compensation for pensioners.

February 21, 2019 - 16:30 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Shmakov, if you noticed, yesterday some of the topics we discussed in the past were reflected in the Address to some extent.

Chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR) Mikhail Shmakov:

Not only did I notice this, but I noticed it with great optimism because many decisions were really long overdue.

However, the main thing is, as you noted, that only consistent and steady economic development would give us more opportunity to resolve these social issues more effectively.

I noted, in particular, that pensioners’ extra benefits should be above the basic pension level. These payments should not just create a subsistence level for pensioners but should be above this level.

Vladimir Putin:

Otherwise, it is not a new solution.

Mikhail Shmakov:

Absolutely. This is the first point. Secondly, as you emphasised, this does not meet the needs of the pensioners and those that will see the latest decisions. When they apply them to their own incomes it appears that they will not gain anything, and in some cases they would even lose.

Vladimir Putin:

It looks like manipulation…

Mikhail Shmakov:

Absolutely so.

I have one more issue to discuss, that this approach is applied to those who are still working as well. At the end of 2017, the Constitutional Court handed down a decision that all compensation and incentives should be over and above the minimum wage.

Nevertheless, we have not yet finished disputing this with the Government. The Government still insists that the amount can be less than the minimum wage and hence it is only possible to reach the minimum wage with these benefits.

This is completely at odds with the Constitutional Court ruling, with common sense and the approach that is now being adopted to pensioners.

Therefore, we would like to address this again with you to discuss the problem so steps can be taken to resolve it.

Vladimir Putin:

All right, we will discuss it now because the question is certainly raised correctly. Meanwhile, I have to point out that the Constitutional Court ruling you mentioned applies only to those who work in the Far North.

Mikhail Shmakov:

Not quite…

Vladimir Putin:

This is what is written in the ruling. It dealt with benefits for those who work in the north. But this does not mean that we should not think about this problem as a whole. Let us review it and we will issue new instructions to the Government.

Mikhail Shmakov:

Of course, it should be analysed attentively again, because it is not quite right to say that the amount can be below the minimum wage.

The source of information -

Meeting with Novgorod Region Governor Andrei Nikitin

Vladimir Putin met with Novgorod Region Governor Andrei Nikitin to discuss the socioeconomic situation in the region.

February 21, 2019 - 17:10 - The Kremlin, Moscow

According to Mr Nikitin, the region is strongly involved in implementing national projects. Schools are being built, five kindergartens will be completed this year and seven more will be built before 2021. Water facilities are being upgraded and roads are being repaired with over 1,000 kilometres brought up to code over the past two years.

Private investment is on the rise. About 20 enterprises are under construction or are being overhauled. About 30 percent of production output is exported, and plans are in place to expand exports.

With regard to the social sphere, according to the governor, a geriatric centre has been built and the Teacher of Russia programme is underway in conjunction with Sberbank. Healthcare is plagued by a lack of primary care, that is, rural healthcare clinics. The first mobile outpatient clinic opened last year.

Rural healthcare clinics, both permanent and mobile, as well as mobile mammography and X-ray units will become available in Novgorod Region as part of the Healthcare national programme. Endovascular centres will be created as well.

According to the governor, radical improvements in the quality of healthcare remain the biggest challenge for the regional authorities.

The source of information -

Congratulations on the 25th anniversary of the Small Businesses in Science and Engineering Foundation

Vladimir Putin congratulated the team of the Small Businesses in Science and Engineering Foundation on its 25th anniversary.

February 21, 2019 - 18:00

The message reads, in part:

“During all these years, the Foundation has successfully delivered on its mission to support the most promising studies and developments by Russian scientists and inventors, as well as to improve the public-private partnership mechanisms in science and innovation.

The Foundation’s programmes seek to shape a competitive market for high-technology products and services in our country, attract investment in innovative small businesses and create modern workplaces.

Of course, it is important that the Foundation invariably supports the development of students’ and schoolchildren’s scientific and engineering creativity and helps them implement their innovative projects and ideas.

I believe the professionalism and initiative of the Foundation’s employees will continue to facilitate the growth of the domestic science-intensive industry and help increase the number of companies and plants doing business in this area, which, ultimately, leads to the growth of Russia’s economic potential and the country’s stronger position in the world.”

The source of information -

Meeting with permanent members of the Security Council

Vladimir Putin held a briefing meeting with permanent members of the Security Council.

February 22, 2019 - 14:40 - The Kremlin, Moscow

The Security Council members exchanged opinions on the preparation of instructions following the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

They also discussed current issues of socioeconomic development.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin and Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov.

The source of information -

Gala evening marking Defender of the Fatherland Day

Vladimir Putin attended a gala evening marking Defender of the Fatherland Day at the State Kremlin Palace. The President congratulated veterans, service members and civilian personnel of the Armed Forces on the coming holiday.

February 22, 2019 - 19:40 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Comrade officers, friends, veterans,

I welcome and congratulate you on Defender of the Fatherland Day.

We are meeting on the eve of the holiday that has been observed on a truly national scale for many decades. On this day, the whole of our enormous country honours service members, civilian personnel and veterans of the Armed Forces. The respect in society for military service is based on a deep understanding of its great importance, sincere gratitude for the unwavering defence of peaceful life and the people’s memory of great victories achieved through the bravery and valour of our soldiers and officers, as well as the daring and talent of our commanders.

We take pride in the heroic deeds of the warriors who defeated the enemy on Lake Chudskoye, near Poltava, at Borodino and, of course, in the great battles of the Great Patriotic War. Their self-sacrifice, strength of spirit and steadfast refusal to yield to the enemy serve as an eternal example of sacred loyalty to the Fatherland.

Today’s generation of soldiers, sailors and officers serve Russia with the same sense of duty and devotion. Our warriors keep faith with the noble traditions of our Army and Navy, the traditions of valour and courage, and demonstrate mastery of the latest advances in the art of warfare. They have chosen a difficult, even harsh, profession that requires strict discipline, bravery, responsibility and, to be frank, willingness to sacrifice their lives for the Fatherland and their brothers in arms. Love for our native land is one of the defining qualities of Russian service members and everyone who dedicates their lives to military service and upholds the values of true patriotism every day. How could it be any different? After all, what you do is defend your Motherland.

Thank you for upholding your oath and honourably performing your duty.

Comrade officers, Russia is a peace-loving nation. We pursue a responsible foreign policy and strive to strengthen international stability. But we are well aware that the modern world is complex and discordant, that there are still many unresolved conflicts, challenges, and threats. Therefore, providing for the security of Russia and our citizens remains the absolute priority for us.

We will continue to strengthen the country’s defence capability, and develop and improve the Armed Forces. In recent years, their combat capabilities, training, and cohesion in action have increased significantly. This is confirmed not only by large-scale exercises, but also in combat conditions, in particular during the antiterrorist operation in Syria. Our soldiers act boldly, decisively and efficiently as they liberate Syrian territory from terrorists and save civilians. They have shown their best qualities in Syria, and they have defended the interests of our country.

As you know, the focus of our attention is on equipping troops with the latest weapons and modern means of command and control. Our promising weapon prototypes have no analogues in the world. In any case, they have no analogues yet, and I think this will remain true for a long time to come. This is the result of systematic and targeted measures of the state and the tremendous, tireless efforts of researchers and designers in the defence industry. Their unique achievements are the foundation for the successful development of the Army and Navy for decades to come, and as such, for the security and peace of Russia, and our dynamic progress.

Friends, in all the plans and decisions concerning the future of the Armed Forces, without exception, we rely on the officer corps, its professionalism, experience, and tenacity. And as Supreme Commander-in-Chief I always have confidence in you, comrade officers!

Once again, I would like to congratulate all of Russia's service members and veterans on the upcoming holiday. I wish you and your loved ones health, happiness and well-being.

Thank you for your service.

The source of information -

The President laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

On Defender of the Fatherland Day, Vladimir Putin laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin Wall to honour the memory of fallen soldiers.

February 23, 2019 - 12:30 - Moscow

Flowers were also laid at the Eternal Flame by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Supreme Court President Vyacheslav Lebedev, President of the Constitutional Court Valery Zorkin, other public and state figures, and representatives of veteran organisations.

The ceremony concluded with a ceremonial march of the Guards of Honour and a military orchestra.

The source of information -
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
Old March 4th, 2019 #12
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Telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan

February 25, 2019 - 14:30

Vladimir Putin and Nikol Pashinyan discussed the development of Russian-Armenian cooperation and regional issues.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan

February 26, 2019 - 12:10

Vladimir Putin offered his heartfelt greetings to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his 65th birthday and noted his extensive personal contribution to the development of Russia-Turkey relations.

The presidents discussed preparations for the 8th meeting of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council, which will take place in Moscow in April 2019.

The source of information -

Meeting with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu

Vladimir Putin received in the Kremlin Prime Minister of the State of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in Russia on a working visit.

February 27, 2019 - 16:10 - The Kremlin, Moscow

During the meeting, the leaders discussed issues of bilateral trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation and major international and regional problems, in particular, the situation in Syria and settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Prime Minister, colleagues,

We have been planning this meeting for some time. Life moves forward and requires consultations at the top level.

Our bilateral trade is increasing. It is not very large in absolute figures but the trends are positive.

And, of course, it is very important to discuss the situation in the region and security issues.


Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu:

(In Russian.) Spasibo.

(Retranslated.) First of all, I would like to congratulate you and all Russian people on Defender of the Fatherland Day. We will never forget the great role Russia and the Red Army played in defeating Nazism.

Several days ago our Government adopted a law on special funding to complete the construction of a museum devoted to the liberators of World War II and the bigger part of this museum will be devoted to Red Army soldiers and their role in WWII.

Soon we will open a special monument devoted to the victims of the siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem We would be very happy to see you there, and I would like to invite you, Mr President, to the unveiling ceremony.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you. I will visit.

Benjamin Netanyahu:

Mr President, I counted and apparently we have met 11 times since December 2015. I think there is a direct link between us. Our contact is a very important element that has ensured a lack of problems or any clashes, as well as stability and security in our region.

The biggest threat to the region’s stability and security comes from Iran and its allies. We are doing everything we can to prevent this threat from being translated into reality. We will not allow Iran to do what it talks about, that is, to destroy us, and we will act accordingly.

I will be happy to discuss with you these issues and our wonderful bilateral relations. This is largely due to over a million Russian-speaking Israelis that have made a major contribution to the development of Israel and brought Russian culture to our country, which has changed it a lot.

Tourism between our countries has reached record figures: every year over 400,000 Russian citizens visit Israel and about 200,000 Israelis go to Moscow. I also contribute a bit to this statistic.

I would also like to mention many positive things that we have done in our bilateral relations, for example, the pension agreement has already been carried out by 96 percent.

Regarding these areas I would like to thank you for your friendship and the open, straight and honest dialogue that we maintain between our countries.

Thank you very much, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Prime Minister, thank you for your invitation, once again.

For us, the memory of the people who perished during World War II, including during the siege of Leningrad, is absolutely sacred like it is for the Jewish people.

And, of course, I would like to pay tribute to the Israelis – 1.5 million descendants from the former Soviet Union made a substantial contribution not only to the development of Israel but also to the birth of the Israeli statehood and are now playing a very important role as a bridge between Russia and Israel.

We not only remember them but we also appreciate the role they play today. Of course, Israel is their home country, obviously, but we also call them our compatriots.

The source of information -

Condolences to President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

Vladimir Putin sent condolences to President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

February 27, 2019 - 19:30

The message reads, in part:

“Please accept my deepest condolences on the tragic consequences of a railway accident at Cairo’s main railway station.

Russians share the grief of those who have lost their family members or friends as a result of this accident and hope for a speedy recovery of all those who were injured.”

The source of information -

Greetings on the opening of the 3rd St Petersburg International Labour Forum

Vladimir Putin sent his greetings to participants, organisers and guests of the 3rd St Petersburg International Labour Forum.

February 28, 2019 - 09:30

The message reads, in part:

“We are glad that the St Petersburg forum is growing more influential with every year and attracts an increasing number of participants from government agencies and business communities, as well as researchers and experts in education, high technology and social policy from Russia and many other countries. The forum has become a popular venue for discussing a broad range of issues on the development of a modern labour market.

The introduction of innovative technology and R&D results, the competitiveness of personnel, the development of human capital and the enhancement of labour efficiency are vital for strengthening the economy, dealing with the biggest social problems and improving the structure of the labour market. We must give priority attention to the improvement of educational and professional standards and the creation of a system of training professionals that will be maximally geared to market needs. We must also create conditions for people to realise their potential, effectively use their knowledge and skills and develop new competencies.

I hope that the forum participants will hold open and constructive discussions to exchange experience and to consider possible solutions to current problems in the field of employment relations.”

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.

February 28, 2019 - 19:30

In addition to the message sent earlier, Vladimir Putin once again conveyed his condolences to the people of India in connection with the killing of Indian security force personnel in a terrorist attack on February 14. In this context, the two leaders condemned international terrorism and any methods used to support it stressing, the need to step up the uncompromising fight against the terrorist threat.

While discussing the crisis in relations between India and Pakistan, Vladimir Putin expressed hope for a prompt settlement.

Topical issues on the bilateral agenda were also touched upon. The Russian President emphasised that Russian-Indian cooperation was developing quite successfully as a privileged strategic partnership. The two sides expressed interest in further promoting interaction in all areas, including military-technical ties.

Vladimir Putin invited Narendra Modi to take part in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September 2019 as the main guest. The two leaders agreed to continue personal contact.

The source of information -

Greetings to International Women’s Forum Women’s Role in the Development of Industrial Regions

Vladimir Putin sent his greetings to participants, organisers and guests of the International Women’s Forum Women’s Role in the Development of Industrial Regions in Novokuznetsk, which brought together representatives of federal and regional government bodies, large companies and respected international public organisations.

March 1, 2019 - 09:00

The message reads, in part:

“I am pleased to note that in our country women are successfully involved in different areas of the economy, various production facilities and businesses. They are responsible and efficient; they deal with serious tasks and are dedicated to their work. Many women are recognised leaders in their professional fields. And, of course, women always actively participate in much-needed social projects and sincerely care about maintaining a positive and friendly atmosphere among their colleagues.

I would like to stress that the government will continue to create favourable conditions for women to develop professionally, to fulfil their personal and creative potential, and will prioritise support for families, motherhood and children.

I am certain that the forum will include many constructive discussions, and its recommendations will be put into practice, including as part of major programmes for the socioeconomic development of Kuzbass, one of Russia’s key industrial regions.”

The source of information -

Meeting with members of FISU Executive Committee

Before the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Universiade, Vladimir Putin met in Krasnoyarsk with members of the Executive Committee of the International University Sport Federation (FISU).

March 2, 2019 - 14:45 - Krasnoyarsk

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

It is a pleasure to greet all of you here.

We were preparing for these competitions for almost six years, and throughout that time, we always felt your backing, your support. I would like to note that this is not an ordinary competition, as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the FISU. We are very pleased that at present this respectable international organisation is headed by our compatriot. I would like to thank you for the trust you extended him.

I would like to stress that we are closely following the development of your organisation and your new initiatives, such as the “double career”: a career in sport and a future civilian, so to say, life outside sport.

I think your latest initiative on holding some championships between university teams rather than national teams is also very interesting. It is exciting because it will add to the competitive spirit. And we are set to further support the international university sport organisation.

You may know that we have presented our bid for the 2023 Summer Universiade in Yekaterinbug. If you entrust us with holding this event, we will do everything in our power to make it a memorable and spectacular one.

I would like to express our hope that this competition will be held at the highest level. It is very important for us not only in terms of the material heritage, but primarily in terms of spiritual heritage. The spirit of sport, development based on sport, is very important for any person, especially for young people.

Thank you very much. I wish you every success!

President of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) Oleg Matytsin:

Mr President, allow me on behalf of my colleague present here and all the Executive Committee members and the whole FISU family to thank you for the care and support of the state.

It is not only you that feel our backing: we feel your very powerful backing in supporting all the initiatives that Russia takes on and the initiatives, with which the FISU turns to Russia.

Russia sets an example for all nations that state policy should be addressed to young people, those who will have the future in their hands tomorrow. Sport is a unique school because sport means the ability to respect one’s opponent, the ability to lose, the ability to win, the ability to be in a team – the basic principles that subsequently help people succeed everywhere, whatever path they choose in life.

You were absolutely right in saying that the FISU initiative to hold competitions between universities is largely based on the Russian model of competitions. We know how many leagues, university leagues have been set up here, and how vigorously sport is being supported at universities nowadays.

Krasnoyarsk, the Siberian Federal University is certainly a positive example, a model of such attitude. We see how greatly this city has changed in slightly more than five years because a new impetus was given to youth development.

As you noted, the key heritage of the Universiade is not limited to sports facilities or social infrastructure, but lies in the spirit of the young people who are responsible for their future. We shape real patriots through this, let me reiterate this.

Of course, after you voiced your confirmation of Yekaterinburg’s bid, we look into the future with confidence and wish success to this project.

Once again, thank you very much indeed.

Vladimir Putin:

I hope everyone will enjoy both the opening ceremony today and the following days of competition.

I spoke with the Governor and he told me how the city had been preparing. People were working hard and with great pleasure. I hope if Yekaterinburg wins the bid to hold the 2023 Summer Universiade, then… the Governor is also here.

Sverdlovsk Region Governor Yevgeny Kuivashev:

It would be a great gift for the city’s 300th anniversary.

Vladimir Putin:

I would also like to wish you an enjoyable time in Russia.

FISU First Vice President Leonz Eder:

Your Excellency, Mr President,

On behalf of my colleagues, I can only say the support given by you personally and by the Russian Federation to sport in general, especially to FISU university sport, is unique in the world.

We have unforgettable memories from Kazan 2013, and we will have unforgettable experiences and memories here, I am 100 percent sure. And my question is already this, Mr President: what city will be next after Yekaterinburg? Because you have so many fantastic places. So please consider the future.

Thank you so much for all the support. Thank you so much.

Vladimir Putin:

We will think it over.

You are absolutely right, we do have much to offer. If you let us hold the event in Yekaterinburg, we will deal with that first. It is a large city with over one million residents, a large industrial and educational centre. So there is already a good foundation there. But we will certainly design a full programme.

The source of information -

Congratulations to Bulgarian President Rumen Radev

Vladimir Putin congratulated President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev on the republic’s national holiday, Day of Liberation from Ottoman Rule.

March 3, 2019 - 10:00

The message reads, in part:

“The immortal deed of Russian soldiers and Bulgarian militiamen who heroically fought for the freedom and independence of Bulgaria will always remain in the memory of our peoples.

I anticipate that the good traditions of brotherly friendship and mutual supportiveness, as well as our cultural and spiritual affinity will continue to serve as a reliable foundation for the development of Russian-Bulgarian relations. This would be completely in the interests of the two countries’ citizens.”

The source of information -

Greetings on inauguration of Russia-India Kalashnikov assault rifle production plant

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to participants and guests of the ceremony launching the Russia-India Kalashnikov assault rifle plant.

March 3, 2019 - 15:00

The message reads, in part:

“Military technical cooperation has traditionally been a key area of Russia and India’s special and privileged strategic partnership.

We have been delivering reliable and high-quality weaponry and equipment to our Indian friends for over seventy years. Around 170 military and production facilities have been launched in India with the help of our country.

This new joint venture will produce world-famous Kalashnikov assault rifles of the cutting-edge 200-series and will gradually shift to totally domestic production.

Thus India’s military industrial complex will be able to independently supply the country’s security agencies with this type of rifle armaments while implementing advanced Russian technologies.

Let us recall that I and my friend Mr Modi agreed on launching the Kalashnikov production plant during my official visit to India last October.

A respective intergovernmental agreement was promptly drafted and inked. In this connection I would like to sincerely thank those Russian and Indian specialists who helped to implement this project so quickly.

I am confident that launching this enterprise will contribute to enhancing India’s defence potential, the further advancement of the research and industrial foundation of the country’s economy, will allow for the creation of new qualified jobs, give impetus to vocational education and training of personnel, while the plant itself will become yet another symbol of friendship and fruitful cooperation between our countries.”

The source of information -
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
Old March 4th, 2019 #13
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Meeting with Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov

Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov who updated the President on the non-financial sectors’ development results in 2018. They also discussed the situation in the automobile sector.

February 25, 2019 - 14:10 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

What do we discuss first, Mr Manturov? Industry in general or the automobile industry?

Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov:

As you like… Let us consider the overall situation.

Mr President, I prepared this material just in case, as a more informative illustration of the results of the year.

In general, we have positive results in all industries. The overall result was 2.6 percent growth in the manufacturing sector.

