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Old September 3rd, 2020 #121
Alex Him
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Greetings to President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the occasion of the Republic’s national holiday, Independence Day.

September 1, 2020 - 10:00

In his message, the President of Russia noted Uzbekistan’s achievements in the economic and social spheres and said that the Republic is rightfully respected on the global stage and plays an important role in dealing with current challenges on the international agenda.

“Russian-Uzbek relations are developing in a spirit of strategic partnership and alliance. I am sure that we will jointly continue boosting multifaceted bilateral relations to the benefit of our friendly peoples,” Vladimir Putin emphasised.

The source of information -

Remembering is Knowing open lesson

Vladimir Putin attended, via videoconference, the nationwide Remembering is Knowing open lesson.

September 1, 2020 - 13:30 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The open online lesson is held for high school students and this year is dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and the Year of Memory and Glory.

The President talked with students from Crimea, Karelia, Chuvashia, Krasnodar and Kamchatka territories, Novosibirsk, Kursk, Kaliningrad, Moscow, Novgorod, Lipetsk, Ryazan, Vladimir, Kirov and Kemerovo regions, as well as Moscow.

In addition to students, the lesson was attended by cadets at the pre-university academies of the Defence Ministry, including the Tver Suvorov Military Academy, Presidential cadet academies in Kemerovo and Petrozavodsk, and the Nakhimov Naval Academy in Kaliningrad.

The lesson was moderated by Viktoria Skripnikova, teacher of history and social sciences and winner of the Teacher of the Year 2019 nationwide contest, and Yana Churikova, TV host, journalist and Co-Chair of the Russian Movement of School Students.

Yana Churikova:

Good afternoon, friends,

Let’s begin our nationwide open lesson. Today your teachers – well, not exactly teachers but a journalist and a teacher – will be me, Yana Churikova, and Viktoria Skripnikova. I would like to say a few words about her specially, because Viktoria won the Teacher of the Year 2019 contest. I am sure that the entire 9A class, all the pupils you teach history to are watching you from the faraway Kamchatka Territory, the village of Nikolayevka, and sending you their regards. It is an honour for me to hold this open lesson with you today.

Viktoria Skripnikova:

Good afternoon, Yana. Thank you very much.

Today we have an excellent opportunity to talk to the entire country, share our impressions of the summer holidays and talk about the future.

Of course, we could not ignore a very important topic today. As you know, this year in Russia is the Year of Memory and Glory. We celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory. It is extremely important to preserve the historical memory, because remembering means knowing. This is the main theme of our online lesson today.

Yana Churikova:

Remembering is Knowing is the theme of today’s online lesson.

I would like to note that it is great that on September 1, 2020, we have finally switched from online to offline, and today pupils, as usual, met at school, gave flowers to their teachers and finally sat down behind their desks. Congratulations. Hurray!

And now let’s return to the theme of our open lesson. Eyes on the screen.

(A video is shown.)

Viktoria Skripnikova:

Right now we are at the central studio of the National University of Science and Technology MISiS. And today we will talk about a terrible topic, a terrible history of the 20th century: the Great Patriotic War. A war that affected not only adult Russians, but also children of the same age as you.

Yana Churikova:

How can we prevent this history from becoming remote but keep it alive in our minds and, most importantly, in our hearts? Let’s test what we remember and know and find out what prevails in the minds of today’s pupils.

Viktoria Skripnikova:

Twelve Russian regions have joined us today.

Yana Churikova:

Welcome, everyone. We hope that the connection will be good today. And, friends, please welcome our special guest: President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

Good afternoon, Mr President. Welcome.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, Yana. Good afternoon, Viktoria.

Good afternoon to everybody who can see and hear us.

First of all, I would like to offer my heartfelt greetings to all the students and schoolchildren who are starting a new academic year and, of course, wish them good luck – especially first-grade pupils who are entering schools for the first time.

Certainly, I would like to offer my sincere greetings to your parents, mums and dads, as well as grandmothers and grandfathers and your entire families who are supporting you, caring for you and believing in you.

Knowledge Day is always a celebration touched by a special excitement as students are anticipating meeting their classmates and favourite teachers, with whom they will learn, debate and dream about the future together. These emotions are particularly strong this year.

They are particularly strong this year because during the spring months, you all, or the majority of you, I hope, realised how much you miss school and ordinary lessons in classrooms. Right now schools and the entire education system are returning to their normal activities, with school bells and breaks, and in-person communication between students and teachers. Of course, this return is a major event and a great joy for everybody.

It should be stressed that some restrictions will still be in place and I would like to specifically ask you to observe them. These restrictions are necessary to protect your health and the health of others around you – your grandparents, parents and everybody at school and at home.


You are growing up and it is happening in a rapidly changing world with the swift development of technologies, influencing the most diverse areas of our lives, where scientific achievements make it possible for us to do today what seemed sheer fantasy only yesterday. And what is important is that the pace of these changes (and this is typical of the contemporary world) is huge and it will keep on increasing, and the world, which is complex enough even now, is becoming still more complex. Probably no one today can be 100 percent sure what subjects will be studied by today’s first year schoolchildren, whom we greeted at the beginning, what they will study in high school, which skills and professions will be most in demand in the 2030s.

You, just like the adults beside you, we all are following an unbeaten path. Well, it must have always been so, but I will say it again, the pace of these changes is increasing. However, no matter how fast the speed of change, there are things that will remain fundamental and unshakable. And I am sure they will be a firm ethical basis and a reliable reference point for you, which will always help you find the right path in life.

What do I mean? Above all, the history of our country and respect for it. Also, our culture that has given us and the entire world a constellation of brilliant personalities and an immense number of masterpieces. And finally, our traditions. And of course, our common memory, which ties us inseparably to our ancestors, to many generations of people, our relatives, who lived, studied, started families and dreamed as we are dreaming today, and created. And they also defended all this. And all this is our Fatherland.

This year we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, the Great Victory. You are still very young but I am sure that the Great Patriotic War and the victory in that war is not just a page in a textbook for you, but an important part of not only our common history, the country’s history, but also your family history.

I mean the stories told by you grandmothers and grandfathers about themselves and their relatives, their parents, grandmothers and grandfathers. Their carefully kept letters, photos and decorations are still preserved in many families.

Practically every family has its own war heroes, and nearly every Russian city, town and village has war memorials where people come to pay their respects to those who fought heroically for our Motherland.

An integral part of our national code and a synergic component of all people in our country are the poignant books and verses devoted to the war, many of which were written by those who fought on the frontline, the heart-breaking films about the Great Patriotic War, which strike a deep cord, and the songs that are the voice of our hearts. I believe you know them as well.

All of us honour the memory of our heroes; we admire them and their courage and staunchness, and the more we learn, the more we become convinced that no trial is more complicated or tragic than a war. Wars deprive people of a future, destroy dreams, ruin lives and have no mercy for anyone.

Very young people, agemates of today’s high school pupils, joined the army or partisans. Many of them claimed to be several years older to get a chance to fight the enemy. Teenagers and mere children worked at the factories and plants, which were moved away from the frontline, without any concessions to age, because they knew that nobody could do it other than them and their mothers. The teenagers who worked on the home front transferred part of their earnings to defence and the front. This is how entire tank columns, planes and complete air squadrons were built and named after them, like the Saratov Student, the Perm Pioneer or the Tatar Komsomolets. Just as those who fought on the frontline, people on the home front worked heroically, which is why we have introduced the honorary title of City of Labour Glory this year. It has already been awarded to 20 cities.

During the war, young people your age worked selflessly to help the country and fought on a par with adults in its defence. The entire nation rose against the horrible Nazi threat, both on the frontline and away from it. Our victory was a common achievement. And this sacred heroism of the entire nation must never be forgotten.

We must all realise and feel what is happening today. It may seem sometimes that it is no longer important because it happened so long ago, 75 years ago; that it has nothing to do with our life today and is not something interesting any more. I assure you that this is absolutely not true. Why? Because after World War II, the world order and the rules that we live by today were created. And there are some who believe that after the end of the Cold War (the heated World War II, a very violent war, was, unfortunately, followed by a cold war, a confrontation between different countries) they turned out to be winners; who believe that they are exceptional and the world order that was built after WWII needs to be changed. Creating conditions for such changes implies tweaking and rewriting actual historical events.

As we know (as a history teacher, Viktoria knows), people who cooperate with the enemy during a war are called and have always and everywhere been called collaborationists. Those who agree with the rewriters of history can easily be called the collaborationists of today. These people have always existed and will always exist, everywhere. They may have different motives which we are not going to discuss now. But it is important to understand that this matter is very topical these days.

We must know and remember the people who defended peace and freedom in our country, and remember those horrible years of war. It is our duty to those who fell, to our family history, the present and future generations. We must remember this, so that the horrors of Nazism and the tragedy of war will never happen again.

And do you know what the problem was? The problem was that the goal of the Nazis was not only clearing our country’s territory, subjugating the people of Russia and the Soviet Union, as they did in Europe, but also to eradicate the peoples of the Russian Federation and other Soviet republics.

What was their plan (that they fulfilled)? Some of our people were to be killed in concentration camps and gas chambers while some were to be used as slaves in forced labour. Those they did not find useful were supposed to be exiled to the east of the Urals, to East Siberia – basically, to die out. That was our enemies’ goal. It was a completely different story from what they were pursuing in Western Europe. If, like some people think today, we had surrendered our cities and towns without a fight, to spare our soldiers’ lives, we would have eventually lost that war, which would have resulted in the total extermination of almost all the peoples in the former Soviet Union and the present-day Russian Federation. This is the cost and value of the victory that our ancestors fought so hard to achieve.

I sincerely believe that you and your families will never have to face such ordeals. I regard this as a task for heads of state, responsible politicians, public activists and everyone who understand how fragile today’s world is.

Let me repeat: I believe that you will never have to live through such a thing. Back then, the fighting was terrible on both sides. I have already spoken about the Nazis’ plans and their real actions, but we saw some of that on the other side as well: for example, senseless destruction, to a certain degree, such as bombing of the German city of Dresden. The city was completely destroyed, for no military reason at all. The same is true about nuclear bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where nuclear weapons were used against a non-nuclear country.

I am absolutely sure that young people today have the same selflessness, love to your home country and the honest ambition to be useful to Russia as those who won this victory for us, as well as the opportunities to show their best qualities today.

Young people who returned from the war fronts – almost the same age as you – practically devoured knowledge and studied hard to make up for the lost time as quickly as possible. They understood the value of knowledge. Among other things, this helped Russia restore its economy and clearly reach top global positions in various areas.

Many outstanding Russian scientists, such as Noble Prize winners Alexander Prokhorov and Nikolai Basov, for example, fought in the Great Patriotic War when they were in their early twenties. Very young scientists, including Igor Kurchatov and Anatoly Aleksandrov worked towards victory on the home front, solving essential front tasks and laying the foundations of the future Russian missile and nuclear shield to ensure its security for many years to come, until today. Today over 100 research institutes are names after brilliant scientists who made their contribution to victory both on the frontline and on the home front and continued their research after.

The value of knowledge is high as well today. Knowledge is becoming the main development resource in the sphere of global competition. The tighter the competition for knowledge and among people and states, the more difficult yet also more interesting will it be for you to acquire knowledge – I have no doubt about this – and, by the way, more will depend on you personally. You can choose any path and take advantage of all the available resources of modern education.

With the guiding hand of your teachers, I would like to wish all of you the possibility to achieve your goals, and I am quite sure that each of you has some specific talent. My wish is that you identify your strong sides and use them, use your hands and brains to become successful in life. We are trying to create all the necessary opportunities for this. However, as I mentioned, it depends on you alone, on your diligence and persistence to turn these opportunities into your future achievements in your profession, career, sports and science. As I have said more than once, your success ultimately translates into the success of the country as a whole.

I would like to wish you once again to remain inquisitive, seeking answers to thousands upon thousands of questions, and at the same time to remain kind-hearted and willing to extend a helping hand to those who may need it.

The active development of the volunteer movement has shown that this is very important and that the people need this. This has always been important, but it is now more important than ever before. No matter what problems we may encounter in life – both you and us – I am sure that you will find a solution thanks to your cleverness, diligence and persistence. Please, do not forget that by joining forces you will always achieve more, especially in the present-day world, as I have said more than once, because collective efforts – and it is very important to learn to work in a team – bring the best results, helping you to overcome any difficulties and find answers to the difficult challenges the world is facing now.

I hope that the new academic year will be full of new discoveries for you. I would like to wish you every success. All of us, that is, the adult part of the nation, all of us believe in you; we are sure that you will be successful, and we are counting on your success.

Thank you.

Let’s start the discussion now, the Q&A session, and let’s hear what information those who are attending this lesson have for us.


(School pupils told the President how they reinstate and preserve the memory of the participants of the Great Patriotic War, including family histories, their participation in patriotic events, their current life and studies as well as their interests and hobbies. Vladimir Putin replied to a host of questions concerning remote education, cybersports, the goals to pursue and books to read. He praised them for displaying interest in the history of the Great Patriotic War, for devoting time to it and sharing their knowledge of it with their agemates.)

Vladimir Putin:

I would like to thank our moderators: Yana and Viktoria. I know that you are not just moderators but took part in the preparations for this major event.

I would also like to thank the participants in our current meeting in different regions of the Russian Federation, in all the schools that have taken part in today’s open lesson in one way or another.

And, of course, I would like to congratulate those that began their studies today, on September 1. I would like to wish all of you every success, both university students and school pupils. I am quite sure that you will succeed in everything you do.

I would like to recall a wonderful proverb we have: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I am absolutely sure that together with you we will resolve all the tasks facing the country. Why do I say “facing the country?” Because, strange as it may seem but even those who came to school for the first time, crossed over the school step and only started studying in the first class, are already tackling a very important national task by receiving the required knowledge and creating the conditions for the country’s forward movement. If each of us moves forward, the entire country is bound to move forward too.

I wish you all every success. Happy Knowledge Day!

The source of information -

Greetings to Road to Yalta International Music Festival

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the participants, organisers and guests of the Road to Yalta International Music Festival.

September 1, 2020 - 20:00

The message reads, in part:

“I am delighted to see that this remarkable creative project is building its own traditions and this year, announced the Year of Memory and Glory in Russia, the festival’s noble mission has brought together outstanding and talented young performers from many countries who will perform wonderful songs about the Great Patriotic War in their native languages. Written many years ago, these songs, having special historical, cultural and spiritual value, move our hearts even today.

I am convinced that the festival and the gala concert will become a true celebration for Crimeans and Crimea visitors, and create wonderful and unforgettable memories.”

Yalta is hosting the festival finals on September 1. The semi-final took place on May 8 in an online format due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some 155 applications from 35 countries were submitted to the festival. Fifteen finalists from 14 countries were selected in the semi-final.

The Road to Yalta International Music Festival was a winner in a contest run by the Presidential Grants Foundation.

The source of information -

Meeting with Acting Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev

Vladimir Putin held a working meeting, via videoconference, with Acting Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev. They discussed the socio-economic situation in the city, including water supplies.

September 2, 2020 - 14:20 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Replying to the President’s question at the beginning of the conversation, Mr Razvozhayev reported a full-scale tourist season had started in the city since the lifting of restrictions linked with the spread of the coronavirus infection on July 1, and in July, the city received 120,000 tourists (20 percent more than last year). In addition, about half a million people visited Sevastopol for excursions.

The sanitary-epidemiological situation is stable and under control. As a result of the adopted measures, the city has one of the lowest COVID infection levels. The city has a reserve of 200 beds owing to the hospital built by the Defence Ministry and the construction of an additional unit in the infectious diseases hospital. All federal and regional support measures are being rendered. This applies, in part, to businesses that are getting back on their feet, especially in the sphere of the services industry.

The Acting Governor also reported on the implementation of the Federal Targeted Programme on the Socio-Economic Development of the Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol until 2024. Sevastopol received an additional almost 30 billion rubles. Three new schools and three kindergartens were built in 2020. The construction of an emergency medical services hospital has begun and a contract was signed to build an oncological clinic. A new infectious diseases hospital will be built on the territory of a new modern medical cluster. the construction of sewage facilities will soon be launched. In the future, the city plans to implement a large-scale investment project to create a yacht marina.

The reconstruction of the historical part of the city was also discussed. 34 public spaces have already been created along with 164 new children’s playgrounds and sports grounds, and 69 courtyards have been fully landscaped.

The city water supply also came under discussion. It got worse this year due to a hot dry spell in Crimea that has been ongoing since spring. Mr Razvozhayev mentioned the project that dates back to Soviet times. Several attempts to complete it failed. This is about diverting some of the water from the Kokkozka River to the Chernorechenskoye Reservoir. This is a mountain river, and during the flooding that lasts from January to March, about 15 million tonnes of excess water run off to the sea each month. This water could instead be moved to the reservoir, which would resolve Sevastopol’s problem of a reliable water supply. According to the acting governor, 3.8 billion rubles are needed to build the necessary facilities. The Defence Minister promised to help with the construction. The Head of the Republic of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, is also supportive of the project as the river is located in Crimea.

There is another water supply related problem, which is water loss that was never addressed by Ukraine. In 2014, water loss was as high as 60 percent of the water supplied to Sevastopol. It has been significantly reduced over the past five years, but remains significant at up to 40 percent. To bring the losses to code (about 20 percent), the water supply pipeline must be overhauled, for which another 3.6 billion rubles are needed. These projects have been worked out.

The President noted that this issue is critical just like electricity supply and some other issues and promised to issue a corresponding executive order for the Government to act upon. He asked Mr Razvozhayev to work on the pace and timing of the joint effort with the federal authorities. It is imperative to reconcile the amount of funding and get to work.

Vladimir Putin also promised support in resolving an environmental problem in Sevastopol. Balaklava is an ideal spot for yacht tourism and tourism in general. So, modern treatment facilities and other matters of this kind are of paramount importance, the President said.

The President also said that the focus should go to investing in the region’s fixed assets in order to restore its industrial capacity, especially the environmentally friendly hi-tech industries that do not create problems for either Sevastopol residents or vacationers in Sevastopol and Crimea.

Vladimir Putin also suggested taking a closer look at issues such as budget execution and local incomes, noting that the situation in the region is gradually improving. The region’s GRP, industrial output and retail trade are growing and the resident population numbers are going up, which is indicative of the high quality of the comprehensive measures to address social issues.

In closing, the President wished Mr Razvozhayev every success in his work.

The source of information -

Greetings to International Remembrance Campaign for people who liberated world from Nazism

Vladimir Putin sent his greetings to participants of the International Remembrance Campaign for people who liberated the world from Nazism, which is being held in Moscow.

September 2, 2020 - 16:00

The message reads, in part:

“Your creative projects will take a befitting place among the large-scale events dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and World War II. Its noble mission has brought together a great number of people, including war veterans, representatives of religious, public and academic establishments, as well as the diplomatic community.

World War II was the biggest tragedy of the 20th century. It claimed tens of millions of lives and cast a deep shadow on the life of many generations. We revere the courage and valour of the heroes, people of various nationalities and faiths who fought Nazism side by side to protect the ideals of freedom and humanity and lead the world to victory, which took a long time and cost us dearly.

There is no doubt that the International Remembrance Campaign for people who liberated the world from Nazism, which will culminate in the performance of the Requiem by Johannes Brahms, will attract broad public attention and will help us to strengthen friendship and mutual understanding among various nations and to preserve our common historical memory.”

The source of information -

Greetings on launching online project Crimes of the Nazis and their Accomplices against the Civilian Population of the USSR during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the organisers, participants and visitors of the federal archive online project Crimes of the Nazis and their Accomplices against the Civilian Population of the USSR during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945.

September 3, 2020 - 09:00

The message reads in part:

“This project marking the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory has special historical, moral and universal human value. In the past few years, its organisers and participants, including the Federal Archival Agency, the Federal Security Service, the Defence Ministry and the Foreign Ministry, have located and declassified a huge number of archive materials, such as documents, photos and video footage providing new evidence of the horrendously brutal crimes committed by the Nazis and their accomplices during the Great Patriotic War. The invaders victimised millions of absolutely innocent people of various ages, professions and ethnic groups. These people were shot, tortured to death in concentration camps, and died of hunger and disease.

There can be no justification or forgiveness for these abominable crimes that were unequivocally condemned by the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. They have no statute of limitations. We, as well as the future generations must comprehend the terrible destructive consequences wrought by any connivance at nationalism, xenophobia, an aggressive policy of enslavement and murder of civilians, and we must cherish the historical truth about the most brutal war of the 20th century.

I am confident that this large-scale project will attract broad public attention and will make it possible to provide an objective assessment of many events of the war. It will undoubtedly help representatives of the patriotic search movement in their active and highly needed work to perpetuate the memory of the fallen.”

The online project Crimes of the Nazis and their Accomplices against the Civilian Population of the USSR during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 was posted on the Federal Archival Agency’s website on September 3, the anniversary of the end of World War II. The publication now contains over 2,600 documents, including ten hours of audio recordings and three hours of video footage from federal agencies’ archives and archival institutions of Russian regions. A considerable part of these files was declassified specifically for the project. This is only the beginning of the project, which will continue to expand.

The source of information -

Greetings to President of China Xi Jinping on 75th anniversary of end of World War II and victory in Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to President of China Xi Jinping on the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.

September 3, 2020 - 12:20

The message reads, in part:

“World War II, which was the largest tragedy in human history, claimed tens of millions of lives. The Soviet Union and China bore the brunt of the struggle against Nazism and militarism and sustained the biggest losses in the fight to defeat the aggressors.”

The President of Russia also noted that the ties of friendship and mutual assistance, which grew stronger between the two nations during the war, are now promoting the dynamic development of Russian-Chinese relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction.

Vladimir Putin pointed out that it is the common duty of the two countries to preserve the truth about that period, resolutely resisting any falsification of history and glorification of the Nazis, militarists and their accomplices. The heroism of the liberators must never be forgotten and any revision of the outcome of World War II must not be allowed.

The President of Russia expressed readiness to continue to work together with the friendly Chinese nation to prevent wars and conflicts around the world and to ensure global stability and security.

The source of information -

Working meeting with Acting Head of Chuvashia Oleg Nikolayev

Vladimir Putin held a meeting, via videoconference, with Acting Head of the Republic of Chuvashia Oleg Nikolayev.

September 3, 2020 - 13:50 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Oleg Nikolayev updated the President on the situation with the spread of the coronavirus in the republic, including the number of new hospital beds and payments to medical personnel. He also noted that the epidemic had revealed the existing problems in the republic’s healthcare system, namely the lack of an infectious diseases hospital and the poor condition of the cardiovascular diseases block of the republican clinical hospital. He asked the President to instruct the Healthcare Ministry to work together with the regional authorities on building an infectious diseases hospital and renovating the clinical hospital.

The Acting Head of Chuvashia added that the coronavirus has had a serious impact on the republic’s economy. The industry, the construction sector and the enterprises that ensure the vital functioning of the republic mostly continued working. But some other sectors reported a downslide, primarily trade, services and housing construction. At the same time, overall industrial output has been kept up at 98 percent compared to last year.

The agricultural sector worked even better than last year and hopes to report a record high gross output of one million tonnes.

Oleg Nikolayev noted that after he was appointed Acting Head of Chuvashia in January 2020, his administration started preparing the republic’s comprehensive development programme for the next five years. Its main goal is to coordinate the existing federal programmes, national projects and the republic’s own socioeconomic development programme, to ensure that they are implemented as effectively as possible, and consequently, to achieve the national goals and the targets of the national projects set by the President.

The coordination council responsible for stimulating investment activities and protecting business rights has held its first meeting. A number of decisions have been adopted this year to expand the list of federal forms of assistance to agriculture and producers, and the amount of purchased farming and processing equipment is growing. The interest rate on rural mortgage loans has been cut yet again to convince people to live and work in rural areas. Oleg Nikolayev added that slightly more than 40 percent of the republic’s population live in rural areas.

The Acting Head of the republic asked the President to instruct the Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities to finish the shelved Shemurshinskoye water reservoir project that was created as part of the Clean Water programme in 2010–2015. The purification and pumping equipment has been installed, and some water conduits have been built, and when the facility is launched with all the water pipelines, 60,000 people in the rural area and production facilities will have a supply of high quality water. The capacities of the facility will allow water to be supplied to the neighboring regions in the Republic of Tatarstan if necessary.

Mr Nikolayev also asked the President to instruct the Ministry of Transport to begin the construction of the first stage of the third transport half-ring road that is so necessary to the republic’s capital, Cheboksary. The road was part of the general plan for the city back in the 1970s. The construction documentation will be completed shortly. The construction of the road will allow the land reserved for it to be used, including for housing construction.

Vladimir Putin pointed out that all the main economic criteria indicated that there were positive trends in the republic and most importantly, the trends were being transformed into social infrastructure: the number of doctors per 10,000 people is higher than the country’s average; the same applies to the number of schools and kindergartens. The President suggested paying attention to the level of unemployment, which is slightly higher than the country’s average.

The President emphasised the relevance of the issues raised by Oleg Nikolayev and promised to help deal with them and issue relevant instructions to various agencies and the Government in general. This relates to the infrastructure, road infrastructure, and the construction of medical facilities, as well as the condition of water bodies and hydrotechnical facilities.

In conclusion, the President wished Oleg Nikolayev success in his further work.

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 September 8th, 2020 #122
Alex Him
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Greetings on the 45th anniversary of What? Where? When? television show

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the participants, organisers and audience of the What? Where? When? intellectual game show on its 45th anniversary.

September 4, 2020 - 09:30

The message reads, in part:

“Right after the launch on air on September 4, 1975 the television show gained amazing popularity and became one of the most interesting intellectual and educational shows on the Russian television. Thanks to the creative community of the expert teams and fans, difficult questions and the search for the right answers, there is a special atmosphere full of sincere emotions that those who like this famous television game treasure so much.

And, of course, I send words of deep gratitude to the founders and veterans of the expert club. Even today, many of them are still connected to the legendary television show and help with the continuity and preservation of its traditions by actively getting involved.”

There are fan clubs of the What? Where? When? television show in almost all of the large Russian regions and many countries where people from the former Soviet Union live. Championships, festivals and tournaments are held. The club work is regulated by the What? Where? When? International Club Association.

The source of information -

Meeting with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting, via videoconference, with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin to discuss the socioeconomic situation in Moscow with an emphasis on the current state of the construction sector.