We certainly have champions: railway engineering, primarily growth in the production of freight cars, and road construction equipment grew to 23 percent. And I must say that we expect further growth.

The other industries showed growth from three to 12 percent. Chemicals and pharmaceuticals show stable growth at ten percent annually – an estimated result so far. And what is very important, we continue to work on increasing exports.

Vladimir Putin:

Non-commodity exports.

Denis Manturov:

Yes, non-primary energy exports grew by 11.6 percent last year, and in the industry, 10.2 percent, which amounts to $125 billion in money terms last year.

We are acting on your instructions and your executive orders as part of the national project for the development of international cooperation and exports. We have already developed all the necessary measures to ensure stable growth and to achieve the targets set for us by 2024 – to double exports from 125 billion to 250.

This is an ambitious task. Starting this year, we are intensively cooperating with the agencies responsible for individual national projects.

I am referring to healthcare, science, the digital economy, housing and the urban environment, the safety and quality of roads.

We expect that by integrating our industry into these national projects, we will increase production, as well as, most importantly, we will ensure a stable workload for the facilities.

This will mean jobs and stable wages at industrial enterprises, which is very important.

Our job now is to enhance labour efficiency. Overall, we scored a better than planned result last year: nearly 3 percent in the manufacturing sector.

But the leading sector is automobile manufacturing, where labour efficiency jumped by 16 percent. This is the result of many years of work, as well as state support and economic revival.

We believe that the other sectors, which are implementing modernisation and development programmes, will show similar ambitious results.

Vladimir Putin:

The average wage in the sector is 41,000 rubles, am I right?

Denis Manturov:

Yes, wages in the automobile sector are higher than in manufacturing as a whole. The average wage is 38,000, but it is higher in the automobile sector.

Last year we have overcome recession, and the market has grown to nearly 1.9 million vehicles. Our companies manufactured 1,752,000 vehicles.

Therefore, the production growth rate was 14 percent, which is higher than the market growth rate of 12 percent.

Vladimir Putin:

Is Lada the indisputable leader?

Denis Manturov:

Yes, definitely.

The demand is the highest for Lada Vesta and Lada Granta. Besides, our foreign colleagues continue to strengthen the presence of their brands on the Russian market.

Vladimir Putin:

Are you referring to Hyundai and Volkswagen?

Denis Manturov:

Yes, but these are Russian-assembled vehicles. Vehicles made in Russia account for 85 percent of the market.

As for the performance of state support programmes last year, we have good results to report for social programmes, which we have expanded as per your instructions to include the Russian Far East. In particular, subsidies on car loans have been increased to 25 percent of the cost.

Our goal is to gradually replace used right-hand drive vehicles, which are still brought into the Far East, with Russian-made cars.

Vladimir Putin:

What about school buses and ambulances?

Denis Manturov:

Yes, we can report progress in the manufacturing of both ambulances and school buses. We are also increasing the production of natural gas vehicles, just as you have instructed. We annually increase support for…

Vladimir Putin:

Not rapidly enough.

Denis Manturov:

Mr President, we are working in alliance with Gazprom, which is developing its network of natural gas fuelling stations.

The activity is higher in these regions in terms of support for municipal procurements, and commercial vehicles are being converted to natural gas fuel. Such vehicles are less expensive and more efficient if we take their entire lifecycle.

Mr President, on March 1, we will again launch the First Car and Family Car social programmes, which showed good results in 2018.

We have coordinated the volume of budgetary allocations with the Government for this year. We hope that this will help us increase the output and serve as additional support in the automobile sector.

The source of information -

Meeting with NOVATEK CEO Leonid Mikhelson

Leonid Mikhelson briefed Vladimir Putin on the company’s current activities and development plans.

February 26, 2019 - 13:55 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

How is work, Mr Mikhelson?

Chairman of the Management Board of NOVATEK Leonid Mikhelson:

Very well, Mr President.

If you allow me, I would like to report on the progress of our LNG projects.

Vladimir Putin:

Please do.

Leonid Mikhelson:

LNG is central to NOVATEK’s current development strategy. In December 2017, you launched the first production line at Yamal LNG, and in December 2018, it reached full capacity of 16.5 million tonnes. As of today, a tanker is loaded every 33 hours, which amounts to 70,000 tonnes of LNG.

Vladimir Putin:

So the plant is up and running.

Leonid Mikhelson:

Yes, it is.

Orders worth about 650 billion rubles were placed by Russian companies, and 55 regions were involved in construction.

Vladimir Putin:

Fifty-five regions?

Leonid Mikhelson:

Fifty-five regions. The geographic range was very wide, including the Krasnoyarsk Territory, where there are some specialised plants. I will later elaborate on the companies involved in the launch of our next line.

It is important to note that construction of the fourth line is underway, and this line will use only Russian equipment with NOVATEK solutions. This will be a pilot line with an output of about a million tonnes. We will test it next year.

Vladimir Putin:

I remember you telling me about it.

Leonid Mikhelson:

In a month, we will be launching a medium-scale LNG plant in Vysotsk with a capacity of 600,000 tonnes, and mostly for bunkering purposes.

Vladimir Putin:

Is this in Leningrad Region?

Leonid Mikhelson:

Yes, in Leningrad Region.

The first line will be 600,000 tonnes, and next year we will probably decide on two more lines for another 1.2 million tonnes. Bunkering services are gaining momentum in the Baltic, so I think that there will be demand for these services.

The main thing is that we have started implementing our second project, Arctic LNG-2, with a capacity of 19.8 million tonnes. It involves placing over 1 trillion rubles’ worth of contracts with Russian companies.

Vladimir Putin:

Do you plan to put it on stream in 2022?

Leonid Mikhelson:

Yes, I will speak about the timeframe later.

We have started building a facility where we will build marine platforms. Our investments in Murmansk Region are estimated at some 120 billion rubles. We will launch the first stage of this facility in mid-2019.

There will be two docks – here are the measurements, and this is how the liquefaction train over 300 m long, 150 m wide and 70 m high will look. It will weigh 620,000 tonnes. The train will be towed by sea and stationed at the field. These trains will be factory produced.

Novatek’s strategy provides for producing 57 million tonnes of LNG by 2030. I am citing the figure now because we are confident of our ability to reach this target. Moreover, an upward revision of the figure to 70 million tonnes is possible in a year or two.

Now to the Northern Sea Route. As per your May Executive Order, under which the transportation of cargo by this route should be increased to 80 million tonnes, we expect our cargo to account for 50 percent of the total, or over 46 million tonnes.

We plan to build two reloading centres, one in Murmansk Region and the other in Kamchatka.

As for the load factor, we held two large conferences with potential producers last year. We expect that over 800 companies will take part in this project. We will create 12,000 jobs in Murmansk Region and over 80,000 jobs across Russia. According to our estimates, this will account for 0.15 percent of GDP annually over the next 10 years, which is a huge amount.

Vladimir Putin:

Sounds good.

The source of information -

Instructions for the implementation of the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly

Vladimir Putin approved a list of instructions for the implementation of the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly of February 20, 2019.

February 27, 2019 - 10:00

The Presidential Executive Office has been instructed to increase the funds distributed by the Presidential Grants Foundation, the operator of presidential grants for the development of civil society that support culture and art projects related to local history, folk art, and preservation of historical heritage.

The Government of the Russian Federation has been instructed to oversee the amendment of legislation concerning, in particular, the material security of pensioners; higher monthly payments to unemployed able-bodied parents (adoptive parents) or guardians taking care of children with disabilities; assistance to families with two or more children servicing a housing mortgage loan; and tax benefits for families with three or more children; tax exemption for incomes of regional and municipal museums, theatres and libraries; criteria for environmental tourism in specially protected natural territories; and strengthening laws around state nature reserves.

The instructions also concern incentives for medical workers to work in rural areas and cities with populations under 50,000; the introduction of a new primary care model (Thrifty Outpatient Clinic); the implementation of the Country Teacher programme from 2020, which would incentivise teachers to work in rural areas and towns with populations under 50,000; updating federal educational standards and curricula by, among other things, incorporating the priorities of Russia’s science and technology development.

The instructions also provide for connecting all general education institutions to high-speed internet by the end of 2021; establishing 15 research and educational centres by January 1, 2022; development of a national artificial intelligence strategy; stimulating the growth of investment in high-tech projects in the field of artificial intelligence, the internet of things, robotics and big data carried out by small and medium-sized businesses; creating protected Russian brands of environmentally friendly agricultural products, raw materials and food and promoting them on domestic and foreign markets; approving a general layout for the development of communication networks and data storage and processing infrastructure; and setting up two world-class children's rehabilitation centres in 2020–2024.

The Government, together with the State Duma, has been instructed to adopt, during the spring session of 2019, a federal law providing for air pollution emissions quotas in large industrial centres, as well as federal laws aimed at developing the digital economy. The Government, with the involvement of leading business associations, shall also oversee the amendment of legislation to cancel from January 1, 2021 all regulatory acts containing requirements that have to be checked for compliance when exercising state oversight, and introducing new standards containing updated requirements based on a risk-oriented approach and the current level of technological development in relevant areas.

The Supreme Court, together with the Prosecutor General’s Office, have been instructed to review the practice of qualifying offences under the Russian Criminal Code articles providing for responsibility for crimes in the sphere of economic activity, as well as the practice of applying the Criminal Procedure Code requirements for terms of detention as a preventive measure against suspects and persons accused of committing crimes in the field of business (entrepreneurship).

The Government, together with the Bank of Russia, has been instructed to take additional steps to reduce the interest rate on housing mortgage loans to 8 percent per annum or less; to ensure the creation of financial instruments, including credit, to support individual housing construction; to oversee the amendment of legislation granting mortgage holidays to borrowers finding themselves in difficult life situations – deferring repayment of the principal amount and interest on their housing mortgage loans.

Other instructions to the Government, together with regional executive authorities, have to do with various aspects of healthcare, in particular, health screenings and preventive check-ups, including cancer screening; introducing the practice of rendering state social assistance on the basis of a social contract; completion by 2021 of repairs and improvements at state and municipal educational institutions.

The Government of the Russian Federation, together with the Roscosmos State Corporation and the Government of Moscow, has been instructed to organise the creation of a National Space Centre, incorporating the head companies of the main rocket and space industry enterprises, design bureaus, and specialised structural subdivisions of research and educational institutions.

The Government, along with the Agency for Strategic Initiatives and leading public associations of entrepreneurs, has been instructed to organise the creation of a digital platform for complaints from business entities about pressure exerted on them by law enforcement agencies. The relevant instructions have been issued to the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service, the Prosecutor General's Office and the Investigative Committee.

The Bank of Russia, the Interior Ministry, the Prosecutor General's Office, the Investigative Committee and the Ministry of Justice have been instructed to take the necessary measures within their competence to prevent and curb illegal actions (fraud) against citizens in microfinance and the repayment of overdue debt.

The Government has also been instructed to secure funding to implement the measures provided for by this list of instructions.

The source of information -

Meeting with Government members

Vladimir Putin held a regular meeting with members of the Government Cabinet.

February 27, 2019 - 14:30 - The Kremlin, Moscow

The agenda focused on Arctic development.

Other issues concerned the implementation of instructions following the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues.

As you know, I have signed a list of instructions on the implementation of provisions of the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Today I would like to talk about the implementation of these plans.

Before we start exchanging opinions and listening to the main report on Arctic development, I would like to say the following.

We launched the Country Doctor programme a while ago, and we financed it, with some of the money coming from the Federal Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund. This is why its participants were exempt from paying personal income tax under Article 217 of the Tax Code.

But now it is being financed from other sources and directly from the federal budget, and the programme participants have to pay personal income tax.

In practice, this means that country doctors and country teachers receive not 1 million rubles but only 870,000 rubles, and rural paramedics get 435,000 rubles instead of 500,000 rubles.

Why do we do this? Let us settle this problem so that people receive the full amount. Either we increase the allocations to compensate for the income tax, or exempt rural professionals from this tax.

I would like Mr Siluanov to begin his report with proposals on this issue.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov:

Mr President, I believe these payments should be exempted from personal income tax so that people fully receive the amounts mentioned in the Address, which is actually being done now, I mean, one million rubles and 500,000 rubles.

Vladimir Putin:

Will this apply to both doctors and teachers?

Anton Siluanov:


Vladimir Putin:

Good. Thank you.

Ms Golikova, please, go ahead.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova:

Mr President, colleagues.

The Government of the Russian Federation has begun to implement the instructions issued in your Address. I will talk about several social priorities which seem most important today and where we already have a definite positive dynamic.

The first priority is supporting large families. As all of you know, from January 1, 2018, families with an average per capita income below 150 percent of the working-age person’s minimum subsistence wage are entitled to monthly payments in the amount of the minimum subsistence basket after the birth of their first and second child.

In the Address, you proposed to change this threshold, raising the coefficient to 200 percent. This means that the most economically active parents will receive state support. We believe some 770,000 families may be eligible for these benefits, almost 48 percent more than in the old arrangement.

We very much hope that this support policy, along with the tax policies you proposed and the preferential mortgage terms that Mr Siluanov will talk about, will eventually change the situation and influence the demographic behaviour of many families that have been postponing the decision to have their first child.

I would like to note some unfortunate recent statistics: while in 2000, first children born to parents aged 25 or younger accounted for 60 percent of all births, in 2017 (there is no data for 2018 yet) the share was only 45 percent. Unfortunately, the age for first births has shifted to between 26 and 35, which means that the potential of the second and subsequent births is decreasing.

The reasons obviously include the modern development trends: the parents want to complete their education and get a good job. Nevertheless, we very much hope that the measures taken by the state will, as I said, change the demographic behaviour of families.

Last week we sent the amendments to the law on monthly payments to families with children changing the eligibility threshold to all federal executive bodies for approval. And we hope that in the near future this draft law will be submitted to the Government.

According to our estimates, since it is planned to be introduced in 2020, the cost of this policy will be another 16.5 billion rubles in addition to what was previously budgeted under the old arrangement.

Also, all federal executive bodies have already approved a draft executive order implementing another of your demographic package instructions from July 1, 2019, which was subsequently submitted to the Government and will soon be presented to you to sign.

This order raises the monthly payments to a parent (adopter) or guardian (custodian) of a child with a Group I disability or an adult of the same disability group since childhood, to 10,000 rubles from the current 5,500 rubles.

This increase will concern about 465,000 people and, as I said, will take effect from July 1. This change will require estimated additional spending of 13.5 billion rubles in 2019.

The second group of priorities listed in the Address concerns dealing with poverty. Here I must say that the successful work of public authority at all levels, the regional authorities in the first place, in this area determines the resolution, among other things, of the problem that has been marked as the top demographic problem.

Following the meeting in Sochi, Mr Medvedev instructed all regional governors to analyse the structure of people’s monetary incomes in their regions to highlight the priorities we need to specifically focus on.

In the Address, you said that the Government must support the regions by co-financing the mechanism of social contracts which is now used in certain regions but without federal support.

According to recent reports, in 2018, the regions concluded around 115,000 social contracts involving around 320,000 Russian citizens.

I want to add that we really expect that, as we continue our assessment, some nine million people will be covered by these contracts in the next five years.

It is important to note the following. We are not only working towards securing support for governors’ programmes but also modernising this system based on the practical successful experience of this programme being implemented in other countries where social contracts exist as a means of combatting poverty.

There is another sensitive subject that you mentioned. You instructed us to review the indexation of pensions and monthly payments when determining the total amount of pensioners’ financial support and the amount of social bonuses.

We propose to change the existing system. First, we need to establish social bonuses to reach the new subsistence level of pensioners in a specific region. Then pensions will be adjusted for inflation and one-time payments will be made.

As a result, a non-working pensioner’s financial support will be higher than the subsistence level by the indexation amount and the one-time payment in this particular year.

You instructed us to recalculate the payments from January 1, 2019. We expect that the recalculation will affect some 12 percent of non-working pensioners whose pension, coupled with the monthly payments (if there are any, of course), is below the subsistence level in a respective region.

It is planned that, together with regional budgetary funds, we will allocate 18.8 billion rubles for these purposes in 2019. The respective draft law has been approved and reviewed by the Government’s legislative commission. It will shortly be reviewed by the Government and submitted to the parliament.

The third set of issues that I would like to talk about today is linked with healthcare because in your Address you also devoted considerable attention to it and there are many relevant items in the instruction you signed. In today’s report I would like to draw your attention to three topics only.

First is the accessibility of medical care. Today, medical infrastructure has been built in the cities and there is the opportunity of choice whereas, regrettably, rural areas have not been fully covered by accessible medical facilities.

In this context, we are planning to create this infrastructure as part of a national project by the end of 2020. We will focus our efforts on improving the demographic situation in rural areas because the main “contribution” to such statistics is made by the death rate in these areas.

Along with the natural decline in the number of rural residents, their movement to cities has also been recorded. According to tentative information for 2018, the urban population grew by 124,500 people.

As a rule, 99 percent of the outflow consists of young able-bodied people that make up the main asset. While this movement is natural, we understand that it leaves behind in rural areas only elderly people and pensioners that require assistance and support.

In this context, it is important to make medical care accessible not only by establishing hospitals but also by organising mobile teams.

The regions have been allocated funds for the purchase of mobile units that are 100 percent domestically made. These units are designed to provide full-scale medical examination and screening.

As for rural residents that require inpatient examinations, we have earmarked 2.2 billion rubles for the regions in 2019 alone under the Demography Project (a corresponding decision has already been adopted) for the purchase of buses that will take them to urban medical facilities and back.

The second group of healthcare issues concerns periodic medical examinations. As you noted in the Address, we need to continue our dedicated work to reduce mortality from cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Screenings and preventive treatment are, actually, the pillars of success. Our job is to ensure that in 2019, over 61 million people undergo screening and professional heath assessment, that is, almost three times the 2018 level of 21 million people.

To do this, we need to step up population-wide prevention. What does this mean? This means that all medical institutions should be making efforts to inform the public about the possibility of getting screenings and preventive check-ups.

That is, instead of waiting for people to come in for a check-up, they should be busy attracting patients. A physician should know all the residents of their area and work proactively with them.

I would like to note that all primary medical institutions are to offer screenings if they have the appropriate equipment. Appointments should be available to the public, as you said in your Address, at any convenient time, including evenings and Saturdays.

At the same time, I must point out that regional governors must take appropriate measures, because working late hours and weekends must be compensated accordingly. Actually, you specifically noted this.

We need the regions to take care of this. Therefore, we are now preparing amendments to the Programme of State Guarantees of Free Medical Care, which will soon be considered and adopted by the Government.

I must say that health screening must necessarily include annual, not sporadic, cancer screening – a series of tests and imaging depending on the gender and age of the patient that can detect cancer before symptoms appear.

These most common selective cancer screenings include screening women over 40 for breast cancer, men for prostate cancer, all people after 45 for colorectal cancer and other forms of gastrointestinal cancer, as well as other cancer screenings. I am specifically emphasising the need for cancer screening, including at this meeting, because these types of cancer are the most common.

And, finally, the workforce in the countryside. You have already noted the traditional Country Doctor and Country Paramedic programme. We are currently introducing legislative amendments that would remove age limits under the programme and are also drafting amendments to the law on education in order to provide financial support to rural teachers through such a payment. On a related note, amendments to tax legislation will make it possible to exempt this from income tax.

What will it all come to? Our calculations show that would mean around 11,500 rural doctors, 3,000 paramedics, and, in our estimate, about 5,500 rural teachers that are currently lacking. We hope that this set of measures outlined in the Address plus the steps to be taken by the Government under the national project will yield the intended results.

Vladimir Putin:

Do not forget about the need to establish methods for calculating the subsistence level of pensioners in the regions because it is a real mixed bag, with some regions having a lot and others very little.

Tatyana Golikova:

This is true.

Mr President, we analysed that situation yesterday with our colleagues from other ministries as part of working on the draft law. The 2018 data are not yet available so we analysed the 2017 data.

In 14 regions of the country the subsistence level is below what is required. It distorts forecasts and leads to imbalances related to the subsequent adjustment from indexation.

Vladimir Putin:

All right, thank you.

Mr Siluanov, will you please report on economic issues.

Anton Siluanov:

Mr President, the Address outlines four challenges related to increasing economic activity. They all follow up and build on the provisions of May 2018 Executive Order. Let me expand on them.

First is raising labour productivity and creating competitive export-oriented industries. A special national project is in effect regarding labour productivity. By 2024, we are to ensure a five percent annual increase in labour productivity.

Also, necessary conditions will be created for raising labour productivity under the Digital Economy national project. It has to do with establishing a modern regulatory environment.

It includes online identification for people, the possibility of concluding deals electronically, electronic document flow; modern tools for funding projects will be introduced.

As for exports, we also have a special national project and, as part of it, will conclude over 250 agreements with enterprises under the so-called corporate programmes of enhancing competitiveness. What do they involve?

An enterprise assumes commitments to increase exports of its products (these are naturally modern products), while in turn the state will provide financial support to the enterprise if it fulfils its commitments.

We are seriously working on exports in the agriculture industry. The measures to increase exports of agricultural produce will be continued and expanded. These exports have been on the upsurge in the past few years and the programme provides for additional funds for these purposes.

In addition, fulfilling the task set in the Address, we will create a protected brand of domestic ‘green’ agricultural products. Starting on January 1 of next year, producers of organic products will be able to label them as such. A special label will be also introduced to mark these products as eco-friendly and ‘green’.

Exports of services play an important role in expanding exports. In the near future, we plan to simplify visa procedures for foreign citizens on certain tourist trips, primarily for medical, educational, business and cultural purposes.

We will also expand the use of e-visas. You have issued instructions to this effect and we will start fulfilling them this year as part of our plans to increase the export of services.

The second task of the Address is to increase the quantity and quality of investment in fixed capital. There are several aspects to this.

First, we are going to increase private investment. I am referring to systematic work on improving the business climate by reducing administrative costs. You have also set the task of cancelling all excessive and obsolete requirements that stand in the way of business. We have already started this work.

We have launched a mechanism to transform the business climate, notably, reducing the time it takes to get connected to utility grids, transitioning to state and municipal e-services in urban development, and endorsing and simplifying procedures involved in international trade.

The third challenge is eliminating infrastructure constraints on economic development and on increasing the potential of our regions. We are also pursuing the 13th project outlined in the May 2018 Executive Order. It deals with main infrastructure and the Safe and High-Quality Roads national project.

We will see new projects connecting different regions of the Russian Federation as early as this year. They include infrastructure upgrades at airports in Novosibirsk, Perm, Chelyabinsk, Khabarovsk and Blagoveshchensk. The changes will begin this year, overall 27 airports are scheduled for upgrades.

In addition, a new project will be launched to build port infrastructure and to increase agricultural exports through the ports of the Sea of Azov and Black Sea, Baltic Sea, and the waters of the Russian Far East.

Another significant project is building the Northern Latitudinal Railway which will ensure more shipments of petrochemicals and gas chemical products.

Building transit motorways. It is all covered by funding as part of the comprehensive infrastructure development projects and the Safe and High-Quality Roads project.

The fourth challenge is training modern workforce and creating a modern science and technology base. This task will be addressed as part of the Science national project.

At least 15 world-class science and education centres are to be set up by integrating universities and research organisations with entities operating in the real economy.

Apart from that, under the Education project we will allocate additional resource to modernise secondary vocational education including re-equipping vocational schools with up-to-date equipment.

Regarding other instructions given to the Government in the Address. In the near future, Mr President, draft laws will be submitted on amendments to tax legislation.

Also, a draft law will be submitted to parliament shortly on expanding access to mortgage loans.

Adjustments have been prepared for the mortgage programme for families with two or more children to extend the discount interest rate for the whole loan period.

Additionally, a five percent mortgage rate is proposed for families with children in the regions of the Far Eastern Federal District in contrast to the six percent rate across Russia.

Families that service a mortgage will receive 450,000 rubles if they have a third and subsequent child; an instruction has been issued to pay these benefits from January 1. An estimated 200,000 families will be able to take advantage of this until 2024.

If we add up, as you said, the maternity capital and this new benefit, with the tax deductions for the property the family currently owns, which are provided for under the current legislation, these families can receive government support worth about 1 million rubles.

This amounts to nearly half the average cost of an apartment in the Russian Federation – except Moscow and St Petersburg, of course. These families will have half the cost of their apartments compensated.

Mr President, we have the following thoughts on achieving the goal you have set – the development of individual housing construction. Families with two, three or more children not having their own housing should be given the right to use their state benefits (maternity capital, plus the 450,000 ruble deduction) for new individual housing construction.

Why are banks not particularly interested in financing mortgage programmes for individual housing construction? Because there is no collateral. Well, these amounts – 450,000 plus 450,000 (900,000 rubles) – are good collateral for banks so that they can provide loans for the construction of new houses in the form of individual housing construction.

Vladimir Putin:

Give them land. Let them have ownership of the land.

Anton Siluanov:

Land can also be a collateral. The money together with the land is a good amount to put up for a loan.

As for the mortgage holidays for borrowers who are in a difficult situation, like those who lost jobs, this problem will be handled as part of the standard for responsible mortgage lending; this standard we developed is included in the Mortgage federal project.

We have agreed with the Bank of Russia that a draft law will be prepared granting a deferment to borrowers finding themselves in a difficult financial situation.

Mr President, we began the preparation of all the necessary decisions immediately after the Address. We have estimated the funding needed to achieve the goals that were set in the Address, and it is more than 900 billion rubles for the period from 2019 to 2024.

We will allocate the required amounts when adjusting the budget for this year. We will also find the necessary resources for this while drafting the budgets for the upcoming three-year period.

We are working together with members of both houses of parliament. While drafting proposals, we will now be even more firm on redistributing budget allocations, on budget discipline, so as to marshal all the resources available in the budget to the maximum to fulfil the goals set in the Executive Order and the Presidential Address.

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Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
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Gala evening marking Special Operations Forces’ Day

Vladimir Putin attended a gala evening marking the Day of Special Operations Forces, a branch of the Armed Forces of Russia.

February 27, 2019 - 20:45 - Moscow

The President congratulated Special Operations Forces’ personnel on their professional holiday.

“We will continue to work consistently to strengthen our Army and Navy. Our efforts in this area are strictly defensive and aimed at unconditionally ensuring Russia’s security and protecting its sovereignty and national interests,” the President noted, addressing the meeting.

Also, Vladimir Putin decorated Vladimir Kovtun with the Hero of Russia Star for his part in a special operation in Afghanistan.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Comrade officers, veterans,

Today you are celebrating the anniversary of your force, and I am happy to have this opportunity to extend my greetings to the commanders and personnel of the Special Operations Forces on your professional holiday. Please accept my congratulations.

But first of all I would like to express our gratitude to you and your comrades for your efforts, for your valour, courage and heroism and for the skilful and flawless accomplishment of your extremely demanding and important missions.

Of course, this is yet another opportunity to recall the events of the Great Patriotic War. A great number of special operations units had to be created at the beginning of the war due to the situation at the frontline.

Members of these units often went on their missions without proper training or special weapons. It is not surprising that the number of casualties was high.

My father fought in one of such units: 28 people were sent behind enemy lines. Only four of them returned.

But as the war moved forward, our special operations units improved their skills.

They delivered scathing blows to the enemy, destroying its headquarters and communications and gaining vital intelligence.

Our Spetsnaz troops fought courageously, gaining victory in many hot spots. The operation carried out by one of such groups in Afghanistan, which seized the latest shoulder-fired [Stinger] missile system and hence saved many lives of our pilots, men and officers, is a brilliant example of courage and daring worthy of going down in textbooks.

One of the men on that legendary group was Vladimir Kovtun. Today I will have the honour to present the Hero of Russia Gold Star medal to him, as well as state decorations to other deserving servicemen.

Veterans’ heroic deeds and competence serve as example for the current generation of the Special Operations Forces. In the most complicated and extraordinary situations you act with precision and confidence, demonstrate the power of justice and dignity, endurance and faith in your rightful cause.

Exactly five years ago, soldiers and commanders of the Special Operations Forces did their best to maintain peace in Crimea and Sevastopol, to protect people from violence and punitive squads so that nobody could prevent the public from making their free and independent choice in a historic referendum.

The Special Operations Forces are always at the frontline, where it is most difficult. This is exactly how you have been operating in Syria. You have made a huge contribution to defeating terrorist groups, liberate Syria from the militants and, when you had to, accepted an unequal battle and drew fire upon yourselves.


We will continue to work on consistent reinforcement and development of the Army and Navy. I have already said that our steps in this direction are purely defensive and intended to ensure Russia’s security, protection of its sovereignty and national interests.

Your unique experience will by all means be in demand during combat training of all troops and divisions. I am certain that you too will be constantly raising the bar for yourselves, improving your mastery, sharpening your tactical skills for special operations on the ground, in the air and at sea; successfully mastering the advanced and unique equipment produced by our defence industry and developed by Russian design bureaus.

If required, you will perform any task, carry out the most complicated and important combat orders, do everything possible and impossible to neutralise a threat against Russia whatever the source.

I am confident that serving in the Special Operations Forces will always be a goal for our best personnel and commanders and a dream for young boys and future defenders of the Fatherland.

Once again, congratulations on your professional holiday. I wish you to always come back home and come back with triumph. I wish you every success, good luck and all the best to you and your loved ones.

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Expanded meeting of the Interior Ministry Board

Vladimir Putin took part in the annual expanded meeting of the Interior Ministry Board.

February 28, 2019 - 14:30 - Moscow

The meeting focused on the performance of law enforcement agencies in 2018 and plans for 2019.

Before the meeting, the President visited an exhibition of advanced weapon models. He also viewed the stand of the equestrian and tourist police, and briefly spoke to female officers of those divisions. The female officers invited the President to visit them and watch the divisions at work.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Comrade officers,

Today we are discussing the performance of the Interior Ministry in 2018, the current and long-term tasks, including with regard to the approaches specified in the recent Address to the Federal Assembly.

Speaking about the positive trends in 2018, I would like to highlight the decreased number of crimes, including grave crimes, and improvement of the public order. By the way, public polls also indicate that the share of our citizens who believe the police provides significant help in resolving their issues has been growing over the past years. This is the most important criterion and the most important assessment. It is directly related to your everyday work on the ground and to the operation of local police officers. I would like to add that the number of people familiar with their local police officers is also growing, which is a good and important trend.

Of course, I would like to once again thank law enforcement officers for competent and well-coordinated work during the large-scale events we hosed last year. Naturally, one of them was the FIFA World Cup, which was notable for its high level of security. Many football fans and your foreign colleagues praised the security during the event.

It is important to build on this achievement, working consistently to reduce the crime rate and relying on strict standards and requirements in our daily work, so that the citizens of Russia know that police officers will respond to their pleas for help with understanding and sympathy and that their rights and freedoms are safely protected. All of our positive achievements are the result of hard work by a large number of personnel, including the staff of the Interior Ministry and ministry leaders.

However, we need to pay special attention to some issues. There are many unresolved problems. I will speak about this in more detail.

The law enforcement bodies face a number of challenging tasks, which they must address this year and in the short term. First of all, we must gradually increase the clearance rate. All the available resources, investigative and technical capabilities of the law enforcement bodies must be used towards this end. I pointed this out regularly, at every Interior Ministry Board meeting, yet improvements are taking too long. In 2018, just as in all the preceding years, half of the reported crimes remained unsolved. I ask you to seriously think what practical measures can be taken to dramatically improve the situation.

Another priority is to improve the system of preventing juvenile delinquency. Much has been done to enhance the efficiency and modernise this system. Statistics show that the number of crimes committed by minors decreased by 3.8 percent last year, but the number of crimes committed against minors has increased by 5 percent.

We must continue to closely monitor the so-called risk groups, working together with the social services, teachers, parents and volunteers to clarify each particular situation and promptly react to the attempts to involve minors in crime. Insufficient attention or treating the issue as a formality can break lives and lead to tragedies. Those of our colleagues who are working in this sphere know this very well.

We know that it is a difficult and time-consuming job, yet it must be done, without a doubt. We must consolidate our efforts in this sphere, again reviewing the work of children’s rights commissioners, regional authorities and civil society institutions and joining forces with them to achieve the desired positive result.

In the Address to the Federal Assembly, I talked at length about the problems that are a matter of concern for the business community, including the so-called pressure points in their relations with law enforcement agencies. As you know, the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor General’s Office were instructed to carry out a detailed review and propose ways of addressing shortcomings both in legislation and in law enforcement. I expect the Interior Ministry to contribute to this work in meaningful ways.

I know that everyone has their own side of the story, and law enforcement agencies are not an exception. It is not uncommon for their position to be quite reasonable, to say the least. For this reason, what we need are joint positive efforts to improve the business climate in the country. This is crucial for economic development.

In addition, let me remind you that a pilot version of a dedicated digital platform is expected to be launched before the end of the year to enable entrepreneurs to report any pressure they face, and ask for support whenever their rights are violated. I would like to explain that this will not be some kind of an elusive unintelligible system for overseeing developments in law enforcement. This must be an additional tool for the relevant agency and ministry designed to make sure that their top officials are informed about these problems directly instead of information being filtered by the very officials who are more often than not directly targeted by these claims. This can be done effectively, swiftly and without delay with the help of the latest technology.

The Interior Ministry must promptly draft regulations for processing applications from entrepreneurs, just as all other law enforcement agencies. I ask you to work on this task in close cooperation with the business community.

Let me draw your attention to the fact that we do not need another complaint desk with applications buried in paperwork and formal replies. This is not what we need, as I have already said. This must be a mechanism that is effective and operational in terms of protecting the interests of citizens, as well as improving the performance and transparency of law enforcement agencies, enabling them to get rid of dishonest employees, which also happens.

Of course, another important task is to step up the overall efforts to combat corruption. I expect you to come up with new, advanced and effective approaches to identifying and investigating complex and covert types of crime.

Comrade officers, the second most important area of work is fighting extremism. Indeed, in 2018 the overall number of extremist crimes decreased by almost 17 percent, although these crimes were registered practically in every region of Russia in different forms and manifestations.

Law enforcement agencies, acting in cooperation with the public and local authorities, should rigorously thwart the activities of radical groups, avert ethnic and religious conflicts and take resolute measures to identify and bring to justice those who are trying to spread the ideology of aggression, violence and intolerance, including and above all among young people.

In the process, it is important to concentrate on investigating the most dangerous extremist crimes and take into account the legislative changes in this area, in particular, partial decriminalisation of Article 282 of the Criminal Code. Let me repeat, it is necessary to see where the real threat, the real danger is coming from rather than inflate the statistics by counting cases initiated without weighty grounds. But if the grounds are there, get down to work. Do you understand? You should not just watch the water flowing down the river. You must get to work.

Needless to say, in the struggle against extremism, Interior Ministry employees should be strictly guided by legal standards and make the utmost use of civil society institutions, such as religious, public and educational organisations.

Enhancing road safety remains a topical task. Despite certain improvements, the situation on the roads remains complicated. Every day, traffic accidents kill almost 50 people and injure around 600. This is a very high figure. I have already spoken about this at our meetings – this is a tragically huge loss. It is necessary to consistently develop technical means of monitoring compliance with traffic rules, expend the capabilities of automatic and video recording of traffic violations and to set higher requirements to traffic rules exams and issuing of driving licenses.

A few words about one more problem that we have already discussed. Last year rigorous measures were taken to reduce passenger transit accidents. As a result, the number of people killed in traffic accidents through the fault of bus drivers has decreased by 17 percent. This is a good result and thank you very much for this achievement. However, let me draw your attention to the fact that the total number of such traffic accidents has not decreased in the past five years. Please take additional measures in this area.

Countering illegal trafficking remains one of the main tasks for the Interior Ministry. According to statistics, the availability of most dangerous synthetic drugs is growing. This is an alarming trend that needs to be taken into consideration. Apparently, the existing measures are not enough and additional action is required.

It is necessary to suppress drug traffickers, expose organised criminal groups involved in the import of drugs from abroad and their production in the country. When doing this, I would like you to work closely with the Federal Security Service, the Federal Customs Service and other agencies, as well as your colleagues abroad.

Another complex job that requires attention is protecting law and order when it comes to migration. We do take long-term measures when it comes to this but it is important to focus on the current work. With the State Migration Policy Concept for 2019–2025 in place, I would like to stress the following. Any violation of the migration law must be meticulously suppressed. This requires consistent improvement of the quality of migration-related public services and the development of modern migration regulations that would be comfortable for law-abiding people who want to live and work in Russia, respect our traditions, culture and Russian law.

Therefore, I would like to point out that we of course must primarily take care of Russian citizens’ interests when it comes to migration.

I would also like to remind you about the task to simplify visa formalities. I am expecting specific proposals from the Interior Ministry and the other competent agencies.

Colleagues, finally, I would like to thank the senior officials and the personnel of the Russian Interior Ministry for their work. I am certain you understand it all too well that what you do for the country, our society and every person is very significant. A lot in this country depends on your performance. I am certain that you will continue to work efficiently and diligently to achieve positive results.

Once again, thank you all for your work.


Vladimir Putin:

Comrade officers, colleagues!

I would like to thank the Minister once again – not for the report, of course, but for your work and the results. Let me thank all of you once again because you deserve it – you have achieved results.

This is what I would like to draw your attention to. Yesterday I discussed this with Mr Kolokoltsev and he noted this now in his report – I would like to return to your work in the economy. This is a very important sphere and you see in what kind of conditions we live and develop, and there is only one effective answer to all external restrictions – to create the best possible conditions for the upsurge of the domestic economy. This is not a departmental task. This is a national, governmental task.

In this context, law enforcement agencies, including and primarily the Interior Ministry agencies, bear special responsibility because you are a key link in this environment in terms of work and the coverage of all problems. Yes, of course, Mr Kolokoltsev spoke about this but if we put it in simpler terms, not the language of a report, he said: Yes, entrepreneurs are largely to blame themselves; they come and complain about each other, and we are compelled to react to this by virtue of the current laws. We are obliged to do this.

Vladimir Kolokoltsev:

But they do not turn to the courts.

Vladimir Putin:

Indeed, they say they refuse to go to court. Maybe so but they come to us and start complaining and we have to react.

Look at what one has to do, who has to do this and where. I will take the situation with traffic accidents by way of example. Thus, 203,600 traffic accidents were registered in 2012. Regrettably, 27,900 people, that is, almost 28,000 were killed as a result. In 2018, 168,100 traffic accidents were registered. Of course, you understand that some cases might not be duly registered but these are approximately objective facts. Regrettably, 18,200 people were killed on the roads last year. In other words, this is a substantial difference. It is substantial. It is a result, an absolutely obvious result of your work. Almost 28,000 people died in the past against 18,000 last year. This is a tangible difference and I would like to thank you for this once again.

Now on the situation in the economy. Last year, 109,500 economic crimes were reported.

As for road accidents, those who are concerned with them, which is nearly everyone here, and the majority of them have a legal education, know that both drivers and pedestrians can be guilty, yet the bulk of responsibility rests with the drivers. This is because vehicles are a source of increased danger. Legislation places special responsibility on those who handle sources of increased danger, such as cars or rifles.

The same is true of our relations with businesses. We can draw a parallel here. Law enforcement officers bear special responsibility for this, because the state has placed its trust with them. Businesses do not have this responsibility, but you do. This is something you must never forget.

Last year, 109,500 economic crimes were reported, or 4.2 percent more than the year before. But what is the clearance rate? We must take a look at the figures. Businesses request the law enforcement officers’ assistance in dealing with their clients and business partners. But we are adult people. We know that few business people come to you without a personal recommendation. They primarily turn for help to those they know personally, or those recommended to them by their acquaintances or friends, or their shadow partners. Very few come without a recommendation. It is street crime that is investigated without a recommendation, but not economic crimes. We must take this into account.

The law enforcement agencies, those wearing uniforms, the people in whom the state has placed its trust and to whom it has given special rights must never forget about their duties, because these rights, including the right to carry weapons, entail special responsibilities. I would like you to take special note of this.

It is not a request but an appeal. Do you understand me? It is a vital national task. Not a departmental task, but a nationwide task.

Overall, I would like to thank you for your efforts and to wish you every success and all the best.

The source of information -

Answers to media questions

After an expanded meeting of the Interior Ministry Board, Vladimir Putin answered journalists’ questions about relations between law enforcement and the business community and the outcome of the President’s talks with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu.

February 28, 2019 - 15:10 - Moscow


Mr President, may I? One of the issues discussed at the Interior Ministry Board meeting concerned relations between law enforcement and the business community. What does this mean? You mentioned formal replies and said that the Interior Ministry has some ideas on this score and that they are justified, to a degree. What is your main message when you speak about how law and business interact?

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

There is a problem and this fact is well understood. The people in general, and especially our businesses, believe that relations with law enforcement agencies are critically important for creating favourable conditions for doing business. I believe that they are right, that this is indeed so. At the same time, our law enforcement agencies admit that there are many questions and problems in this sphere.

For example, we need to improve existing laws so as to create conditions in which the breach of duties by law enforcement officers will be impossible, whereas the business community will respect the rules and laws that were designed to protect the interests of the overwhelming majority of citizens, not only the business community.