September 4, 2020 - 12:10 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Sergei Sobyanin separately informed the President on the plans to develop transport infrastructure and Moscow’s involvement in the post-registration work on the COVID-19 vaccine.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Sobyanin, good afternoon.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin:

Good afternoon, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Sobyanin, we have many times discussed the situation in the capital, but first I would like to stress once again that, considering the current state and development trends in the economy, social sphere and city finance management, the socioeconomic situation in Moscow is quite favourable; that must be said. I would like to note this and thank you and your team for the results of your work.

At the same time when we meet we always talk about problems, too. It is not possible to avoid problems in such a large metropolis, with over 10 million people plus 3 million who come to Moscow every day. The population grows every year. So there are problems; we always discuss them and, of course, we will discuss them this time, too.

However, we will have to begin with a topic that everyone is tired of hearing about, but we must discuss it today. I mean the coronavirus infection and the efforts to combat it. Moscow was the first city to face these serious problems, and it is clear why: the capital has a large, the largest concentration of people; it is the largest transport hub; all the main roads pass through Moscow; all the roads cross here and all the roads begin here. It is clear that there are a lot of contacts between people, and the industry and services are very well developed.

It is clear that it would have been difficult to prevent an outbreak in this situation. Nevertheless, the city authorities took proactive – I would say, highly proactive – and effective measures to counter this disease and managed to stabilise the situation and even begin to bring the number of cases down. You were the first to impose restrictions and the first to begin lifting them, in fact, at the same time helping other Russian regions.

What are the most recent developments and your plans?

Sergei Sobyanin:

Mr President, first of all, I would like to say thank you for constantly monitoring and paying attention to the difficult situation in Moscow, because a great number of problems have really been concentrated here.

Today, the coronavirus, the spread of it and response largely determine the social, political, psychological and economic developments in the city, whether we want it or not. All the decisions that we took were coordinated with the Government of the Russian Federation and with you. Indeed, they were initially quite tough but tough in moderation, only to bring down the wave of the epidemic, on the one hand; on the other hand, to enable the city to function normally. And as soon as the opportunity arose to get out of this state, we began to reopen one industry after another.

Of course, we were all worried and concerned: could we cope with the situation? Weren't we in a hurry to do it? Several months have passed. We can see that the decisions were made in a timely manner and were correct. All this time we have observed either a decrease or stabilisation of the situation.

You recall, at the peak of the disease, you helped to transfer the federal bed fund to the fight against COVID-19. During this period of time, we prepared the necessary number of beds in hospitals, which was required for the healthcare system to function normally. Today we have about 6,000 beds in such hospitals, and they are not being used. We have a large safety margin. The number of pneumonia and the number of seriously ill patients who are on ventilators is also going down. The situation has been stable over the past months, and this gives us the opportunity to take the next steps.

Following your instruction, the education system, schools and primary schools in the whole country and Moscow have begun to function normally. This is certainly a new challenge, new problems, but nevertheless, today the situation, in general, helps and promotes such solutions.

But, Mr President, I must say that you were absolutely right when you set us a fairly serious job of controlling the situation. We should not relax, so the number of tests we are conducting is not decreasing but increasing, and we are trying to strictly follow the requirements set by the sanitary doctors in transport, in trade, in the social system, and so on. This is very important for the situation to remain stable.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Sobyanin, the third stage of working on the vaccine against the virus, the post-registration stage, is beginning. I know that Moscow is extensively involved in this project. Tell me how it is progressing.

Sergei Sobyanin:

Yes, Mr President, thank you. We received instructions from you and the Healthcare Ministry to take charge of the major part of the post-registration trials. A large-scale trial, one of the biggest in the world, involving 40,000 participants, will be conducted alongside the launch of the vaccine for immunisation of the public. We have opened free access to the trials for volunteers. More than 5,000 people signed up in just a few days so I have no doubt that we will get the necessary number of people wishing to participate in this additional study.

The entire infrastructure is ready; the information system overseeing the trials is ready, along with the storage facilities for the vaccine concentration and the distribution infrastructure. We are waiting for the final decisions from the Gamaleya Institute and the arrival of the vaccine. I think the trials will begin next week. You are absolutely right, they are very important and we will do our best to ensure that the trials in Moscow are completed successfully.

Vladimir Putin:

Did you get vaccinated yourself?

Sergei Sobyanin:

It would otherwise be difficult for me to promote the Russian vaccine because even today, according to polls, only half of or perhaps less than a half of Russians have doubts about whether they should get vaccinated and whether the vaccine is ready for use or not. Two months ago, when we were actively promoting this vaccine, almost 90 percent of people were sceptical about it.

In order to set the tone for my colleagues and to be sure myself that we actually have a window of opportunity in this situation and Russia actually has made its own proper vaccine, I made this decision – and our colleagues from the Gamaleya Institute allowed me to do it – and I have already been through almost half of the entire major stage. I feel normal and, hopefully, it will remain this way. But most importantly, I feel confident that we are on the right path. It is very important for everybody involved in this programme.

Vladimir Putin:

Did you have a fever?

Sergei Sobyanin:

No, Mr President, I hardly felt any after effects. I only had a mild headache and slight fatigue for maybe half a day but it was similar to how you feel when you get a flu jab.

Vladimir Putin:

I see. Stay healthy.

How is the economy recovering, Mr Sobyanin?

Sergei Sobyanin:

Mr President, you remember the lowest point, when we were struggling the most, for example, when the sales for small and medium-sized businesses dropped almost by half of the average monthly turnover. Of course, we were not certain that the recovery would be fast. We predicted that it would happen in a year or a year and a half, and so on. But the measures taken by the Government pursuant to your instructions, plus our own package, or four packages of support measures for small and medium-sized businesses and the city’s economy – all these efforts helped SMEs to return to their pre-crisis sales, over the period between May and July. The current turnover is only six percent below its normal level.

In general, the retail and services have already bounced back to the pre-crisis level. Industrial production has returned to its pre-crisis level and the construction industry is close to its pre-crisis level. There has been a decline in completed residential housing projects but the investment and the industry itself are fully recovering. Of course, your decision to introduce mortgage concessions resulted in an explosive growth of investment in the industry.

Therefore, in general, I must say that the recovery is happening faster than we expected. However, of course, we must not downplay the huge number of problems in a whole range of companies because, for example, while the trade sector has fully recovered its volumes, there are still different companies involved in commerce. There are companies that sell remotely and small-scale wholesale companies; there are small shops which, of course, are still experiencing difficulties and their annual turnover remains low. But I think that after all, by the end of the year most of the problems in this area will be solved. Of course, the epidemiological situation in the country and in the city will be a major factor.

Vladimir Putin:

You spoke about the construction industry. According to my information, the construction projects in Moscow suffered more than construction industry on the national scale. It is taking longer to complete the projects in development.

Sergei Sobyanin:

That is true, Mr President. Finishing housing projects is indeed taking longer. Last year we set a new record. But right now, we are back to the level of 2017–2018. Due to changes in legislation, completion of many projects was expedited last year. However, the construction industry itself and the investment required for its full recovery are growing.

Moreover, the housing relocation programme and the law you signed on housing relocation in Moscow are starting to play a significant role in the industry. We are consistently moving forward with this programme. All the starting platforms are operating plus we created a solid foundation for urban development. We discussed the programme with Muscovites and clearly outlined the stages of major construction projects under the programme that will be increasing the scope of housing construction in the short term.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Sobyanin, we are all delighted when we see that new facilities, transport facilities, junctions, new metro stations are being put into operation in Moscow, and we are proud of our capital. Without any hesitation, I have to say, that it really does differ from many other megacities in the world, but of course in a good way. But all this is due to new projects, development projects and implementing development plans for Moscow.

What are the plans for the near future? In your opinion, what are the most promising and significant steps that should be taken to develop Moscow?

Sergei Sobyanin:

Mr President, we have never stopped our strategic areas for the city’s development during the pandemic or especially now when we are getting out of it.

The first thing is to create a city that is people-friendly, for 12.5 million people in Moscow that are permanently living and working here. This involves ensuring a decent level of Moscow’s capital functions. And the third thing is, Moscow is one of the world’s largest economic agglomerations and, of course, directly influences the development of other regions, especially neighbouring ones, creating about 3.5 million jobs throughout the country. And all these areas should be comprehensively developed.

In 2018, you signed an executive order to establish the Moscow Innovation Cluster in Moscow and instructed the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Government and us to work on this area. Today, 11,500 enterprises have already been registered there: these are institutes of the Academy of Sciences, research institutes, the largest innovative corporations that are engaged in innovative development, and their design bureaus. And two thirds are small innovative enterprises located in technoparks in Moscow and are simply engaged in innovations at their sites.

All this forms a fairly large innovation pool that can create new, world-class products, industrial designs and then produce them in cooperation with other regions, enterprises and organisations. We can see how this sphere has now crystallised and is beginning to move forward. This is certainly the great merit of Roscosmos, Rostec, Rosatom and a number of other organisations. Small innovative businesses are beginning to form a field around them that creates the stability of the structure.

Of course, we will continue to develop the transport infrastructure not only in Moscow but also the one connecting the neighbouring regions, including the Moscow Region. You and I opened the Moscow Central Diameters following your instruction, we are now working on the third and the fourth diameters, creating new main lines.

We decided to double the Moscow Metro. Today, 70 percent of this programme has already been adopted, we will continue to promote it, so that travelling within the city is comfortable and fast, otherwise the city will simply drown, given that the population is always growing.

Of course, we will not forget about the social programmes focusing on the development of healthcare and education. Especially because during the pandemic, many of them – for example, many clinics, served as the core clinics not only for the city but for other regions as well. Doctors would travel to other regions upon your instructions to provide methodological and material assistance to other regions in this complicated situation.

Mr President, I would like to thank you and the Government for supporting these programmes. It would not have been possible to fulfil them without your support. We are too closely connected and integrated with all federal programmes; therefore, obviously, a great deal depends on the decisions taken at the federal level. As for us, we are always ready to support you and be of service.

Vladimir Putin:


And finally, the new academic year has started. How did Moscow approach September 1 and how did the new academic year in the city begin? I know that Moscow boasts a great number of new projects in education, innovative proposals and remarkable study programmes. The overwhelming majority of Moscow schools have wonderful teachers. How did the academic year begin?

Sergei Sobyanin:

I attended school opening ceremonies on September 1 and I had also met with teachers and parents before that. People were very concerned because it is not an ordinary year. They have not seen each other for six months and there are also certain risks related to the coronavirus.

We conducted a large-scale information campaign. Precautions are being taken to allow children to study in classrooms as usual. This work is finished; all the preschool facilities and schools are open and operating.

Of course, it was an ordeal for us. That period was not just a holiday or restricted school attendance. The work and the classes continued. And I must say that the Moscow education system passed the test. The results of the National Final School Exam demonstrate that we did not sacrifice our schoolchildren’s performance this year in the least bit. Of course, it is a big achievement of Moscow teachers and students.

Vladimir Putin:

My best wishes to you and all the Moscow teachers working at universities and secondary and elementary schools.

I know how much your team is doing to respond to Muscovites’ needs and the social climate in order to improve the quality of life and make life in the capital better and better. The climate in the capital largely affects the climate in the entire country.

I sincerely wish you success and I hope that millions of Muscovites will feel the results of your efforts in their everyday life.

All the best to you and good luck.

Sergei Sobyanin:

Thank you, Mr President. Thank you very much.

The source of information -

Meeting with permanent members of the Security Council

Vladimir Putin held a briefing session with permanent members of the Security Council via videoconference.

September 4, 2020 - 15:00 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The participants discussed the results of Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s visit to Minsk, including in the context of preparations for President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko’s visit to Moscow.

They also reviewed issues of Russia’s domestic socioeconomic agenda.

Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov, who was invited to the meeting, informed its participants about measures taken to protect the rights and interests of victims of crimes. The participants held a detailed exchange of views on this issue.

The meeting was attended by Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, Secretary of the Security Nikolai Patrushev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov and Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin.

The source of information -

Vladimir Putin congratulated Moscow residents on City Day

The President attended an official event at the Zaryadye concert hall to mark Moscow’s 873rd anniversary.

September 5, 2020 - 12:50 - Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, friends, Muscovites, Mr Sobyanin,

My heartfelt congratulations on City Day!

This year, unfortunately, we are celebrating this holiday without traditional large-scale public events. I am confident that city residents and guests will understand these circumstances, and the restrictions we have to follow will in no way diminish the immense meaning of the holiday for both the city and its residents, as well as for the entire nation. The centuries-long history of our country and Russian statehood is inextricably linked with the city of Moscow. We, Russian citizens, feel this unity strongly, and value and love our dear capital.

Moscow is a major global metropolis that stuns with its magnificent yet warm beauty. It is an attractive, modern and dynamic city that boasts the energy of new ideas as well as engaging breakthrough solutions which translate into specific actions and achievements and – I would like to emphasise this – transform Moscow with every year.

Now, following the challenges of the epidemic, Moscow is confidently regaining its dynamic pace of life and development, which is so typical of the city but uncommon for many other regions. All local businesses have resumed operation. I would like to note that the construction of Moscow Metro did not stop for a single day. Work is underway to build residential blocks and roads. The housing relocation programme, which I know some people were sceptical about, has been advancing. I am confident that with the efforts underway, most people involved in this programme will be happy with its results, with residents moving into newly-built modern flats.

Small and medium-size businesses are steadily returning to their pre-crisis levels. There are still issues and problems there, as well as in the service sector, but everything is gradually returning to normal.

School and university students have begun attending classes.

With their diligence, knowledge, talents, and I would even say assertiveness, Muscovites have once again proven that they are capable of tackling the most challenging tasks. This has become particularly evident amid the epidemic. We remember very well that our capital was the country’s first city to be hit by this dangerous disease that was totally unknown at the time. Here, together with federal authorities, necessary efforts were promptly made to prevent the spread of COVID-19, treat patients, ensure the city’s life and, most importantly, its residents’ safety.

It is obvious that some small faults could not have been avoided while making these tremendous efforts – yet, as I was closely following the city authorities’ work and took part in it, I can confidently say that all services were working competently, promptly, consistently and efficiently in general, which was not easy in such a huge metropolis with its millions of residents. We saw capitals of other countries face difficulties as well. But Moscow made it. Of course, people took all these restrictions differently, and we could see it very well. But overall, Muscovites have shown a great level of awareness, unity and discipline, and this experience has been essential and crucially relevant across the country.

Our capital, caught in the epicentre of the epidemic, has made it through this difficult and responsible period, and has done a lot to support other Russian regions, with Moscow Mayor heading the State Council’s working group and having done a large amount of work there.

(Addressing Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.) Mr Sobyanin, thank you very much. This is obvious, and I could see you working closely with the regions and the Government; you worked together with the Russian Government, which was very important and relevant for exchanging the information on the virus and ways of tackling it.

I would like to particularly note that Moscow doctors held numerous online training seminars and travelled to regions on many occasions. The capital provided medical equipment and medications.

As it has always been, Moscow was with Russia, and Russia was with Moscow.


Members of Moscow’s medical community and volunteer movement are present here, in the Zaryadye concert hall today. Let me say this once again: all of you and your colleagues are true heroes of our time.

This time required your utmost commitment, readiness to risk your health and even your lives to save others every day, sincere generosity and compassion towards those who needed care and support. All this was required in a practical everyday work.

More than 60,000 doctors, nurses, paramedics, emergency employees and drivers fought the outbreak in Moscow. Everybody worked selflessly on the medical front, which was the toughest part of the battle. This is how it was. When we are dealing with life and health, how can it be any different? And all of you became the vanguard in this crucial and difficult battle.

Volunteers earned great esteem among Muscovites as well. During the self-isolation period, more than 22,000 people of different ages, professions and social status participated in the movement. You could see quite well-known people, actors, musicians among those who delivered food and medicines to the elderly. Nobody disdained this work – on the contrary, what made me happy, it was a pleasure to watch – everyone was rightly proud of it.

All volunteers were united by their aspiration to be useful and to contribute to fighting the outbreak. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude for your courage and solidarity, your compassionate, kind hearts.

Congratulations, once again, on the holiday! I wish you good health and all the best.

Congratulations on Moscow City Day, day of the capital of our Motherland, day of the capital of our beloved Russia!

The source of information -

Greetings on Oil and Gas Industry Workers Day

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to the workers of Russia's oil and gas industry on their professional holiday.

September 6, 2020 - 10:00

The message reads, in part:

“In Russia, a country that boasts vast natural and hydrocarbon resources, the oil and gas complex has always been rightly regarded as a vital and core economic sector, which has played an important role in strengthening the national energy, industry and export potential, as well as in developing territories and improving the quality of life. These achievements became possible due to strenuous and dedicated efforts by many generations of researchers, geologists, engineers, builders, and workers – true professionals and creators.

It is gratifying that you carry on your predecessors’ traditions with dignity, explore new promising oil and gas fields, set oil production records, and pay priority attention to comprehensive introduction of innovative digital eco-friendly technologies. You also strive to take consistent efforts to satisfy Russia’s demands for oil and gas, and to preserve the nation’s leading positions in the global hydrocarbon market.

I am confident that you will further efficiently solve challenging tasks for the benefit of Russia and its citizens.”

The source of information -

Meeting with Acting Governor of Kaluga Region Vladislav Shapsha

During a working meeting, held via videoconference, Acting Governor of Kaluga Region Vladislav Shapsha informed Vladimir Putin about the socioeconomic situation in the region.

September 7, 2020 - 14:10 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Vladislav Shapsha updated the President on how the region was overcoming the problems created by the spread of the novel coronavirus. The proactive measures taken have helped to adjust the region’s healthcare system, provide the necessary resources, mobilise medical personnel and prevent a serious worsening of the epidemiological situation. The hospitals that adjusted to take care of coronavirus patients are now getting back to working normally. There are 525 hospital beds in reserve just in case the situation could worsen.

The Acting Governor noted that all of the region’s enterprises were working again as normal. The tax and fiscal burden on businesses had been reduced during the period of restrictions, and over 1 billion rubles have been allocated to support almost 22,000 businesses. Industrial, construction, road-building and agricultural enterprises continued working even at the peak of the epidemic. This allowed the administration to maintain stability on the labour market and to keep up people’s incomes. At the same time, this economic activity did not increase the spread of the infection. The registered unemployment rate is 2.4 percent and is expected to continue to decrease.

As for the region’s economy as a whole, 62 investment projects with over 200 billion rubles in total investment are being actively implemented. Four new large enterprises will open this year, and another four producers will greatly increase their capacities. Investments in fixed assets will reach 95 billion rubles this year. Agricultural production has been growing at a fast rate with a 14.5 percent increase in the first half of the year.

The construction of all major projects funded from the federal budget is in progress. The Sports Palace in Kaluga will have been fully built by the end of 2020, and the building of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University’s campus is going full speed ahead. The construction of the final phase of an automobile road to detour the regional centre continues. The second phase of the State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics will open in April 2021 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight.

The Acting Governor also reported on housing construction plans, the relocation of residents from structurally unsafe buildings and the expansion of the healthcare system in the region. At the same time, Vladislav Shapsha asked the President to help finance the construction of a hospital and assist in resolving the issue of housing for orphans and children without parental care, since the regional budget does not have adequate funds to cover these expenses. In addition to this, assistance is needed in building a heavy ion radiation therapy centre in Obninsk, which is home to the Ministry of Healthcare’s National Medical Research Centre for Radiology – the country's leading research institution in developing and using radiological methods for cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Problems that arose in the automotive industry – an important part of Kaluga Region’s economy – were also discussed.

Mr Shapsha also noted that Kaluga will celebrate its 650th anniversary in 2021. The city is getting ready for the festivities and is expecting guests from all Russian regions.

Vladimir Putin noted a number of positive trends in the region, namely, the GDP growth as well as an increase in industrial output, agriculture, foreign trade and retail trade.

The President noted some problems, including a drop in the performance of the construction sector as well as the disposal of solid household waste and industrial waste. Vladimir Putin recommended focusing on this matter given that there is a corresponding nationwide programme.

The President said that the region is developing at a fairly fast pace and wished Vladislav Shapsha every success in his work.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, at the Saudi side’s initiative.

September 7, 2020 - 15:20

In connection with Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency, the two leaders discussed preparations for the upcoming meeting of the G20 heads of state and government in November 2020. They also discussed collective efforts to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the global economy and finance, including Vladimir Putin’s initiative to establish “green corridors” for the mutual supply of medicine, food, equipment and technology presented at the G20 extraordinary summit in March 2020. They paid particular attention to the prospects of joint production of the Russian vaccine to prevent further infection.

Both sides expressed their satisfaction with the implementation of the OPEC+ agreements that made it possible to generally stabilise the global energy markets. They agreed to continue closely cooperating in this area.

The parties touched on various aspects of bilateral cooperation, in particular, the implementation of the results of Vladimir Putin’s state visit to Riyadh last October. They reaffirmed their shared intention to expand ties in trade, the economy and investment.

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 on flood response measures in Irkutsk Region

Vladimir Putin held a meeting, via videoconference, on the relief measures for the flood that occurred in Irkutsk Region in 2019.

September 8, 2020 - 13:30 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The meeting was attended by Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Aide to the President Maxim Oreshkin, Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, Minister of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief Yevgeny Zinichev, Minister of Transport Yevgeny Ditrikh, Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov, Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov, Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov, Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities Vladimir Yakushev, Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Siberian Federal District Sergei Menyailo, Governor of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina and Acting Governor of Irkutsk Region Igor Kobzev.

President Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues.

Today we will discuss the progress made in eliminating the aftermath of a major flood that hit Irkutsk Region last year.

We agreed to keep the situation under constant control and this is exactly what we have been doing. Today we will check how the decisions made have been implemented locally. We will hear reports from representatives of different authorities and review several sites that were scheduled for construction and overhaul.

The funds from the federal budget – specifically, more than 27 billion rubles – were allocated promptly.

However, there was a serious delay in the recovery efforts at the very beginning, which we discussed repeatedly, including during visits to Irkutsk Region. Currently, this delay is being reduced. Obviously, it is difficult to fix the previous mistakes in six months but the current governor has a strong team. I am convinced that the relief measures will be implemented in full.

I received reports that a whole number of sites are finished. In Tulun, a school for 1,275 students opened on September 1; the city’s main street was landscaped and modernised and a new infectious disease unit opened in the city’s hospital, as requested by local residents during my visit to Tulun. In Nizhneudinsky, the district hospital underwent major renovation. We will certainly review these facilities today.

I want to stress that these projects are absolutely necessary for people to live normal lives. I would like to ask the officials in charge to make sure that all the social facilities start operating strictly as scheduled.

Another very important and sensitive issue is providing new housing to the residents affected by the flood. We returned to this issue multiple times. A decision was made that the people who lost their homes would receive housing certificates and keys to new flats, including in a new residential complex in the Ugolshchikov district (I think there were about 66 flats available). The affected families with two and more children were supposed to be housed on a priority basis. I would like to hear a detailed report on the progress in this area today.

In addition to this, I would like to hear about progress with major renovation of the residential buildings affected by the flood – considering that it has been over a year. Are the completion deadlines observed? Are the people satisfied with the quality of work? Are there any persisting problems?

And, of course, I would like to hear whether all the designated payouts have been made. What support measures are available to the affected agricultural producers, small and medium-sized businesses? People also addressed me with these questions several times.

Let us get to work.


Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues, I would like to thank everybody who participated in this meeting. The work is proceeding and indeed, a lot has been achieved.

Summarising the results of today’s discussion, I would like to note that ensuring the security of Irkutsk Region residents, primarily, reducing the risk of flooding during the flood season is, certainly, an extremely important task.

We have discussed this matter with you on several occasions. I will not go into more detail right now but, as planned, this requires a dam and other protective structures to be built in full and on schedule. As far as I remember, 11 protective structures are needed in total. More than 5 billion rubles must be allocated for this purpose, about 1.1 billion from the regional budget and 4 billion from the federal budget. The Finance Minister is with us today. Mr Siluanov, please take this extremely seriously and make sure that the necessary funds are allocated in a timely manner.

In general, I would like to ask the Government to arrange co-funding of the construction projects required to protect the territories in Irkutsk Region from flooding. Mr Siluanov, did you want to say something in relation to this?

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov:

Mr President, we will make provisions for these necessary funds when drafting the new budget. The funding will be provided in full.

Vladimir Putin:


Next. In 2019 and 2020, Tulun entrepreneurs received support from the state budget. I am talking about subsidies of up to 1.5 million rubles that were provided to affected companies so they could resume their operations. In 2019, the Government supplied the region with 500 million rubles from the reserve fund. This money has already been allocated.

I believe now it is necessary to provide targeted support to small and medium-sized businesses in Tulun through loans. I heard what was said earlier and we will discuss it but lending is another option. We could help the companies that have recovered and want to develop further, by allocating an additional 100 million rubles in loans to small businesses. I would like to ask the Government to deal with this matter promptly.

I would also like the authorities at every single level to understand that it is important to speed up their work. Wherever there was a delay due to COVID-19, the schedules must be adjusted accordingly to make sure that the entire infrastructure in the affected areas (social, transport and energy facilities) is restored as soon as possible.

The entire scope of flood response measures will remain under our constant control.

I would like to draw your attention to the issue the regional head regularly speaks about: the need to strictly comply with environmental requirements when implementing large investment projects. I reiterate, disrespect for nature, especially the unique Baikal ecosystem is absolutely unacceptable. Many mistakes have been made in the past years and decades. Today it is important that Igor Kobzev has almost completely implemented all of my July instructions. But we saw today that there is still much to do. The signed action plan and the memorandum – we just spoke with the head of Russian Railways about the expansion of the Baikal-Amur Mainline and the Trans-Siberian Railway – this memorandum must be complied with. I want you to take that into account.


Of course, we need permanent, systemic work on the preservation and protection of forests. We also spoke about it today. First of all, I mean the prevention of wildfires, restoration of forests and eradicating illegal logging. This is a nationwide problem, and it is especially crucial for Irkutsk.

As for declaring one of the upcoming years the Year of Baikal at the federal level, I think this issue should be worked out with the Government. The idea is good, though.

Finally, the creation of a Suvorov military school in the region. The Defence Ministry has never failed to meet deadlines; it does everything thoroughly and on time. There is no doubt that the military school in Irkutsk Region will open on September 1, 2021.

I again want to thank all participants in today’s meeting and ask you to make sure that everything that remains to be done is done well.

Another thing I want to mention in conclusion: this morning I spoke with Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev, who reported on the developments in the Far East. I am now addressing my Government colleagues. We are working on the situation in Irkutsk Region, Tulun, but there are also many current problems. First of all, we need to turn to the areas that have suffered the most: these are Khabarovsk and Primorye territories, Jewish Autonomous Region, Amur Region and some others. We need to comprehensively analyse the situation there and focus on assisting the people who suffered from these unfortunate events. I am certain that there it is also about the restoration of housing, infrastructure, roads, bridges and so on. I will speak more on this later. Please prepare relevant reports.