First of all, I was referring to all kinds of inspections held to protect people, the consumers of goods and services, from shoddy goods and services that do not meet modern standards. As for relations between law enforcement and the business community, they have always been in the focus not only in this country but also in other countries.

Business people complain, as always, about certain abuses. But the Minister said in his report today that business people often turn to law enforcement agencies asking them to protect their interests. They do not file lawsuits but seek the assistance of law enforcement officials. As I have said here, there are grounds to believe that business people do not come in right off the street, like ordinary people, but through connections they have in law enforcement, which bears special responsibility, just as drivers do because vehicles are a source of increased danger. Law enforcement officers bear special responsibility for preventing a situation in which business people have only themselves to blame.

On the other hand, I agree that we must pay special attention to this. We have decided that this issue must be addressed by a working group that has been established at the Presidential Executive Office. This group will work together with members of law enforcement agencies, prosecutor offices and courts to decide what we must do to improve the existing laws and create the foundation for effective law enforcement. In fact, this is what we discussed.


Mr President, sorry to lead you off topic. There was no press conference yesterday, after the meeting with Mr Netanyahu. However, Mr Netanyahu said a working group would be created between Israel and Russia on the withdrawal of foreign troops from Syria. First question: is this true? And the second question is, how do you assess the situation in that country now?

Vladimir Putin:

It is not my business to give assessments on the situation in any country, in this case in Israel.


No, sorry. I meant Syria. About developments in Syria.

Vladimir Putin:

I think everyone is familiar with the situation in Syria. We quite openly provide information and share as much as possible. The situation has stabilised. Isolated centres of resistance by terrorists remain, but they are being subdued now. I think that in the near future, they will be eliminated completely. True, there is the Idlib zone on the right bank of the Euphrates, which is not so stable. We need to work on this – I talked about it with the Prime Minister yesterday.

As for the working group, the idea is to create a working body that would manage the final normalisation after the last hotbeds of terrorism are subdued, involving all the stakeholders – primarily Syria, the leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic, maybe the opposition, other countries in the region, all parties involved in this conflict. Among other things, it would certainly cover the withdrawal of all armed forces from Syrian territory and the full restoration of Syrian statehood with its territorial integrity intact. We have long talked about this, and it is fully consistent with the Russian position. Yesterday we discussed this matter.

As for the development of our bilateral relations, there has been quite consistent progress. We must acknowledge the Israeli leadership’s efforts: Prime Minister Netanyahu is working on this personally, and we know his views on the outcome of World War II, and the role of the Soviet Union, the Red Army. You have heard about the initiative to create a memorial associated with the victims of the siege of Leningrad – we are certainly grateful to Israel for this work. I will try to attend the unveiling of this memorial in Israel. We hope that despite internal political events, the pre-election situation, no matter how it unfolds, continuity will be preserved in the development of Russian-Israeli relations.

The source of information -
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
Old March 4th, 2019 #15
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Greetings to participants, organisers and guests of 11th Shield and Rose awards ceremony

Vladimir Putin sent his greetings to participants, organisers and guests of the 11th Shield and Rose public awards ceremony.

February 28, 2019 - 19:00

The message reads, in part:

“Over the past years, dozens of female officers of security ministries and agencies received this award for demonstrating high professionalism and selflessness in the line of duty.

I am pleased to note that more and more women are getting involved in law enforcement and public security. They train to obtain new skills, efficiently deal with high-responsibility tasks and protect law and justice. At the same time, they continue to take care of our homes as wives and mothers and protect family values. They are always caring and attentive with their friends and colleagues as well as with their loved ones.”

The source of information -

Meeting with Rosseti CEO Pavel Livinsky

Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Pavel Livinsky, Chairman of the Management Board and Director General of the national grid company Rosseti, to discuss the company’s performance in the autumn and winter period, current operations and development programmes.

March 1, 2019 - 14:30 - The Kremlin, Moscow

Public Joint Stock Company Rosseti is a national operator of energy grids and one of the largest electric companies in the world. It includes subsidiaries and affiliates, as well as research, design and construction organisations.

The company maintains 2.34 million km of power transmission lines and 502,000 substations with transformer capacity of more than 780 GW.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon.

Let us begin our meeting with a simple question that is of major concern to the people. How would you assess your company’s performance in the autumn and winter period?

Rosseti CEO Pavel Livinsky:

Mr President, the national grid sector is operating steadily. In late 2018, we completed preparations for peak consumption periods in the autumn and winter and converted to a new risk-oriented scenario, under which we do not invest money where our accountants say but where we need it to settle real problems.

First of all, I would like to update you on the figures. Over 50,000 people are on duty to ensure our performance during peak periods. They are divided into 10,000 emergency teams, including 583 mobile teams with some 4,000 personnel. We have over 5,000 reserve sources with a total capacity of nearly 400 MW. They are in working order and ready to deal with any emergencies across Russia.

In late 2018, we enhanced reliability and reduced the number of technological violations by 17 percent. Most importantly, the duration of technological violations plunged by 40 percent.

At the same time, we have been able to reduce our losses to below 9 percent for the first time. We started 2019 with these parameters, and we are now assessing the autumn-winter situation.

Mr President, I would also like to note that the weather and abnormal meteorological phenomena are very challenging. During the New Year holiday season, we encountered serious aberrations, including a storm in the Baltic Sea whose epicentre was in Kaliningrad Region.

Fortunately, the situation was better than in the neighbouring countries. Almost 282,000 subscribers were cut off in Finland, as well as 300,000 in Sweden. Fewer than 3,000 subscribers had no electricity in Kaliningrad Region, and we restored supply very quickly.

A focus on the sector’s digital transformation, high-quality preparations and a risk-oriented approach towards winter wherever necessary, especially efforts to cut down trees along power transmission lines, yield immediate results.

Vladimir Putin:

I was actually in Kaliningrad at that time, and I recall the situation.

What are your most important short-term plans?

Pavel Livinsky:

Mr President, we are working in three directions: enhancing infrastructure reliability and accessibility, improving the group’s financial standing and, of course, innovation development.

I would like to note briefly that our financial standing remains stable. Our corporate rating has increased together with the Russian Federation’s sovereign rating. We are working to closely monitor the transparency of procurement procedures and the improve business processes. And, of course, we are keeping watch, with the Government’s support, on the changes and improvements in the regulatory environment, so as to raise the network’s performance to an entirely new level.

In compliance with Executive Order No. 207 of May 7, we are working on digital transformation. At the end of 2018, under the chairmanship of Energy Minister Alexander Novak, who is Chairman of the Rosseti Board of Directors, we adopted a concept outlining the roadmaps of digital transformation for each Rosseti affiliate.

First of all, it concerns the development of smart metering. This is a priority for us because no digitalisation is possible without it. It includes almost 22 million meters that we will have to install at our own expense.

Here I would like to note, Mr President, that the huge order for our industry can become a development boost for the Russian component-making industry. The Government is overseeing this issue.

We have already held meetings with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and with defence industry enterprises. We believe that these are our partners in solving our tasks, in expanding production.

Using this order, we can develop a Russian microchip, a component-based system for meters. In the technical specifications, we could list our requirements for Russian-made equipment. Thus, we believe we will make a serious contribution to digitalisation and the development of innovative Russian industrial technology.

Mr President, special emphasis is being put on the development of a system of operational and technology management. Of course, the Russian grid complex will be more reliable when Russian-made systems appear.

I commit to develop such a system within the next three years. I already reported to you about it at the meeting of the commission on the fuel and energy sector that took place in Kemerovo.

It is crucially important for us to make the machines operate without humans, so that operators interfere only when something goes wrong. A digital transformation is also impossible without it.

We are testing the ‘digital electrician’ technology and I will also show how it operates in the Moscow energy system at the end of the year.

We have many investment projects. In 2018, we have developed and applied digital solutions, in particular, at the Medvedevskaya substation in Moscow, which is fully digital and operating now in digital format. This has dramatically reduced service costs. We have also digitalised the construction projects on the Taman Peninsula ensuring a reliable electricity supply in Crimea as well as southern Russia.

I would like to use this occasion to invite you to attend, if possible, the opening ceremony of the Port substation, which provides electricity for the railway lines of the Crimean Bridge and the port of Taman. With a capacity of 432 GW, this substation is a backbone energy facility in southern Russia. It is brand new and digitally controlled.

Vladimir Putin:

Good, thank you very much. I am aware of your plans and of this project. I will try to find time for this.

Pavel Livinsky:

Thank you, Mr President.

We lay emphasis on state programmes and the Comprehensive Plan for Upgrading and Expanding Mainline Infrastructure. We are closely monitoring the operations of all such projects, timely providing energy infrastructure to all groups of consumers.

I would like to focus on the Affordable Living programme, where we are working under Energy Ministry control to cut the costs and the time needed to connect consumers to the system.

We are ready to be the Responsibility Centre and the operator, so that not only the Affordable Housing programme but also all other state programmes have access to a reliable and affordable grid infrastructure.

We are doing our best. We have the wherewithal for this. Budget funds have been earmarked and the programmes have been prepared.

Of course, we associate our development primarily with cutting-edge domestic technologies, which we have incorporated into our programme and coordinated with the digital transformation. We are highlighting this transformation as an opportunity to move the operations of the grid system to a revolutionary level and to cut costs without increasing the tariffs.

We also say that the tariffs can be adjusted to below the inflation rate. Rosseti is a socially responsible company. We are aware of the real state of affairs and can find internal reserves. We know that we have them.

The source of information -

Condolences over the death of Zhores Alferov

Vladimir Putin expressed deep condolences over the death of Academician Zhores Alferov, a Nobel Prize winner in physics.

March 2, 2019 - 14:30

The President stressed the tremendous contribution made by the great Russian scientist to the progress of Russian and global science, his firm civic position and the role Zhores Alferov played in Russia’s public life.

The message of condolences reads, in part:

“The passing of Zhores Alferov is a huge, irreparable loss for Russian science, for the country to serving which he devoted his entire life.

Zhores Alferov was an outstanding scientist, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a Nobel Prize winner. A man of colossal creative and constructive energy, a great worker and enthusiast, he has made a unique contribution to the development of advanced scientific knowledge over years of fruitful work. He was always full of new ideas and plans. His intense research and public activity, a firm civic stance, and devotion to the ideals of justice and humanism have earned Zhores Alferov high and indisputable respect both in Russia and far beyond its borders.”

* * *

Academician Zhores Alferov died aged 88 in St Petersburg on March 2.

Zhores Alferov was a Soviet and Russian physicist, the 2000 Nobel Prize winner in physics for developing fast optoelectronic and microelectronic components made from semiconductor heterostructures. He is also a laureate of the Lenin Prize, the USSR State Prize, the State Prize of the Russian Federation; full cavalier of the Order For Services to the Fatherland; Foreign Associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences, Korean Academy of Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences; member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation since 1995.

The source of information -

Birthday greetings to Mikhail Gorbachev

Vladimir Putin extended his birthday greetings to Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the International Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies.

March 2, 2019 - 16:00

The message reads, in part,

“You are known both in our country and abroad as a respected statesman and public figure with tremendous professional and life experience.

It is gratifying that you have not moved to the sidelines, but are actively engaged in expert discussions on key issues of the international agenda and make a significant contribution to developing open substantive dialogue on crucial contemporary matters.”

The source of information -

Working meeting with Krasnoyarsk Territory Governor Alexander Uss

During his trip to Krasnoyarsk Territory, Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with the Governor, Alexander Uss.

March 2, 2019 - 16:15 - Krasnoyarsk

The Governor briefed the President on the socioeconomic situation in the region, in particular, on the prospects for developing the transport system. In addition, issues of hosting the Universiade were discussed.

Alexander Uss noted that hosting the Universiade is a momentous and ambitious event that is historic for Krasnoyarsk Territory. He also spoke of the Universiade’s cultural programme designed to showcase the faces of Siberia and the regions along the Yenisei River: Tyva, Khakassia, Evenkia and Taimyr. For example, the Universiade Park features a miniature presentation of everyday life in the northern territories and their exploration.

There was also a discussion of a comprehensive solution to the transport and environmental problem in Krasnoyarsk. According to the Governor, about half of the emissions in the city come from transport. In this regard it is necessary to continue the construction of the metro with two-thirds of its routes located underground under the city centre, while in other parts the metro lines will go up to the surface, where they will be continued by a high-speed tram. The Governor said that new technical solutions slashed the cost of digging the metro by 30–40 percent compared to traditional methods. If all the plans are implemented, the public transport problem in Krasnoyarsk will have been fully resolved by 2023.

The President stressed the need to join the metro, high-speed trams and commuter trains into a single network. In that case, all the elements would complement each other and operate effectively. The President also stressed that the city is developing and it is necessary to future-proof the system and allow for its growth.

The source of information -

Winter Universiade Opening Ceremony

Vladimir Putin attended the Opening Ceremony of the XXIX Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk. The ceremony was held at the Platinum Arena Krasnoyarsk.

March 2, 2019 - 18:45 - Krasnoyarsk

The XXIX Winter Universiade will be held on March 2–12. For the first time in history, the games will be held in Russia. Overall, 76 medal sets in 11 sports will be awarded. The preliminary competitions started on Friday with the first medals to be awarded on March 3.

Ski orienteering and bandy will be presented at the Universiade for the first time ever. Also, biathlon, alpine skiing, curling, cross country skiing, figure skating, freestyle, ice hockey, and short track speed skating competitions are on the programme.

Prior to the opening ceremony, the President met with members of the Executive Committee of the International University Sport Federation (FISU).

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good evening, friends. Welcome to Russia.

Today, the international festival of university sport, a festival of youth and friendship, determined and honest competing has come to Krasnoyarsk, to the banks of our great Siberian river Yenisei.

Thousands of athletes from dozens of countries will showcase their prowess, power, speed, stamina and, of course, their will to win, strong character and respect for their opponents. I am confident that each of you will remember these days for the rest of your lives, that they will give you only the most joyful impressions and will become a bright page in the history of international sport.

This is what the Summer Universiade in Kazan, the Sochi Olympics and the FIFA World Cup turned out to be, all the major athletic forums hosted by Russia at the highest possible level.

We always welcome our guests open-heartedly with traditional Russian hospitality. And we are sincerely grateful to you – athletes, coaches and federations – for your shared commitment to the ideals of sport, for your readiness to follow its best traditions.

I congratulate everyone on the start of the competitions and wish you success, convincing, remarkable and spectacular victories.

I declare the XXIX Winter Universiade open.

The source of information -

Meeting with athletes of 2019 Winter Universiade

Vladimir Putin visited the Universiade village and met with members of the Russian national team.

March 3, 2019 - 09:00 - Krasnoyarsk

During the discussion, the President highlighted the unprecedented massive scale of the 2019 Winter Universiade that kicked off in Krasnoyarsk and the importance of the development of sport in the regions.

Before the meeting with athletes the President visited the Universiade’s operational centre located in Siberian Federal University.

Images from the Universiade village and competition venues are displayed on the screens in the centre. Representatives of different agencies can monitor the incoming information in real time.

Russia is hosting the Winter Universiade for the first time. A total of 76 sets of medals in 11 sports will be awarded. The XXIX Games kicked off on March 2 and will end on March 12.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

I congratulate all of you on the start of the Universiade! I hope it will be successful for you.

Well, actually things are off to a good start: I believe we have already won a gold medal. I will watch our guys compete [The President will attend men’s skiing competitions].

I hope you like it here. We tried to create good conditions so that you could rest and train and, of course, attain maximum results.

I would really want sport to develop in the regions as well. You are from different regions. You, where are you from?


From Yaroslavl.

Vladimir Putin:

And you?


St Petersburg.

Vladimir Putin:

A good programme has been launched on Match TV channel [new specialized channel – Match! Strana]. Information from different regions will be aired about what is being done for the development of sport at the regional level.

The Universiade will definitely break the record in terms of massive participation. We spoke with Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov: it is on par with the number of participants of the Winter Olympic Games – three thousand participants.

It is an entire army; 58 countries – a very big delegation, that is why the winning at this Universiade will be very prestigious.

And I am counting on this being the beginning of your competitive career, and that you will further attain impressive results and victories that you and all of us will be proud of.

Good luck to you!

The source of information -

Attending skiing competitions

Vladimir Putin visited a stadium where the men’s 10 km individual skiing race was held.

March 3, 2019 - 09:35 - Krasnoyarsk

The President watched the competitions and then presented the awards to the winners; Russian athletes won first place.

Earlier that day, the President visited the Universiade’s main operational centre to see how it operates and met with members of the Russian national team.

The source of information -
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
Old March 10th, 2019 #16
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Executive Order suspending Russia’s compliance with the USSR-US INF Treaty

Vladimir Putin signed Executive Order On Suspending the Russian Federation Compliance with the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (the INF Treaty).

March 4, 2019 - 16:50

Text of the Executive Order:

Proceeding from the need to take urgent measures in connection with the violation by the United States of America of its commitments under the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles of December 8, 1987, I hereby resolve:

1. In accordance with Item 4 of Article 37 of the Federal Law No. 101-FZ dated July 15, 1995, On International Treaties of the Russian Federation, to suspend the implementation of the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles of December 8, 1987, until the United States of America rectifies its violations of the said Treaty or until it expires.

2. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation is to send the signatory states of the Treaty referred to in Item 1 hereof a notice on the suspension of its implementation.

3. This Executive Order enters into force on the day of its signing.

The source of information -

Meeting with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay

Vladimir Putin received UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay in the Kremlin to discuss prospects for cooperation between Russia and UNESCO.

March 6, 2019 - 16:15 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Madam Director-General, colleagues, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to Moscow.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of Russia's UNESCO membership. I am aware that a number of events have been planned in this regard. This is your second visit to Russia as the Director-General of UNESCO, but this time it will last three days, and tomorrow you are going to Tatarstan, one of Russia’s regions.

For our part, we have always been supportive of the organisation, and we plan to remain so in the future. We are always at your disposal. At the same time, we are counting on your help and support, including methodological support, as we strive to implement our national plans and plans for Russia-UNESCO cooperation.

It is a great pleasure to have you here. Welcome.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay:

(in Russian) Thank you for the reception in Russia. I am very happy to see you.

(Retranslated) I am very happy to be in Russia once again. I am glad that this visit is taking place at what is a critical time for UNESCO in my opinion.

First of all, allow me to express gratitude to you for the key role that Russia has been playing in UNESCO’s activities for 65 years now. It continues to play a meaningful role today as well.

I would also like to say that, at a time when international relations are occasionally tense, UNESCO offers an extremely constructive and useful platform for the cooperation of states that are capable of engaging in open dialogue with a view to reaching our goals in education, science, communication and culture. All this is being done to achieve peace and harmony between countries.

Since I assumed office a little more than a year ago, we have been trying to focus UNESCO’s activities on these three areas – education, science and culture – in order to reduce the political tensions that sometimes mar UNESCO’s efforts and image. I hope to be able to move in this direction, modernising our organisation, launching new initiatives and organising our activities in accordance with our mandate with the support of UNESCO member-countries, including Russia.

The source of information -

Talks with President of South Ossetia Anatoly Bibilov

Talks between Vladimir Putin and President of the Republic of South Ossetia Anatoly Bibilov took place in the Kremlin. Anatoly Bibilov is in Russia on a working visit.

March 6, 2019 - 18:20 - The Kremlin, Moscow

The leaders discussed the current state of bilateral cooperation and prospects for its development, primarily in the socioeconomic sphere.

President Vladimir Putin:

Mr Bibilov, I believe there is no need to speak about the special character of relations between Russia and South Ossetia.

We are strategic partners in the full sense of the word. We do everything we can to support the socioeconomic development and security of South Ossetia. There is no doubt that we will continue this work in the same spirit.

I know that you will have a parliamentary election in June, and I am sure that you will do everything you can to make sure the election is held in accordance with the law and on a democratic basis. We, on our part, will send observers to the parliamentary election in South Ossetia, as we have agreed.

It is gratifying to note that Russia remains your leading trade and economic partner. We have an investment programme and a number of other programmes aimed at supporting South Ossetia.

I am glad to have the opportunity to discuss all this with you today.

President of South Ossetia Anatoly Bibilov:

Thank you very much, Mr President.

First of all, I would certainly like to thank you for the opportunity to visit Moscow and meet with you.

It is very important for South Ossetia that our leaders meet at the highest level, which is traditional already. This gives us confidence that the development of South Ossetia and the strategic partnership between South Ossetia and Russia remain at a high level.

As for the general state of things, I can note with satisfaction that the agreement, which we signed in 2015, and additional agreements to that major one are being carried out very effectively.

There is the programme that you have just mentioned. Undoubtedly, it has a significant impact on the development of South Ossetia’s economy and infrastructure, and it has major social significance. We offer our sincere gratitude for all this to you and to our colleagues from the Russian Federation who are directly in charge of this.