All the best to you. Goodbye.

The source of information -

Meeting with winners of Leaders of Russia management competition

The President held a videoconference meeting with winners of the Leaders of Russia national management competition.

September 8, 2020 - 14:20 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, friends.

First of al, I would like to congratulate you on winning the Leaders of Russia management competition. No doubt, you showed your best professional qualities, high efficiency, focus on results, and the ability to take responsibility and act in a coordinated way as a team, which is extremely important in the modern world, as I have said many times.

Winning such a competition, in which truly purposeful, ambitious and proactive people participated, is certainly your great personal success. But in general, this is also an important contribution to the future of our country, because the desire to obtain new, up-to-date knowledge, the knowledge we need, to reach the heights in business in many ways sets the pace of advancement for the whole country.

The competition has been held for three years, as you know, and during this relatively short period of time it has become an efficient and, I would say, systemic mechanism that helps, on transparent and understandable principles, to identify and support the best managers and open up new opportunities for their growth and broadening their professional horizons. It helps find the right application for their abilities – your abilities, so that talented people like you, worthy people play a significant and, in the full sense of the word, leading role in the development of the country, and increase the effectiveness of management not only in public service but also in other areas. Because competent managers, wherever they work, are needed everywhere and always.

It is no coincidence that representatives of various industries participate in the competition. For many, this competition has already become a real springboard in their careers, and not only in their own but often in completely new areas for them. This is also why the demand for the competition and the attention it receives from professionals is growing, not only in our country but also abroad.

Last year, young scientists and physicians approached me with a request to create separate areas for them, so that there is an opportunity to evaluate the knowledge and abilities that are required for modern management in the field of science and healthcare.

As we know from practical experience, new industry-specific tracks have become widely popular. More than 22,000 researchers, some 10,000 medical workers and doctors as well as over 60,000 specialists from the sphere of finance and technology wanted to test themselves.

As I mentioned earlier, this experience was a success. The highest-performing participants received top jobs, such as heads of major universities and hospitals, even before the competition ended.

I believe winning the finals will encourage the participants to continue to grow professionally and to improve their skills. A grant in the amount of 1 million rubles is being made available to the finalists with this particular thought in mind.

The winners, who plan to become public servants, provided they have adequate experience and professionalism, will get the opportunity to join the Higher School of Public Administration personnel reserve programme, aka the “school of governors.”

Of course, the greatest benefit provided by the competition is an opportunity to work with mentors, who are top professionals. They include the prime minister, deputy prime ministers and ministers, senior officials from both chambers of the Federal Assembly, governors, and heads of major corporations, companies and non-profit organisations. As we are aware, they are very busy people, but they consider it important to spend their time talking with you and people like you, to provide advice and to share their sometimes unique expertise. This is what builds continuity, which is of great importance for the progressive and rhythmic growth of our country.

I would like to point out the importance of employing new personnel based on merits and abilities. This is what honest, fair and transparent rules are all about. They should apply and be sought after in all fields of our life. Moreover, promotion and career development should be available to those who are willing, as they say, to plug away for the good of the people and always follow the principles of serving the people, society and our country in everything they do.

I would like to thank the participants – who are many – who engaged in volunteer activities and significant social projects and, of course, those who made a great personal contribution to the We are Together drive and helped the elderly, people with disabilities and war veterans in the challenging months of fighting the pandemic.

To reiterate, winning the competition opens a new chapter in your life with fantastic opportunities and great responsibilities.

Friends, I wish you all every success along this path.

The source of information -

Greetings to President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon on Independence Day

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon on the occasion of the national holiday, Independence Day.

September 9, 2020 - 10:00

The Russian leader noted that Tajikistan has achieved considerable economic and social successes, and plays a constructive role in regional and international affairs.

“Relations between Russia and Tajikistan are developing dynamically in the spirit of alliance and strategic partnership. Bilateral cooperation continues to expand in various fields, and the same is true of cooperation within the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and other international associations,” the President of Russia noted in his message.

Vladimir Putin also expressed confidence that the further expansion of the entire range of Russian-Tajikistani ties meets the fundamental interests of the friendly peoples of Russia and Tajikistan, and that this process helps strengthen stability and security in Central Asia.

The source of information -

Meeting with Government members

Vladimir Putin held a meeting, via videoconference, with Government members on developing a product labelling system. Other important socioeconomic issues were also discussed.

September 9, 2020 - 15:50 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Chief of Staff Sergei Kiriyenko, deputy prime ministers Viktoria Abramchenko, Tatyana Golikova, Alexei Overchuk, Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister and Chief of the Government Staff Dmitry Grigorenko, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko, Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev, Minister of Construction and Housing and Utilities Vladimir Yakushev, Chairman of the Accounts Chamber Alexei Kudrin, and President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin.

At the beginning of the meeting, Alexander Novak and Vladimir Yakushev reported on the preparations of energy facilities and housing and utility systems for the heating season.

Dmitry Chernyshenko spoke about the tourism industry, restoring and expanding domestic tourism and drafting a national tourism programme. In addition, at the request of the President, the Deputy Prime Minister spoke about the digital transition as a national goal, including the widespread digitalisation of federal and municipal services, the centralisation of information resources of various state bodies and the challenges of the widespread introduction of electronic signatures.

Maxim Reshetnikov reported on the law on a fast-track extrajudicial individual bankruptcy procedure that came into force on September 1 and noted that at this point the key goal is to inform socially vulnerable groups of citizens about how this mechanism works to make sure they can use the service.

Denis Manturov reported on the main agenda item, the product labelling system. This system, the Minister said, will increase market transparency. Today, mandatory labelling has been introduced for fur products, tobacco products, footwear and medicines. By the end of the year, this requirement will apply to photographic goods, tires and perfumes, and from January 2021 labelling will be mandatory for light industry and dairy products.

According to Mr Manturov, the Russian labelling system is unparalleled in the world in terms of coverage. From among the positions that have not yet become part of the labelling effort, the Minister considers it important to apply labelling in the alcohol market in order to protect Russian consumers, since this business is especially susceptible to counterfeit and fraud.

The Minister also noted the importance of creating a common supranational circuit for labelling goods within the EAEU. Last year, a corresponding agreement entered into force in the EAEU. Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are developing their own tracking systems with Russia’s support. In Kyrgyzstan, Russia is creating a digital platform using funds from its own budget. Work on forming a similar system is underway in Uzbekistan. In actuality, Russian IT technologies are being exported to the EAEU and the CIS countries.

The source of information -

Meeting with SCO foreign ministers

Vladimir Putin held a meeting, via videoconference, with foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states.

September 9, 2020 - 18:30 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues, friends,

Good afternoon.

I would like to welcome the heads of the foreign policy departments of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation member states.

The participants in the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting plan to discuss a broad range of issues on the further development of cooperation in the political, economic and social areas, and exchange views on urgent international and regional problems.

I would like to note that against the backdrop of the global coronavirus pandemic, the Russian presidency [in the SCO] has tried to do all it can for the SCO to work effectively and without losing its pace.

Naturally, we had to adjust the plan of measures of our presidency: not all of the over 90 planned events were carried out. Nevertheless, I believe that key tasks have been fulfilled and SCO cooperation has been strengthened in major areas.

The organisation plays a major role in ensuring peace and security, as well as sustainable development in Eurasia. Acting on the principles of equality and mutual consideration for everyone’s interests, we strive to conduct a joint search for ways of resolving today’s global challenges and we maintain close foreign policy coordination, including in the UN and other international venues.

The SCO has shown an ability to respond promptly to new acute challenges. We are undertaking concerted efforts to overcome the political, trade, economic and social ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.

To reiterate, the security situation in Eurasia and neighbouring regions still requires special attention on the part of the SCO. The situation in Afghanistan remains tense, and conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa continue unabated. Terrorism poses a serious threat, and drug trafficking, organised crime and cybercrime are on the rise.

Much remains to be done to expand the interaction between the SCO countries in economic cooperation, to build technological partnerships and create a common transport and logistics infrastructure, to convert to national currencies in mutual transactions as previously agreed.

I believe it is important to more energetically involve the Business Council, the Interbank Consortium, the Forum of Regional Heads and the SCO Youth Council in these and other promising areas.

Meanwhile, it is gratifying to know that other countries and international organisations are increasingly interested in working with the SCO. We have received 16 requests to join our organisation as member states, observers or dialogue partners. This illustrates the authority our organisation enjoys internationally.


The foreign ministers’ meeting traditionally comes as the final stage of preparations for a meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council, which Russia will use to end its chairmanship in the organisation and hand it over to Tajikistan.

As you are aware, due to the epidemiological situation, we, unfortunately, were not able to hold the meeting of the Heads of State Council that was initially planned for July. We are working to hold it online in November. I am confident that, at the upcoming summit, we will be able to substantively and in a business-like manner discuss ways to expand comprehensive cooperation within the SCO.

I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to convey my best wishes to the leaders of your countries.

In closing, I would like to wish you productive work. I hope you will have engaging and useful discussions in Moscow and that the decisions you make will help strengthen partnership and cooperation throughout the vast space of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Thank you.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic at the initiative of the Serbian side.

September 10, 2020 - 11:00

The conversation focused on the Kosovo settlement. Aleksandar Vucic informed the President of Russia about the talks he had in Washington on September 4 and in Brussels on September 7, 2020. Vladimir Putin reaffirmed Russia’s position of principle regarding the development of a balanced compromise solution that should be acceptable to Belgrade and approved by the UN Security Council.

The presidents also discussed the Russian-Serbian strategic partnership. Vladimir Putin spoke highly about Aleksandar Vucic’s personal contribution to the development of bilateral ties and expressed readiness to continue to closely collaborate with him on all of the bilateral, regional and international issues.

The source of information -

Meeting on economic issues

Vladimir Putin held a meeting on economic issues via videoconference.

September 10, 2020 - 13:30 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The meeting participants included Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, deputy prime ministers Tatyana Golikova and Dmitry Grigorenko, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Labour and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov and Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

I suggest that today we discuss, together with relevant ministries and the Central Bank leadership, the economic situation in the country, assessing its key trends and, of course, charting our subsequent steps to encourage economic growth, boost employment and improve incomes of Russian citizens. We have been holding such meetings on a regular basis.

Just like the whole world, Russia faced objective economic difficulties this year. Entire sectors, primarily trade and services, the construction industry and some industrial facilities were shut down due to the coronavirus epidemic.

In this connection, I would like to note that the Russian economic slump and the GDP contraction were less substantial than in other leading countries. We know that the country posted an 8.5 percent GDP reduction in the second quarter of 2020, while the United States and the Eurozone posted 9.5 and 15 percent, respectively.

According to some experts, this is, of course, linked to an extent to the structure of Russia’s economy. However, this is not the only factor. Obviously, targeted, well-thought-out and, most importantly, timely measures taken at the federal level, by the Russian Federation Government and our colleagues in the regions, to support employees, enterprises and entire sectors played their role.

Many specialists and experts agree today that the most dangerous, critical period is now behind us. Indeed, economic growth resumed in Russia in June. Consumer activity is on the rise, and vital indicators such as electricity consumption and freight rail traffic are gradually returning to last year’s figures. The head of Russian Railways has recently informed me about this.

Of course, it is true that the revival of business activities is proceeding unevenly. Much will have to be done to regain the trajectory of sustainable growth across the board in all spheres. We held an in-depth discussion on this at a similar meeting in June. Of course, many economic indicators and forecasts have become more positive and accurate since then.

However, I would like to draw the attention of the Government and our regional colleagues to the following. Although our enterprises and companies have resumed their operations and there are other positive economic trends, I would like you to focus on the unemployment rate. It remains quite high in Russia, 6 percent of the economically active population. Let me remind you, that we reported such level back in March 2012. About eighteen months ago, it was 4.7 percent, but it is 6.3 percent today. It may not look high in percentage points, but it amounts to considerable growth, nevertheless.

We have taken unprecedented measures to support those who lost their jobs. We increased the maximum unemployment benefit to the subsistence wage. But this has put up registered unemployment. Those who did not register for unemployment pay before are doing this now that the payment has improved, and so the number of jobless has grown accordingly. This is clear. We also complemented these payments with child allowance.

I would like to remind you that these measures were initially a temporary payment for a limited period of time. However, the labour market situation remains serious, as I have mentioned. We must continue to support those who have not yet found new jobs. Colleagues, today I expect you to tell me about your proposals for organising this assistance.

At the same time, I would like to remind you about the priority objective set to the Government – to restore the 2019 employment level before the end of 2021 by bringing unemployment down to 4.7 percent of the economically active population, as I have already said.

Today I would like you to tell me what is being done towards this, including your proposals for the draft federal budget, which should be ready shortly, and amendments to national projects. We have spoken about this. I would like to point out that everything we do at this stage of economic restoration should serve our long-term development goals. This should provide a solid basis for structural changes.

Let us talk about all of this now.

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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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Meeting with permanent members of Security Council

The President held a meeting on current matters, via videoconference, with permanent members of the Security Council.

September 11, 2020 - 14:10 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, 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 Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin and Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues.

Let us get down to work.

First of all, I would like to point out that the current stage in Russia’s development consists of many component parts. However, it is perfectly clear that it also includes the implementation of large national development projects, which stipulate the creation of a great number of high-tech sites that involve the intensive use of existing industrial facilities in energy, transport, housing and utilities as well as many other spheres.

This undoubtedly poses new risks of technological accidents and emergencies. It is our task – the task of the state – to protect the people, our citizens, and the territory of Russia from their effects.

All of us are well aware that it is failure to comply with technical and industrial safety rules that results in adverse technological incidents, accidents and emergencies.

Today we will analyse the legal framework for this work at all levels – federal, regional and municipal. Based on this analysis, we will formulate our conclusions and propose new rules for operating in this sphere that should minimise the risk of technological accidents.

Let us listen to what Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev has to say, and after that, I would like all those present to make their comments. As a result of our meeting today, we should adopt a decision that will be used as the basis for our further work in this vital sphere.

Go ahead, please.

The source of information -

Greetings to 31st Kinotavr Open Russian Film Festival

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to participants, organisers and guests of the 31st Kinotavr Open Russian Film Festival, taking place in Sochi on September 11–18.

September 11, 2020 - 19:00

The message reads, in part:

“Being past its 30th anniversary, your festival is rightfully considered one of the most reputable and representational film forums in the country. It is famous for its friendly, kind atmosphere and established traditions. Being a creative platform, it brings together renowned masters and talented youth. And most importantly, it presents good, interesting films and outlines the main trends in the development of Russian cinematography.

I am sure that this year Kinotavr will be held successfully and will facilitate the promotion of the best Russian films. And, of course, it will become a festive occasion for the residents of Sochi and numerous tourists at the famous Black Sea resort, who will enjoy the spectacular premieres and meetings with famous actors, directors and screenwriters.”

The source of information -

Greetings on centenary of Russian tank building

Vladimir Putin congratulated workers and veterans of the Russian tank building industry on its 100th anniversary and Tank Crew Day.

September 13, 2020 - 09:00

The message reads, in part:

“This anniversary is an important event for the workers of defence companies, research centres and design bureaus, and for the domestic military-industrial complex as a whole. We pay tribute to the memory of and immense respect for our talented scientists, engineers and military specialists who stood at the origins of the industry’s formation and later developed and produced advanced combat vehicles that have famed our country as one of the recognised leaders of global tank building. Of course, it is largely owing to their tireless, truly heroic efforts that our legendary tanks gained a major advantage in the key battles of World War II and made a tremendous contribution to the Great Victory.

Today, Russian tank construction is a modern, high tech defence industry sector that has accumulated wonderful traditions and enormous experience of serial advanced tank production. It employs professionals that are capable of building new generation tanks with unique combat characteristics.”

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 at the initiative of the French side.

September 14, 2020 - 15:10

The presidents had an in-depth discussion on the Navalny case. Vladimir Putin pointed out that it was unacceptable to make unsubstantiated and ungrounded accusations against Russia in this context. To establish the real circumstances of the incident, German specialists must send to Russia the biomaterials and an official statement on the test results of the samples collected from Alexei Navalny, and must start working together with Russian doctors.

It has been agreed to contribute towards determining the parameters of possible interaction with European partners to this end.

During the exchange of views on the developments in Belarus, Vladimir Putin reaffirmed Russia’s position of principle on the inadmissibility of any attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of that sovereign state or to put external pressure on the legitimate authorities. Both sides expressed interest in the soonest possible normalisation in Belarus and a peaceful settlement of the crisis through a constructive dialogue.

The presidents also discussed the internal Ukrainian conflict and expressed concern over the lack of progress in the implementation of the 2015 Minsk agreements as the only basis for a settlement. Vladimir Putin pointed out Kiev’s attempts to interpret the agreements according to its own liking and to selectively implement its own obligations, including those assumed within the Normandy format.

When exchanging views on Libya, the presidents noted the importance of continuing joint efforts to implement the decisions of the Berlin conference adopted in January 2020 and formalised in UN Security Council Resolution 2510.

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Meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko

Vladimir Putin met with President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, who arrived in Russia on a working visit, at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi.

September 14, 2020 - 16:00 - Sochi

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Lukashenko,

I am pleased to see you.

I have already congratulated you on your victory in the presidential election, but I did so in writing and over the telephone. Now, I am delighted to have the opportunity to do so in person. I would like to wish you all the best and every success.

Of course, we are aware of the internal political developments in Belarus related to these elections. You are well aware of our position: we are for the Belarusians themselves, without any suggestions or pressure from outside, calmly and in a dialogue with each other, sorting this situation out and come to a common decision on how to organise their work in the future.

We are aware of your proposal to begin work on the Constitution. I think it is a logical, timely and proper thing to do. We are also aware of the position that your representatives most recently voiced at the OSCE in connection with the work on the Constitution. As far as I recall, a corresponding body has already been created, which is headed by the Deputy Chairman of the Constitutional Court. I am confident that, with your experience of political work, work in this area will be organised at the highest level, which will allow you to break new ground in improving the country's political system and, thus, create proper conditions for further development.

Russia remains committed to all our agreements, including the agreements arising from the Union State Treaty and the CSTO Treaty. We regard Belarus as our closest ally and, of course, as I have told you many times in our telephone conversations, we will honour all our commitments.

We undertook these commitments mutually in 1992 and, I believe, in 1994. Anyway, in 1994 you were already President; I wasn't, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that Russia undertook certain commitments, as I said, and regardless of who is in power at a particular point, the country must honour these commitments. You are aware that we have repeatedly stated that we will do so.

With regard to our economic relations, Russia remains the largest investor in the Belarusian economy. Just one of the projects – a nuclear power plant – is estimated at 10 billion in US dollar terms. In general, over 50 percent of Belarus' foreign trade is with Russia. Almost 2,500 enterprises with Russian capital are operating in Belarus. We have very stable and deep cooperation in a number of areas and industries.

By the way, the coronavirus has affected our trade, unfortunately, but this is happening all over the world, and our trade levels are down as well. In this connection I believe we need to make extra efforts in order to not only restore the pre-crisis level of trade and economic relations, but to create conditions for advancing our trade as well.

I suggest that we focus on this today as well. I have a number of proposals. I think we can make extra efforts at the government level, as well as the ministry and department levels and even with individual companies in order to overcome the existing problems and, as I said, create proper conditions for moving forward.

Our colleagues at various levels – companies, ministries and departments – are in constant contact with each other. Yes, the Government in Belarus has changed but this will not change our active work, all the more so since Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin visited Belarus quite recently. I know that he had very serious, lengthy talks and they were successful in all areas of our cooperation, including finances. We agreed that during this complicated period Moscow would grant Minsk a state loan of $1.5 billion and we will do this. I believe that our finance ministers are now working at a professional level on this issue.

We will have to continue our cooperation in defence. Of course, I am referring primarily to defence companies. We have intensive cooperation in this area, including fairly sensitive areas, such as in the military sphere.

Incidentally, today we start the military exercises that were planned last year, which are scheduled to run for several days. But, in effect, this is routine for the military. This is for the training of troops. Let me repeat to prevent conjecture: this is an event that was planned and even announced last year. After the joint exercises the Russian units will return to their permanent stations.

In conclusion, I would like to mention a very urgent issue, notably, our efforts to counter the coronavirus infection. As our prime ministers and later our healthcare ministers agreed, Belarus will be the first country to receive our antivirus vaccine against COVID-19, and it has already started taking part in the last phase of the testing. I think this will allow us not only to develop joint production but also ensure the appropriate level of vaccination for the safety of our citizens and the efforts to counter this disease.

Mr Lukashenko, I am very happy to see you. Welcome.

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko:

Thank you, Mr President.

Thank you for listing the matters to be discussed at our meeting today so frankly and fully. This is good, because never before – the circumstances are making me monitor the news very carefully in the various media now – never before have there been so many conspiracy theories before our meetings. So what you just said is very important and generally covers the challenges and sentiments reflected in the media.

First, I would like to thank you. This is natural, and everyone understands this. I am not thanking you for fulfilling the agreements – that much is natural. But you have acted very decently, appropriately, so I thank you, personally, along with all the Russians, all those – I am not going to list the names now – all those who have been involved in supporting us during this post-election period.

I will tell you in detail what happened. It was most certainly not at all like they made it look in the media. You are experienced, and you know as well as I do how things can be shown and described. Also, in our time, a time of information confrontation and warfare, you know how thigs are presented. That is why I am going to inform you in detail about what is actually happening, not even in Belarus, but specifically in Minsk on weekends. Sometimes I watch this closely; I do not want to oversimplify, but I look at this with a smile: we have a march of women and young ladies on Saturday, and a general march on Sunday. Saturday and Sunday. On workdays, the country leads an ordinary life. But on Saturday and Sunday, we free an area in Minsk so people can, if they wish, march across that part of the city.

But what is most important, and this is what I always say, is not to cross the line. There is a red line, and you know about it even better than I do: you have had to draw red lines – in Chechnya first of all, when you were a young President, and I remember that. God forbid, of course, to have this situation in Belarus, but nevertheless, there are lines that no one has the right to cross. So far, no one has actually tried it. That is why, as people say both in Russia and in Belarus, this dragged-out story is just going back and forth.

True, a friend in need is a friend indeed. This is a lesson for us all, not just Belarus and Russia, but all post-Soviet republics as well. We will discuss this again at the EAEU meeting, primarily, the CSTO. There are things to discuss as part of our CIS meetings as well. I think you will be interested in hearing my remarks about these bodies not just because we have re-evaluated everything there was. We keep evaluating and re-evaluating things. As we mentioned in our telephone conversation when these events started unfolding in Belarus, we must learn from these events. For us too, this was a very important test which I hope you and I passed.

Indeed, we acted strictly in compliance with the CSTO Treaty and, taking into account relations between our brotherly peoples, in fact, one people, we did just that. We did not fight or shoot; we did not throw any projectiles or even sticks. There are two opposing sides in Belarus, but we have shown our determination. If someone beyond Belarus borders is looking for a fight, we can oblige at any time. What I am particularly pleased with – and I am very grateful to you for this – is that you have shown that the Belarusian borders are the borders of the Union State, and no one is allowed to rattle weapons there.

With regard to the Union State Treaty, you correctly noted that we were proceeding systematically and incrementally. The first outlines of this Treaty were made with the first President of Russia in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

You and I did not break up the Soviet Union. This came to us as a legacy. In 1994, there were obligations under our agreement. And the Union State Treaty – I remember when you and I exchanged documents, you were the President, it was, I think, 1998, the year you just became President …

Vladimir Putin:

I became President in 2000. That was before me.

Alexander Lukashenko:

Yes, 2000, your first year. We were working on the Treaty before you became President, and then, I believe, we exchanged instruments of ratification.

Vladimir Putin:


Alexander Lukashenko:

You are right, it doesn’t matter. Our states and our peoples will remain friendly nations forever.

As for the economy I often quote this figure: at one time the Dmitry Medvedev Government and I counted and it appeared that some 10 million people in Russia work in companies that cooperate with Belarus. In some cases this cooperation is small and in others it is bigger. Russian companies supply Belarus with spare parts and other products. As is usually counted based on an average family of four, this concerns 40 million people in Russia. In other words, this cooperation is very close. You are absolutely correct: we will do everything so that not Russians, not even Belarusians… because our country wholly depends on primary products, parts, materials and cooperation. I am not even mentioning the markets: Russia is our main market; we supply it with 48 percent of our products. This is a major part of the economy.

I once asked my colleague Mr Orban about cooperation with other countries, especially in the European Union in connection with the special position he occupies. He quoted a figure: I think he said trade with Germany was nearly 90 percent. “This is all I have to say in answer to your question,” he said.

The economy is the cornerstone of everything. Believe me, we have always pursued this policy. Meanwhile, these events have shown that we must stay close to our big brother and cooperate in all areas, including the economy.

You are right. You called me then and suggested a pattern of work. We agreed even before the election that once it was over we will actively deal with economic issues. It was proposed that the Prime Minister and his Government should come to Minsk to hold these talks to prevent us from falling into the same trap, stumbling over difficult problems.

Yes, Mr Mishustin came to Minsk and we met there. They did a very good job on the obvious issues and we reached agreements. We reserved some questions for the presidents to discuss and make the decisions. But we discussed all the issues that were on the agenda.

With regard to the coronavirus, I am grateful to you, and we highly appreciate the fact that you put us at the top of the list of vaccine recipients. We see what is happening in Europe. A strong second wave is already underway, and I am afraid that it will be more devastating than the first one. I see the trends; we are monitoring them.

It is true that there is no surge in Belarus like in Europe, but this does not mean that we are sitting on our hands. We are doing our best to avoid this wave. It is gratifying to know that the virus has lost some if its potency, as our specialists say. But I am afraid the virus will go hand in hand with various flu viruses out there. So, you and I should not relax, because a second wave, just like the first wave, will come – if it comes – from abroad. God forbid it hits Belarus and Russia again.

As military men, you and I have always adhered to the same tactics when it comes to defence. Perhaps, I framed it rudely during my recent conversation with Russian journalists when I said that we can wrangle about many issues, argue about them and so on, but defence and security have never caused disputes or doubts. We should not be asking anyone whether or not we should conduct military exercises. We have held them before and will continue to do so in the future. Anyone can join them. If someone does not feel like joining, they don’t have to.

I believe you will give an order to your Defence Minister – our Defence Minister has already received an order to the effect that we will plan these exercises for years ahead and then get specific about them. We must conduct small and large exercises together.

You have seen one of the lessons, which is the current situation in Belarus. Well, why rattle the caterpillar tracks at the borders of the Union State? We are going through a difficult period, have some patience. No, they deployed a NATO battalion recently, 15 kilometres from our border, in Lithuania. Why do this?

We must not repeat the mistakes of the Great Patriotic War when we tried to calm everyone down to prevent a provocation, saying there would be no war, etc. As a result, we were back to square one. We had an army, a Soviet army but they [the Nazi troops] just walked through Belarus and we couldn’t even get organised in time. We couldn’t counter them. They backed us up to Smolensk and only there we could finally resist them.

I believe that for this reason we should never pay attention to what we are told. They don’t listen to what we are saying and don’t consider our apprehensions. They hold their exercises whenever they want. So, if you support this idea, we will also prepare our armies without escalating tensions so if, God forbid, something happens, we are able to resist.

I would like to once again thank you and the Russian people and your colleagues for the support, primarily moral support for us in this difficult period.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr President, as for the military component, you are right, we have a plan and we will carry it out. We plan to hold events both on the territory of Belarus and Russia almost every month during the next year. We will do everything as we have planned.

As for the other issues, we indeed have an opportunity now to discuss them. In fact, we have met to talk about all of them in a calm atmosphere.

Of course, first of all, we must discuss economic issues because a reduction of 21-odd percent is still a big reduction. This is not due to our work; it is due to general global trends because of the coronavirus. But we will counter the coronavirus through a concerted effort and, I’m sure, we will overcome the current economic difficulties.

There was a reason I mentioned the loan that Russian intends to extend to Belarus soon. I hope it will have a positive effect on the financial markets.

Thank you.

The source of information -

Greetings on the opening of 13th International Helicopter Industry Exhibition HeliRussia 2020

Vladimir Putin sent his greetings to participants and guests of the 13th International Helicopter Industry Exhibition HeliRussia 2020.

September 15, 2020 - 10:00

The message reads, in part:

“Russia is rightfully considered a leader in the global helicopter industry. Our outstanding fellow citizens stood at the beginnings of it, creating technologies ahead of their time and introducing original engineering solutions.

It is good that today Russian aircraft-building companies, research centres and designer bureaus carefully preserve and develop these amazing creative and working traditions and confidently maintain the high quality while offering new products and services and promoting them on the domestic and international markets.

The robust capabilities of HeliRussia are fully involved in this large and necessary work. The exhibition always attracts the attention of specialists, experts and wide audiences and serves as a reputable platform to strengthen international cooperation, promote mutually beneficial contracts and launch promising projects.

I believe HeliRussia 2020 will be held at an excellent level and leave its guests and participants with interesting and positive impressions.”

The 13th International Helicopter Industry Exhibition HeliRussia 2020 takes place in Moscow on September 15–17.

The source of information -

Opening of medical centres in Pskov Region

Vladimir Putin took part, via videoconference, in an opening ceremony for two new multi-purpose medical centres built by the Defence Ministry in Pskov and Velikiye Luki.

September 15, 2020 - 15:50 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

During the videoconference, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu also reported on the construction of a medical centre in Kyzyl.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

Today, we will focus specifically on opening the new facilities. Also today, September 15, we are marking the 98th anniversary of the sanitary and epidemiological service in our country.

Created back in 1922, it immediately became an important component of the country's healthcare system, ensured the continuity of its development and its historical traditions. We are rightfully proud of such names as Erisman, Semashko and Sysin, and many other researchers and doctors who stood at the origins of our sanitary and epidemiological school. We talked about some of them not so long ago.

I would like to congratulate the service veterans. Special thanks go to those who ensured the epidemiological security of the front and home front during the Great Patriotic War.

Today, thousands of specialists are working in this important sphere, including doctors, epidemiologists, microbiologists and hygienists. Largely thanks to your work, friends, we are effectively countering the spread of the coronavirus infection.

Thus, Russia ranks 40th worldwide in terms of the number of cases per 100,000 people and 100th in terms of mortality associated with this dangerous infection. Also, our country is the world’s leader in the number of tests per 100,000.

Such comprehensive efforts allow us to detect the disease at early stages, ensure stable epidemiological situation and to provide effective treatment, thus protecting the lives and health of millions of people.

I want to thank you for your dedicated work. Friends, I wish you every success in your work and, of course, good health and happiness in your personal lives.

I would like to return to where I started. It is symbolic that we are opening two multi-purpose medical centres on this particular day. The centres will be operating in the Pskov Region. One is located in Pskov and can accommodate 200 patients. The other is located in Velikiye Luki and has 100 hospital beds.

Both were built very quickly, within two and a half months, thanks to the Defence Ministry’s efforts. What is particularly important is that these two projects are very high quality. It should be noted that lately, the Defence Ministry has been known for its signature high-quality projects and its experts have proven that they always keep the bar high.

I would like to thank the Ministry leadership, civilian specialists and military construction personnel for their contribution to these facilities.

Also, I would like to single out the responsible and enthusiastic work of regional officials, including when it came to allocating land plots and building the utilities infrastructure for these medical centres. I hope that very soon, these hospitals will be ready to accept patients and provide qualified medical assistance.

Another medical centre, in the Republic of Tyva, is scheduled to be completed in late September. To my knowledge, the work is going according to schedule. I hope the schedule will be observed until the end. I would like to hear more details on the progress today.

Besides the hospitals in the Pskov Region, the Defence Ministry has built 21 specialised medical centres all over the country. They are fully equipped with necessary technology and stocked with medications in order to provide efficient and prompt medical treatment, including for the coronavirus.

The purpose of the new medical centres is to ensure there is an additional reserve of hospital beds to cover possible increases in infectious disease rates. In general, they will contribute to a higher capacity of the national healthcare system – especially when it comes to medical facilities in the regions – and increase the accessibility of medical assistance.

I would like to hear a report on the operation of the facilities that have already opened, including a report on staffing and medication supplies.

I would like to finish my opening remarks by saying thank you, once again, to everybody involved in the construction of these medical centres. I wish all the best to you and everybody who will be working at these facilities, doctors, nurses and all medical workers.

Now let’s begin this pleasant event. I would like to pass the floor to Mr Shoigu. Go ahead, please.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu:

Thank you.

Mr President, colleagues,

According to your instruction, Mr President, the Defence Ministry has finished the construction of the multi-purpose medical centres – for 200 hospital beds in Pskov and for 100 beds in Velikiye Luki. We are handing them over to the regional authorities today.

The centres are fully ready to provide advanced medical assistance. The total area of the new buildings and structures exceeds 17,000 sq m. Medical workers for these facilities are being trained at the Kirov Military Medicine Academy.

A multi-purpose medical centre in Severomorsk, for 100 beds, is currently under construction. There will be a specialised radiology unit. This is our first project of this kind. We are also finishing the construction of a medical centre in Kyzyl, for 200 hospital beds. After that, we will start the second stage of construction of a multi-purpose outpatient clinic in Tyva. It will be able to receive 300 patients every day.

This concludes my report.

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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 September 19th, 2020 #125
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Congratulations to Yoshihide Suga on his election as Prime Minister of Japan

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to Yoshihide Suga on his election as Prime Minister of Japan.

September 16, 2020 - 09:05

The President of Russia expressed confidence that his great influence and rich political experience would help Yoshihide Suga in his new capacity as the head of the Japanese Government.

“A great deal has been recently accomplished in the development of dialogue between our countries, including through the contribution of your predecessor, Mr Shinzo Abe. I would like to reaffirm our readiness for constructive interaction on current bilateral and international issues. This will certainly be in the interests of the people of Russia and Japan and will also help strengthen stability and security in the Asia Pacific region and the rest of the world,” Vladimir Putin wrote in his message.

The source of information -

Meeting with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Chairman of the Gazprom Management Board Alexei Miller to discuss, in particular, preparations for autumn and winter and gasification of the regions, as well as the Power of Siberia 2 project.

September 16, 2020 - 13:50 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Miller, there are many issues to discuss, as usual. I would like you to start with two: preparations for the heating season and the gasification plans.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller:

Mr President,

Preparations for the autumn-winter period are strictly on schedule. By the beginning of the gas withdrawal period, the operational gas reserves in Russia’s underground storage facilities will amount to 72.3 billion cubic metres. We will maintain the all-time high daily rate of gas offtake at 843.3 million cubic metres. Gazprom will pump nearly 9 billion cubic metres of gas into underground storage facilities in Europe.

These steps will allow Gazprom to fully meet consumer needs during the winter.

Gas supply and gasification programmes in the regions are among our most important social projects. In 2020, we increased the volume of financing coming from Gazprom by more than 160 percent. Gazprom’s investment will amount to 56 billion rubles, which is 22 billion rubles more than in 2019. A total of 2,350 kilometres of gas pipelines will be constructed to supply gas to 319 towns and villages, and 410 boiler plants will be built. The country’s level of gasification will stand at 71.4 percent at the end of the year. Gasification will be fully completed in 11 regions.

We are now close to finishing work on drafting and signing five-year gas supply and gasification programmes with 67 regions. This is part of our next five-year plan. This five-year plan provides for nearly tripling the amount of funding provided by Gazprom for gas supply and gasification programmes to 526.1 billion rubles. A total of 24,400 kilometres of pipelines is to be built over these five years; 3,632 towns and villages will be connected to gas supply, and the gasification level will reach 74.7 percent.

At the same time, it is noteworthy that in the next five years, by the end of 2025, another 24 Russian regions will have completed gasification, bringing the total to 35 regions of the Russian Federation.

To date, we have signed five-year programmes with 14 Russian regions and will complete this work in the next two months; so that documents will be signed with all Russian regions.

The upcoming five years will be characterised by highly pronounced social features, and this is the main difference from the work we have carried out in previous years. And, of course, as you have told us, we will now focus most on the gasification of villages.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Miller, the Accounts Chamber reported there were certain problems related to synchronisation between Gazprom’s work and regional and municipal authorities. How do you see this situation? While implementing the gasification programme, I mean.

Alexei Miller:

Yes, Mr President. You know there is a proposal that perhaps should be discussed: to make Gazprom the operator of the gas supply and gasification programmes. Gazprom could fully build branch pipelines; build inter-settlement gas pipelines, and build – currently the regions are building them – intra-settlement gas pipelines and the so-called “last mile gas pipelines.”

Vladimir Putin:

To consumers and households?

Alexei Miller:

To land plots and households.

Without doubt, firstly, this would speed up gasification. Secondly, this would allow Russian regions to allocate a large share of their budgets to the thermal power industry and boiler rooms. This approach would make it possible to redistribute budgetary funds among the regions in a certain way and would definitely make it possible to plan, as they say, from the end user. In such circumstances, Gazprom would not create excess capacities, in particular, in branch pipelines. Unfortunately, branch pipeline capacity is not used to the full, that is, we have excess capacities.

Vladimir Putin:

Well, let me instruct the Government to work together with us.

Alexei Miller:


Vladimir Putin:


What other issues do we have?

Alexei Miller:

Gazprom's current output numbers are fully in line with the market demand and the macroeconomic situation in general. Gazprom enjoys strong liquidity, high confidence and reliability in its operations. The situation has got back to normal over the past several months.

In August, Gazprom supplied 5 percent more gas to Russian consumers than in July, and exported 12 percent more.

If we compare gas supplies to non-CIS countries in August 2020 with August 2019, the volume of gas supplies exceeded 16.3 billion cubic metres, which is a significant amount. It is safe to assume that Gazprom’s gas supplies to non-CIS countries in 2020 will be part of the top five all-time supply volumes.

Vladimir Putin:

What about our eastern project, Russia – Mongolia – the People's Republic of China?

Alexei Miller:

Mr President, you issued a directive to start front-end engineering and design for the Power of Siberia 2 project. We started it and, at the same time, started working on the Mongolian section.

As part of a videoconference with the Prime Minister of Mongolia [Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh], a memorandum of intent to create a special-purpose company was signed. The company is to conduct a feasibility study for this route and to choose the gas pipeline route. We will discuss the results of this work in the first quarter of 2021.

Once implemented, the Power of Siberia 2 project will allow us, firstly, to connect gas transmission capacities in the west with those in the east. Mr President, you have been setting the goal of creating a unified gas supply system for some time now. This presents new opportunities for delivering gas to Eastern Siberia and the Trans-Baikal area. This is a new export corridor with a capacity of up to 50 billion cubic metres of gas and an opportunity to deliver gas from Yamal not only to the European market, but to the Asian market as well.

Vladimir Putin:


The source of information -

Greetings to Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on his 70th birthday.

September 17, 2020 - 09:00

The President noted that, thanks to his efforts as the head of the Indian Government, Narendra Modi has gained well-deserved respect of the Indian public and strong authority on the world stage.

“Under your leadership, India is making significant progress in its socioeconomic, scientific and technological development. Your personal contribution to strengthening the privileged strategic partnership between our countries cannot be overstated. I appreciate our warm and friendly relationship. I hope to continue our constructive dialogue and close cooperation on topical issues of the bilateral and international agendas,” the President of Russia stressed in his message and wished the Prime Minister good health, happiness, prosperity and success.

The source of information -

Greetings on centenary of Nikolai Chernyshevsky memorial museum

Vladimir Putin congratulated the employees of the Nikolai Chernyshevsky memorial museum on its centenary.

September 17, 2020 - 10:00

The message reads, in part:

“You museum is by right considered one of the main sights and a recognised cultural and educational centre of Saratov and the entire Volga Region. The museum conducts highly relevant research, exhibitions, educational and information projects, literary soirees and other interesting events. Much is being done to help the museum’s guests, especially young people, discover new pages of Russian history and literature, public and philosophical thought. This is why your meticulous, creative work aimed at preserving our invaluable cultural and intellectual heritage deserves the most sincere recognition.”

Nikolai Chernyshevsky (1828—1889), a Russian philosopher, revolutionary democrat, scholar, essayist and author, was born in the house that is part of the memorial museum. The museum’s main collection has over 28,000 depository items.

The source of information -

Meeting with permanent members of Security Council

The President held a videoconference with permanent members of the Security Council.

September 17, 2020 - 14:00 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The participants discussed current aspects of socioeconomic development and Russia’s domestic agenda.

The discussion took place in the context of preparations for the President’s participation in the UN General Assembly. His statement will be recorded in Moscow by the end of this week and the video will be sent to the organisers in New York for subsequent publication.

Vladimir Putin also informed the meeting participants about his contacts with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko earlier this week.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Minister of the Interior Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov, and Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi

September 17, 2020 - 15:00

During the telephone conversation, Vladimir Putin extended his warm greetings to Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on his 70th birthday. The two leaders reaffirmed their mutual interest in further strengthening multifaceted Russian-Indian relations in line with the Declaration on Strategic Partnership, a document that marks its 20th anniversary this year.

They also touched upon practical aspects of bilateral ties, including joint efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Narendra Modi thanked Vladimir Putin for the birthday greetings and expressed satisfaction with the work Russia has been doing as part of its current SCO presidency and BRICS chairmanship.

They agreed to maintain their contacts.

The source of information -

Greetings to Russia’s Jews on Rosh Hashanah

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to Russia’s Jews on Rosh Hashanah.

September 18, 2020 - 09:00

The message reads, in part:

“Followers of Judaism in our country deeply respect the invaluable historical and spiritual heritage of their ancestors, and carefully pass on their ancient, distinctive religious and cultural traditions from generation to generation. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is rightfully considered one of the most important occasions in the life of the Jewish community. On these days, people look back on the path travelled and make plans for the future. They aspire to purity of thoughts and deeds, and help others.

I would like to note that Jewish religious associations are doing great and important work implementing socially significant charitable, educational and patriotic projects. I would like to highlight their tireless concern for strengthening peace and harmony, mutual respect and neighbourliness between people and, of course, their contribution to the common fight against the threat of the novel coronavirus infection.”

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Meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission

On the eve of Gunsmith Day, Vladimir Putin held a meeting, via videoconference, of the Military-Industrial Commission of the Russian Federation.

September 18, 2020 - 14:50 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

Today, we are holding a regular meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission but, importantly, we are doing this on the eve of Gunsmith Day. Therefore, I would like to begin by congratulating everyone who work in the military-industrial complex on this forthcoming holiday and convey the warmest words of gratitude to the veterans, who consolidated and continued the legendary traditions of the world-famous gun-making schools and developed weapons and equipment. Without any exaggeration they have come to embody the power and might of our army and navy, and ensured the military-technological parity with the leading states for decades ahead.

The current generation of gunsmiths befittingly continues the cause of their predecessors. They produce unique arms that are better than their foreign counterparts. In some cases they do not have any counterparts, which their characteristics make perfectly obvious.

I would like to wish all workers of the industry new successes for the benefit of the Motherland because the work, competencies and the talent of employees, engineers and other specialists is the foundation for the development of Russia’s defence industry.

We will continue strengthening the personnel potential of the defence industry, creating conditions that will allow our talented managers, scientists and designers – those who are 30–40 years today – to fully reveal their abilities, use the accumulated experience, implement their bold ideas and eventually occupy key positions in the companies of the industry and assume responsibility for their future, and, hence, for the reliable supply of Russia’s army and navy with modern equipment in the decades to come.

In this connection, we will discuss the federal personnel reserve in the defence industry under the first item on the agenda of the Commission's meeting.

Notably, such formats – the presidential and the federal management personnel reserve, the Leaders of Russia open competition and a number of others – are doing well and have an excellent track record. The experts who have passed this rigorous selection are already working at different levels of government.

Since May, such work began at the defence industry enterprises. I am aware that work is underway in four areas, and 55 promising professionals have already been selected. They are genuine leaders who are studying strategic planning for defence industry enterprises, organisation of the work of major labour and research teams, and management of order portfolios and finances.

It is important to train new-generation leaders, who will tackle major unconventional tasks facing the industry, such as the effective and timely implementation of the state defence order, the accelerated introduction of scientific and technical achievements into serial production, and, of course, the development of promising weapons and equipment. We need hundreds of such specialists, without any exaggeration. We are talking about many hundreds of top-level specialists.

I would like Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov to report in detail on the results of creating a federal personnel reserve in the defence industry complex and plans in this field.

The next item on our agenda is to stimulate the diversification processes in the defence industry. We outlined specific tasks and guidelines for this sphere several years ago.

Colleagues, you are aware that this matter is critical for the sustainable and balanced operation of the defence industry in the long run when we are past the peak of the army and navy rearmament programmes.

Notably, the share of civilian products in the total defence industry output is growing from year to year. In 2018, it was 20.9 percent, and in 2019 it was already 24.1 percent. These numbers are even higher in several defence industry segments. I believe it is already over 31 percent in the aircraft-building industry. Even in the field of ammunition 26 percent of the output is civilian goods. Positive numbers, but there is still much to be done.

A boost in production of quality high-tech civilian items will bring defence organisations an additional income in the future, help create modern jobs, introduce important dual-use technologies and acquire new competencies.

That is why I spoke about this before, as you know, and I am saying this again today: we must follow through on all our plans made. Let me remind you that by 2025, high-tech civilian products should account for 30 percent of the total defence industry output, and by 2030, their share should reach 50 percent.

We have repeatedly said that defence industry enterprises should make broader use of the opportunities offered by national projects and federal programmes. Joining them will enable such companies to increase the output of civilian products and introduce advanced technologies, expand to new markets, and launch investment cycles focused on medium and long-term planning periods thereby strengthening Russia’s technological sovereignty and making a significant contribution to its economic development.

The domestic industry – both civilian and defence segments – already supplies more than half of the machinery and equipment required for national projects. This is clearly seen on our monitoring of the procurement of products for national projects and the comprehensive plan for the modernisation and expansion of backbone infrastructure. As of September 1, total procurement of goods, works and services amounted to 2.1 trillion rubles, where Russian-made products accounted for 1.1 trillion, or 51 percent. However, I have to note that Russian high-tech equipment so far accounts for just 29 percent, if I remember correctly.

As you know, on July 31, several laws were adopted at my initiative to support domestic producers. In fact, the law changing the contract system was your proposal, a draft law submitted by the Government. Now the Government is authorised to establish the minimum share of domestic goods and services in state procurement and procurement by companies co-owned by the state. In simpler terms, of the total volume of purchases, a certain percentage should be supplied by domestic products. And this requirement cannot be violated or circumvented.

We have talked about this many times. I perfectly understand what is happening here. All the pros and cons, the upside and downside are well known. But I still think it is the right step towards supporting Russian industrialists and high-tech companies.

It is necessary to continue making system-wide decisions that will increase the demand for civilian products of the country's defence industry and ensure the priority of domestic producers on the Russian market, which is extremely important.

Of course, there clearly must be competition. But it must be observed both between Russian producers and between Russian and foreign producers. But foreign producers should not have special advantages, and unfortunately, this still happens on our market.

Improving the law on state defence procurement remains topical. This work has been actively carried out in recent years, and the main emphasis was made on developing a single mechanism of state price regulation in this sphere as well as implementing an information and analysis system that would gather data on prices as part of the implementation of state defence procurement and compare them with prices in non-defence industries.

Let me note that through introducing such amendments to legislation and other measures we have achieved positive results in placing the state defence procurement order.

I am aware of the ongoing discussion between the Defence Ministry as the customer and producers. I will not go into detail now but only note that, as of early September, there already were contracts for 95 percent of tasks against 91.5 percent last year.

At the same time, the law enforcement practice in the state regulation of prices on products supplied as part of the state defence procurement has shown that a number of issues undoubtedly still require revision and adjustment.

For example, we have to address the question whether defence industry enterprises can leave profits, at least a part, a significant part of the profits they make from executing the state defence procurement order. We have discussed this with my colleagues. I believe this would be right: they would acquire some reserve at least. I would like to hear what proposals you have on this.

This is what I wanted to say at the beginning. Let’s get down to work.

The source of information -

Greetings on Gunsmith Day

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the current and former workers of the Russian defence industry on their professional holiday, Gunsmith Day.

September 19, 2020 - 09:00

The message reads, in part:

“Today is the professional holiday of defence industry workers – engineers, designers, military specialists, and everyone who has devoted their lives to a great and important cause: promoting scientific and technical thought, developing and producing advanced weapons and military equipment, and strengthening the combat potential of the Russian Armed Forces. Largely thanks to your creative energy and responsible attitude to your work, the Russian defence industry has gained significant innovative and technological potential and rightfully holds a leading position in the world arms markets.

Of course, on this day, we pay tribute to the outstanding gunsmiths Russia has been famous for since time immemorial. They initiated the strong professional traditions and wrote remarkable pages in the heroic chronicle of our Fatherland.

I am confident that the industry workers will continue to work faithfully for the benefit of Russia and its people.”

The source of information -

Greeting to participants, organisers and guests of Russian National Running Day, Cross the Nation 2020

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the participants, organisers and guests of the Cross the Nation 2020 Russian National Running Day.

September 19, 2020 - 10:30

The message reads, in part:

“This mass sports event will start today in various regions of our vast country. It will provide all the participants with an opportunity to show off their strong character and will to win and to feel part of a united, close-knit team of like-minded people. And, of course, Cross the Nation demonstrates how the geography of the competition expands every year and how many healthy active lifestyle fans there are in Russia.”

The source of information -

Greetings to participants in the meeting of the FNPR General Council held to mark the 30th anniversary of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR)

Vladimir Putin sent his greetings to participants in the meeting of the FNPR General Council held to mark the 30th anniversary of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia.

September 19, 2020 - 11:00

The message reads, in part:

“The FNPR, established in 1990, united a large number of national industrial trade unions and territorial professional organisations and became one of the most important civil society institutions in Russia. Over the time, the Federation has made a significant substantive contribution to promoting the best traditions of the Russian trade union movement and has done a lot to improve labour law and the effectiveness of social partnership mechanisms.

It is gratifying to see that the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia is expanding the forms and methods of its work. It represents the interests of over 20 million people and has an important mission to fulfil: the protection of human rights and active involvement in resolving current socioeconomic problems so that people prosper and their lives improve. And, of course, let me note your significant role in harmonising labour relations and maintaining social cohesion in Russia.”

The source of information -

Conversation with Gerbert Yefremov

Vladimir Putin congratulated Professor Gerbert Yefremov, prominent missile and space-rocket designer, Honorary CEO, Honorary Chief Designer, Advisor for Science at the MIC NPO Mashinostroyenia, on Gunsmith Day.

September 19, 2020 - 14:00 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

In 1956, Gerbert Yefremov graduated from the Leningrad Military Mechanical Institute majoring in Instrument Engineering and signed up with OKB-52 (currently JSC MIC NPO Mashinostroyenia). He devoted his entire life to this enterprise, holding positions of design bureau head, chief designer and CEO.

During the videoconference, Vladimir Putin informed Gerbert Yefremov about the Executive Order he had signed on awarding him with the Order of St Andrew the Apostle the First-Called with swords.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Yefremov, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate you on Gunsmith Day, and in your person everyone who is engaged in the work that is crucial for Russia’s defence and security.

Gerbert Yefremov:

Thank you, Mr President.

Allow me, first of all, to wish you good health. And second, I want to tell you that I am completely overwhelmed with your attention. I will try to say a few words later. I am happy to communicate with you again, especially on this holiday. Thank you!

Vladimir Putin:

Many a generation, we can say that hundreds of thousands of people throughout many years devote themselves, their efforts and their lives to pursuing critical tasks, designing new and unparalleled weapons that are capable of defending our country from any assaults from outside. We will always appreciate their labour, which is comparable, without exaggeration, with a heroic feat because gunsmiths as well as the military stand guard over our Fatherland.

I said a number of times that for decades we were always in a position of having to catch up. You are well aware of that. This concerned nuclear weapons, then long-range strategic aviation, and later also intercontinental missiles, which specialists call delivery systems. This always put our nation in a very challenging and even precarious position. In fact, there were moments when we were threatened while we had nothing to respond with. In reality, let me reiterate, it was an obvious and dangerous violation of the strategic balance.

And now, for the first time in our contemporary history, Russia has the most cutting-edge types of weapons that are far superior to all earlier and current weapons in terms of their power, capability, speed, and, which is crucial, precision. Nobody else in the world has this type of weapons, at least at the moment.

In this connection, on Gunsmith Day, I congratulate the designers and manufacturers of the Peresvet laser system, Kinzhal hypersonic air missile, Poseidon nuclear-powered unmanned underwater system, Burevestnik unlimited-range cruise missile, Zircon navy-based hypersonic missile, and other types of weapons that are already delivered or will be delivered shortly to our army and navy.

But the Avangard system has a special place among them as it has a manoeuvrable hypersonic block that moves at over 27 times the speed of sound and changes its trajectory both vertically and horizontally. The Avangard is not just a new system, it is a new type of strategic weapon.