Once again, I would like to take the opportunity to express gratitude on behalf of the people of South Ossetia and myself.

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Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
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Meeting with Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina

Elvira Nabiullina updated the President on the current activities of the Central Bank.

March 4, 2019 - 13:45 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Ms Nabiullina, good afternoon!

The Address to the Federal Assembly included topics related in one way or another to the work, activities, and tasks that the Central Bank carries out. I would like to hear your opinion on this.

Governor of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina:

Yes, indeed, several key tasks relate directly to the Central Bank’s activities. First of all, in the macroeconomic policy, you set the task to return inflation to the target level. Allow me to remind you that we have a target of 4 percent, but it is clear that inflation fluctuates around that level – from slightly above to slightly below. For a while, it was lower than 4 percent. Last year it was slightly higher, 4.3 percent. This year, due to temporary factors, even one-off factors, it has risen to about 5 percent, but we can see that the adjustment of prices to the higher VAT is quite moderate. Of course, we will not see the full picture until April.

Nevertheless, we assume that by the middle of the year, inflation in quarterly terms will be 4 percent. The statistical effect of high prices will persist, but in general, it will be close to 4 percent by the middle of the year, and we hope, expect and are implementing policies to bring it close to 4 percent next year.

Vladimir Putin:

You and I expected this when we talked at the end of last year, discussing measures related to the implementation of the plans for national projects, when the decision on raising the VAT was made. It was unavoidable, and we talked about it too. As I said in the Address, the only thing that matters is to continue implementing those plans to stabilise the situation that you have spoken about.

Elvira Nabiullina:

This is really important, since lower inflation entails a gradual reduction in interest rates. This is important in terms of the second objective, which is to promote mortgage lending.

Vladimir Putin:

This includes mortgage lending, as well as reviving manufacturing in general.

Elvira Nabiullina:

This past year was quite good for the mortgage segment. New mortgages increased by 50 percent, totalling 3 trillion rubles, up from 2 trillion in 2017. Of course, interest rates inched up just a little bit in the last month of the year. We are now monitoring the situation and expect it to stabilise, to say the least.

It is essential that the new programme, which is in fact an extension of the programme designed to help young families to take out mortgages, will support mortgage lending. Of course, it is important that a tool will be created, and we are working on amending laws in order to introduce mortgage payment holidays. We are aware of the fact that many people hesitate when it comes to taking out a mortgage. Taking out a loan for 10, 15 or 20 years is always a huge responsibility. People are afraid that they could lose their job or lose income.

So if we create a legal framework enabling people to take a mortgage payment holiday once over the repayment period, I think this would make people more confident when taking out mortgages. In this regard, we do not expect banks to incur any losses, since for them the total amount of the loan remains unchanged. All they would do is provide a six-month payment holiday. I think this could make mortgages more attractive as a product, as is the case in many countries.

Vladimir Putin:

Russia had something of this kind. For example, this approach is currently used in Tatarstan, and the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending used it in the past.

Elvira Nabiullina:

Yes, but what they did was loan restructuring, which meant changing interest rates. This time the interest rates would remain unchanged, so when a person is out of a job (usually it takes people five to nine months to find a new job), in some cases payments can be covered by insurance. However, it turns out that insurers require that people register with an employment office. But not all people register as unemployed. They have other ways of finding a job. So this is also possible.

Here is one more thing. You set the goal to develop (we will do so with the banks) a product for individual housing construction, because there is also a lot of potential, and the banks can do their fair share.

Bringing things to order on the microloan market is another matter that needs our attention.

Vladimir Putin:

I am aware that the Central Bank does not really want to do this.

Elvira Nabiullina:

No, we are working on it. We are bringing things to order. Five years ago, we had 4,500 microloan organisations, and now their number is down to 2,000. We have tightened our requirements to them.

Of course, microloan organisations should not engage in usury and take advantage of the fact that people with low incomes go and take out loans at high interest rates. It was decided to gradually reduce the maximum amount of debt that a person is allowed to have. At a certain point, individuals were allowed to have four debts, then recently, this number was reduced to three. Since January 2019, it is down to 2.5, and in July it will be reduced to two and from January 2020, 1.5. In other words, it reduces the flat-out amount of debt that a person can have with microfinance organisations.

Vladimir Putin:

Reduces risks.

Elvira Nabiullina:

Illegal lenders. which are not registered with the Central Bank and which we do not regulate, is something that we are really struggling with. They run illegal ads.

We believe that access to the websites that advertise illegal activities of these sham microfinance operations should be blocked, and their responsibility should be increased, by measures such as making it illegal for all microfinance organisations, including legitimate ones, to pass loans down to illegal collection agencies. There are unregistered collectors who buy up loans and then harass debtors. Here, we can restore order only with the help of the Prosecutor General’s Office; we are working with them to identify such illegal lenders.

Vladimir Putin:

What are your proposals with regard to increasing responsibility?

Elvira Nabiullina:

Two options are being discussed: to increase administrative responsibility, since the fines are very low, or even introduce criminal liability.

Vladimir Putin:

I would like you and the Prosecutor General’s Office to submit both options to me.

Elvira Nabiullina:

Will do.

I would like to say a few words about the banking system. It is functioning steadily, and the volume of loans has been growing in the first months of 2019. If we leave currency revaluation off the table, since our currency rate is fluctuating, loans to the economy are up 1 percent for the month. Loans to individuals have been growing faster, at 1.3 percent.

Vladimir Putin:

Last year was the same.

Elvira Nabiullina:


Loans to legal entities are also on the rise at 0.8 percent. In general, the banking system has enough capital and revenue to continue to finance the economy.

We are gradually fine-tuning regulations to encourage the banks to lend more to industrial enterprises, including project financing.

The banking system is facing a challenge with switching to a new principle of lending to the construction business. We have changed our regulations and it is now important for the developers to bring their projects to the banks, not to drag their feet, in order to start building a new practice of relations between banks and construction companies.

Vladimir Putin:

Good. Thank you.

The source of information -

Meeting with VTB Bank Chairman and CEO Andrei Kostin

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with President and Chairman of the VTB Bank Management Board Andrei Kostin to discuss the bank’s performance last year, mortgage lending and housing construction financing.

March 5, 2019 - 14:05 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Kostin, I would like you to start with the bank’s performance last year. And then we will talk about the issues I consider very important, which I raised in my annual Address to the Federal Assembly.

Let us begin with your performance results.

President and Chairman of VTB Bank Management Board Andrei Kostin:

Mr President,

The year 2018 was quite successful for the VTB Group. Our net profits calculated under Russian Accounting Standards increased by 130 percent to 231 billion rubles. According to International Financial Reporting Standards, they grew by 50 percent to 180 billion rubles.

Both figures are record high for the bank; they show that the financial market is quite stable and there are good conditions for banking.

Our corporate loans portfolio increased by 15 percent over the year and reached 8.4 trillion rubles. SME loans were growing especially rapidly; the growth was 20 percent.

Overall, our performance last year was satisfactory. We hope to keep up this positive trend this year.

Vladimir Putin:

One of the issues I focused on in the Address, which I would like to discuss with you, is mortgage lending.

Andrei Kostin:

Mr President, we are highlighting mortgage lending, as per your May 2018 Executive Order and your Address to the Federal Assembly.

I told you a year ago, in February 2018, that our mortgage portfolio equalled 1 trillion rubles. Since then it has reached 1.4 trillion rubles.

We issued 300,000 mortgage loans last year and plan to issue 425,000 loans worth a total of 1 trillion rubles this year.

We realise that the task you have set is to lend mortgages at the lowest possible interest rates. We currently keep the rate at around 10 percent, and we think that the economic situation in the second half of the year will allow us to lower the mortgage rate.

We are working on achieving the goal you have set for the medium term, a 9 and 8 percent interest rate.

Vladimir Putin:

The reduced interest rate should be 6 percent for families with two and more children, with the government subsidising the rest.

The task for your bank and the other financial institutions is to issue loans at a net interest rate of 6 percent, without advancing any conditions or forcing any additional services on the borrowers. This is essential.

After all, it does not matter to the people who offers them the incentives. If they have to pay more, they do not care about who made the decision.

Andrei Kostin:

Mr President, I see what you mean. I will personally supervise this aspect. You are absolutely right. Of course, we must focus our attention on families with many children and low incomes.

Vladimir Putin:

Please do. I will also discuss this matter with the Central Bank so that they also monitor the financial institutions’ activity in this sphere.

And lastly, one more question, the financing of housing construction. We are holding discussions on this issue in the context of transitioning to a new system of operation in this sphere. What can you say about this?

Andrei Kostin:

Mr President, it is a very important question. We must preclude the negative effects on housing equity holders, which is why we are closely monitoring this aspect.

We believe that our construction loans portfolio, which now equals 300 billion rubles, will increase by at least 150 percent within three years.

We plan to open some 25,000 escrow accounts this year. We are aware of the banks’ responsibility in this connection, which is why we are doing all we can and also offer financing towards this end.

In particular, we have invested around 1 billion rubles in infrastructure. We are hiring additional personnel to ensure proper control of this system.

I believe that we will fulfil this task and that we will be able to provide the necessary financing for developers starting July 1, when the law comes into effect, so as to keep up the construction process.

Vladimir Putin:

How many such accounts should your bank open in the next few years?

Andrei Kostin:

The target this year is 25,000 escrow accounts. I believe the figure will grow several-fold in the next few years.

The source of information -

Federal Security Service Board meeting

The President took part in the annual expanded Board meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB).

March 6, 2019 - 14:10 - Moscow

The meeting was held to discuss the Service’s performance in 2018 and priorities for 2019.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, comrades.

We have met today for the annual expanded meeting of the FSB Board to discuss the Service’s performance last year and outline its priorities for the immediate future and the medium term.

First of all, I would like to say that FSB personnel fulfilled its tasks effectively last year. For example, much has been done in the field of counterterrorism, including efforts to ensure safety at major public events. Of course, we are grateful to you for ensuring safety at the FIFA World Cup. I know that the FSB actually supervised the event’s headquarters, so that it operated at the top level; this work has brought good results. The Service also supervised elections at different levels, which was hard work as well.

I understand very well that your daily activities imply serious efforts. Your work is very demanding, given the nature of external and domestic challenges and security threats to Russia.

For example, tensions persist in the Middle East and several other parts of the world. Why am I saying this now? Because all this has its impact on us. The existing pockets of violence and instability provide conditions for terrorist activities, including in Russia, I regret to say.

I would also like to say that NATO continues to expand its infrastructure in close proximity to Russian borders, and the US decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty is a direct step towards eroding the system of international security agreements. This is certainly changing the operational situation, and regrettably, not for the better.

Therefore, I expect the staff of the central office, territorial divisions and special units of the FSB to act professionally and in a concerted manner to attain their goals promptly and efficiently. First of all, they must continue their consistent and uncompromising fight against terrorism.

I must note that the number of crimes related to terrorism has been decreasing in recent years; the Director will certainly mention this in his remarks. In general, over ten years, this figure has declined dramatically, from 997 to 9 last year. At the same time, please note that the number of prevented terrorist attacks remains high – about 20 a year. This level has been maintained for the last three years. We all know how sensitive and important this is; each strike that has not been averted costs lives.

So what does this reduction in the scope of the terrorist threat mean? First of all, it shows the results of our preventive operations, of our actions to disrupt the plans of terrorist networks and groups. Yet, at the same time, these figures suggest that terrorists still have the potential to prepare attacks. Moreover, as the situation shows, both in our country and elsewhere, both organised groups and single brainwashed fanatics may be behind these crimes.

It is necessary to use new forms and methods of countering such threats, step up preventive work to identify the recruiters and accomplices of terrorists, block the supply of weapons and money, and curb extremist propaganda online. The leadership of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee should keep these issues under constant review.

And of course, it is necessary to develop cooperation and coordinate efforts with our foreign colleagues, mainly in the CSTO and SCO, and with our colleagues in other countries. In this regard, I would like to stress once again, no matter how our current relations with certain countries evolve, Russia will always be open to the closest and most trust-based work in the fight against international terrorism, this common challenge for all of humanity.

Furthermore, our counterintelligence agencies operated efficiently and aggressively last year. They conducted successful special operations to cut short the activities of 129 career officers and 465 agents of foreign intelligence services. We see that foreign special services have been trying to increase their Russia operations, doing their utmost to gain access to political, economic, scientific and technological information. This means that you must work even better to counter these activities. We see that, just like in the past, comparable or even stronger efforts are being taken to influence developments in Russia. Therefore, our countermeasures must be effective, daily and based on modern solutions.

This especially concerns the protection of information on the design, testing and manufacturing of advanced Russian weapons systems, as well as advanced military and dual-use technology. Control in this sphere must be very strict and thorough. However, I would to draw your attention, colleagues, to the other side of this matter: this control must also be sensible, or smart, so to speak.

No artificial obstacles and barriers must be created to the use of the powerful potential created in the defence sector for civilian purposes and for development. We must not repeat past mistakes when a great many advanced designs gathered dust for years because of the formally understood security procedures. Overall, we must be flexible and look closely at realities, not formal procedures.

Colleagues, one of your key priorities is to ensure our economic security and to combat corruption. The security services have initiated criminal proceedings in 405 corruption cases, and other law enforcement agencies have initiated some 7,000 corruption cases based on the material provided by the FSB. We must work actively to expose criminal schemes damaging the state and business, and cut short any abuses on the financial markets that are damaging the national economy.

At the same time, we must promptly react to infringements on the rights of entrepreneurs by some members of law enforcement, regulatory and supervision agencies. As you know, I spoke in detail about this in my Address to the Federal Assembly and at a recent Interior Ministry Board meeting. I hope that you will use the opportunities available to you to contribute to the achievement of a vital goal – the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of entrepreneurs, as well as all citizens of Russia.

I would expect you to take more proactive measures against corruption. The huge resources that the country is allotting for its development and the state defence order must be protected. I ask you to coordinate this work with specialists of the Civic Chamber, the Federal Financial Monitoring Service and other agencies.

Furthermore, it is important to enhance the security of national information resources, primarily, by promptly countering cyberattacks against government bodies, state corporations, communications providers and large companies, and to ensure the failsafe operation of confidential communications systems.

I would like to note that in the past three years coordinated cyberattacks, that is, attacks consisting of several linked actions, have become more frequent. Thus, while in 2014–2015 a little more than 1,500 cyberattacks were recorded a year, which is also quite a lot, but in 2016 their number reached 12,000, about 12,500 in 2017 and as many as 17,000 last year. In effect, these are well-planned large-scale operations that can deal a heavy blow at our national interests.

We must be ready for the continuation of this cyber offensive against Russia and the growth of related threats. In this context, it is important to take prompt additional measures to protect critical information infrastructure and to develop a state system of detecting, warning, and eliminating the effects of computer attacks.

The FSB Border Service is facing serious tasks. Under the State Border programme (which is valid until 2021), 14 new border complexes were put into operation in the past few years. They include 80 engineering structures, checkpoints and coastal guard facilities. It is necessary to continue upgrading the infrastructure of border sections and speed up their re-equipment with modern technology.

Colleagues, I am confident that FSB employees will continue solving their tasks professionally, reliably guarding Russia’s national interests and supporting our citizens in ensuring their security and lawful rights and freedoms.

I would like to thank you for your work last year once again and wish you success. Thank you for your attention.

The source of information -

Meeting with permanent members of Security Council

Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting with permanent members of the Security Council.

March 7, 2019 - 11:15 - The Kremlin, Moscow

The participants discussed the increased intensity of foreign military and intelligence activities along Russia’s border.

Another issue on the agenda concerned Syria, primarily the situation in the Rukban refugee camp.

The participants also discussed current socioeconomic development matters.

They offered their best wishes to Valentina Matviyenko on International Women’s Day.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin and Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov.

The source of information -

Visit to 1st Operational Regiment of Moscow police

Vladimir Putin visited the 1st Operational Police Regiment of the Interior Ministry Main Department for Moscow at the invitation of female mounted and tourist police officers ahead of International Women’s Day.

March 7, 2019 - 16:15 - Moscow

The President was informed about the history, equipment, performance and duties of the mounted and tourist police.

After that Vladimir Putin watched an equestrian show, met a retired police lieutenant colonel, Great Patriotic War veteran Oraz Mamraliyev and talked to the women serving in the regiment.

The President extended his greetings to the female police officers on International Women's Day and noted that the unit in which they serve is unique. There are more than 800 officers in the regiment, one-third of them women.

Vladimir Putin presented an Orlov Trotter to the regiment. They reciprocated by giving the President a horseshoe for luck.

The 1st Operational Regiment was established to maintain order and public safety during major events and to patrol the city’s park belt on horseback, and also as a rapid deployment unit to deal with violations of public order by groups of people. The regiment comprises the 1st and 2nd Mounted Police Battalions and the 3rd Tourist Police Battalion.

The source of information -

Greetings to Russian women on International Women’s Day

March 8, 2019 - 09:00 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Dear women of Russia,

My best greetings on International Women’s Day. This spring day is always full of flowers and gifts, lit up with the joy of our women and your shining smiles. Today all men hurry to express to you their admiration and respect, confess their warmest feelings, say heartfelt thank you to their wives, mothers, grandmothers, daughters and colleagues. We know that your spiritual generosity is truly boundless. Yes, you are endowed with it by nature. But you, dear women, magnify that endowment immensely by your attitude to the people close to you and to your work.

You are reliable workers and responsible leaders, you can see the most minute nuances, professionally and creatively deal with any matter.

It is hard to imagine our history, the progress of our country without the creative contribution of the great women of Russia. In our age you can conquer the highest professional heights.

Reaching success is in the nature of our women. You manage to do everything, both at work and at home. And you remain beautiful, brilliant, charming, the centre of gravity inside the family that knows how to inspire and support, warm and comfort. It is your fate to walk the whole path of creating a new life – giving birth to a child. This great happiness of motherhood, raising children transforms the world, fills it with kindness, tenderness and mercy, reaffirms the traditional values that have always been Russia’s strength.

Our parents are dear to us at any age. But we have special feelings to our mothers: we are grateful to them for their care and unconditional love, for understanding and forgiving us. Many years later we still remember their lessons and instructions, their kind eyes and hands. We are always indebted to you. It concerns each and every one of us, as well as the state as a whole, which is yet to do a lot – primarily for those who give all their efforts to raising children.

Dear women,

We, men, must say frankly that it is not always easy for us to be worthy of you. But we will be striving for that and do everything for the women to feel our strong reliable shoulder, to feel that we always appreciate and love you, and not just on holidays.

Once again my greetings to all women on International Women’s Day. I wish you health and happiness.

The source of information -

Greetings to the Russian athletic delegation participating in the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to the Russian athletic delegation participating in the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

March 8, 2019 - 12:48

The message reads, in part:

“Throughout their history the Special Olympics World Games have gained broad public support and at present are rightly believed to be a significant international athletic forum. They bring together participants from many countries and offer them an excellent opportunity to perform in different sport disciplines to reaffirm that a tremendous creative potential exists in every person.

And of course, words of special gratitude are addressed to your coaches and instructors, all those who sincerely wish you success and support you during important competitions.”

The Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Abu-Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on March 8–22, 2019.

Over 7,000 athletes from 190 countries will take part in the games.

The source of information -

Condolences over the death of National Artist of the USSR Vladimir Etush

Vladimir Putin expressed deep condolences to the family and friends of Vladimir Etush over the actor's death.

March 9, 2019 - 15:30

The message reads, in part:

“Vladimir Etush, a war veteran who volunteered to the front and a courageous and honest man, has passed away.

He was a true national artist and a real legend of the renowned Vakhtangov theatre school. He was known and loved by millions of people for his dedication to his calling and his impressive performances on stage and on screen, and for his ever youthful spirit and abundant talent.“

Vladimir Etush passed away in Moscow on March 9 at the age of 96.

The source of information -
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Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
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Condolences to Ethiopia’s President and Prime Minister over crash of passenger aircraft

Vladimir Putin sent a message of condolences to President of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde and Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed in connection with the crash of a passenger aircraft outside Addis Ababa.

March 10, 2019 - 14:15

The Russian President’s message reads, in part:

“Please accept my heartfelt condolences in connection with the death of the passengers and crew of the airplane that crashed on takeoff from Addis Ababa airport. I ask that you to pass on words of sympathy and support to the victims’ friends and families. Let them stay courageous in this mournful hour.”

The Ethiopian Airlines plane was en route from the country’s capital Addis Ababa to the capital of Kenya Nairobi. 157 people died.

The source of information -

Condolences to Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern

Vladimir Putin sent Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern a message of condolences in the wake of the tragic terrorist attack in Christchurch.

March 15, 2019 - 11:00

“This attack on civilians who gathered for prayer is shocking in its violence and cynicism. I hope that every person involved in this crime will sustain a well-deserved punishment,” the message says.

Vladimir Putin stressed that Russians share the grief of those who lost their loved ones and hope for a speedy recovery of those who were injured.

The source of information -


Meeting with Head of Federal Service for Financial Monitoring Yury Chikhanchin

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with the Head of the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring Yury Chikhanchin to discuss the agency’s current activities.

March 11, 2019 - 13:40 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Chikhanchin, the FATF [Group for developing financial measures to combat money laundering] Commission is starting its work in Moscow. How do you plan to organise their work and what results do you expect?

Head of the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring Yury Chikhanchin:

Indeed, the FATF commission is starting its work here. As per your instruction, we created a large inter-agency commission involving representatives of ministries and other government bodies, as well as the Central Bank. We are prepared. I would like to speak about some of the results that we have achieved.

Vladimir Putin:

Please, go ahead.

Yury Chikhanchin:

The main work is based on the national risk assessment, which you approved for the most important areas, such as the credit and financial sector. This includes corruption, illegal drug trafficking, budgetary funds, terrorism and international risks.

What have we managed to get done? We conducted training for Russian experts. Some 2,000 law enforcement representatives attended our programme at our international training centre, as well as some 500 representatives of government bodies, 2,000 representatives from the credit and financial sector and some 500 people from the regulatory and supervisory authorities.

What else? Over this time, during the inspection period (from 2015 to the present), we have amended about 140 laws and regulations, such as intra-agency acts and bylaws. We have actually brought them up to the required standards. Of particular interest for the FATF commission is our work to find beneficiaries, the actual owners of the businesses: does the country know how to find them?

As a result, we have succeeded in improving our performance indicators by a significant margin. In particular, I am referring to the legalisation of illegal incomes and their transfer to state income. It is shown on the graph.

We have increased the number of business entities that fall within our monitoring zone to more than two million.

Vladimir Putin:

I believe the revenue returned to the state has increased sixfold since 2013, hasn’t it?

Yury Chikhanchin:

Yes, precisely, due to the legalisation. It used to be highly problematic, initially, and there were other predicate crimes…

The number of economic entities in our monitoring zone has increased. At the same time, their involvement in suspicious operations has reduced, that is, businesses are becoming increasingly law-abiding.

I would like to note, concerning your order to crack down on fly-by-night firms, the graph here shows that, working together with the tax authorities and law enforcement agencies, we have achieved a reduction to 500,000 a year. That is, we are mopping up the tax service’s database. It is very important.

There is also greater compliance with law among financial institutions involved in the anti-money laundering system. Today we can say that about 80 percent of financial organisations are adequately meeting the legal requirements. And, accordingly, the number of financial organisations that report on operations subject to mandatory control – as required by law – is growing.

In 2018 alone, we successfully shut down 27 shadow platforms in a joint effort with the FSB, the Interior Ministry and the Central Bank. The total amount of shadow money was about 245 billion rubles.

Now, what do I have to say about shady transactions? This is one of the main elements. Here we are working jointly with the Central Bank, and the drop in the number of such transactions is clearly visible.

I would like to say that the number of transactions via technical intermediaries has also decreased, I mean firms that do nothing except transfer money. That is, mopping-up has led to specific results.

At the same time, I would like to note that shadow cash circulation still exists, but it is now shifting from the banking sector to other industries, in particular, to commerce.

Major stores sell goods for cash, and then begin to sell it quietly, without collecting. Now we are working with the Central Bank and law enforcement agencies in this area.

This is a big problem, and one of your instructions is to deal with it. The banking sector has shrunk significantly…

Vladimir Putin:

It is not the banking sector that has shrunk, but its use.

Yury Chikhanchin:

Yes, I mean its use, sorry. The use of the banking sector.

Unfortunately, a number of industries remain the main consumers of the shadow sector – primarily the construction sector, and here we have one of the most serious issues.

One thing I would like to note, pursuant to your instructions on the rehabilitation of clients who have been denied the opportunity of opening a bank account or conducting operations, we have achieved a sharp decline here. I would like to say that in fact, we have forced the banks to take action and consider the complaints themselves.

Here are the figures for this year alone – the banks have considered about 3,000 complaints. On the whole, there has been speedy consideration of the complaints submitted to the specially created commission, which includes representatives of the Central Bank and Rosfinmonitoring [Federal Financial Monitoring Service]. This year, 70 such complaints were received. Half of the decisions were made in favour of the banks, the other half, in favour of the clients.

I would like to spend a moment discussing government contracts. We are continuing work in this area, and the total value of contracts which we are monitoring, as you can see, is almost 7 trillion rubles. The total number is about 3.6 million contracts. That is, the growth is significant.

It must be said that the banking monitoring, which we have put in place, makes it possible to keep a lid on the participation of sham businesses. The dynamics are fairly good here as well.

Vladimir Putin:

“Funds transferred to offshore accounts” – is that about revenue or some kind of machinations?

Yury Chikhanchin:

To a greater extent, this represents machinations and an attempt to wire to offshore accounts money disguised as something else. In other words, it is about games and temporarily withdrawing funds from circulation, that is, tax avoidance. But the decline is fairly strong.

Vladimir Putin:

Yes, half of what it was in 2016.

Yury Chikhanchin:

I would also like to discuss the state defence order. The situation has changed as well. First, the number of organisations that we are now monitoring has increased. Here, too, we have managed to cut down the number of sham businesses involved in the state defence order activities.

Vladimir Putin:

Almost by a quarter, but there is still a lot.

Yury Chikhanchin:

We are working on it, Mr. President. The work is underway. I think that the fact that we are now transferring defence orders to Promsvyazbank and leaving other banks (we are working very closely with this bank and have regular meetings with Pyotr Fradkov) will allow us to return, little by little …

About a third of all defence orders have already been transferred to Promsvyazbank. I do not want to give you an incorrect number, but I believe that about 9,000 clients have already moved to Promsvyazbank.

True, there are certain problems, and we are working to resolve them. Some of the new clients that have transferred to Promsvyazbank are high-risk customers in two respects: firstly, the contracts that they execute as part of the state defence order are associated with risk and, secondly, these are the non-contractual activities which we discussed in May. We are now sorting things out with each client in order to identify ways to improve these enterprises.

Vladimir Putin:

The state defence order contractors who may be involved in suspicious operations deserve, of course, special attention.

Yury Chikhanchin:

We have just assigned a group of people who are working with Promsvyazbank’s compliance control, training them so they can work efficiently and resolve these issues.

If we look at the results of our activities in general – I will not give details on each, but I can say that in 2018 alone, our service, working jointly with the law enforcement agencies, has saved around 90 billion rubles and returned about 20 billion to the state. We consider them separately by area.

I would like to thank you very much for supporting the continued operation of the interdepartmental working group on countering illegal financial transactions led by Mr Vaino [Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office].

We consider a lot of issues that are later translated into action; we have just held a meeting devoted to preparations for the visit of the FATF on-site mission to Russia.

I would like to say a few words, if I may, on our work in cooperation with the other departments.

Vladmir Putin:

Just a second. The “Funds subject to confiscation in civil cases” on this graph – that is quite a lot, I see, more than three billion. How quickly are decisions made by the courts?

Yury Chikhanchin:

Quickly enough.

If you look at confiscation, we have two levels here. One is actual confiscation, when there is a criminal act. But the so-called voluntary compensation mechanism is also well established.

That is, once we get involved, it becomes known either through a financial investigation or a criminal case, and the criminals – or not yet criminals, just offenders – return the money. The amount of funds returned is even slightly higher than the amount confiscated in criminal cases.

Here we are actively helping to find the assets. The most important thing is to find the assets and then confiscate. Now things are going a little better.

I would like to say a few more things. One concerns cooperation with the Prosecutor General’s Office. That has worked well when the shadow sector tried to snap up the notaries. This year alone, we were able to withdraw about two billion from the shadow sector. Overall, since that joint operation, suspicous transactions have decreased by a third. Now we are making legislative changes to streamline the powers of the notaries and their responsibility.

We did a good job with the Investigative Committee. There are two cases that I would like to share with you. One of them has to do with Promsvyazbank. We worked with 27 countries as we searched for the assets. We managed to locate these assets, to seize them and even to repatriate some of them. We seized about 7 billion worth of assets. Most importantly, we were able to prove that about $350 million were not just stolen, but legalised as well.

We are working with the Interior Ministry in many areas, primarily, lending and financial operations. I would like to say a few words about drug trafficking. We have worked with almost 10 countries to expose a major scheme. We are now working on it. It involves narcotic cocaine. In total, about 1,000 people were involved in this international plot.

We are working quite well with the Tax Service and the Federal Customs Service. That is, we are looking for VAT, charges, and return. The amounts are indicated.

We implemented a project on the fuel and energy complex in the North Caucasus totaling about 13 billion rubles.

Vladmir Putin:

Have this 13 billion been assessed?

Yury Chikhanchin:

Yes, and a portion of this amount has already been recovered.

With regard to the Supreme Court, I told you the last time we met that we continue to thwart the attempts to involve the courts in shadow schemes. In total, we have jointly managed to prevent about 130 billion being siphoned off into the shadow sector.

The FSB is also our key partner in countering terrorism, not to mention economic, lending and financial crimes. Of course, we are working to counter the financing of terrorism.

Several cases have been implemented, especially with regard to the cells that finance the ISIS component, that is, everyone who goes there. The mechanism for freezing the assets of those who come into our field of vision is working very well. It involves extrajudicial asset freezing.

I would like to say a few words about NGOs. Foreign funding continues to pour in, and not all of it is for good causes. We are tracking about 80 billion as we are trying to understand…

Vladimir Putin:

80 billion came from foreign sources?

Yury Chikhanchin:

Yes, from abroad. It came from foreign sources, including those that engage in activities associated with a certain degree of destructiveness.

We are working closely with the FSB on each of them. There are areas, industries that are the recipients of the bulk of such financing, such as the education system, that is, educational institutions and so on. There is an image here that shows which regions are most susceptible to receiving these funds.

I would like to say a few words about the work on your instructions on decriminalising Article 282. Its first part is about extremism, when we put people on our list of terrorists and extremists.

The article on decriminalisation entered into force on January 7. We removed about 60 names from the list of terrorists, revising our approach. Now we are continuing our work with the Prosecutor General’s Office and other law enforcement bodies.

I would also like to speak briefly about our international efforts. As of today, we have introduced our system of freezing the assets of terrorists on our list in 12 countries. In other words, we exchanged lists. We sent a list with about 1,500 names to Central Asian countries and France, to name a few.

Some of our projects have become international, for instance, a project on countering ISIS funding. Today, 40 countries have joined our project on an international scale.

Regarding typology on laundering corruption incomes, about 35 countries are taking part in this project.

One more topic that is making rapid headway – countering the funding of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We initiated this as well and are actively working within FATF.

In line with your instructions, we are cooperating with the Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Education on creating artificial intelligence to help prevent money laundering.

We have completed R&D and are starting on the design. We are actively working with our technical industrial partners, such as the VTB and Gazprom, and have already attained good results.

Vladimir Putin:

Have you already conducted tests?

Yury Chikhanchin:

Yes, we already see some approaches today. In short, there is a certain model of terrorist behaviour that has already been described and given to banks.

In the course of subsequent work on crime and financial inquiries, the machine itself makes selections and adds based on its attributes. It is working and adding on its own.

Our network institute is working. As of today, seven countries have already joined it. We have our own chairs, institutes and a common training programme, so our work is very intensive.

The source of information -

Meeting with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller

Chair of the Gazprom Management Board reported to the President on the company’s performance in 2018 and plans for 2019. The discussion also focused on connecting Russian regions to the gas supply network.

March 12, 2019 - 13:30 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Miller, let us begin with the results of the previous year. Do you have the final reports?

Gazprom Management Board Chairman Alexei Miller:

We have completed management accounting. In 2018, Gazprom produced 497.6 billion cubic metres of gas. This is 5.7 percent or 26.6 billion cubic metres more than in 2017.

At the same time, gas consumption in the domestic market increased. We supplied 12.8 billion cubic metres more gas than in 2017, which represents an increase of 5.5 percent. The supply to households and utility companies increased by 4.3 percent, to electric energy facilities by 9.5 percent, to agricultural chemicals facilities by 13 percent, and metal production by 18.5 percent. The volume of gas exports to far abroad has also grown. We set yet another record for gas exports, reaching 201.8 billion cubic metres, which is 3.8 percent or 7.4 billion cubic metres more than in 2017.

In particular, it should be emphasised that our main partner and client, Germany, significantly increased its gas consumption. Germany’s Russian gas consumption grew by 9.5 percent year-on-year meaning we supplied 58.5 billion cubic metres in 2018. This is more than the capacity of Nord Stream alone.

Without doubt, it should be noted that the upward trend in demand for Russian gas continues; therefore, in the medium term we expect that the volume of gas supplies to the European market will grow even more.

As of the end of 2018, the share of Russian pipeline gas in the European market stood at 36.7 percent.

Of course, one of Gazprom’s priorities is to ensure sufficient supplies for the autumn and winter period. By the beginning of that period, we had pumped 72.27 billion cubic metres of gas into underground storage facilities, which allowed us to safely withdraw 812.5 million cubic metres of gas every day, the largest volume ever. Overall, at the beginning of the reporting period, the company had increased the daily withdrawal of gas from underground storage facilities by 31 percent over the past eight years. We plan to withdraw 843.3 million cubic metres daily in the autumn and winter period of 2019–2020.

Last year we launched production at the Bovanenkovo field, our largest deposit in Yamal. Mr President, you know the specifications of this field very well. Its gas reserves amount to 4.9 trillion cubic meters. We plan to produce gas at the field until 2124. Production has reached the target of 115 billion cubic metres per year. In winter, we can produce 317 million cubic metres of gas a day at the field.

We have created new facilities to transport gas from the Yamal Peninsula. We have built the Ukhta-Torzhok 2 gas pipeline within the framework of the northern gas shipment corridor, which is becoming the leading facility for the delivery and distribution of gas to consumers in Russia and also for export.

Last year we completed two lines of the TurkStream underwater pipeline ahead of schedule. Construction was finished in November. One more major event was the launch of the LNG regasification terminal in Kaliningrad Region at the end of 2018.

Vladimir Putin:

How is work progressing on the Power of Siberia project?

Alexei Miller:

We are ahead of schedule. Gas deliveries to China from the Chayandinskoye field will begin on December 1. We will start exporting gas to China as soon as the field becomes operational. It will be a landmark event, for we will enter a huge gas market. Gas consumption in China increased by 17.5 percent last year. China is the fastest growing natural gas market in the world, offering huge opportunities to Russian gas producers.

This year, we will launch the Turkish Stream and its two branches will receive 31.5 billion cubic metres of gas. We plan to extend the Northern corridor of gas transportation facilities from Gryazovets to the Slavyanskaya compressor plant. This will allow for gas deliveries to Nord Stream 2 and to the consumers in Leningrad Region.

Vladimir Putin:

Tell me about progress in connecting Russian regions to gas supplies.

Alexei Miller:

Mr President, the gasification programme is being carried out in 66 Russian regions involving Gazprom as one party and local officials as the other party. As you know, Gazprom is responsible for gas delivery and the construction of facilities up to the boundaries of residential areas. The local officials are responsible for connecting their facilities to the gas network, constructing local networks and boiler houses and providing consumers with the necessary equipment.

By the end of 2018, more than 2,000 km of gas pipeline were built, which allowed 272 residential areas and 49,000 households to be connected to the gas distribution network. Some 210 boiler houses were built. As of January 1, 2019, the main gas network coverage indicator across the country was 68.6 percent (71.3 percent in cities and 59.4 percent in small towns). As you remember, when you instructed us to more actively implement the programme in rural areas, this indicator in rural areas was 25 percent lower. Without a doubt, there is a huge potential for increasing the rate of gasification. This, of course, primarily depends on local funding. Last year, Gazprom invested 36.7 billion rubles into the gasification programme. And, most importantly, we can increase the funding by 50 percent, even double it, but it is important to synchronise our efforts so that…

Vladimir Putin:

The regions could take over.

Alexei Miller:

Yes, so they could take over. Of course, we can see that the pipelines built by Gazprom are not operating 100 percent. There is no doubt that if the facilities built by Gazprom were supported by respective efforts on behalf of the regions, the level of gasification in the rural areas would already be 65 percent. That is, if the regions could increase their funding of the gasification programme, we could connect many more areas to the gas distribution network.

Vladimir Putin:

What is the expected growth of this indicator this year?

Alexei Miller:

One percent.

When we started the gasification programme, the rate was around 1.5 percent. Obviously, the cost per project increases because the areas we are dealing with are more and more remote. But every year brings different results. Sometimes we get 0.6 or 0.7 percent per year. In 2019, we expect it to be 1 percent.

Without a doubt we could increase the rate but, in any case, we can see that, within ten years at the most, we can reach the level of gasification that will allow us to say that this matter is completely resolved in Russia. Of course, we could shorten this period because we understand that, in any case, the pipeline gas will not be delivered to all the areas. Some places receive propane-butane or LNG – something that we call localised gasification. In this context, of course, the role of LNG, for example, and localised gasification is becoming more significant at this stage of the gasification programme in the country.

Vladimir Putin:

I have a request. Please prepare Gazprom’s proposals on how to increase the gasification rate in the country so that we could synchronise this work with both the Government and the local authorities.

The source of information -

Meeting with Kurchatov Institute National Research Centre Director Mikhail Kovalchuk

Mr Kovalchuk informed the President about the current activities of the research centre.

March 12, 2019 - 19:10 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Kovalchuk, it is well known that the Kurchatov Institute was founded in 1943, when our country faced major problems, the war was going on, but work on the atomic project had already begun. Later, the Kurchatov Institute was transformed into a multidisciplinary centre. We know that the first atomic reactor for peaceful purposes was created here at the Kurchatov Institute.

Director of the Kurchatov Institute National Research Centre Mikhail Kovalchuk:

Nuclear medicine, too.

Vladimir Putin:

Yes, nuclear medicine. Then, superconductivity in the atomic sphere, and magnetic confinement of plasma. In the 1980s, I believe, it was even, in fact, a centre for creating the domestic internet. What makes the Kurchatov Institute tick today?

Mikhail Kovalchuk:

Your attention, Mr President, if I may put it that way, because since 2007, when you held a meeting on nanotechnology, we have been working in all the classic areas related to the nuclear complex and created fundamentally new areas of research associated with nature-like technologies and the convergence of science and technology.

We have created an unparalleled NBICS centre [centre of nano- bio-, info-, cognitive and socio-humanistic sciences and technologies], a nature-like base, and we have accomplished quite a bit in genetics. We have made vast progress in megascience. You issued your first executive order to create a national research centre in 2008, which allowed us to accomplish the unthinkable, because following the dissolution of the Soviet Union the research environment broke down into clusters, everything collapsed and, in fact, our partners, so to speak, managed our institutions separately, hiring separate groups of people for each.

The creation of the NRC, which was home to our country's most powerful potential, primarily in the sphere of nuclear physics, made it possible to consolidate our efforts, and we became an integral part of the global and European landscape.

You know that under the scientific initiative that you supported, the world’s most powerful free-electron X-ray laser was launched in Hamburg a year ago, one-third of which is based on Russian ideas. In fact, we made 30 percent of the investment as well as a vast technological contribution. In fact, we own part of this installation.

Furthermore, we joined the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, we are CERN and ITER members, that is, we are full-scale participants, and the European landscape is inconceivable without us.

Vladimir Putin:

How is the project in Gatchina progressing?

Mikhail Kovalchuk:

Thanks to the meetings that you held in Dubna many years ago, megascience has expanded, and we are now back to where we were.

Four select projects were launched in Russia, and Gatchina is one of them. I already reported to you, and I will gladly say it again – you mentioned this in your Address – we completed the first phase of the energy launch of the world’s most powerful high-flux PIK reactor in Gatchina. That is the first thing. Today, we are moving forward according to plan, doing routine work and, by the end of the year, if everything goes well, we will achieve the planned parameters. Then, Russia will have one of the world’s most powerful neutron research facilities.

Second, in accordance with your instructions and your agreement with your German counterpart, we are now working through a detailed assignment to establish a Russian-German high-tech centre to conduct interdisciplinary research based on these unique developments.

Finally, regarding the programme that you announced to create a network of national synchrotron sources. The first one is at our site in Protvino, the fourth-generation source ISSI-4. This is a unique ground-breaking installation unmatched anywhere in the world and one that is unlikely to have a competitor for at least another 10 to 20 years. It was developed at a time when we were implementing projects in Germany together with other countries and actually created a base. We added to this an installation in Akademgorodok and an installation on Russky Island. This will allow us to create a unique megascience base comprised of the PIK reactor and the fourth-generation synchrotron. We will have the best research base, something the world will not have for another 10 to 20 years.