The US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 forced Russia to start designing hypersonic weapons. We had to do that in response to the US deployment of the strategic anti-missile system that potentially could actually neutralise and reduce to nothing all of our nuclear potential.

Mr Yefremov, this has not happened thanks to you and your colleagues. I remember monitoring the launch of the first experimental gliding block in Plesetsk back in June 2001. That launch was a success.

In the ensuing years we made every possible effort to achieve agreements with the US side on stopping work on the strategic anti-missile defence system or on its joint implementation in missile-threat directions, including with European countries’ participation. However, all our attempts proved futile.

In this context, in 2004 we launched large-scale work on implementing your ideas. We publicly informed everyone about that; I spoke about it publicly. To all appearances, no one believed us back then. They thought we would not be able to do it.

In December 2018, the final launch was made. Thus all the testing was successfully completed.

Mr Yefremov, since December 2019, the first strategic missile regiment with the Avangard system has been put on full combat alert.

This is a tremendous development in the country’s life and ensuring its security, without any exaggeration. It is also undoubtedly a tremendous event in your life.

The results of your work can hardly be overstated. You were not only the originator of this technological idea as it is authored by you. Under the current conditions, the implementation of your idea is undoubtedly comparable to the accomplishments of the nuclear and missile projects by the Soviet Union conducted by outstanding Soviet scientists Igor Kurchatov and Sergei Korolev. Your work is equal to that for us today.

Today is a holiday for all those who design Russia’s weapons – it is a holiday of all weapons designers and producers, and on this day I signed an Executive Order on awarding you with the Order of St Andrew the Apostle the First-Called with swords. You fully deserve this combat decoration. It is with crossed swords because your efforts, the work of all your colleagues from chief designers down to workers, as I said, is akin to a heroic deed.

I congratulate you on this high decoration. I wish a happy holiday to you and the many thousand staff of the military-industrial complex.

All the very best you. Thank you very much.

Gerbert Yefremov:

Thank you so much, Mr President. It comes as a total surprise for me.

I must say that I appreciate your attention not only to me but to all my colleagues in the defence complex and our NPO Mashinostroyenia, our staff, our suppliers, everyone.

I mean to say that you are certainly not a weapons designer and you are not supposed to be one. However, you are our main appraiser, the chief examiner of the things we create – complexes and systems – and, of course, the main controller. Your understanding of all the technical properties which were duly revealed to the world, a demonstration that it is not sci-fi but a reality, it shows your ability, which all others lack, I think.

Let me say in this respect that this is also your holiday, and I want to wish you a happy Gunsmith Day. I should say we used to have many holidays in the past related to our business – strategic missile forces, the Navy, the Navy Day, and space forces. We also celebrate Science Day, Engineering Worker Day. Now, following your call, we will also celebrate Gunsmith Day on September 19.

I would only like to ask you to take it as referring to us in terms of new features and properties our missiles will possess: unique, crucial and so needed by the country, something that you understand perfectly.

Thank you very much, I think I will be able to convey your greetings to our staff, our partners within the corporation and allied industrymen. I am utterly overwhelmed by this. And, of course, thank you very much for the great decoration. Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Yefremov, you have just said a few words about your enterprise, the OKB, where you have worked for many years, your entire life. I want to tell you that you have a very worthy successor. I am sure that he told you about one of our discussions after an unsuccessful series of tests. This does happen, regretfully. The question arose what is to be done next.

Gerbert Yefremov:

I was always well-informed, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin:

So, when there were only two of us, I asked him, “Will you finish the work?” He confidently replied with amazing words. He said, “Give us a chance, and we will do it.” And six months later it was brought to a close.

Gerbert Yefremov:

He is a worthy successor. Thank you for the decoration, Mr President, for your support and understanding. It is all very moving.

Vladimir Putin:

Please pass on my best wishes to everyone.

The source of information -

Gerbert Yefremov awarded Order of St Andrew the Apostle the First-Called with swords

The President signed Executive Order On Awarding the Order of St Andrew the Apostle the First-Called with Swords to Gerbert Yefremov.

September 19, 2020 - 14:10

The President signed Executive Order awarding the Order of St Andrew the Apostle the First-Called with swords to Advisor for Science at the Military Industrial Corporation NPO Mashinostroyenia Gerbert Yefremov for outstanding merits in developing the space missile industry and enhancing the country’s defence potential.

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 September 22nd, 2020 #126
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Message of greetings on South Ossetia’s national holiday, Republic Day

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to President of the Republic of South Ossetia Anatoly Bibilov on its national holiday – Republic Day.

September 20, 2020 - 10:00

The President of Russia noted that 30 years ago the South Ossetian people bravely withstood ordeals and defended their right to freedom and independence.

“I am confident that relations between our countries will continue to unfold in the spirit of the Treaty of Alliance and Integration. On its part, Russia will continue providing comprehensive assistance to South Ossetia in resolving current socioeconomic challenges and in safeguarding national security,” the President stressed in his message, wishing Anatoly Bibilov good health and success in state activities and the people of the Republic – peace and prosperity.

The source of information -

Greetings on the opening of the 24th All Russia 2020 journalism forum

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the participants and guests of the All Russia 2020 journalism forum.

September 20, 2020 - 18:00

The message reads, in part:

“These annual gatherings always spark interest among the journalistic community and provide participants, who come to Sochi from all over the country, an excellent opportunity for extensive discussions on topical issues related to the industry, sharing best practices and creative findings. The forum serves as an excellent discussion platform for those who sincerely strive for contributing to improving the work of the Russian media, strengthen their public authority and develop the media market.

During this year when we are marking the 75th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War, I would like to particularly emphasise the constructive and extremely important activity of Russian media outlets when it comes to preserving our historical memory and raising patriotic sentiment among youth. Journalists’ responsible civic stance, large-scale media, educational and awareness projects deserve the highest recognition.”

The source of information -

Greetings to the leaders of Armenia on Independence Day

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on the occasion of Armenia’s national holiday, Independence Day.

September 21, 2020 - 10:00

In his messages of greetings, the President noted that the relations between Russia and Armenia are founded upon the long traditions of friendship and mutual respect, and that further development of the alliance and multi-dimensional cooperation serves in the interests of the two countries, strengthening peace, stability and security in the South Caucasus region.

“We will continue to actively develop the constructive dialogue between our countries, bilateral cooperation in different fields and coordinated work as part of the integration processes across Eurasia,” the President stressed.

The source of information -

Greetings to the participants of the 8th National Championship for Young Professionals, WorldSkills Russia

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the finalists, winners and all the participants of the 8th National Championship for Young Professionals, WorldSkills Russia.

September 21, 2020 - 13:30

The message reads, in part:

“Although this prestigious competition is held online this year, it is still a huge and truly significant event for each of you. You have prepared well for it, and demonstrated your high skills to the strict expert jury. You have shown that you can concentrate properly and have the ability to quickly handle emergency situations. And most importantly, you have proved to yourselves that you are capable of competing on equal terms with the best young professionals from different regions of Russia and achieve success, and move forward.

“I am confident that projects such as the WorldSkills Russia National Championship, dictated by the time, contribute to the popularisation of working professions and the improvement of vocational education, and provide opportunities for creative, personal self-realisation of young men and women. And, of course, they foster respect for a working person in society.”

The source of information -

Meeting with Head of the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr) Oleg Skufinsky

The President held a working meeting with Head of the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr) Oleg Skufinsky.

September 21, 2020 - 14:10 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, Mr Skufinsky.

Your service is a critical part of the Government’s economic block, but it bears a relation to the social sphere as well. I would like to start with discussing this issue as it is both economic and social in nature. I am talking about the garage amnesty. After that, we will discuss other matters.

Head of Rosreestr Oleg Skufinsky:

Mr President,

Over 3.5 million plots of land and garages have remained without registration since the Soviet times. Often, because of this the owners can neither sell them nor pass them on to their heirs. This also hinders the development of the municipalities since property rights have not been formalised.

We propose using a fast-track procedure, with the assistance of the local authorities, to enable the owners to officially register the titles to land and garages. We have drafted a corresponding law, which we submitted to the Government, and we expect to adopt this draft law by the end of the year in order to finally solve this problem.

Vladimir Putin:

By the end of the year?

Oleg Skufinsky:

We expect to have this done by the end of this year.

Vladimir Putin:

What difficulties do you see here?

Oleg Skufinsky:

We do not see any. The Prime Minister is supportive of this, and everything is on schedule.

Vladimir Putin:

Good. Let's move on to other issues then.

Oleg Skufinsky:

I would like to report that, in accordance with your executive order, the service has been directly reporting to the Government since January. This allowed us to pass decisions more quickly in the interests of people.

Today, the service provides about 130 million services per year, which is approximately four per second. The main ones include title registration, cadastral registration and provision of information.

I would like to note that the share of e-services is an important indicator of our activities. Their share was approximately 20 percent earlier in the year, and it has grown by 50 percent as of today. This is no doubt due in part to the lockdown measures, when many integrated government service centres switched to the “by appointment” mode, and our website became the only way that people could register a title. Our services worked well and provided guarantees for individual rights.

Vladimir Putin:

Did everything go smoothly without failure?

Oleg Skufinsky:

Yes, Mr President, during this period of time. We conducted an engineering fine-tuning of the system, and it worked absolutely without failures.

Vladimir Putin:

What do you mean by engineering fine-tuning?

Oleg Skufinsky:

What I am saying is that before that, quite a lot of users were loading the system with numerous requests. We have evened out this load for better performance.

Vladimir Putin:

Who did this work?

Oleg Skufinsky:

This work was carried out by Rosreestr and our subordinate organisation, the Cadastral Chamber. We worked on it as a team.

Vladimir Putin:

Did you take any partners from the market to do the technical work?

Oleg Skufinsky:

We have several companies that help us in our work, Mr President. So, we teamed up with them.

Vladimir Putin:

That is, they were up to the task.

Oleg Skufinsky:

Absolutely, Mr President. We worked as a team, but the Cadastral Chamber is our key competence centre. I think we did quite well as a team during this challenging period.

This is not to say that the system is perfect. It still needs some fine tuning.

Also, during this period, we kept working on transferring information from the old, so-called legacy information systems to the new unified and centralised Federal State Information Service of the Unified State Real Estate Register. We will finish this work by the end of the year, and, following the transition to this system, the services in general will be working more stably. Occasionally, there are certain glitches – I would not call them serious malfunctions – which still require our attention.

I would like to report on our current work under the national projects. Housing and Urban Environment is a critical project. We are paying special attention to mortgages within this project, including the Far Eastern mortgages, 6.5 percent APR mortgages and rural mortgages …

Vladimir Putin:

What is your part in this work?

Oleg Skufinsky:

We provide title registration, Mr President.

The share of electronic mortgage registrations is a very important indicator. This indicator is even included in the national project. Electronic registration was at 9 percent earlier in the year, and today it is up to 40 percent. That is, we have already doubled the national project indicator set for 2021.

Today, we are working closely with lending institutions and the Central Bank of Russia. We plan to bring this share to 80 percent by late 2021, that is, to practically make online mortgage registration available throughout the country.

I want to point out that mortgage transactions are normally registered within five days. Today, we are registering these transactions in two to three days. Most importantly, we do not leave people hanging and provide full advisory support, because mortgage lending is on the rise in the wake of the decisions on easy-term programmes. Two-percent mortgages enjoy wide popularity, especially in the Russian Far East. So, we are focusing on this.

I would also like to note that we have done a lot when it comes to the Prime Minister’s instruction. In a period of just two months we managed to collected information about virtually all plots of land that may be part of housing construction projects.

Vladimir Putin:

I was just about to ask you a specific question about this.

Oleg Skufinsky:

We have located 5,560 plots of land on the territory of over 107,000 hectares. Our national project provides for 50,000 hectares. In other words, we have created a double reserve on involving land into housing construction. We sent all the information on this to Minstroy and DOM.RF to let them make use of it as soon as possible.

We will continue this work and not stop it. On the contrary we will build it up. We believe that on this basis we will be able to create an integrated land resource in line with your instructions. Next year, we are planning to implement a pilot project in four regions of the Russian Federation that envisages the formation of an integrated resource on land and real estate because right now this information is kept in isolated resources.

The goal of this experiment is to integrate data bases of different government bodies that influence the use of land to this or that extent, and contain information about it, and develop technology on creating an integrated data base. We want to create a service on its basis. We have called it “Land, a Simple Way.” It allows any person or an interested investor to receive land very quickly and without any obstacles, practically online. Incidentally, this mechanism functions in the Far Eastern Hectare programme. Our service is the operator of this system. In effect, we would like to use this experience to spread it following this experiment.

Vladimir Putin:

So, you are actually taking a first step in resolving a national goal linked with the housing problem.

Oleg Skufinsky:

Exactly, because our resources make us responsible for the country’s integrated geo-informational sub-base, the so-called IEMF [Integrated Electronic Cartographic Frame]. We are in charge of registering rights, as well as land and buildings as well as their economic characteristics, such as cadaster and market values.

In other words, we possess a basic information resource that can be used for creating different services. But it is very important to have complete and precise information in this registry. It will determine the quality of these services and their performance. We are steadily working to this end.

Vladimir Putin:

Well done.

The source of information -

Executive Order On the Early Termination of Belgorod Region Governor’s Powers

September 22, 2020 - 12:00

Following Evgeny Savchenko’s notice of resignation from his post as Belgorod Region Governor, the President accepted his resignation.

The source of information -

Meeting with Head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs Alexander Bugayev

Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs Alexander Bugayev to discuss the agency’s current activities, including on developing the volunteer movement and expanding the audience of creative and educational projects.

September 22, 2020 - 13:15 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon.

Mr Bugayev, let’s begin with a movement the entire country can see: the volunteer movement. Young people are proactively involved in this work, and they are very effective. Please, let us begin with this and then talk about your agency’s other activities.

Head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs Alexander Bugayev:

Mr President,

Of course, the volunteer movement is a phenomenon of today’s life, the life of young people. The Year of the Volunteer held in line with your instruction was its driver.

Today, amid the pandemic, I believe the volunteer movement is seeing unprecedented development: for example, there was the We are Together event, when over 120,000 volunteers came together to help people in difficult situations, and medical workers volunteered to work in hospitals’ red zones. In fact, this is the embodiment of the traditional moral and spiritual values that have always been inherent in all ethnic groups and religions of our large country. We believe the volunteer movement is a modern manifestation of these values, and, of course, we support it.

The Education national project and the Social Activity federal project are aimed first of all at creating the infrastructure to support the volunteer movement.

Vladimir Putin:

Is your agency in touch with these organisations? Do you support them or hold joint events? Do they ask you to support their initiatives?

Alexander Bugayev:

Mr President, we support this work very actively. Of course, they ask for our support, and an entire range of volunteer organisations, such as Medical Volunteers, the Association of Volunteer Centres, Volunteers of Victory and the Russian Search Movement, receive state support to implement their projects and programmes.

This is very important, because it also includes educational work. For example, the Russian Search Movement carries out enormous work as part of the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War. We also help with funding, information and organisation.

Our colleagues working in the regions of the Russian Federation implementing the state youth policy there are deeply involved in this. One of the examples is the Region of Good Deeds programme recently launched as part of the measures to implement national projects. It is a programme for co-financing the creation and support of volunteer centres in various Russian regions. But what is important here and what we follow very closely is to avoid imposing anything on young people. They need to form their own agenda. Nothing should be done for the youth without their involvement. This means their requests are the cue for us, and we just create the right conditions for their development and self-realisation.

Vladimir Putin:


What else would you like to focus on? What else would you like to discuss?

Alexander Bugayev:

Mr President, it is certainly very important for us to expand our programmes’ coverage, not only greater coverage of our traditional target audiences, which have fared very well at such events, such as the World Festival of Youth and Students [in Sochi], for example. It is important to engage new audiences by expanding age ranges and groups.

And here we start working with our partners from elementary school age. We coordinate the Russian Movement of Schoolchildren programme launched on your instruction. The Bolshaya Peremena contest – over 1 million participants, an absolutely unprecedented and remarkable initiative. My First Business, a competition for schoolchildren who want to start up their own business is held on the Russia – Land of Opportunity platform.

The next age bracket is 18–30. This group has different interests. But again, for example, there is the portal with more than two million users – an aggregator of volunteer activities in our country.

The National League of Student Clubs programme has been launched for students. Its target audience is the kids who are engaged in informal activities, such as informal student clubs; there are a lot of them.

And, of course, the National Forum Campaign, which was held both offline and online this year despite the pandemic and the challenges we faced. By the way, this way we have significantly expanded our audience: up to 1.5 million will take part in these two forums this year.

Traditional forums, such as Territory of Meanings, Tavrida and Mashuk as well as an entire range of other events, have been held and are still going on because we had to postpone them in these conditions.

Vladimir Putin:

This is bad timing for students.

Alexander Bugayev:

All these events are first of all educational. This is not an entertainment but educational platforms.

Vladimir Putin:

This has to be compatible with what they study at their main educational institution.

Alexander Bugayev:

This is necessary, of course, because studies come above all. However, it is also important to carry this on after the forums are over. For example, an educational project for the best graduates of youth forums has already been launched at such platforms as the Senezh Management Studio. And now, when such youth education centres as Senezh, Tavrida and Mashuk in the North Caucasus will be built as part of the federal project, we will be able to introduce a system of year-round education, something like advanced training for young people. We are actively working on this, too.

Vladimir Putin:

How many young people were there at these centres this summer and how many remain there to work?

Alexander Bugayev:

Offline, about 50,000 people.

We had to decrease the number of participants, because we work in close cooperation with our colleagues from the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare and heads of Russian regions, and the epidemiological situation is different everywhere.

Vladimir Putin:

Has these centres’ work been impacted by the epidemiological situation in any way?

Alexander Bugayev:

Of course, the epidemiological situation was considered when forums were held. All the necessary measures were taken: the forum participants were tested and had to stay in preliminary self-isolation until the test results arrived. Only those who were cleared were allowed to attend the forum.

Vladimir Putin:

Was there no impact? No outbreaks?

Alexander Bugayev:

Fortunately not.

Vladimir Putin:


The source of information -

Greetings to the Third International Forum of Oncology and Radiology

Vladimir Putin sent his greetings to the participants, guests and organisers of the Third International Forum of Oncology and Radiology.

September 22, 2020 - 14:00

The message reads, in part:

“It is important that despite the substantial adjustments made to professional plans, due to the threat of the spread of the coronavirus infection, our country’s cancer service copes well with new challenges and remains effective. Large-scale, in-demand work on establishing a cutting-edge, comprehensive system of cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment is underway. The upgrade of hospitals and the adoption of advanced technologies are priorities. International cooperation is developing successfully.

“I am sure that your forum, which has brought together well-known scientists, doctors and healthcare officials from Russia and other countries in an online format, will be constructive and promote an exchange of the best experience and practices, as well as the development of new approaches to solving topical issues of combatting oncological diseases.”

The source of information -

75th session of the UN General Assembly

Vladimir Putin delivered a pre-recorded video address to the 75th anniversary session of the United Nations General Assembly.

September 22, 2020 - 19:15

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

This year, the international community celebrates two, without exaggeration, historic anniversaries: the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and establishment of the United Nations.

The importance of these two forever interlinked events cannot be overemphasized. In 1945, Nazism was defeated, the ideology of aggression and hatred was crushed, and the experience and spirit of alliance, as well as the awareness of the huge price that had been paid for peace and our common Victory, helped construct the post-war world order. It was built on the ultimate foundation of the UN Charter that remains the main source of international law to this day.

I am convinced that this anniversary makes it incumbent upon all of us to recall the timeless principles of inter-State communication enshrined in the UN Charter and formulated by the founding fathers of our universal Organization in the clearest and most unambiguous terms. These principles include the equality of sovereign States, non-interference with their domestic affairs, the right of peoples to determine their own future, non-use of force or the threat of force, and political settlement of disputes.

Looking back at the past decades, one can say that despite all difficulties of the Cold War period, major geopolitical shifts and all the intricacies of today's global politics, the UN has been ably fulfilling its mission of protecting peace, promoting sustainable development of the peoples and continents and providing assistance in mitigating local crises.

This enormous potential and expertise of the UN is relevant and serves as a solid basis for moving ahead. After all, just like any other international organization or regional entity, the UN should not grow stiff, but evolve in accordance with the dynamics of the 21st century and consistently adapt to the realia of the modern world that is indeed becoming more complicated, multipolar and multidimensional.

The current changes certainly have an effect on the principal UN body, the Security Council, as well as on the debate concerning the approaches to its reform. Our logic is that the Security Council should be more inclusive of the interests of all countries, as well as the diversity of their positions, base its work on the principle of the broadest possible consensus among States and, at the same time, continue to serve as the cornerstone of global governance, which cannot be achieved unless the permanent members of the Security Council retain their veto power.

Such a right pertaining to the five nuclear powers, the victors of the Second World War, remains indicative of the actual military and political balance to this day. Most importantly, it is an essential and unique instrument that helps prevent unilateral actions that may result in a direct military confrontation between major States, and provides an opportunity to seek compromise or at least avoid solutions that would be completely unacceptable to others and act within the framework of international law, rather than a vague, gray area of arbitrariness and illegitimacy.

As diplomatic practice shows, this instrument actually works, unlike the infamous pre-war League of Nations with its endless discussions, declarations without mechanisms for real action and with States and peoples in need not having the right to assistance and protection.

Forgetting the lessons of history is short-sighted and extremely irresponsible, just like the politicized attempts to arbitrarily interpret the causes, course and outcomes of the Second World War and twist the decisions of the conferences of the Allies and the Nuremberg Tribunal that are based on speculation instead of facts.

It is not just vile and offending the memory of the fighters against Nazism. It is a direct and devastating blow to the very foundation of the post-war world order, which is particularly dangerous in view of the global stability facing serious challenges, the arms control system breaking down, regional conflicts continuing unabated, and threats posed by terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking intensifying.

We are also experiencing a whole new challenge of the coronavirus pandemic. This disease has directly affected millions of people and claimed the most important thing: the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Quarantines, border closures, numerous serious troubles to citizens of almost all States constitute the present-day realia. It has been especially difficult for elderly people who, due to the necessary restrictions, have not been able to hug their loved ones, children and grandchildren for weeks or even months.

Experts are yet to fully assess the scale of the social and economic shock caused by the pandemic and all its long-term consequences. However, it is already evident that it will take a really, really long time to restore the global economy. Furthermore, even the proven anti-crisis measures will not always work. We will need new innovative solutions.

The only way to elaborate such solutions is to work together, which is the most important task for both the UN and G20 States, as well as other leading inter-State organizations and integration associations that are also going through tough times due to the pandemic impact and need fundamentally new horizons and scope of development.

This very idea of a qualitative integrative growth, the ”integration of integrations“, is the one behind Russia's initiative to form a Greater Eurasian Partnership involving all Asian and European countries without exception. It is purely pragmatic and increasingly relevant.

Besides, I would like to draw attention once again to Russia's proposal to create so-called ”green corridors“ free from trade wars and sanctions, primarily for essential goods, food, medicine and personal protective equipment needed to fight the pandemic.

In general, freeing the world trade from barriers, bans, restrictions and illegitimate sanctions would be of great help in revitalizing global growth and reducing unemployment. According to experts, total or partial reduction in global employment in the second quarter of this year equals to the loss of 400 million jobs, and we have to do our utmost to prevent this unemployment from growing long-term and ensure that people return to work and can support their families instead of finding themselves imprisoned by poverty with no prospects in life.

This is indeed a most acute global social problem, so the politics has a mission now to pave the way for trade, joint projects and fair competition, rather than tie the hands of business and discourage business initiative.

The pandemic has also pinpointed a series of ethical, technological and humanitarian matters. For instance, advanced digital technologies helped quickly reorganize education, trade and services, as well as set up distant learning and online courses for people of different ages. Artificial intelligence has assisted doctors in making more accurate and timely diagnoses and finding the best treatment.

However, just like any other innovation, digital technologies tend to spread uncontrollably and, just like conventional weapons, can fall into the hands of various radicals and extremists not only in the regional conflict zones, but also in quite prosperous countries, thus engendering enormous risks.

In this regard, matters related to cybersecurity and the use of advanced digital technology also deserve a most serious deliberation within the UN. It is important to hear and appreciate the concerns of people over the protection of their rights, such as the right to privacy, property and security, in the new era.

We must learn to use new technologies for the benefit of humankind, seek for a right balance between encouraging the development of artificial intelligence and justifiable restrictions to limit it, and work together towards a consensus in the field of regulation that would avert potential threats in terms of both military and technological security, as well as traditions, law, and morals of human communication.

I would like to point out that during the pandemic, doctors, volunteers and citizens of various countries have been showing us examples of mutual assistance and support, and such solidarity defies borders. Many countries have also been helping each other selflessly and open-heartedly. However, there have been cases showing the deficit of humanity and, if you will, kindness in the relations at the official inter-State level.

We believe that the UN prestige could strengthen and enhance the role of the humanitarian or human component in multilateral and bilateral relations, namely in people-to-people and youth exchanges, cultural ties, social and educational programs, as well as cooperation in sports, science, technology, environment and health protection.

As to healthcare, just like in economy, we now need to remove, as many as possible, obstacles to partner relations. Our country has been actively contributing to global and regional counter-COVID-19 efforts, providing assistance to most affected states both bilaterally and within multilateral formats.

In doing so, we first of all take into account the central coordinating role of the World Health Organization, which is part of the UN system. We believe it essential to qualitatively strengthen the WHO capability. This work has already begun, and Russia is genuinely motivated to engage in it.

Building on the scientific, industrial and clinical experience of its doctors Russia has promptly developed a range of test systems and medicines to detect and treat the coronavirus, as well as registered the world’s first vaccine, “Sputnik-V.”

I would like to reiterate that we are completely open to partner relations and willing to cooperate. In this context, we are proposing to hold an online high-level conference shortly for countries interested in cooperation in the development of anti-coronavirus vaccines.

We are ready to share experience and continue cooperating with all States and international entities, including in supplying the Russian vaccine which has proved reliable, safe, and effective, to other countries. Russia is sure that all capacities of the global pharmaceutical industry need to be employed so as to provide a free access to vaccination for the population of all states in the foreseeable future.

A dangerous virus can affect anyone. The coronavirus has struck the staff of the United Nations, its headquarters and regional structures just like everyone else. Russia is ready to provide the UN with all the necessary qualified assistance; in particular, we are offering to provide our vaccine, free of charge, for the voluntary vaccination of the staff of the UN and its offices. We have received requests from our UN colleagues in this respect, and we will respond to those.

There are other critical items on today’s agenda. The issues of both environmental protection and climate change should remain the focus of joint efforts.