In addition, two less sophisticated installations, though also unique in their own way, will provide for, firstly, the spatial connectivity of the country, and secondly, will create a whole new level of research culture in the main centres of the country, namely, Russia’s Far East and Siberia.

Vladimir Putin:

Make sure that funding comes in regularly.

Mikhail Kovalchuk:

We will. This is important. I want to emphasise that today the NRC consists of seven of the country's largest institutes and employs 14,000 people. This consolidation and centralisation of funding and management enabled us to launch the PIK in only five years. This is important.

Vladimir Putin:


Mikhail Kovalchuk:

I want to congratulate everyone on this and to thank you.

The source of information -

Meeting with permanent members of Security Council

Vladimir Putin chaired a briefing meeting with permanent members of the Security Council.

March 13, 2019 - 16:00 - The Kremlin, Moscow

The meeting participants discussed the current issues on the Russian socioeconomic agenda. Considering the abnormally warm weather in several Far Eastern regions, they also discussed the necessary measures of high alert in case of natural fires and early floods.

In addition, Sergei Lavrov informed the meeting participants on the results of his trip to several Persian Gulf countries: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov and Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov.

The source of information -

Plenary session of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs congress

Vladimir Putin spoke at a plenary session of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs congress.

March 14, 2019 - 14:40 - Moscow

The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs congress is taking place during the Russian Business Week (March 11–15), which focuses on new proposals regarding the topical areas of interaction between businesses and the state.

After the plenary session, the President met with members of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs’ Bureau.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

I am delighted to welcome all the participants and guests of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs congress.

This congress is taking place at a time when we are starting to work on national projects and implement infrastructure development plans. Once again, I would like to stress what I have said many times and will say again today. Businesses are direct and essential participants of these projects. I hope that our partnership will be productive and that the goals that we set for ourselves will become targets for investing funds, human resources and the business enthusiasm and talent of Russian entrepreneurs. I have no doubt about it. With your competitiveness comes progress for the entire country, new jobs and a higher quality of life for Russian citizens.

Today I suggest that we particularly focus on the tasks that we need to address this year. We will discuss issues that concern you as well as your initiatives to eliminate barriers and create additional real stimuli for businesses. We can see that major Russian companies want to invest in national development programmes and to be closely involved in the national agenda. I want to point out that the participants of a working meeting chaired by Mr Shokhin [President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs] and Mr Siluanov [First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister] discussed almost 1,000 such initiatives. Some 250 investment requests worth a total of 12.1 trillion rubles have been developed based on these initiatives.

This concerns investments in areas of social importance vital for the dynamic growth of the national economy and the country as a whole, including in industry, high technology, transport, communications, the environment and tourism. These are large-scale and long-term projects with broad horizons, which should produce a major synergic effect.

Therefore, I consider it essential to ensure the stability of rules during their implementation and to develop practical measures for lowering investor risks. All these provisions must be incorporated in the law on encouraging and protecting investments. Also, I would like to point out that we need to take additional decisions on the system of special investment contracts so as to enhance the effectiveness of this tool for boosting the development of unique breakthrough technologies in Russia.

I know that our colleagues in the Government have not yet coordinated their position on the draft law on encouraging and protecting investments. Of course, it is a fundamentally new and complicated document in a number of ways, which calls for a thorough analysis of all the details. However, we must accelerate work on this document without sacrificing quality, and we must complete this work as soon as possible, taking into account the positions of businesses and business associations and the proposals that will certainly be put forth today.

Another major issue, about which I spoke in detail in my Address, if you remember, is the environment and the shared responsibility of the state, society and business for the environment and for our ecological well-being.

You know that this year we have launched the full-scale mandatory process of our enterprises’ transition to the best available technology and new environmental standards. This should reduce environmental damage, improve the environment in our largest industrial centres and encourage in-depth industrial modernisation.

I would like to point out again that we must be guided above all by the interests of the people. I am sure you are well aware that it is unacceptable to delay the departure from obsolete technologies or try to moderate environmental laws, including the draft law on emission quotas. If we permit this, we will be unable to formulate and implement new solutions; we will continue to mark time, lagging ever further behind other countries in the quality of life and, certainly, in economic efficiency.

Therefore, I suggest that today we focus on the persisting problems in this sphere. They do exist, and we know about this. We must discuss and take coordinated decisions on the regulatory and any other obstacles that are hindering the transition of our industry to the best available technologies and strict environmental standards.

And another area that I would like to mention separately. A secure residential construction financing system using so-called escrow accounts should go on stream from July 1. That is, the prospective property owners’ contributions will not go to the developer directly, as before, but will be channelled into a special account at the bank and transferred only in exchange for apartments. Construction companies will need to attract larger bank loans using project financing arrangements.

We all understand that this is a new tool for the industry, and we must all work together so as not to reduce, but consistently increase the pace of housing construction. That is, based on the new financing plan. So a clear and transparent interaction between banks and companies, as well as incentives for banks to finance residential projects is of paramount importance. And of course, there should be clear sources for financing social and utilities infrastructure. I would ask representatives of the construction industry – we have already spoken many times about this, met with many colleagues at different levels, and I also held relevant meetings – but if there are questions, I am urging you to raise these and other relevant issues today as well.

Colleagues, exactly five years ago, at the RSPP congress, business associations and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives launched an important project – the National Investment Climate Ranking. This has provided an incentive for management teams in the regions to change their approaches, to provide support to business leaders who are ready to invest in creating jobs, expanding and updating their facilities.

It is important that work on improving the business environment continues. I know that on the sidelines of this congress, the leading business associations and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives signed an agreement on organising the work of a special information platform, which was also discussed in the Address, as you must have noted. With the help of this platform, I hope entrepreneurs will have an additional opportunity to report the facts about any illegal pressure, attempts to seize property, and so on. The heads of law enforcement agencies have already been instructed to provide you with the necessary assistance, to engage in this work and use the emerging mechanism to improve their activities.

I expect that thanks to this cooperation, a major step will be taken to improve the investment climate and increase the transparency of the business environment, so that the conditions for small, medium-sized and large businesses’ entrepreneurial initiatives are in line with the large-scale strategic goals our country faces.

Thank you.

The source of information -

Meeting with Volgograd Region Governor Andrei Bocharov

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Volgograd Region Governor Andrei Bocharov to discuss the socioeconomic situation and the development of a modern healthcare system in the region.

March 15, 2019 - 13:30 - The Kremlin, Moscow

Andrei Bocharov updated the President on the stable socioeconomic situation in the region and development trends. The gross regional product has grown from 607 billion rubles to 860 billion rubles over the past five years and is expected to reach 1 trillion rubles in 2021.

The governor said that the region is working to fully achieve the social and other goals set forth in the May 2012 Presidential Executive Order and that the local authorities are closely monitoring the process. He said they had started implementing the tasks formulated in the May 2018 Presidential Executive Order and in the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Andrei Bocharov noted that demography is their main concern and that it includes preserving the people and enhancing the quality of their lives. One of the key priorities is to create a cutting-edge healthcare system in the region, primarily a modern oncology care system comprising a top-notch oncological centre and 14 outpatient oncological clinics. The government said they have launched the training of specialists who will constitute the core of the regional oncological system in 2021.

The next stage of modernising outpatient clinics and the launch of a large-scale project to establish healthcare districts in the region will begin in 2022. Apart from that, the regional authorities have decided to purchase mobile medical complexes intended for small towns and villages.

The governor added that more attention should be paid to the system of paediatric medical assistance, because the current children’s hospitals fall short of modern standards. Design work on a multifunctional children’s health centre or hospital will begin in 2019. In this context, Andrei Bocharov asked the President to support their request that this hospital be included in the state healthcare programme in 2022.

Vladimir Putin said he would support this proposal.

The source of information -
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
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Meeting with members of the public from the French Republic

During his visit to Crimea, Vladimir Putin met with members of the public of the French Republic.

March 18, 2019 - 16:45 - Simferopol

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Dear friends.

Let me cordially welcome you to Russia, to Crimea. I know this is not your first visit here, and I am very happy to see friends who want to see relations develop between Russia and Europe as a whole and Russia and France, in particular.

Many of you are involved in political activities and some are continuing this work now. I know that many of you want to return to politics and plan to run in elections for representative bodies at different levels. I hope that you and those in Europe who think likewise will do everything you can to restore normal relations between Russia and the European Union and between Russia and France.

As you can see, we have many friends in Europe and many friends in France that, like you, are motivated to develop bilateral ties in which the people of France, of Europe in general and of Russia are all interested. We are interested in this because we actively support each other in the economy and in global politics, and most importantly, we are linked by the common history of our nations. Our relations have been different in different eras, but the modern world and today’s development trends require that we pool our efforts to achieve a common result, common success.

We have many friends in Europe, and in France in particular, who think like you do, and I know this very well. We will do everything we can to develop relations with our friends in France and Europe as a whole.

I do not dare keep you for a long time. I just came by to welcome you and wish you all the best.

Thierry Mariani (retranslated):

Mr President, thank you very much for this honour.

I would like to introduce our delegation. Jean-Claude Bouchet, a member of parliament representing one of France’s southern regions. Nicolas Dhuicq, mayor of the city where Napoleon did his military service. Sauveur Gandolfi-Scheit, mayor and former deputy from Corsica. Yves Pozzo di Borgo, senator and member of the French delegation at the Council of Europe. Michel Terrot has been a member of the European Parliament for 31 years. And lastly, Michel Voisin, another honorary MP and former chair of the French delegation at the OSCE.

Mr President, as you have already mentioned, you have many friends in Europe, including in France. This is absolutely correct. These people very much want to restore normal relations with Russia despite the sanctions. We are proud to have this opportunity to attend the celebration of the fifth anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia because our 23-member delegation, all of them acting MPs then, was the first to visit Crimea thanks to the persistent initiative of [Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs] Leonid Slutsky, who has become a sort of ambassador of Crimea thanks to his consistent work on its behalf. Our visit to Crimea three years ago helped people in France better understand Crimea and its residents.

It was with great pleasure that we took part in the celebrations of the fifth anniversary, but like many other people, we are concerned about the international climate and the environment developing in Europe, where sanctions are aggravating differences. We do not know what this can lead to, but we fear that the consequences will be dramatic. These sanctions do not suit anyone of us, and we are trying to fight them as much as we can. Yves Pozzo di Borgo presented a resolution in the Senate on lifting sanctions from acting politicians, which an absolute majority of senators voted for. I submitted a similar resolution to the National Assembly, and it was adopted as well, but regrettably, the government of Francois Hollande cut this initiative short.

However, we should not look back on the past, but should better concentrate on the future. We are committed to the restoration of relations with Russia, because it is in the interest of both Russia and France. As French deputies, we are thinking about our country, while Russia is pursuing its own interests, but they are very similar to ours.

In the near future, we will be holding elections to the European Parliament, and this time around, it will be of crucial importance, I think, because the new European Parliament is expected to provide a springboard to try to restore relations with Europe. What recently happened in the European Parliament, just a few days ago, was amazing. They voted for a resolution that wants to put an end to the natural partnership between Russia and Europe. But it is scary. I assure you that at the level of the European Union and the Council of Europe, there are movements that do not want to end this relationship. I am referring to the party of Marine Le Pen, and Heinz-Christian Strache in Austria as well as parties in Italy, Slovenia, and Slovakia. They all do not want to severe relations with Russia. And I hope that in the new Parliament, they will form a group that will promote the restoration of relations with Russia, because it is not only in our interests, but in the common interest of everyone.

I personally will also run in this election, and I assure you that restoring relations with Russia will be one of our priorities. I even hope that we will be able to form a group that will rally a certain majority, and we will try to turn the course of things around with our active participation in changing the agenda.

I assure you, Mr President, that you have true friends in France, but not only in France. You know that in all European countries there are people who really want to be with you, want to be with Russia. We are very pleased that we have an opportunity to work with Mr Slutsky, who collaborates with us, with our organisation, the French-Russian dialogue (L’Association Dialogue Franco-Russe), which helps us to develop relations.

If I may, I would like to ask you a question: how do you see the future of Russian-French and Russian-European relations?

Vladimir Putin:

You know, our relations are developing despite the problems you have mentioned. After our trade plummeted in 2015, it has started to grow again. We see that our partners, primarily business partners, are interested in developing these relations. Some people do not like this. I think that these are short-sighted people who are not acting in the best interests of their voters, because the development of our economic ties is in the interests of our people, including ordinary citizens of Russia and France.

Such ties create jobs, giving people an opportunity to make money for themselves and for their families. It is a direct result of our cooperation.

And this is to say nothing of such serious things as security in Europe or the joint struggle against modern threats, like the efforts to protect the environment. Work in this sphere cannot be effective unless we agree upon shared principles and take common decisions on environmental management. How can we achieve our goals in these spheres if the policies pursued in different parts of the continent are not coordinated? No, this is just impossible. When people say that they are for protecting the environment, they cannot protest against the development of bilateral relations.

The same goes for the fight against terrorism. Has not France suffered from this evil? Don’t we know and understand that terrorism is a common threat, and that the fight against it can only be effective if we join our forces? There is no other way out. Otherwise, these terrorist groups will find safe havens anywhere and will attack anyone. To act effectively and to protect our citizens, we must stick together.

I have enumerated only three obvious things: the economy, the environment and the fight against terrorism. But there is also the task of combating epidemics and diseases that threaten the lives of millions of people: can this fight be effective if waged separately in each individual country? Epidemics know no borders. To effectively combat them, we need to act together.

Therefore, when some people say they want to develop relations yet they need to deal with such and such problems first of all, they are not behaving honestly at the least. Because they surely know that this problems cannot be settled without cooperating with each other.

Based on common sense and the interests of our people – when people launch on a political career, they always say that they want to protect the interests of the people – based on this common sense, I am sure that we will be able to overcome all obstacles and will continue to cooperate. Especially because we have much in common historically. Take Mayor Brienne-le-Château, who, as you said, knows better than anyone else here that Napoleon did his military service there. But he also did military service in Moscow, though not for very long, yet this is part of our shared history. (Laughter.)

Thierry Mariani:

Mr President, as a French national, I also would like to say that we are very happy that French companies have not left Russia. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry reports that France remains one of the main investors in the Russian economy. And the fact that French companies are staying in Russia is the best proof of the trust in our relations.

With your permission, let us give Mr Bouchet the opportunity to ask a question about agriculture.

Jean-Claude Bouchet (retranslated):

Thank you, Mr President. I am happy to be here.

We are visiting Crimea not only to mark the fifth anniversary of its reunification with the great Russia, but also to talk about some current issues. The reintegration of Crimea led to European sanctions and Russia also took retaliatory measures against France and Europe.

I represent a large, mostly agricultural region of France. And I have a very simple question. Given that Russian measures are weakening our agriculture, do you think if tomorrow or in the near future the European sanctions are lifted, will Russia be ready to lift its own counter-sanctions against Europe? Would you do this fast or would you wait for some time?

Vladimir Putin:

My answer will not make our agricultural producers happy, but I have to say that if Europe lifts the sanctions, we will have to lift our counter-sanctions as well, because the initial cause will be eliminated.

Thierry Mariani (retranslated):

Michel Voisin, former chair of the French delegation at the OSCE.

Michel Voisin (retranslated):

Mr President, thank you for your hospitality.

In 1975, the OSCE ensured that we maintain dialogue. The creation of that organisation helped us to put an end to the Cold War. Our two delegations – we have known Leonid Slutsky for 20 years – have always moved in the same direction and worked towards common goals. Yves Pozzo di Borgo, Thierry Mariani and all of us were on those delegations, and we have always had very friendly, warm and brotherly relations with the Russian delegates.

Today, the OSCE is playing a less important role in the fields of security and cooperation in Europe. Do you think it is possible, especially for the European continent, to restore stability, perhaps in the near future, at the upcoming summit meetings between the heads of different states?

A few words about sanctions: I believe that the sanctions that were imposed at the beginning have undermined Russia’s economy and, of course, that of the European Union, but I do not know who has benefitted from this.

Vladimir Putin:

Nobody has benefitted from this. True, this has probably helped our farmers strengthen their positions on the domestic market. We have become the leader in the export of wheat, moving ahead of the United States and Canada. The United States and China grow more wheat, but they also consume more, while we are now exporting more wheat than any other country. This is also true for poultry meat and pork.

Our current goal is to increase our presence on the Chinese market. In other words, we now fully meet our domestic needs. So, when one of the French deputies, Mr Bouchet, spoke about lifting mutual restrictions, I thought that our partners would find it difficult to regain the positions they lost in some of our agricultural sectors. But overall, it is true that sanctions are a harmful thing.

These are abnormal economic relations. Our relations have been soured for political reasons or through the use of political methods as an instrument of unfair competition, which is damaging all sides. This is what the WTO and the IMF keep saying. They have confirmed that the damage to all sides is very great.

As for the OSCE, I believe that this organisation does not fully satisfy the requirements and goals for which it was created. There are very many problems on the continent, yet we are not dealing with them. Over the past few years, the OSCE has paid more and more attention to human rights problems in the post-Soviet space, which are very important, of course, but this is not enough. Ultimately, this is not what the organisation was created for.

We strongly hope that the OSCE will make a positive contribution – it has been working rather actively in southeastern Ukraine – to the settlement of this crisis, just as it has contributed to the settlement of many other crises in Eurasia. We are ready for this, and we will do everything in our power towards this.

Thierry Mariani:

If you have a little more time, Mr President, another one of my colleagues, co-chair in the Council of Europe, would like to ask you a question.

Yves Pozzo di Borgo (retranslated):

Frankly, I had my doubts about asking this question. I would like to make a remark.

We have had two important events during this visit – the meeting with you, of course, but also a meeting with Crimeans. We have seen how young people live, how Tatars live, how all segments of the population live. We were very interested to see how all these people live. And we found out that young people cannot travel, cannot move freely, like all Europeans, because of the sanctions – this is important for us. And it seems to me that now it is also one of the important problems that must be somehow sorted out.

Vladimir Putin:

I am grateful to you for raising this topic, Mr Pozzo di Borgo, and that you have paid attention to this matter which is not only delicate but sensitive too. Honestly, I didn’t plan to bring Crimea up with you, because I do not want to put you in an awkward position. We are so pleased to have you here, and this in itself is already a courageous step to a certain extent, I am well aware of this. But since you did raise this question, this is what I can tell you.

Look: many around the world, and in Europe, for various reasons do not want to recognise the fact of the reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia. They talk about the annexation of Crimea by Russia. Ignoring the fact that a referendum was held and those people who live in this territory have voted for it.

If we derive from the assumption that the people’s will is the most important principle of democracy, then we will have to admit that this is an accomplished fact. When someone calls it annexation, it sounds like the people who live here had nothing to do with it, and were not responsible for it. If so, this was done against their will. And if this was done against their will, then why are they restricted in their rights? Why limit their movement? Their travelling abroad, obtaining passports. What are they being punished for if they had nothing to do with it? And if that was their decision, if they came and voted for it, then it must be admitted that their will is the most important principle of democracy. They did it, and for that they cannot be punished either. Or those who do this do not understand, do not know, do not want to understand or respect the principles of democracy themselves. But this is a matter for serious discussion.

Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutsky:

Mr President, we appreciate your time, every minute of it, which is why we are grateful to you for this meeting. As State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin says, the State Duma does not have its own foreign policy agenda; we have the President’s foreign policy agenda. Therefore, I believe that by acting within the framework of the Presidential agenda we have done a great deal to help Europe learn the truth about the Crimean Spring. In this context, we are grateful to the French delegation, which has come here for the third time, and personally to Mr Thierry Mariani. Of course, it was very important when the perspective changed in Europe overnight and nobody was talking about the oppressed Crimeans, demanding that the peninsula be returned to Ukraine.

Today, we have met with several hundred members of the different ethnic groups in Crimea and Sevastopol. Of course, there is interesting work ahead arising from the international environment. When our colleagues and other people, including the then PACE President Pedro Agramunt, spoke at our military base in Syria about the policy of Russia’s diplomatic achievements and the reconciliation of the opposing sides, our strategic friends, as I call them, shuddered.

Several thousand of our colleagues among the MPs and leading European experts, with whom we maintain regular contact, support our belief that the future of Europe must be formulated by the Europeans themselves, not anyone else. I believe that the elections to the European Parliament, which will be held in a matter of weeks, will be of crucial importance in this context.

I am sure that the political group, which Thierry Mariani has mentioned and which will consist of delegates from Italy and many other countries and political forces, will have a constructive influence on the future of Europe and the European Parliament, so that Brussels will no longer decide who must be the president of Venezuela, and such like.

Mr President, we will carry on our close ties with our French friends and with our other colleagues, who, though they are not present here, do not imagine a future for Europe without Russia, and with whom we are working on a number of very important issues.

Thank you again for this meeting. And I really do hope that there will be a continuation of this story. And as Europe learned the truth about the Crimean Spring, you are right, of course our relations will continue and will continue in any case as soon as possible. As for the developments concerning the political landscape, where decisions are often being made that are absolutely contrary to international law – I have a wish, no utopia, that these problems be sorted out starting this year, also following the elections to the European Parliament. I'd like to believe in this.

And thanks to our colleagues for being so helpful in resolving the most difficult problems – the situation immediately following the Crimean Spring being the very first, of course. Many have lost their mandates, but have become influential politicians far beyond the borders of their native France.

Many thanks again.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Slutsky just said in his remarks that at some point someone had cringed or shuddered somewhere. You know, I would like us to build our relations in such a way that no one will cringe or shudder and that our relations will be calm, positive, stable as well as predictable, and that they will develop in the interests of the peoples of our countries. Thank you very much for your visit and for today's meeting.

Thierry Mariani:

A final question, if I may.

We visited Syria three times. Thank you very much for what the Russian army is doing in the interests of the Eastern Christians. We would like to commend the courage of the Russian military. Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Yes, indeed, this is one of the serious problems. The Middle East, as we know, is the cradle of Christianity. Representatives of this religion find themselves in very difficult conditions now. They certainly need our common support. I am grateful to you for paying attention to this point.

Russia is a multi-confessional country, and this is how we have been building our country for more than 1,000 years, as a multi-confessional society. This fully applies to what we are doing in Syria in this case. We treat representatives of Islam with great respect, and we mourn with the whole world the recent victims of the terrorist shooting in New Zealand, an attack against members of the Islamic community. But today in the Middle East, we must certainly pay special attention and fully support the Christians of the Middle East. And I am very glad that you paid attention to this.

Thierry Mariani:

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

The source of information -

Meeting with Ronald Lauder

March 19, 2019 - 19:30 - The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin received President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder in the Kremlin.

The meeting was attended by Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov, Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar and President of the Federation of Jewish Communities Alexander Boroda.

The source of information -

Greetings to International Forum Year of Indigenous Languages in Russia

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the participants, organisers and guests of the International Forum Year of Indigenous Languages in Russia held in Khanty-Mansiysk.

March 20, 2019 - 10:00

The message reads, in part:

“The issue of preserving indigenous languages is of great, even universal importance, without exaggeration. It is symbolic that the UN General Assembly has declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages. Today our country joins this much-needed initiative.

We are justifiably proud of our status as one of the largest countries where representatives of some 200 ethnic groups live in peace and harmony. The languages, distinctive traditions and economic way of life of indigenous people are our common heritage; they constitute Russia’s cultural and ethnic diversity and its true wealth. Our Constitution guarantees people the right to learn and use their native language, which plays a major role in people’s personal interactions, binds generations and preserves invaluable experience and historical memory. I would like to stress that we will continue comprehensive, creative and painstaking efforts aimed at supporting all languages in our multiethnic country, and we will engage experts, teachers, civic organisations, ethnic communities and the media in this important and solemn mission.

I am convinced that the forum will be held in a positive and constructive spirit, and the decisions and recommendations reached by its participants will certainly be acted upon.”

The source of information -

Greetings to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on taking office as President of Kazakhstan

Vladimir Putin sent a message to congratulate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on assuming office as President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

March 20, 2019 - 14:15

The message reads, in part:

“In Russia, you are known as an experienced statesman who has made a great personal contribution to strengthening the strategic partnership and alliance between our countries, and to promoting mutually beneficial integration processes in the Eurasian space.

I am confident that our joint efforts will further expand constructive cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan in all areas, as well as our partnership in resolving current issues on the international agenda. This, undoubtedly, meets the interests of our fraternal peoples, and goes in line with the strengthening of regional stability and security.”

The source of information -

Meeting with representatives of UK business community

Vladimir Putin held a meeting at the Kremlin with representatives of the UK business community.

March 20, 2019 - 15:20 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues and friends.

Allow me to welcome you to Moscow. This is not a foreign city for you. Many of you, probably all of you, have worked in Russia for some time. I would like to thank primarily Mr Dudley for his initiative to meet in this format. I must say that meetings like this with our partners from European and other countries are a permanent practice. We regularly meet with business representatives from France, Germany and Italy, to name a few. As a rule, this helps us plan our cooperation in many diverse areas, helps us understand what concerns our partners, if this is the case, and determines the most promising avenues for cooperation.

But we know that regrettably in the past few years and up to this day relations between Britain and Russia have not been at their best. And this is an obstacle for those who are doing positive work. Despite the problems in interstate relations, and it should be admitted that they do exist, thanks to the people who think positively, our trade grew by 23 percent in one go in 2017, strange as it may seem. After energy prices stabilized, it increased by another 8 percent last year to $13.7 billion. Cumulative British investment in the Russian economy amounts today to $23.8 billion while the relevant figure for Russian investment in Britain exceeds $11 billion.

More than 600 enterprises partly owned by British businesses operate in our country. That is quite a large number. They operate in the industry in the broadest sense, such as mechanical engineering, and the pharmaceutical and other innovation-driven industries. The energy corporations of Russia and the UK are involved in producing and processing crude oil and gas, raw materials, and generating and delivering electric power. They are jointly implementing major projects such as Nord Stream 2 and Sakhalin 3. And I am not even talking about BP being the largest shareholder in our leading oil and gas company, Rosneft.

Experts from London’s City are involved in efforts to create an international financial centre in Moscow, and the London Stock Exchange facilitates capital flows to Russia. The securities of almost all public Russian companies are listed on the LSE.

I would like to emphasise that we in Russia are doing our best to make sure foreign investors, our partners and friends, feel comfortable working on the Russian market and do not come under excessive administrative stress. For your information, Russia is now 31st in the World Bank’s Business Freedom Index having risen dozens of places over the past five years.

Positive dynamics continue in all key macroeconomic indicators. According to the latest estimates, the country's GDP added 2.3 percent last year. The growth of industrial output was even higher at 3 percent. Hundreds of billions of dollars will be invested in critical sectors of the economy and the social sphere as part of national projects. I did not misspeak, we are talking about investing hundreds of billions of dollars. I am sure that your companies could be part of this work; the market is large enough for everyone. We hope that once implemented, these projects will have a comprehensive synergetic effect on the dynamic growth of the entire country, and will open up significant business opportunities, including for the British business community.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage British entrepreneurs, who have always been widely represented at the St Petersburg Economic Forum, to take an active part in its work this year. It will take place on June 6–8.

This ends my opening remarks and I ask Mr Dudley to speak to us, please.

BP Group Chief Executive Robert Dudley:

Thank you very much, Mr President, for having us here today and inviting us for this exchange of views. It means a lot to us, it is very welcome and I think it is a very useful initiative.

The relationship between Russia and the United Kingdom is a very deeply historic one. And restoring it and nurturing it can only bring great benefits, I believe, to both sides. Because they date back for half a millennium, to the 15th century, and over that time the ties between the two countries have been pulled in many different directions. There have been times of great allegiance and high tension but the connection has always endured, not least because of trade.

As you outlined there, the statistics of trade there are quite impressive. Because trade keeps open the channels of dialogues between the two countries. Trade supports the growth and the prosperity and it is also an important bridge when other channels of communication close down. In those times, you have always been able to talk to find common ground and that is essential for restoring and building trust.

In BP, we deeply appreciate the support you have given us over the years, Mr President, as we built our relationships here in Russia over the last 30 years. And in that time we have been able to grow our investment substantially. We are deeply appreciative of the trust that Russia has placed in us to work with and help stuart Russia’s natural resources and, of course, with our relationship with Rosneft. With your support, Mr President, we have gone from a single retail station in Moscow to the strategic partnership we have today with Rosneft. Igor Ivanovich, we are grateful to you for the opportunity to work with one of the world’s great oil and gas companies and see our joint businesses grow in value as we draw on the professionalism and the expertise, I think, that each of us bring to the partnership.

The world has changed profoundly since the 1990s, as have BP’s interest here. We now account for more than half of the capital flows from the UK to Russia. That is a proud claim for BP. It is also part of the illustration of the main point I would like to make, which is that the UK is Russia’s single biggest foreign direct investor but that the majority of that investment comes from our own company. And that means that there is huge potential for the company and other companies across the UK, industries and sectors to grow, diversify trading connections between the two countries.

Just to take one example. There are nearly, and you know this, Mr President, but there are nearly 5,000 individual trading relationships between Russia and Germany. I think you said, 600 between the UK. That means there has to be a scope for thousands of UK businesses to do the same. And the more there can be done to foster and grow that mutually beneficial trading relationships, the more the lines of communication can be opened – and the greater the opportunity to build trust, reduce tensions, create bonds, create jobs, economic growth.

So as a group here we are grateful for the opportunity to participate in the effort of restoring trust, support mutually beneficial relationships between the two countries. And I am very pleased that such a broad cross-section of British businesses here today are interested in your views. Some of them have questions and comments. But again, thank you for allowing us to be here today.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with Nursultan Nazarbayev and Kassym-Jomart Tokayev

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first President and the incumbent Head of the Security Council of Kazakhstan, and President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

March 21, 2019 - 12:15

Vladimir Putin once again thanked Nursultan Nazarbayev for his personal contribution to the development of allied bilateral relations and to the success of the Eurasian integration project.

Confidence was expressed that the first President of Kazakhstan would continue to actively contribute to the efforts to strengthen cooperation within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union.

The President of Russia congratulated Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on assuming office as the President of Kazakhstan and wished him every success in this responsible position.

The parties agreed to closely coordinate their actions in the interests of stronger Russia-Kazakhstan ties and to organise a visit by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to Russia in the near future.

The source of information -

Condolences to President of Iraq Barham Salih

Vladimir Putin conveyed his condolences to the President of the Republic of Iraq Barham Salih over a ferry crash and the loss of human life.

March 21, 2019 - 19:00

The message reads, in part:

“Please accept our deepest condolences over the tragic consequences of the ferry accident on the Tigris River – the death of dozens of passengers, including many women and children.

Please convey my words of sympathy and support to the families and friends of those who perished and wishes for an early recovery for all the injured.”

According to preliminary reports, the ferry sank as a result of being overloaded almost three times its capacity. There may have been between 170 to 250 passengers onboard. According to the latest information, 85 people have died in the accident.

The source of information -
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln
Old March 25th, 2019 #20
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The President launched Balaklavskaya and Tavricheskaya TPPs and Port substation in Taman

Vladimir Putin took part in the ceremony launching the Balaklavskaya thermal power plant and launched the Tavricheskaya TPP and the Port substation in Taman via videoconference.

March 18, 2019 - 14:45 - Sevastopol

The inauguration ceremony of the new power units was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Head of the Republic of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov and Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov.

The first power units of the 470 MW Balaklavskaya and Tavricheskaya TPPs came into operation in October 2018.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues, friends,

March 18 is a big day for Sevastopol, Crimea and the rest of the country. Five years ago today, Crimea and Sevastopol reunited with Russia. Back in 2014, we knew that there was a lot of hard work ahead. Today we are working according to plan, consistently and systemically, and this work is yielding fruit thanks to our common efforts.

Today we have taken one more step towards strengthening the energy security of the Crimean Peninsula and southern Russia as a whole, and towards the further development of the region’s economy and infrastructure. A new modern substation, Port, will come into operation in the Krasnodar Territory. We need it for developing the Taman seaport and to ensure the operation of the Crimean Bridge. The Sevastopol (Balaklavskaya) and Simferopol (Tavricheskaya) thermal power plants will reach full production capacity. These plants have been supplying energy since last October. Today we will launch two new power unit, one at each plant. Their total capacity will double to 940 MW or as much as Crimea used to receive from the neighbouring country in the past; this is 90 percent of Crimea’s current consumption.

I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who contributed to the creation of these vital energy facilities. I would like to remind you that in 2014 the volume of electricity produced on the Crimean Peninsula was only 160 MW. It was clearly not enough, even with additional supplies from Ukraine, to ensure the uninterrupted work and the supply of electricity to residential buildings, hospitals and schools, let alone for boosting the development of peninsula, connecting new users to the power lines and stimulating the industry, business and tourism. No, it was definitely not enough.

Since then, the situation has changed dramatically. We have built a power bridge connecting Crimea to the Unified Energy System, as well as modern power stations. We have modernised and expanded the grid system, which is very important. Energy consumption in Crimea today is between 1,000 and 1,100 MW. With the launch of these new capacities, the energy capacity of Crimea and Sevastopol will reach some 2,070 MW. This will be enough not only to meet our own needs but, if necessary, to export electricity to the neighbouring regions of the country.

I would like to once again express my heartfelt gratitude to all the professionals who contributed to this complicated project, which the people need so much. You have fulfilled a task of national importance, and I am not exaggerating.

I wish you every success and all the very best.

Thank you.

Minister of Energy Alexander Novak:

Mr President,

In 2014, you set the goal to ensure steady and safe energy supplies to Crimean households, industrial consumers, sociocultural institutions and health resorts. Indeed, much has been accomplished since 2014, which you just mentioned, including the construction of an energy bridge, laying a 360-kilometre gas pipeline and a high-pressure gas pipeline to provide residents of Crimea with gas, and the construction of 1,600 kilometres of high-voltage overhead lines.

Today, we are practically at the final stage of building a reliable power supply chain for Crimea, namely, the commissioning of two key facilities for own power generation: the Balaklavskaya TPP in the city of Sevastopol and the Tavricheskaya TPP in the city of Simferopol. These two plants will, in fact, as you have already noted, fully provide the residents of Crimea with their own electricity and power generation. And this is if we exclude renewable energy sources, which are also widely present here in Crimea as additional energy sources.

Speaking of current consumption, the Crimeans will from now on enjoy an almost double stand-by capacity of their own energy supply and an opportunity to expand their industrial enterprises and consumption in order to develop the region’s economy.

Technopromexport, which is part of Rostec state corporation, has implemented a project worth 71 billion rubles using the latest combined-cycle technology. The overall plant efficiency stands at 51.6 percent which is a very high number, and hi-tech environmentally-friendly solutions significantly reduce the consumption of drinking water. Russian dry cooling tower technology was used for the first time. This is a really important stage in the development of not only the energy sector of Crimea, but Russia’s energy sector in general, since modern Russian technologies have been put to work.

The third site on the Taman Peninsula, which you also mentioned today, a 220 kV substation with 438 MVA and 188 kilometres of overhead lines, will be put into operation today. It will, primarily, ensure the development of the Taman Peninsula and the transport corridor, including the Crimean Bridge, and hook up new consumers in the Krasnodar Territory.

Mr President, the opening of these facilities today will not only make it possible to reliably and safely supply Crimeans and the Taman Peninsula with energy but also create an energy reserve for the socioeconomic development of the region.

If you please, we will now confirm our readiness to put the energy facilities into service.

Vladimir Putin:

Go ahead, please.

Alexander Novak:

The Balaklavskaya TPP, please confirm your readiness to put the equipment into operation.


Mr President, the Balaklavskaya TPP has fully completed building, installation and start-up works and is ready for load acceptance.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

Alexander Novak:

The Tavricheskaya TPP, please report on your readiness to put the facility into service.


Mr President, we are at the Tavricheskaya TPP. We have completed assembly and installation of the main and auxiliary equipment and start-up works. All tests have been completed. The Tavricheskaya TPP is ready for switch-on.

Alexander Novak:

Port substation, Mr Livinsky, please report on your readiness to launch the equipment and transmission lines.

Rosseti CEO Pavel Livinsky:

Mr President,we are at the Port substation on the Taman Peninsula, Krasnodar Territory. The assembly of equipment has been fully completed and all tests conducted. The Port substation is ready to join Russia’s United Energy Grid. That concludes my report.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

Alexander Novak:

Mr President,

In accordance with these reports, the equipment of the Balaklavskaya and Tavricheskaya TPPs and the Port substation is ready to be put into operation. Please give the go-ahead to start the launch procedure.

Vladimir Putin:

Go ahead please.

Alexander Novak:

Teams at the Balaklavskaya and Tavricheskaya thermal power plants and the Port substation, please put the facilities into operation.

Mr President, the Balaklavskaya and Tavricheskaya TPPs have reached their capacities in full, all four 235 MW units. The Port substation has been launched.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

The Balaklavskaya and Tavricheskaya TPPs will give us 940 MW. The energy bridge connected to the United Energy Grid can give an additional 850 MW. 160 MW comes from older facilities. Another 129 MW will be produced by the new Sakskaya TPP that is now undergoing comprehensive tests in preparation for launching. And so we have completed the bulk of the work but there is still much to do, including on grids. I would like to thank you for what has already been done, I hope you will continue working just as good as you have been doing up to now.

Thank you all very much. Good luck.

The source of information -

Visit to Malakhov Kurgan memorial complex

The President visited the Malakhov Kurgan memorial complex where he saw the museum exhibit on the feats accomplished by Russian soldiers in the Crimean War and laid flowers at the monument to Vice Admiral Vladimir Kornilov.

March 18, 2019 - 15:50 - Sevastopol

During his visit to the Malakhov Kurgan memorial complex, Vladimir Putin briefly spoke to Sevastopol residents. They discussed, in particular, plans for rebuilding the Sapun Mountain memorial complex as part of the preparations for celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and a proposal to restore the legendary brig, Mercurius, that was part of sea battles in the Russo-Turkish War.

The source of information -

Meeting with the public of Crimea and Sevastopol

In Simferopol, Vladimir Putin met with representatives of the public of Crimea and Sevastopol.

March 18, 2019 - 19:00 - Simferopol

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, friends,

I am very pleased to be with you today as Russia, together with the residents of Crimea and the people of Sevastopol, celebrates the fifth anniversary of the historic referendum on Crimea’s reunification with its historical homeland, with Russia. This is a time when we have good reason to remember the lyrics of the well-known song about Sevastopol being a city of glory for Russian sailors.

However, there are many other components. I have just visited the Malakhov Kurgan, where we also recalled history, and also spoke a little about future development, of course. But we now have a unique opportunity to discuss this in more detail. I will try to answer your questions, if you have any, but also to listen to your views of what is happening, and your comments.

I think it is obvious how much has been done over the past five years, but I immediately want to say this: everything that has been done and is being done now is of a fundamental nature and is a long cycle project. But development is impossible without it, because no area can develop without a certain amount of, say, electricity or heat – it would be impossible to connect new consumers, and if there are no new consumers then there is no development, or without transport infrastructure.

We still have to work on the water supply and so on, and all these are long cycle projects, but these things should form groundwork for direct local development projects – we must think about implementing this, primarily manufacturing, tourism, education, and science. Here in Crimea there are very deep roots for all these industries, and of course nationwide results can be achieved here.

I will finish my address now and listened to you with pleasure.

To be continued.

The source of information -

Concert to mark the fifth anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia

Vladimir Putin attended Crimean Spring: Five Years at Home Harbour concert held to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2014 Crimean referendum and Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

March 18, 2019 - 19:30 - Simferopol

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:


I would like to speak to those present here, on this square in Simferopol, as well as to all people of Sevastopol and Crimea who are not here but whose hearts are with us.

I would like to congratulate you on the fifth anniversary of Crimea and Sevastopol’s reunification with Russia. This event has become part of our lives, our perception and our history as the Crimean Spring. And this was possible thanks to the referendum that took place five years ago, where all of you took part and voted for this historic decision.

You know, I will dare to make a certain historical comparison. The actions of the people of Crimea and Sevastopol remind me of the actions of Red Army soldiers during the first tragic months after the breakout of the Great Patriotic War, when they tried to battle through to join their comrades and carried their field flags close to their hearts. You have also kept your love for our Fatherland, Russia, for many years and even decades, although you were not part of Russian statehood. Thank you.


The events five years ago resulted in an incredible growth of patriotism across Russia and also demonstrated the great power of truth and justice. This is why Russia opened its heart and soul and embraced you into its huge multi-ethnic family with joy and happiness.

We have done a lot over the last five years, but there is still more to do. We have only created the basic conditions for development so far. But we will do everything we need to do, achieve all of the goals we have set and solve all of our tasks, because of this one condition: we are together.

I congratulate you. Thank you very much. I wish all of you good luck and happiness. I give all of you a hug!

The source of information -
Where should they dig the Very Deep Pit?
Piglet said that the best place would be somewhere where a Heffalump was, just before he fell into it, only about a foot farther on.
(c) Alan Alexander Miln


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