The specialized multilateral UN conventions, treaties and protocols have proved fully relevant. We are calling on all states to comply with them in good faith, particularly in working to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Dear colleagues! I would like to underline again, that Russia will make every effort to contribute to peaceful political and diplomatic resolution of regional crises and conflicts, as well as to ensuring strategic stability.

For all the disputes and differences, at times misunderstanding and even distrust on the part of some colleagues, we will consistently advance constructive, uniting initiatives, first of all in arms control and strengthening the treaty regimes existing in this area. This includes the prohibition of chemical, biological and toxin weapons.

The issue of primary importance that should and must be promptly dealt with is, of course, the extension of the Russia-US Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which will expire shortly, i.e. in February 2021. We are engaged in negotiations with our US partners on the matter.

We also expect that mutual restraint would be exercised with regard to deploying new missile systems. I would like to add that as early as last year, Russia declared a moratorium on deploying ground-launched medium and short-range missiles in Europe and other regions as long as the United States of America refrains from such actions. Unfortunately, we have not received any reaction to our proposal from either our US partners or their allies.

I believe that such reciprocal steps on specific issues would provide a sound basis for launching a serious, profound dialogue on the entire range of factors affecting strategic stability. It would aim at achieving comprehensive arrangements, shaping a solid foundation for the international security architecture that would build on prior experience in this field and in line with both the existing and future politico-military and technological realia.

In particular, Russia is putting forward an initiative to sign a binding agreement between all the leading space powers that would provide for the prohibition of the placement of weapons in outer space, threat or use of force against outer space objects.

We are well aware of the fact that security issues as well as other problems discussed by this jubilee UN General Assembly call for consolidated efforts on the basis of values that unite us, our shared memory of the lessons of history, and the spirit of alliance which guided the anti-Hitler coalition participants who found it possible to raise above differences and ideological preferences for the sake of Victory and peace for all nations on the Earth.

In the current challenging environment, it is important for all countries to show political will, wisdom and foresight. The permanent members of the UN Security Council – those powers that, for 75 years now, have been bearing particular responsibility for international peace and security, the preservation of the foundations of international law – should take the lead here.

Fully realizing this responsibility, Russia has suggested convening a G5 summit. It would aim at reaffirming the key principles of behavior in international affairs, elaborating ways to effectively address today’s most burning issues. It is encouraging that our partners have supported the initiative. We expect to hold such summit – in person – as soon as epidemiological situation makes it possible.

I would like to reiterate that in an interrelated, interdependent world, amid the whirlpool of international developments, we need to work together drawing on the principles and norms of international law enshrined in the UN Charter. This is the only way for us to carry out the paramount mission of our Organization and provide a decent life for the present and future generations.

I wish all the peoples of our planet peace and well-being.

Thank you.

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 September 25th, 2020 #127
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Meeting with Russian Federation senators

The President met with the senators of the Russian Federation at the Kremlin.

September 23, 2020 - 14:10 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

Ms Matviyenko, members of the Federation Council,

The upper house of parliament has just held its first meeting as part of the autumn session. I am aware that your agenda includes extremely important, fundamental questions for the country and its people. As Ms Matviyenko and I had agreed, we are meeting here today, as planned. I would like to outline the way I see the tasks and priorities we will be working on together.

I would like to begin this meeting by thanking the parliament’s upper house for its responsible and coordinated work during the epidemic, an extremely challenging period, and for promptly passing laws to support families with children, Russian businesses and the real economy.

And, of course, I would like to specifically note the contribution made by the Federation Council representatives to drafting the amendments to the Russian Constitution. During these efforts, you relied on your law-making experience, as well as the ability to heed the needs of the society, to listen to the people, account for their proposals and fulfil their aspirations. I know that you worked on the ground in your regions.

I would like to repeat – the idea, the essential meaning of constitutional innovations is to set the fundamental framework for the country's sustainable development for decades to come. This means historical continuity, moral values, reliable social guarantees, and a greater role of civil society. Finally, it means a better and improved balance, balance between all branches of government, while maintaining Russia as a strong presidential republic.

To this end, the powers of both houses of parliament have been significantly expanded. The role of the State Duma in forming the Government is bigger, as is the Federation Council’s role in appointing the heads of law enforcement agencies, the Prosecutor General and his deputies, and regional prosecutors. In any case, colleagues, we are taking steps in the right direction.

The Constitutional amendments are intended to ensure unconditional observance of law and order, the protection of people’s interests as well as freedom of enterprise and other freedoms.

I would like to emphasise that our society has strongly supported the course towards strengthening Russia's sovereignty. And this implies both the priority of our legislation, and a complete ban on holding public office for persons with foreign citizenship, nationality or residence permits in a foreign state, as well as persons who have accounts or deposits in foreign financial institutions, banks.

A person who chooses a civil service career must be independent of any external influence, without the slightest chance of anyone ever putting them on the hook, putting them under any sort of dependence.

The first package of draft laws to implement the new provisions of the Constitution has been prepared. It was sent to the State Duma for consideration yesterday. You know, there is an entire package, a large number of draft laws.

But I would like to emphasise – we are embarking on qualitative development of the entire legal framework and, above all, laws that directly determine the present and the future of Russia as a legal social state, regulate such important areas as healthcare, education, employment and wages, and social guarantees.

I am addressing the Government and our parliament now: our citizens have become the true co-authors of the Fundamental Law, the revised Fundamental Law, and they should experience the effect of the adopted amendments in their daily lives to the full.

Clearly, I have mentioned many times that the Constitution is the Fundamental Law which creates basic living conditions in the country. Nevertheless, the things that we discussed and then included in the Fundamental Law should be reflected in the current legislation and, of course, in people’s everyday lives. People's needs should be reflected in the most important financial document – the federal budget which is also an important law for 2021 and for the 2022–2023 planning period. We will discuss this in more detail today.

The most important priority of Russia’s state policy was added to the Constitution by the people’s decision. I am referring to children – the part about creating the best opportunities for their comprehensive development.

In this year's Address, I proposed a package of measures to improve demographics and support Russian families. All the necessary resources for this are now included in the draft budget for the next three years.

For reference – government spending on implementing the 2020 Address will increase from 0.7 trillion rubles to 1.2 trillion rubles in 2023, up 80 percent.

This year, the total amount of maternity capital has been increased to 616,617 rubles. A family now becomes entitled to 466,617 rubles when their first child is born, as you know. And what is also important is that maternity capital will be indexed annually.

As of January 1, 2021, this benefit will increase by almost 23,000 rubles to 639,432 rubles. The amount received at the birth of the first child will be almost 484,000 (483,882 rubles, exactly), that is, it will grow by more than 17,000 rubles.

Next, we provide monthly child allowances to low-income families and families in a difficult financial situation. In total, these support measures cover 4.85 million children aged 7 and younger.

The allowance for a child up to 3 years old amounts to one subsistence minimum for children in a particular region. Since January 1, and this was one of the important decisions outlined in the Address, we have also provided payments for children aged 3 to 7 which amount to half of the regional subsistence minimum for children in a particular region. The national average (perhaps, not a very pleasant concept of “average,” we talk about it all the time, but, unfortunately, we cannot come up with anything different), it amounts to 5,500 rubles.

Let me remind you that this allowance is being paid for the period that began in January. But the families were supposed to receive the money in July, after all the organisational issues had been taken care of. However, given the difficult situation caused by the pandemic, all the formalities were quickly taken care of, and families received a one-time payment for the first six months of the year. A month ahead of the deadline, as early as June.

In January I said this in my Address and then repeated it many times, you are probably aware of it, we will see how this measure works and whether it is enough for a particular family, and take the next step. This is exactly what we will do.

So, when working on the budget, please provide for the possibility of an increase in the level of such payments starting from 2021. The Government should identify clear, understandable and fair criteria for providing additional support for the families whose monthly income is lower than the regional subsistence minimum per person. There are such families, despite an increase in this payment. Additional decisions must be made with regard to these families. To reiterate, this should be a simple, convenient and straightforward mechanism.

I also want the Government, together with the Federation Council, to analyse the current situation with creating new places at preschools for children under 3. Understandably, due to the epidemic and for objective reasons, the regions were unable to fully implement their plans. Nevertheless, the gap needs to be bridged by the end of the year. Next year, the families in question must be provided with places at nursery.

I want to note, and I think my colleagues in the regions will hear me, the gap is wide. I will not give specific numbers as I believe it was due to objective circumstances. But we need to adjust the schedules.

I would also like to note that our plans and support measures were created in a fundamentally different situation. But this does not mean that we can afford to forget our obligations. On the contrary, they must be implemented as quickly as possible in order to support our families.

So, starting September 1, we began to systematically work to provide hot meals to all primary school students from grades 1 to 4. As a result, over 7 million children will receive free hot meals.

I want the Federation Council, the Ministry of Education and the Russian Popular Front to keep monitoring this situation with special focus on small schools, because it is more difficult to do this there, as you know. If you are unable to supply the appropriate equipment, you need to arrange meals in nearby cafeterias or start delivering ready meals to schools.

Over 40 billion rubles will be allocated for organising meals for primary schools in 2021.

To reiterate, all problems and sensitive issues must be taken into account in the budget, including the creation of modern and decent conditions for education, including at schools located in rural and hard-to-reach areas.

In 2021, 76.1 billion rubles will be allocated for creating new school places.

And, of course, we will support teachers who are in charge of classes because they bear special responsibility not only for education but also for the upbringing of children.

As you are aware, as of September, class teachers will receive monthly federal payments of 5,000 rubles. Over a period of the next three years, the federal budget must allocate 75 billion rubles a year for this purpose.

I ask the Federation Council and the Ministry of Education, together with authorised bodies of budget and tax control, to make sure that these payments are made to teachers in time. There should be no failures in this respect and this is not even a subject for discussion. Everything must be done on time.

I would also like to remind you that all previous additional payments, including regional ones, must be kept in place and also paid in full. Otherwise everything will become pointless. I am referring to our federal payments. The teachers must be able to see them on their payslips. The federal extra payments for classroom management must be separately recorded rather than be incorporated in something else.

Furthermore, accessibility of higher education is an important issue for families with children. This year we have funded additionally – and I want to stress this so that there are no tattles here – 11,500 state-funded places at universities. They mostly went to universities and institutes in our regions where doctors, teachers and digital economy experts are in demand. On the whole, 60 percent of school leavers have received an opportunity to study at a university at the expense of the state.

I mentioned that these openings will be primarily granted to school leavers, young people in the regions. In other words, 9,500 out of the 11,500 state-funded places have been created for regional universities.

Next year, the number of state-funded places will be increased by another 33,000. The federal budget must provide the relevant funds for this purpose.

On the whole, I would like to repeat that all the programmes dealing with supporting Russian families and all our social commitments to our people will be funded in full. We have the resources for this.

Let me recall that during the pandemic, with its very complicated consequences in the world and in this country as well, and also despite a sharp drop in the prices of oil and other energy supplies that are the main source of our budget revenues, we have managed to substantially increase our federal expenses and support our people and the economy. We have done this owing to our low national debt and the financial reserves that were accumulated earlier.

Incidentally, our revenues have decreased, understandably, by 11-odd percent, while our expenses have gone up by 23-odd percent. I have just said how we have managed to do this: owing to our accumulated reserves and a small national debt, one of the lowest in the world. But I would like to draw your attention to the following.

Colleagues, and I hope the deputies of the State Duma will hear me. We must not brush aside the Finance Ministry’s calls to abide by the macroeconomic parameters. This is a real achievement of our economy in the past few years. And, incidentally, owing to it, we are able today to carry out development programmes and support the economy and our people in this difficult time.

One more circumstance is also important. Our economy and our budget do not depend critically on the ups and downs of oil prices anymore. I said that hydrocarbons are the main source of our budget revenues, but, of course, we no longer critically depend on any fluctuations on the global markets.

I will quote specific figures. In 2011, hydrocarbon-related revenues amounted to half of all budget income, whereas in 2021, their share will drop to one-third. Hence, the share of the non-oil and gas budget revenues will increase almost to 70 percent. This is the first time in the history of modern Russia that we have achieved such budget system stability.

We have resolved far from all the problems and certain imbalances still exist. However, the trend is obvious: the structure of the Russian economy is changing, maybe slower than we would like, but in the right direction. The role of the non-resource industries is increasing and new, high-tech sectors are gaining strength. We must certainly build up this momentum, create modern jobs and increase Russian families’ incomes on this basis.

Senators, I once again note that reducing the poverty rate is a key task for us. Unfortunately this problem has been one of the most sensitive for our society; it affects millions across Russia. Of course, recently it has become more acute due to the pandemic and its impact on the economy.

As I have said, we will use the budget capacities to provide direct financial aid and establish an effective system to support families at all stages of raising children.

At the same time, we have to help people with generally low income levels overcome difficult life conditions and change their lives and the lives of their families. In fact, this is the main way to solve the problem, not just budget allocations. Let me repeat that this means high-quality, accessible education, modern jobs in big cities, towns and villages. And of course, this means targeted social support for low-income families. We are doing this and will continue to do it.

A social contract must become a key tool in combating poverty. Its implementation will begin across Russia next year. In the next three years we plan to allocate over 26 billion rubles annually from the federal budget to the regions to implement this programme. It is a matter of principle that this money is to help people improve their skills, find new jobs or start their own small businesses.

I expect to have an in-depth discussion on the mechanisms and the experience of implementing social contracts in pilot regions at the next Government meeting.

Now to the general situation on the labour market, which is an essential area, perhaps even the most essential area today both in Russia and all over the world. Perhaps it is even more serious in the leading economies in the world, more than in Russia. Unfortunately, the level of unemployment grew 1.7 percent in Russia (I will elaborate on this), but in some other countries the numbers are critical. The situation remains tense in Russia, too. Despite unprecedented support measures, the level of unemployment continued to grow in August and today exceeds 6 percent of the economically active population. This number means hundreds of thousands of people who have not found job so far.

Let me stress that I have already instructed the Government to deal with restoration of employment next year. We need to help people return back to normal jobs so that they can get a stable income and provide for their families.

Therefore, using the capacity of the budget and economic policy in general, we will continue to support enterprises in key industries, small and medium-sized businesses. The criterion here will remain the same, keeping and creating new jobs.

I would like to remind you that during the epidemic, we adopted several important and necessary decisions, targeted, but necessary, including providing enterprises in the most affected economic sectors with easy loans at a rate of 2 percent per year. We agreed that the debt would be completely written off if a company retains all its staff. Funds for writing off these loans totalling almost half a trillion rubles have been reserved in the draft federal budget for next year. I would like to ask the parliament to definitely support this decision.

And one more measure to stimulate the economy and entrepreneurship, which we introduced back in spring, and not for a short but for a long term. I am referring to a two-time reduction in insurance premiums for small and medium-sized businesses from 30 to 15 percent. This reduced rate will apply to wages that exceed the minimum wage. If wages do not exceed the minimum wage, then the rate will remain the same – 30 percent. I think that everything is clear here, we are simply trying to stimulate business to raise wages: if you raise wages then the rate will be reduced; if wages do not exceed the minimum wage you will pay the same rate of 30 percent. But let me remind you that, in accordance with the new amendments to the Constitution, paying below the minimum wage is a violation of the law, moreover, violation of the country’s Basic Law, the Constitution, it is simply unacceptable.

A two-time decrease in insurance premiums is almost half a trillion rubles, by the way. So, if we add together the funds for writing off easy loans to support employment, next year alone businesses will have almost one trillion rubles of additional funds, which the state leaves to the national economy. These funds can and should be prioritised for development and investment, and, of course, for raising workers’ wages. Here I am counting on a responsible approach, on the ability to think for the future, and domestic businesses can do this, and I really hope that this will be done by our entire business community.

That said, and I would like to emphasise this in particular, that despite a substantial shortfall in the revenues of the social and medical insurance funds, and the Pension Fund, we will certainly honour all our commitments to support our people and render medical assistance. We will finance them in full from the federal budget.

This also applies to the faster growth of pensions. Next year, pensions in Russia will be adjusted by 6.3 percent. This is more than 1.5 times the inflation rate predicted for 2021. In other words, we will act in this area as we said in the past, as we set our goals and promised our people.

Importantly, despite the difficulties with budget revenues, we managed to find flexible solutions and preserve the stimulating role of the fiscal system for the qualitative, structural upgrading of the economy. On the whole, we managed to lower the tax burden for the non-oil and gas industry. I have already mentioned this, we will do this not only by halving the insurance premiums for small and medium-sized businesses, as I said, to 15 percent but also by decreasing taxes for the IT industry. Insurance payments for them were reduced from 14 percent to 7.6 percent, and the tax on profits was drastically cut from 20 to 3 percent altogether.

Conversely, the tax burden on super incomes, primarily in the raw materials sector, has increased. As a matter of fact, we are doing this gradually, and this also leads to structural changes in the economy. I believe this is a justified and overdue step towards increasing the effectiveness and fairness of our fiscal system.

Colleagues, one more decision was made in the area of tax policy. I consider it fair and morally justified. You are well aware of it. We talked about this for a long time and kept the income tax at 13 percent. This is all understandable, and we did the right thing, I must say, because when we introduced the flat tax, tax collection increased sharply. So we did everything right. It is also true that the situation has changed now. Starting on January 1, those whose incomes exceed five million rubles per year will pay a higher tax of 15 percent. This will provide the budget with about 60 billion additional rubles. According to tentative estimates, maybe 62 billion.

What I would like to stress and bring to your attention: as I have said, all these funds, and people need to know this, I mean people in general as well as those who are to pay the additional 2 percent, that all these funds will be applied for treatment and rehabilitation of children with serious, even rare, so-called orphan diseases, to purchase expensive medicines and medical devices, to perform high-tech operations, including abroad, if necessary. And I’ll say this again: all the current effective federal and regional children’s treatment programmes and the expenses for medicines must be maintained; I am stressing this for our colleagues in the Russian regions.

By the way, the Government, along with the Civic Chamber, should prepare proposals on the development of a mechanism for the targeted financing of expenses I just mentioned by November 1. We will certainly discuss the distribution mechanism and control over the funding for the treatment of children with serious diseases with the Government.

As we have agreed, our citizens should be involved in this process, I have mentioned the Civic Chamber already, they should be people who have earned the respect and trust of society. There are many decent, honest and sympathetic people among those who give to charities, employees of non-profit organisations, and of course our doctors.

During the epidemic we have felt and understood even more the value of each human life, the importance of the heroic work of medical personnel, and of course, the great role of an effective healthcare system for society and the country.

Healthcare system capacity has grown substantially in recent months. Today, the healthcare system is able to efficiently fight the coronavirus infection and the seasonal upsurge in flu-related diseases. We are taking into account all possible risks and will, as before, be proactive.

New medical centres, specifically, advanced infectious disease hospitals have already been built and are now open; a reserve of medicines and protective equipment has been created. Our scientists were the first in the world to create a vaccine against the coronavirus. You have probably seen my address at the UN General Assembly. UN officials have asked us for cooperation, including with the vaccination. Of course, we will do this, especially in our region.

By the way, a second coronavirus vaccine will be approved soon. Our researchers have learned effective ways to prevent and treat it.

As I have said, our experience in combatting the coronavirus must and will be used in the regional programmes to upgrade the healthcare system. The Government, the Healthcare Ministry, the Russian regions and experts must closely cooperate here. This is why we decided to postpone the launch of these programmes for six months, to January 1, 2021. It is clear that we have to proceed carefully due to fiscal problems and the fact that the economy and our revenue have decreased, but we will not cancel these programmes. We have postponed them a bit, just six months, but they will be launched on January 1, 2021. At the same time, the total amount of the allocations has not changed: almost half a trillion rubles from the federal and 50 billion from the regional budgets.

Next year alone we expect to allocate 90 billion rubles from the federal budget to implement these programmes. This money must be invested in repairing existing facilities and in building new hospitals, polyclinics and paramedic centres where necessary, so they comply with the medical standards. And, of course, we need to ensure the retraining of medical workers to allow them to use cutting-edge methods for diagnostics and treatment, digital technologies and telemedicine.

One more area that directly affects the health of our people is ecological well-being. In 2021, expenses on the national environmental project will increase almost by half. On the whole, during the next three years, the federal budget will channel one trillion rubles into environmental protection for the first time.

These funds will be spent on infrastructure development, solid municipal waste disposal, air pollution reduction, river reclamation, and forest protection and restoration.

We will continue funding the work on eliminating dumps on the territory of cities and facilities, and cleaning up the accumulated environmental damage. As we agreed, the budget must fund the elimination of dangerous old chemical production facilities in the city of Usolye-Sibirskoye in the Irkutsk Region. The situation there is difficult.

Colleagues, ecological well-being means human health and longevity. This is a requirement for modern, comfortable life just as opportunities for movement and communication, as affordable housing, and last but not least, as the modern, well-maintained image of our large and small cities, their comfort and inimitable distinctness. We must ensure a well-balanced, harmonious, spatial development of Russia, and, hence, equal opportunities for our people regardless of where they live and work.

In this context, I would like to ask the Government and parliament to pay special attention to the programme on developing rural areas and find reserves to support it. One of the drivers of our national economic upsurge, the people who live and work here must lead a decent life. There are certain problems. You will see them during the discussion of the budget. I said that it is necessary to seek additional reserves. The Government was very responsible in drafting the budget, but there is still room for improvement.

In general, the draft budget will primarily fund the programmes that directly determine the quality of life, including social guarantees, demographic measures and assistance to families with children, as well as projects on the country’s infrastructure, spatial development, and on building up its educational, scientific and technological potential.

For example, 17 world-class scientific centres will be opened next year. They unite universities and research centres in the northwest, Central Russia, the Urals, Siberia and the Far East and will carry out research in scientific and technical development, including mathematics, genetics, medicine, microelectronics and new materials, digital technology, artificial intelligence, new energies, the environment, space exploration and exploration of the global oceans, the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Development of the transport infrastructure will continue. During the next three years, we expect to finish renovating airports in several regional centres including Voronezh, Lipetsk, Stavropol, Orenburg, Novosibirsk and Tomsk as well as Blagoveshchensk, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and other populated areas in the Far East, including those in remote areas. Of course, this must go together with the development of regional aviation and the related segments of aircraft manufacturing.

We estimate that over 2.5 trillion rubles from the federal budget will be allocated to develop the highway system during the next three years, or about 6 trillion rubles considering regional road funds. This money will be spent on upgrading federal and regional roads as well as bypasses around cities like Togliatti and Krasnodar.

We all understand that road construction has a powerful and compounding effect that boosts related industries, creates new jobs, new productions, and of course, a wide, high-quality road system is a key factor in the development of a territory and the creation of favourable living conditions.

In this connection, I am asking the Government to work on allocating additional resources to further develop road construction in 2021–2023 as well as on the wider use of extra-budgetary money, mainly allocating money that is attracted via infrastructure bonds (an effective and tested tool that works) for large projects on agglomeration infrastructure development as well as using tools like public-private partnerships more widely.

One example of such projects is the Moscow-Kazan highway, which is scheduled to be completed by 2024. It will stretch for almost 800 kilometres and pass through six regions, where about 30 million of our citizens live. There are plans to invest over 650 billion rubles in this project.

This project will give an impetus to business activity, strengthen economic ties, increase the investment attractiveness of Central Russia and the Volga Region, and help to fully reveal their unique tourism potential, including that of the beautiful, wonderful ancient cities of our country, cultural and spiritual treasures of Russia, such as Murom, Diveyevo and many of our other historical centres.

Let me remind you that since 2018, we have supported 80 improvement projects for small towns and historical settlements every year. We have divided them according to fine criteria, let it be so. It’s another thing that matters. What matters is that starting this year their number will double. That is, at least 160 winning projects of the Russian competition for creating a comfortable environment in small towns and historical settlements will now receive support from the federal budget.

History, traditions, culture and spiritual values are what determine the future of our people. This is the foundation of our existence. But this is also the future of our country. It is a legacy that we must preserve for future generations.

Also, in the next three years, federal budget funds will go towards building a new museum complex of the State Tretyakov Gallery and renovating the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory.

By the way, I do not want to interrupt the flow of my message, my speech, but I cannot help but mention, and I am drawing the attention of representatives of St Petersburg to this, the reconstruction and repair of the St Petersburg Conservatory. The renovation is a great and timely idea. Soon it will just turn into a problem. I have already drawn the attention of current leadership to this. In fact, they are not directly responsible for this unfinished construction, they have only recently taken up their posts. I would ask you, colleagues, and I remind the Government once again: we need to address this issue and bring it to an end, to its logical conclusion.

Additional funds are certainly needed for the Moscow Conservatory, and will be allocated for the development of the Yasnaya Polyana museum estate and for the creation of a national historical and archaeological centre in Veliky Novgorod. I want to point out the restoration of the Vorontsov and Khan palaces in Crimea and other unique historical sites on the Crimean peninsula. I ask you to support these decisions, of course.


As soon as next year, we must more actively move from overcoming the consequences of the epidemic and economic recovery back to development projects with a forward-looking perspective and focus on achieving national development goals, while maintaining a responsible budget policy and the stability of state finance.

Of course, our main goal is to provide for the well-being of Russian citizens, Russian families, increasing household incomes, improving the health of our people, offering extensive educational opportunities for the young so that everyone can prove their worth and work for the benefit of their families, enterprises, companies, cities, regions and therefore of the entire country, of all of Russia.

I strongly believe that these will be the very priorities that will guide us when drafting and approving the federal budget, as well as when taking all government decisions both on current affairs and strategic matters.

Once again, I would like to thank you for your extensive efforts and fruitful work.

Thank you very much for your attention. I wish you every success.


Vladimir Putin:

Ms Matviyenko mentioned the election campaign.

In this connection, I would like to thank our people for their proactive contribution to our joint efforts to form local and regional governments, and for their support.

I hope that all our newly elected colleagues will do everything they can and will go to great lengths to meet the expectations of their voters and the trust placed in them.

And one small practical observation that directly concerns you and the people who delegated you to the upper house of the Russian parliament. This has to do with the regional budgets. The measures taken by the Government of the Russian Federation regarding budget consolidation in order to deliver on the national agenda cannot fail to affect regional finances. In some cases regions will have to cut some spending items. I raised this issue with the Finance Minister this morning. The Government understands this and will provide punctual, targeted support to the regions that really need it. I want you to know this so that you can work constructively with the Government and complete this work as part of the budget process.

Thank you very much. All the best.

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 September 27th, 2020 #128
Alex Him
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Join Date: Aug 2015
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Meeting with nuclear industry workers

In the run-up to Nuclear Industry Worker Day, Vladimir Putin met with industry representatives.

September 23, 2020 - 18:00 - The Kremlin, Moscow

Before the meeting, the President presented the star of Hero of Labour to Georgy Rykovanov, research advisor of the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre – Zababakhin All-Russian Research Institute of Engineering Physics. The ceremony took place at the Kremlin’s St Catherine Hall.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, friends,

Before we sit down and start talking, I would like to personally congratulate your colleague, outstanding physicist Georgy Rykovanov, on receiving the title of Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation. You are well aware of who he is and his achievements. He is a Doctor of Science, academician and a specialist in a number of research areas, including thermonuclear fusion. Mr Rykovanov is a research advisor of the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre – All-Russian Research Institute of Engineering Physics in Snezhinsk and successfully works with critical issues in civil and special military areas.

Mr Rykovanov, let me present you with this high award for your special labour services and major contribution to improving our country's defence capability.

Georgy Rykovanov:

Mr President,

I am grateful to you for the high assessment of Rosatom’s nuclear weapons complex performance. We have always achieved the goals you have set for us. This year, despite the challenging circumstances, the nuclear weapons complex did not stop working for even a day. We will complete the state defence order assignments and the assignments set in your executive orders.

I must say that thanks to your attention and – I want to emphasise this – your control, the nuclear weapons complex has regained its balance, and is operating based on its own research, experimental, design and production base, and will remain the guarantor of our country’s security.

Thank you once again.

Vladimir Putin:

Once again, I congratulate your colleague and invite you all to sit down so we can continue our conversation in a less formal setting.

Please go ahead.

* * *


We are meeting just before Nuclear Industry Worker Day. I believe I signed the executive order establishing this professional holiday in 2005. Congratulations on this upcoming professional holiday to you and all your colleagues in the Russian nuclear industry– scientists, researchers, engineers, and workers – everyone who chose to pursue this career and this profession, who have devoted their lives to this amazing, wonderful, difficult, sometimes dangerous work, which is so necessary and so forward thinking. I believe it will always be this way. The industry will change, but it will still be at the leading edge.

It is certainly a symbol of scientific audacity, daring, selflessness, and sometimes personal courage and heroism. Unfortunately – I am saying “unfortunately” because the industry has seen tragic events; we have witnessed episodes that we all know about.

I would like to thank everyone for their great dedicated work, for their loyalty to their job and the traditions that were established by their predecessors. Three quarters of a century ago, without exaggeration, they accomplished a great deed, defended their Fatherland, achieved a true revolution in science, technology and industry.

Back then, in extremely difficult historical conditions, they made a leap in the shortest possible time from theoretical research to the practical use of their projects in the interests of Russia’s security and socioeconomic development. What they did is still amazing in its scale, meaning, and depth.

It took them only a few years to cover the distance from formulating an extremely difficult and unprecedented task all the way to testing the first working model of a nuclear weapon, the RDS-1 bomb, in August 1949.

At that time, without exaggeration, the entire country worked for that result, having barely emerged from a terrible world war with its daunting consequences. The people involved in the atomic project did not spare themselves either. They worked as if they were still at war. The government, realising the importance of what they were doing, provided everything that was needed, literally the shirt off its back, to address this urgent task.

You probably know the story, for sure, it is popular in the industry, and your colleagues gave me the phrase from those years: if atomic scientists need mercury, pharmacies will run short of thermometers. They gave everything, this is how it was.

Without the right to make a mistake, the research teams under the leadership of Igor Kurchatov explored several projects at once, and their technological achievements also pushed forward other industries that were more or less closely related to the atomic project: the rocket industry and space exploration. Moreover, an entire new industry grew out of it – civilian nuclear energy.

I would also like to note that our nuclear industry survived and didn’t really even decline in the 1990s during those very difficult years for our country and people, when many institutions collapsed and there was a threat, a real threat of losing our scientific schools, personnel and the foundation of this industry.

We managed to avoid these threats, importantly, due to the faith, perseverance, patriotism and self-sacrifice of those who worked in the industry during those crisis years, during such a difficult time for the country. Those who were working then know what I mean.

The industry is undoubtedly on the rise as it marks its 75th anniversary, with excellent results and new achievements that are important for the country, with improving indicators in the key areas of your activities.

I believe you will be speaking about them yourself. I have seen our plan for today, a whole number of speeches. I will listen to you with great pleasure.

Of course, we are very happy with what Rosatom is doing in a number of areas. I mean the further development of emission-free nuclear energy including the introduction of next-generation reactors, and also the new nuclear icebreakers, the development of the latest digital platforms and a range of innovative products for a variety of applications.

I know that Rosatom is working in a multitude of core and related areas – from new materials research to environmental protection and hazardous waste recycling.

And undoubtedly, we will do everything we can to further strengthen our international contacts. As for me, as our colleagues know, I am doing everything I can to support your international activities.

There is no doubt that the unique scientific and creative potential accumulated in the nuclear industry will be a basis for new successes and achievements and a constant and powerful inflow of young people will provide the necessary continuity in the work.

I can see that this industry has become prestigious again. It has always, no doubt, been interesting, but it has become prestigious and exciting again. I am very happy that young and talented people are attracted to it again.

What else can I say? Many of your colleagues, including some very young specialists, are taking part in strengthening national defence and contributing to the projects related to prospective weapons, displaying not only high professionalism but also personal courage, as I mentioned earlier.

I talked about strategic systems recently; I alluded to them on Gunsmith Day when I greeted our weapons makers.

Well, let’s begin.

The source of information -

Greetings to the Assembly dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Association of Small Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of Russia

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the participants in the Assembly dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Association of Small Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of Russia, which is underway in Moscow.

September 24, 2020 - 11:00

The message reads, in part:

“I warmly congratulate on this significant anniversary the leaders of regional and national associations, elders and representatives of creative and scientific communities as well as the youth movement: everyone who is proud of being part of the friendly family of the small indigenous peoples of Russia and considers care about preserving their mother tongues and invaluable historic, cultural and spiritual heritage to be their life’s work.

I am pleased to note that over the past years, mostly thanks to the Association’s creative activities and constructive cooperation with authorities, large and necessary work has been carried out to improve the legislation in the area and solve topical socioeconomic, infrastructural and environmental problems of the remote areas where small indigenous peoples have always lived. This is why they were able to preserve their distinctive traditions and established way of life today just as it was centuries ago, shepherding reindeer, fishing, hunting marine animals and other traditional economic activities. Representatives of small indigenous peoples are actively involved in Russia’s public and cultural life and make a contribution to promoting international humanitarian cooperation, including at the Arctic Council.”

The source of information -

Meeting with elected regional heads

The President held a meeting, via videoconference, with highest officials of 20 Russian regions who won regional elections on single voting day.

September 24, 2020 - 15:15 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

The purpose of our meeting is quite clear: I would like to congratulate you on being elected to high offices as regional heads. Naturally, I would like to say that, first of all, this trust amounts to tremendous responsibility for your upcoming work. Of course, you realise this.

Taking part in this meeting are those who headed other regions in the past and were able to display their best and those who have won gubernatorial elections for the first time. I believe that all of you are eager to work hard, to achieve 100-percent efficiency, to work with absolute dedication and to score real and tangible results for the residents of the regions you are heading. To serve the people, the country, Russia.

I would like to note that the elections were highly competitive, and that they involved a wide range of parties and candidates. At the same time, the Central Election Commission and public observers registered fewer complaints about violations, as compared to the 2019 elections.

All necessary precautions linked with the coronavirus infection were taken during the elections, so that people would find it absolutely safe to take part in the election process. The three-day election deadline made it possible to heed the opinion of those who, for various reasons, did not always visit polling stations in the past.

The rather convincing election results show that people trust you. By the way, all this took place against the backdrop of a recent campaign linked with amendments to the Russian Federation Constitution. Certainly, people in the regions also responded to the events that were held, and it goes without saying that many things, formalised in the Fundamental Law, the Constitution, should be implemented in the regions. Of course, people pin their hopes for improving life in the regions and resolving all-out and topical problems on you. I am confident that you will do your very best to justify these hopes.

We, the entire country, are facing large-scale goals, I am referring to the national projects, the achievement of our national development goals. And we will also have to act in a non-standard, very difficult situation.

I would like to remind you that as the heads of regions, you are vested with special powers and responsibilities to ensure epidemiological safety, to protect people’s lives and health. I would also like to make one more point in this regard: we are also now entering the colder months, when seasonal flu, ARVI, and so-called common colds are becoming a problem and need to be given priority in our work. It is necessary to ensure people’s safety. On the other hand, the COVID-19 response efforts, efforts to contain the epidemic, have not yet been completed, not yet, far from complete at the moment.

What I am saying is we should never allow problems to pile up on top of one another. Absolutely not. And here, of course, special attention should be paid to the risk groups. We need to work out, based on the situation in each specific region, a programme of comprehensive measures to protect senior citizens – literally, to save the older generation – and others who are at risk due to a variety of circumstances. Like people suffering from chronic conditions. I would like to ask you to take a very careful look at this, and finetune the healthcare systems in your regions so as to ensure the local patients’ interests.

You will certainly need to work with people very discretely, calmly, and unobtrusively, explaining the complexity of the current situation, and where possible, of course, you need to ask people to follow the necessary rules, including wearing facemasks. I am aware that most people find this rather uncomfortable – but catching something is worse. So this work must be carried out consistently, systematically, and again, discretely, yet to the highest degree, professionally.

At the same time, it is also crucial to continue working to restore a normal business rhythm, to support industries, agriculture, small and medium-sized businesses, restore employment and people’s incomes. Each of these targets requires your constant personal attention and utmost mobilization.

There is another important matter. Due to the epidemic and its fallout – notably, we are coping with this challenge for the economy and the social sphere much better than many other states – the parameters of our work are being specified. We need to have them specified. We will discuss, in conjunction with the regions, our plans for implementing national projects at the upcoming meeting of the State Council Presidium. The regions’ opinion is of paramount importance, because the majority of the work will be done locally.

Objectively, we need to be flexible about planning deadlines and identifying financial and resource priorities. However, I want to stress that the national projects’ meaning, key benchmarks and goals remain unchanged. Everything that we discussed before and everything that we told the people, must, of course, be implemented.

Primarily, it is about improving the quality of life of the Russian families, promoting healthcare and education, creating decent working conditions, a comfortable and safe ecological, urban and housing environment, and expanding opportunities for self-fulfillment of each individual.

To reiterate, I am confident you realise that success in achieving these goals largely depends on the work in the regions and each municipality.

Of course, you as the heads of the regions, your managerial skills, and your ability to assume responsibility are of paramount importance. However, you should be able to rely on your team and modern highly skilled professionals.

Most importantly, you should always hear what the people have to say to you. Just like during the election campaign, you must be in an open dialogue with them on a daily basis and to constantly receive live and non-perfunctory feedback. If you hear some criticism, at times even harsh – we are all adults here, and you know what I am talking about – it should not be taken as an offense. On the contrary, you need to build your work on fair criticism and understand the real needs of the people and act accordingly. This is the only way for the authorities at all levels to be truly effective.

I would like to wish you good luck and productive and effective work for the benefit of the people and in the interest of your regions and Russia in general.

The source of information -

Greetings to President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in on the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations, which is marked this year.

September 25, 2020 - 10:00

In his message of greetings, Vladimir Putin noted that over the past decades the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea have accumulated substantial experience of beneficial cooperation in politics, trade, economy, science, technology, culture, humanitarian sphere and other areas. The Russian leader also underscored the dynamically developing inter-parliamentary dialogue and interregional cooperation. “We are implementing large-scale joint investment and industrial projects. Coordinated efforts in addressing topical matters of the regional and international agenda, including within the framework of the UN, APEC, the ASEAN Regional Forum and other multilateral associations, are yielding a positive effect,” the President of Russia noted. He expressed confidence that Moscow and Seoul will continue to expand their mutually beneficial partnership for the benefit of both nations and in the interests of strengthening security and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the entire Northeast Asia.

At the same time, Vladimir Putin noted with regret that the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to hold the Year of Mutual Exchanges, marking the anniversary of diplomatic relations, on schedule. He also voiced Moscow’s readiness to start implementing the Year’s planned programme as the epidemiological situation returns to normal.

The source of information -

Statement by President of Russia Vladimir Putin on a comprehensive program of measures for restoring the Russia – US cooperation in the filed of international information security

September 25, 2020 - 13:30

One of today’s major strategic challenges is the risk of a large-scale confrontation in the digital field. A special responsibility for its prevention lies on the key players in the field of ensuring international information security (IIS). In this regard, we would like to once again address the US with a suggestion to agree on a comprehensive program of practical measures to reboot our relations in the field of security in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

First. To restore a regular full-scale bilateral interagency high-level dialogue on the key issues of ensuring IIS.

Second. To maintain a continuous and effective functioning of the communication channels between competent agencies of our States through Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers, Computer Emergency Readiness Teams and high-level officials in charge of the issues of IIS within the bodies involved in ensuring national security, includig that of information.

Third. To jointly develop and conclude a bilateral intergovernmental agreement on preventing incidents in the information space similarly to the Soviet-American Agreement on the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas in force since 25 May 1972.

Fourth. To exchange, in a mutually acceptable format, guarantees of non-intervention into internal affairs of each other, including into electoral processes, inter alia, by means of the ICTs and high-tech methods.

We call on the US to greenlight the Russian-American professional expert dialogue on IIS without making it a hostage to our political disagreements.

These measures are aimed at building up trust between our States, promoting security and prosperity of our peoples. They will significantly contribute to ensuring global peace in the information space. Addressing all countries, including the US, we suggest reaching global agreement on a political commitment of States on no-first-strike with the use of ICTs against each other.

The source of information -

Caucasus-2020 exercise

Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces Vladimir Putin observed the main stage of the strategic headquarters exercise Caucasus-2020 at the Kapustin Yar training centre in Astrakhan Region.

September 25, 2020 - 15:00 - Astrakhan Region

During the exercise’s main stage, units of the Russian Armed Forces, as well as troop contingents from Armenia, Belarus, China, Pakistan and Myanmar, practiced actions to repel an attack, strike enemy forces and launch an offensive.

Service personnel from the 58th Army of the Southern Military District, elements from the 20th Army of the Western Military District, elements of the Airborne Force, an army aviation brigade, missile and artillery, air defence and drone units, military, technical, logistic and medical support units and military units from foreign states were involved in accomplishing simulated military tasks.

The strategic headquarters exercise Caucasus-2020 is taking place on September 21–26 at the Southern Military District’s inner training centres Prudboi, Ashuluk and Kapustin Yar, as well as the ground-based Arzgirsky and Kopanskoy aviation testing sites. Elements of the Black Sea Fleet and the Caspian Flotilla are operating in the Black and Caspian Seas. Ships from the Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran are also taking part. The exercise involves about 80,000 officers and soldiers, about 450 infantry fighting vehicles and armoured personnel carriers, up to 250 tanks as well as up to 200 artillery systems and multiple launch rocket systems.

The source of information -

Greetings to President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on Independence Day

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on Turkmenistan’s national holiday, Independence Day.

September 27, 2020 - 10:00

“Your country is confidently following the path of socioeconomic development,” Vladimir Putin emphasised in his message of greetings, noting that Ashgabat, which is pursuing the policy of neutrality, makes a considerable contribution to stability and security in Central Asia.

The President of Russia stressed that Moscow attaches great importance to the relations of strategic partnership with Turkmenistan. “I am confident that through joint efforts we will continue to actively expand bilateral dialogue and cooperation in various areas, as well as our constructive interaction in tackling challenges and threats to international security, including the COVID-19 pandemic. This undoubtedly corresponds to the core interests of our friendly nations,” Vladimir Putin noted in the message. He wished good health and success to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, and peace, wellbeing and prosperity to the people of Turkmenistan.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan at the initiative of the Armenian side.

September 27, 2020 - 17:45

The President and Prime Minister discussed the sharp escalation of hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh area. The Russian side expressed grave concern over the resumption of large-scale hostilities. The importance was stressed that all necessary efforts must be taken now to the further escalation of the conflict, key being a halt in military actions.

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 September 29th, 2020 #129
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Congratulations to nuclear sector workers and veterans

Vladimir Putin congratulated nuclear sector workers and veterans on their professional holiday.

September 28, 2020 - 09:00

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:


I am happy to congratulate all workers and veterans of the nuclear industry of Russia on their professional holiday.

This year the nuclear industry celebrates its 75th anniversary and therefore I would like to extend my most heartfelt congratulations and wishes to veterans – those who laid and developed the solid foundation of the nuclear industry, both in the difficult post-war years and even during the war, as well as into the decades that have proceeded.

We are justifiably proud of our outstanding scientists, construction specialists, engineers and workers who were there at the very onset of the Soviet nuclear project. When so much was at stake for the destiny of our Fatherland, when literally every month, every week mattered, these people accomplished what then seemed impossible: they created an entirely new field from scratch and within the shortest term possible.

The country became a nuclear power and this held great significance – the once disrupted strategic balance had now been restored. Any aggression against our people that otherwise would have gone unpunished was now impossible – peace and the national security of our superpower nation was now guaranteed for decades to come.

I would like to stress that in those years it was our country that became a pioneer in using nuclear energy toward peaceful goals, which opened colossal horizons for the socioeconomic development of our country’s regions, industries, social spheres and for the exploration of the Arctic’s area.

I would like to express my special gratitude to those people who preserved the nuclear industry in the 1990s for their devotion to the profession. They continued to man their posts, sometimes without pay, driven by their sense of duty alone, which ensured the safety of our facilities. They simply could not have acted otherwise.

Today, Russia’s nuclear industry, the staff of our specialised enterprises, research institutes and design bureaus achieve major results that are important for the entire country – first and foremost in developing nuclear power generation, and do so in strict compliance with highest security requirements and standards.

Seamless, uninterrupted power supply is ensured in full, including this year, a year of many challenges, including the fight against such a dangerous outbreak.

The state corporation Rosatom plays an active role in resolving many other relevant and long-term objectives. It does so by creating digital and innovative products that are in demand and by carrying out in-depth research in metallurgy, medicine and ecology. Rosatom is at the centre of the development of technologies for handling hazardous waste and its disposal and plays a key role in the comprehensive exploration of the Northern Sea Route and the renewal of a nuclear ice-breaking fleet.

International projects in the construction and maintenance of nuclear power units abroad are extremely important too as they promote Russia’s reputation as a country of high technologies and intellect, as a serious and responsible partner. We are the world’s leader in modern, pure nuclear power engineering and possess the unique combination of reliability and safety. Currently Rosatom has – at varying stages of implementation – projects for the construction of 25 power units in nine countries, which is the highest result in the industry’s entire history.

And, of course, I would like to highlight the contribution of the industry’s specialists in consolidating Russia’s nuclear shield, in developing and testing new types of armaments that have no analogue. And in order to produce such results, one must often venture into the unknown, into uncharted, at first glance, territory. This quest requires not only the best qualifications but also personal courage. I know that such people, many of whom are very young, solve tasks of utmost importance in order to ensure our country’s defence.

History has shown that breakthrough achievements in such a complicated sphere as the nuclear industry are no coincidences. They are the result of our scientific and engineering schools and the systematic work of dozens of enterprises and thousands of people, our first-rate education and vocational training system.

The current dynamic development of the national nuclear complex, the fact that working in this industry has again became prestigious and attractive for young people, proves that Russia has the necessary potential. And we will gradually strengthen it in order to meet the geopolitical and technological challenges of the 21st century.

I would like to thank you for your outstanding and effective work. I wish you new successes, good health, of course, and all the best to you and your families.

Happy holiday!

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in

Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone with President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in.

September 28, 2020 - 12:20

The two leaders exchanged greetings on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea, marked on September 30.

Vladimir Putin and Moon Jae-in praised the progressive development of Russian-South Korean ties over the past three decades, and expressed mutual interest in further deepening cooperation in trade, economic, cultural, humanitarian and other areas. They called for the establishment of substantive cooperation between the two countries in the sphere of healthcare, including efforts to counter the novel coronavirus infection and development of vaccines.

While exchanging views on the current regional agenda, they reaffirmed their commitment to a comprehensive political and diplomatic resolution of the problems on the Korean Peninsula.

The source of information -

Meeting with President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov

Vladimir Putin met in Sochi with President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbay Jeenbekov, who arrived in Russia on a working visit.

September 28, 2020 - 13:50 - Sochi

The discussion focused on topical issues of Russian-Kyrgyz strategic partnership – specifically, cooperation in trade and the economy.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr President, I am very glad to see you.

We had to postpone your visit due to the problems caused by the pandemic. However, our work continues, and life goes on as well. Just recently, in September, a fully-fledged meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation took place in Bishkek.

I am very glad to have this opportunity to meet with you. First of all, I would like to say that last year, Russia and Kyrgyzstan enjoyed a significant increase in trade. Kyrgyzstan’s imports, which are, respectively, our exports, went up by over 25 percent. This is a very good result.

Clearly, there have been certain changes due to the current circumstances; however, we are confidently moving in the right direction. As per your request, we have increased our supplies of wheat. Overall, our agricultural exports are growing. We can confirm substantial progress in this area.

We will be able to discuss all the other issues at length today.

We both are actively involved in the activity of our regional international organisations. And I am very glad to have this opportunity to meet with you and talk about the situation in the region as well as about our bilateral cooperation.

You know that we consistently support your efforts, the Kyrgyz leadership’s efforts with respect to internal political stability in the country. We really hope that this work will continue thanks to your efforts. On our part, we will do everything to support you as the head of state and to support Kyrgyzstan and the people of Kyrgyzstan in achieving the major goals that you set for the country’s development.

Once again, welcome. I am delighted to see you.

President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov:

Mr President,

I am pleased to meet with you. Although you are busy, you can always find time for Kyrgyzstan. This shows a lot of support for our country, both politically and economically. Russia has always offered us consistent support. This is your personal merit, because you are a sincere, great friend of Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz nation knows, remembers and appreciates that. On behalf of the Kyrgyz people and myself, I would like to express my gratitude for this support.

Kyrgyzstan has always considered Russia to be a true friend, ally and strategic partner. We have seen this clearly during this difficult time. Thanks to you, we have managed to stabilise the epidemiological situation in Kyrgyzstan, and thanks to you, we have provided support for our citizens living in Russia.

Let me once again congratulate you on registering the first coronavirus vaccine. The entire world has been waiting for this day, and we were very happy to hear this news from you. We hope the Russian vaccine will be available to the people of Kyrgyzstan.

I greatly appreciate that the Eurasian Fund for Stabilisation and Development has provided the largest loan, $100 million, which is significant support for our economy. Both Gazprom and the Kyrgyz-Russian Foundation make their contribution to the development of small and medium-sized businesses.

Thanks to Russia, we are already completing the upgrade of our checkpoints. Thanks to Russia and thanks to you, we have already started marking and monitoring goods in Kyrgyzstan and launched the tax inspection information system.

You mentioned that the Intergovernmental Commission held its 22nd meeting yesterday. This was a very fruitful event, its participants did a really good job, and I had a meeting with Mr Overchuk [the Russian co-chair of the Intergovernmental Commission Alexei Overchuk].

Of course, the people of Kyrgyzstan have high expectations regarding our meeting. As you are aware, with the approach of a parliamentary election, all kinds of forces opposing stability and national development have been stepping up their activities. They are even trying to encroach on Kyrgyzstan’s sovereignty, and drive a wedge into our allied relationship and strategic partnership. Of course, we will not let them do this, and anyway they would never succeed, since Russia’s backing is essential for us. I would like to thank you for this assistance. We have always treasured our historical, time-tested relationship.

Thank you for your warm hospitality and for the opportunity to discuss topical matters with you.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr President, as you know, Russia never interferes in the domestic affairs of its neighbours or any other countries. Nevertheless, we always support efforts to stabilise the situation and promote inclusive dialogue with all political forces. We invariably support the existing government in its efforts to bring about calm, and will stick to this line in our relations with Kyrgyzstan, including by providing economic support.

At every meeting you raise the question of supporting Kyrgyzstan’s nationals working in Russia. On this topic, we have taken a number of specific decisions. Everything points to the fact that we will keep returning to this question and will go to great lengths to deliver on matters you will raise at today’s meeting.

I am really delighted to see you. Once again, welcome!

Over a working lunch we will have an opportunity to calmly discuss almost all matters you will deem important for today’s conversation.

I am aware that you are planning a working trip to European countries, and would like to wish you every success in this undertaking.

Sooronbay Jeenbekov:

Thank you.

The source of information -

Meeting with President of Moldova Igor Dodon

Vladimir Putin had a videoconference meeting with President of the Republic of Moldova Igor Dodon.

September 28, 2020 - 15:50 - Sochi

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, Mr Dodon.

President of Moldova Igor Dodon:

Good afternoon, Mr Putin. I am very glad to see you.

Vladimir Putin:

I am also glad to see you, likewise.

Mr President, next year we will mark the 20th anniversary of the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation. I must admit these years in Russia-Moldova relations were not easy. But owing to your efforts, we have been improving these relations recently, in accordance with the spirit and letter of the Treaty that I have just recalled. I hope that after the presidential elections that are due to take place literally in a month (by the way, I would like to wish you success at these elections), we will manage to continue the work you have started on restoring and developing our interstate ties.

We know that this year Moldova has faced economic problems, not to mention the coronavirus. I will say a few words about this. On top of all that, the country’s agriculture has to counter the consequences of the drought. At your request, we have allocated the required funds, up to a total of half a billion rubles, as humanitarian aid with a view to supplying the hardest hit companies with diesel fuel as you asked us. The first tranche for half of this amount is ready to go. We expect you to send us a list of companies that need this support in the first place.

With regard to the coronavirus, as you may be aware, we supplied Moldova, also at your request, with 15,000 test kits. We are prepared to continue to work together at the level of specialists, sanitary doctors, epidemiologists, and researchers who are successfully working in this area in Russia in order to support you and the citizens of Moldova who are facing this pandemic.

We have planned a series of measures. I hope we will be able to carry them out as quickly as possible. We also have something to discuss in this regard.

Once again, I am happy to have you here, and it is great that we can see each other, albeit at a distance. Nevertheless, this allows us to lose no time in resolving the problems that are of principal interest to both Moldova and Russia.

Igor Dodon:

Mr President, thank you very much for the kind words about our partnership.

Indeed, we have managed, in conjunction with you, to almost restore the strategic partnership between our countries at all levels in recent years. At the presidential level, we re-launched this partnership in 2017, when we first met as presidents. We are having a very good dialogue at the parliament and government levels over these last twelve months. Our strategic dialogue enjoys excellent dynamics in almost all areas and levels of state power.

Unfortunately, this year was marred by the coronavirus pandemic and a drought. I want to thank you for the help that Russia has provided in our efforts to fight the coronavirus. Russia was one of the first countries to help us in March and April.

I would also like to thank you for the fact that Russia is ready to issue a loan, and I hope we will sign an agreement to that effect soon. I am referring to a loan of 200 million euros to support Moldova’s economy. I am aware that there was a round of talks last week, and there is progress.

Despite the challenging situation, we will hold an online Moldova-Russia forum on October 1. And the intergovernmental commission will meet to discuss a bilateral issue on Friday, October 2.

A good dialogue on the Transnistrian settlement is underway. Mr Kozak must have informed you about it. We maintain contact with the left bank. I think we will cope with this situation with the help of our friends.

As far as agriculture is concerned, we have been hit by an unprecedented drought; we have not seen a drought like this in Moldova since the middle of the 20th century. Unfortunately, coupled with the coronavirus, it has complicated the economic situation even more. We had a significant drop in the second quarter of the year, in the first six months. However, despite these problems, we are keeping the situation under control.

Thank you very much for your wishes of success during the election.

The source of information -

Meeting with President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Sergeyev

Vladimir Putin met with President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Sergeyev to discuss the implementation of the state science and technology policy and the Academy’s efforts to counter COVID-19.

September 28, 2020 - 17:00 - Sochi

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Sergeyev, I know that your colleagues in the Academy have prepared an annual report on the technology policy. Let us start with this report and then discuss other issues.

President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Sergeyev:

Thank you very much, Mr President, for this opportunity to meet with you.

Indeed, in accordance with the law on the Russian Academy of Sciences, we issue an annual report on the implementation of the state science and technology policy and the biggest achievements of Russian scientists. You can review them in this digest.

I would like to present several of the most important achievements of the previous year. Obviously, the circumstances this year are substantially different, and I should tell you about the Academy’s involvement in countering COVID-19. I will tell you about some interesting results we have concerning coronavirus tests, vaccines and medication.

And finally, I would like to discuss a very pressing issue – namely, scientific and technical expert review. As a matter of fact, our country is involved in some large-scale projects. We have national projects and a development strategy for various sectors of the economy. More often than not, they rely on modern technology and science.

Therefore, we believe that when it comes to scientific and scientific and technical expert reviews, we must ensure greater competence and higher objectivity. Since the Russian Academy of Sciences is our main research and expert organisation, I would like to discuss the following: the Academy should be able to not only review a great number of small projects (we conducted almost 18,000 expert reviews last year) but also take up serious expert responsibilities.

We think it is time to discuss the development of a project on scientific and technical expert reviews in the country, a project that would outline the responsibilities of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Of course, this work must, by all means, rely on modern technologies. Processes like collecting scientific and technical data, analysing the data and possible uses for the results of such analysis have significantly changed due to the fact that we have powerful computers and database management systems. These factors must be taken into account.

We are currently working with several organisations and institutes in the country on developing a fundamental basis for scientific and technical expert reviews. Among other things, this challenge comes down to infrastructure. So, I will also talk about some issues related to the infrastructure and ask for your assistance.

Vladimir Putin:

Okay. What about the Academy’s work on countering COVID-19?

Alexander Sergeyev:

I have a presentation on this matter.

I realise that you understand the situation quite well. Every day we see you holding meetings, and you do demonstrate excellent knowledge of the issue. But when it comes to some fundamental issues, we see problems that need to be addressed. These problems concern scientific research and organisation. I will first briefly review the achievements and then ask for your assistance with the problems.

Vladimir Putin:


The source of information -

Meeting with Head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service Igor Artemyev

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service Igor Artemyev.

September 28, 2020 - 18:00 - Sochi

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Artemyev, I know that you wanted to report to me on some issues related to the sale of state property and the work of foreign operators in our market. Let’s start with the first issue. Go ahead, please.

Head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service Igor Artemyev:

Thank you very much for this meeting, Mr President.

I would like to say that we have 50 laws and regulations on the sale of property, and any property – be it confiscated goods, forest or other land, or any other state property – is sold under different procedures. Notices on these sales are published in the middle of nowhere and even an experienced tracker cannot find these announcements. As a result, everything ends up in the hands of certain individuals and little goes to the treasury.

To begin with, there is an easy way out of this: the creation of an integrated website on the sale of state property. In general, if the state decides to sell a property, what is the main goal? To sell it for more money.

Vladimir Putin:

Of course, to make more money for the treasury.

Igor Artemyev:

If there are any defence or security restrictions, Law No. 57 works well to impose them.

This has been going on for 20 years. In principle, we have prepared a short draft law on competition for the Government. It is enough to introduce just five lines into these 50 legislative acts and accomplish a very simple goal. First, every sale needs to be posted online in an e-format – either through an e-tender or an e-auction with bidding – and any individual or company should be able to read about the sale of a property under any legislation on a single (integrated) website. And many buyers collect whole pools. Say, someone wants a property with a water area, and a house that includes some forestland. Where will they collect all these properties? On different websites? They will buy a plot of land in a different place, water area will be located elsewhere, and so on.

For example, I have never seen a notice on the sale of confiscated goods or material evidence with expired period of storage in my life, like limousines and dachas. Where are they?

But once we really had such a case and opened it officially. A Lamborghini was sold to an individual for 100,000 rubles. Of course, it was returned to the treasury but this is a fact.

In the past few years, Rosimushchestvo (the Federal Agency for State Property Management) has carried out several interesting and positive initiatives, but to resolve this problem once and for all, I would like to ask you, Mr President, to support this initiative. The Government has dealt with it. The only question is whether to introduce these five lines into the law on competition or create a separate law. The Government will decide this.

Vladimir Putin:

This is a technical issue. On the whole, this is absolutely the right thing to do and modern electronic tools make it possible to do it fairly quickly and efficiently.

Igor Artemyev:

Thank you very much.

Now the second question, and it is not even so much about communications providers. In the past few years, we have opened big cases against Google, Apple and Microsoft. They violate any regulation they can and do it deliberately. In the case of Google, the court passed several verdicts in favour of the Russian Federation. We had to follow them for two and a half years to make them fulfil our instructions.

Vladimir Putin:

What exactly did they violate?

Igor Artemyev:

The problem was that they preinstalled their applications and did not allow Russian designers to access their platform. In other words, we were not allowed to install our platforms there even if we wanted to.

Vladimir Putin:

But this is simply a violation of the principles of competition.

Igor Artemyev:

Of course. After we did this, within two years, the European Commission fined these companies $5 billion for this. So, we must curb this, effectively. We have proposals on how this can be done.

There is yet another aspect that concerns every citizen. In cooperation with Rospotrebnadzor (the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare) we conducted the following research over the past eighteen months: we decide to compare original goods sold in Western Europe with the same item sold in Russia. The goods were called “original,” which means they were supposed to be the same no matter whether they were sold in Western Europe or Russia. What’s the difference? Using chemical and organoleptic techniques we established that in many cases dishonest companies – and we checked many firms – send us surrogates. To check the chemical composition we simply used a chromatograph. It is very easy to compare these goods with the original products. So we buy goods, bring them here, and then we buy them in Russia and they look the same but the actual content is very different.

We opened the first three cases in cooperation with Rospotrebnadzor. We now inspect alcohol, beer and food – all imports – and we intend to continue this.

Vladimir Putin:

You don’t want to mention the names of the companies that were involved in these discrepancies now, do you?

Igor Artemyev:

These are Henkel and Lindt that makes chocolate and detergents and many others.

Vladimir Putin:

All right. You can tell us about this in more detail now.

Igor Artemyev:

Thank you.

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 September 30th, 2020 #130
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Expanded State Council Presidium meeting

The President held a videoconference meeting of the State Council Presidium on implementing the Executive Order on national development goals until 2030.

September 28, 2020 - 20:00 - Sochi

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good evening, colleagues,

Today, we are holding an expanded State Council Presidium meeting with the regional governors, Government members and heads of State Council working groups.

To begin, I would like to congratulate you on an anniversary, September 1: the State Council in its current form observed its 20th anniversary.

Let me remind you that this body was established at the proposal of the MPs and governors of the Russian regions, and since then has played an important, I’d say even strategic role in the system of government bodies, as well as in drafting legislative initiatives and implementing practical measures “on the ground,” so to speak, in the regions and even the municipalities of Russia.

I would like to emphasise that it is impossible to make strategic decisions in such a large, complicated, versatile and multi-ethnic country as Russia without relying on the opinion of the regions, without understanding their basic specific features and without feedback. I would like to note that the regional aspect of the development has been historically inherent in Russian statehood.

At one time, even in the Russian Empire, a unitary country by nature, fairly flexible, unconventional managerial methods were used as regards different administrative and ethnic territories, which made it possible to consider their peculiarities, and we must follow these principles even more in our federative state. Let me repeat that the State Council has a great role to play in this respect.

The State Council has acquired new status in this anniversary year, which was fixed in the country’s basic law – the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

I believe this decision will have a positive effect on the activities of the authorities at all levels and will give them an extra boost both in resolving current issues and in pursuing our long-term plans.

Today, with the regions, we will discuss an issue that is largely mapping out Russia’s progress and will shape Russia’s development in the years to come. It sets the rate and quality of joint work to be done by the state, business and public organisations, goals that target the improvement of life for our country’s citizens.

This issue concerns our national goals, the fine-tuning of the key tools for achieving them, national projects with a view to a high rate of change in the country and globally, new demands from our citizens and experience acquired in recent years, and objective trends in the economy and social sphere. I mean, among other things, the challenges facing Russia and our entire civilisation during the coronavirus pandemic.

I would like to stress once again that the fight against this epidemic is far from over, it is ongoing. We cannot relax and let our guard down.

I would like to address all of our people again. Friends, the risks persist. I want to ask you to remember this and show the utmost responsibility for yourselves and those near you. I ask you to follow all the recommendations from the doctors and specialists. We need this for safety, to protect your health.

Now we know much more about this dangerous disease than we did just a few months ago. We know how to respond and how to build up preventive measures. But now the outcome of our common efforts on fighting the spread of the virus depends on everyone so that we won’t have to resort to large-scale restrictions like we did in the spring, as I said recently; a practice that leaves the economy vulnerable and that is a burden for everyone.

Of course, despite the current difficulties, we need to look forward and set long-term goals in all areas that influence the life and well-being of an individual and their family; and to ensure more efficiency and effectiveness in every area of our work in a bid to not just reach formal indicators but to make sure that people’s lives are improving. I have also talked about this on more than one occasion.

Last July, we discussed this subject in detail at a meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and National Projects. As you know, following that, a Presidential Executive Order was signed, which sets development priorities for our country for the next decade. So, we extended the planning time-frame until 2030.

I want to note that all of our national targets remain unchanged, despite all the current difficulties. Let me remind you that these include five key areas: preserving the health and well-being of all people, creating a comfortable and safe environment for living, enhancing the economy, and opening new opportunities for people to realise their potential, as well as the broad introduction of digital technologies in all areas.

The Government was instructed to work with the State Council to revise national projects and finalise the indicators by the end of October. It is clear what is behind the need to revise them, considering the current difficulties I just mentioned. We also need to create an updated system for the oversight of and joint and coordinated work on national projects.

To avoid wasting time, as I also mentioned, so that now and right from the beginning of next year we can engage in active work, the regions need to know what specific tasks have been assigned to them, how the implementation of these tasks will be monitored and what activities will be funded and the amount of funding.

Unfortunately, not all indicators and parameters have been provided to the regional management teams yet. I want to ask the Government to do this as soon as possible.

On the whole, a lot has been done in recent months, it is true. The Government has considered many proposals for the revision of national projects put forward by the regions.

However, there are still many topics for discussion, controversial issues. I hope that our discussion today will be as substantive as possible, when all the problematic points, the risks of achieving national goals are outlined openly, without embellishment or watering-down.

Only in this case, colleagues, will we be able to come up with concrete and effective solutions and clearly highlight key points, so that, I repeat, we can set a fast pace for our joint work. Already in 2021, there should be a high-quality, tangible result for each of the national goals.

At the same time, I want to emphasise: we should not put off addressing complex, systemic problems until later: ”Now we will do something easier, and later…“ So that it does not happen as people say: later never comes. To keep the work going. I repeat once more: do not put off what we have to do today. And these tasks should not be delayed until 2024. We should not to try to make our life easier and to reduce work requirements by planning simple, light tasks for the coming years. We will not solve the difficult ones then.

Before starting the discussion, I would like to emphasise the following. I have said more than once that the main activities of national projects happen in the regions. It is here, in the cities, in the villages of our country, that real, positive changes must be achieved.

Therefore, the initiative, the priority and weighty say in the additional adjustment of national projects should belong to the Russian regions, which see the situation on the ground, having almost two years of experience in the implementation of national projects. Accordingly, they can clarify, detail the tasks faced by our country as a whole, as well as specify the tools for their implementation. They can propose their own, new approaches to those solutions, which unfortunately turned out to be ineffective and therefore require adjustment and even revision.

It is precisely such meaningful proposals that I hope to hear from the heads of the State Council working groups today.

It is extremely important to know where, on what areas we need to focus first. In particular, the regions should be able to manoeuvre their funds and, of course, we need a clear understanding of how the financial and budgetary interaction of the regions and the centre will work in general in 2021 and in subsequent years.

As a reminder: the successful achievement of national goals, improving the quality of life of people is the key benchmark, the key tool for assessing the efficiency of both the Federal Government and the regional governing bodies. This is why I ask everyone to act in concert, constructively, as a team. This requirement concerns, among other things, regional offices of many federal agencies.

I will use the example of a crucial and comprehensive area like housing construction.

We have set a benchmark, and we must achieve this level (I am perfectly aware and realise that this is a difficult benchmark), we must strive to make it so that at least 5 million Russian families improve their housing conditions every year, so they can move into new, more comfortable and spacious housing and apartments. To achieve this, we must increase housing construction volumes to 120 million square metres per year. Colleagues, you know this very well as we have repeatedly talked about it. Let me remind you that last year about 80 million square metres of housing were commissioned.

Under the current uneasy conditions we, nevertheless, supported the construction industry which is unquestionably one of the key industries in the entire economy. According to expert forecasts, this year the volume of mortgage loans issued will be higher than last year. Thus our support efforts on the whole – I want to stress this, on the whole – are working and bringing the results we need.

Naturally, supplies must grow to maintain long-term sustainability in the market. Which means we have to build more to ensure a choice of housing and maintain a price balance, to avoid unjustified price hikes.

Stepping up housing construction is a task for all levels of government, for all governing structures and mainly for the regions and municipalities that are responsible for preparing development sites and of course, improving the grounds around new residential buildings and creating comfortable living conditions for the people.

I remind the heads of the regions of their personal responsibility for increasing the volumes of modern quality housing construction. We must use new allotments for housing construction and to develop the infrastructure. The regions, federal authorities, development institutions and infrastructure companies must closely cooperate on this.

We also need to use extra-budgetary financing for engineering, transport and social infrastructure: roads and railway stations, utility networks and substations, kindergartens and schools, and so on.

We have repeatedly discussed the use of infrastructure bonds. The Government and our companies have already tried and tested this mechanism, and pilot projects have been selected. It is necessary to launch them without delay and also think about expanding the geography of this programme.

Here is one more topic that is close and understandable to the people. The summer holiday season is drawing to a close. This year it began a bit later, somewhere in mid-July due to the pandemic. Despite this, millions of people again visited our traditional resort destinations – the Black Sea coast of Crimea and the Krasnodar Territory. This year, special attention was paid to domestic tourism by virtue of the well-known objective circumstances. By the way, there would have been no fortune, but misfortune helped. We managed to substantially promote domestic tourism.

I would like to raise this issue at the State Council meeting. As I have already said, cooperation of the regions, federal departments and leading infrastructure companies is required for this purpose.

Today, it takes about one day or more to get from Moscow to the Sochi or Yalta coasts by railway or car. What about our people who have to travel there from the north or the Urals. Such a journey will take them a lot more time. Or imagine getting from the Kerch Strait to Sochi by a serpentine road. Try to drive there with children in a car. It is possible and necessary to reduce the time required for such travel with full observance of safety requirements and maintenance of the roads. This must be done.

Let me recall that we are already implementing such plans as regards freight transport corridors and railway access to sea ports in the south. In parallel, it is necessary to do everything to make travel by car or railway to the south faster and more comfortable for passengers, including tourists. I have already spoken about this. I have said this more than once and would like to ask you to look at this from the practical point of view.

I would like to ask the Government to consider in detail the reconstruction of highways and railways leading to the Russian Black Sea coast, and adjust accordingly the plans of road construction and transport infrastructure development.

I would like to emphasise in conclusion that all areas of work that we will discuss today directly determine the living standards of our people and reflect the modern needs of the residents of megacities, small towns and villages. Needless to say, we will continuously monitor these topics.

Let us go on to the practical discussion.

The source of information -

Greetings to participants at the plenary session of the 7th Forum of Russian and Belarusian Regions

Vladimir Putin sent greetings via video to the participants at the plenary session of the 7th Forum of Russian and Belarusian Regions.

September 29, 2020 - 11:20

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Lukashenko, colleagues, friends,

I am delighted to welcome the participants of the Seventh Forum of Russian and Belarusian Regions.

Recently, on September 14, the President of Belarus and I spoke about the importance of cooperation between the regions of the two countries in Sochi. We agreed we should do more to encourage the implementation of mutually beneficial projects between the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and the regions of the Republic of Belarus, to more often organise mutual trips of their heads, and contacts between the respective political, business, public and academic communities.

This means that the leaders of Russia and Belarus are interested in giving an additional impetus to the development of interregional ties. These contacts are among the most important components of truly fraternal, neighbourly, and truly allied relations between Russia and Belarus, relations based on the principles of equality and respect for each other's interests.

I would like to note that Russia and Belarus are not only consistently deepening their multifaceted bilateral ties, but they are also committed to implementing the Treaty on the Creation of the Union State. Our countries are also purposefully involved in the Eurasian Economic Union activities.

We have joint defence construction projects; we cooperate in countering acute modern challenges and threats, also as part of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.

So today, considering the difficult situation the Republic of Belarus is going through, including the unprecedented external pressure that followed the presidential elections, I would like to repeat once again: relations between Russia and Belarus are not prone to either time or momentary sentiment because they have a solid foundation and our states are united by strong cultural and spiritual ties rooted in the past centuries, extensive kinship and family ties, and a common history.

It appears very important and logical that this year, which marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, the significance of the Victory’s historical legacy became the keynote of this forum’s plenary session.

During the anniversary events marking the Great Victory, Russian and Belarusian military personnel marched across Red Square side by side. The President of Belarus and I attended the unveiling of the Rzhev Memorial dedicated to the selfless heroism of Soviet soldiers.

We will never forget how our fathers and grandfathers defended their homeland and liberated Europe. We defended and will continue to defend the historical truth about that war, the reasons behind it, its outcome and lessons.

By tradition, the forum reviews the entire spectrum of Russia-Belarus cooperation, in the sphere of politics, the economy, industrial cooperation, high technology, cultural and humanitarian affairs. But, without doubt, trade and investment are the priority areas of cooperation between the Russian and Belarusian regions.

Every year during this forum, numerous deals are closed and contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars are signed. As a result, last year our bilateral trade reached $35.5 billion.

More than 2,000 companies with Russian participation operate in Belarus. A major hi-tech investment project, the construction of the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant in the Grodno Region, which costs around $10 billion, is being successfully implemented.

As you are aware, Russia is the primary investor in the Belarusian economy as Russian companies account for almost half of all direct foreign capital investment in Belarus. We are providing significant lending and financial support to the Belarusian economy. These funds contribute to building new production facilities and creating new jobs in the Belarusian regions.

Russia and Belarus are closely cooperating in countering the COVID-19 epidemic and providing mutual help and support. I have already mentioned that Belarus will be the first country to receive Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus.

We are currently taking measures to normalise the transport connections between Russia and Belarus that were interrupted by the quarantine. We hope that it will intensify direct interregional exchanges across all areas and will be an important step towards resuming full-scale cultural and humanitarian contacts.

I would like to wish all the participants at this forum of regions productive work, useful exchange of opinions and experiences. I am convinced that the agreements reached during this event will further strengthen the bilateral strategic cooperation in the interests of the brotherly nations of Russia and Belarus.

Thank you.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with Silvio Berlusconi

September 29, 2020 - 13:15

During the telephone conversation, Vladimir Putin wished the former president of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic and leader of the Forza Italia party Silvio Berlusconi a very happy birthday. The Russian President also wished Mr Berlusconi good health and a speedy recovery from the coronavirus.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga.

September 29, 2020 - 14:50

Vladimir Putin congratulated Yoshihide Suga on his recent appointment as the prime minister of the country (he had earlier received a message). Both parties noted the progress achieved in the past years in developing the Russia-Japan dialogue and cooperation in politics, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian affairs. The prospects for cooperation in the field of healthcare, including the development of a coronavirus vaccine, were discussed. Both sides confirmed mutual intention to continue the efforts with regard to promoting the entire spectrum of Russia-Japan relations in the interests of the two nations and the Asia-Pacific Region in general.

The President and the Prime Minister agreed to continue contacts at different levels as the epidemiological situation normalises.

The source of information -

Meeting with Government members

Vladimir Putin held a meeting, via videoconference, with Government members.

September 29, 2020 - 16:30 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The main subject on the meeting’s agenda was the development of mechanisms of state social assistance to citizens under social contracts. Minister of Labour and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov and Head of Udmurtia Alexander Brechalov delivered reports.

The meeting participants also discussed a number of current issues. In part, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova spoke about safety measures concerning the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus infection and medical workers pay. Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko reported on the work to develop the anti-COVID-19 vaccine and the seasonal anti-flu jabs.

Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov informed the meeting about additional pay being given to teachers for classroom management and provision of hot meals for primary school pupils.

Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev reported on the efforts being taken to eliminate the consequences of the floods in the Fast Eastern Federal District and the situation with fires in the Voronezh Region.

Head of Minstroy [Ministry of Construction and Housing and Utilities] Vladimir Yakushev spoke about the implementation of the federal project Creation of a Comfortable Urban Environment.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues, Mr Mishustin, greetings, hello,

Let’s get down to work. Our main item today is about the development of mechanisms of social contracts and the experience of their implementation under pilot projects in the Russian regions. Mr Kotyakov will tell us about the work in this area, which is very important today. I am referring to the situation on the labour market.

But as we agreed we will first review current issues that are no less important.

I would like to ask Ms Golikova to start our meeting. As you know, until October 1 we have procedures for additional payment benefits for medical workers who treat coronavirus patients. I know that the Government has dealt with this issue. Moreover, Ms Golikova has met with representatives of the medical community. I would like to hear your proposals. Go ahead, please.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova:

Good afternoon, Mr President,

Good afternoon, colleagues,

Allow me, Mr President, to say a few words about the developing epidemiological situation in Russia and some of the regions before talking about these payments.

To begin with, I would like to say that since September 21, the number of recorded coronavirus cases has increased to 8,232. The daily case rate has grown 1.7 times, from 3.1 to 5.5 per 100,000 people. The biggest increase is being recorded in Moscow. The national average for the disease growth rate is being maintained at about 0.5–0.7 percent. The number of regions where the average daily growth rate is over 1 percent has increased a little – from eight to 11.

I would also like to mention that the indicator for the spread of the coronavirus, or the so-called reproduction coefficient, stands at 1.1 percent in Russia today. This means that it has grown compared to three weeks ago. Today, this indicator is below 1 only in 41 regions.

Mr President, here is what I would like to emphasise. According to our polls, 80–85 percent were infected because they did not wear masks and took part in large gatherings. In this context, I would like to continue what you said at yesterday’s State Council Presidium meeting: if we do not want the restrictions we had in March, April and early May, we must strictly follow the current requirements. These include, of course, mandatory masks, social distancing and other safety measures.

The most important point is that this is necessary not only for taking care of oneself and one’s family, but also for displaying respect for medical workers that have been and continue fighting COVID-19 on the frontlines. It is important to bear in mind that due to the growth of the disease rate, available beds for COVID patients are at 31 percent as of yesterday. This means that capacity is being filled.

(Tatyana Golikova then spoke about disease detection numbers, clinical manifestations of the disease, the patients’ age, the situation at schools and universities, as well as payments to medical workers who work with coronavirus patients).

Vladimir Putin:

Ms Golikova, regarding the situation that you described and the current coronavirus-related situation in the capital and the country in general, I would like to say the following. People are tired of the face masks and social distancing, especially the lockdown and restrictions at places of study and work, and I understand this.

However, odd as it may seem, people still do not always understand or believe that we in Russia and the world in general are facing a very dangerous adversary. Infections in general, infectious diseases, and COVID not in the least, are a quiet and invisible, but very dangerous adversary, a dangerous enemy. To reiterate, people often do not understand this, but you and I are well aware of it. So, it is the sacred duty of the professional community, executives of all levels, authorities and management, to explain to the people tactfully, patiently and persistently the real situation and offer somewhat light, but absolutely necessary, measures and means of protection.

I hope that we will continue to do what we are doing. I am referring to the fact that a while back I decided to transfer a sizable portion of competences in addressing COVID-related matters to the regions with the support from the federal authorities, including methodological, administrative and research-based support. So far, we have been successful with it. I hope we will stick to this mode of operation in the future as well.

The increasing coronavirus caseload in Moscow is not new. That was the case in the spring. But this means that, being fully cognizant of this fact, the regions must be ready for just about any scenario.

With regard to paying bonuses to medical workers, I am aware that you met with the medical community. You reported to me about this meeting. If they really think that the arrangement proposed by the Government is even more socially fair, please go ahead with it, I have nothing against it. However, payments under the existing rules will end in two days. So, we should prepare for this in the regions and in Moscow. Therefore, I propose keeping the current arrangement in October without changes, and then adopting an arrangement you agreed upon with the professional community. Let's take it from there. I want the Finance Ministry to work on this accordingly and provide the necessary funding.

Tatyana Golikova:

Ok, Mr President. We will go over this arrangement again building on what our colleagues have proposed and come up with a decision based on their approaches.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Agreed. Thank you.

Nonetheless, in addition to COVID, we have other problems related to the flu, acute respiratory disease and so on. I would like to ask Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko what has been done so far, as well as about progress in the flu vaccination campaign and work on developing a COVID-19 vaccine. I know we have also reached an agreement with our Belarusian colleagues – the Belarusian Healthcare Ministry has issued a permit to conduct clinical trials on our vaccine. Please tell us in more detail about the progress in your work and, of course, if the regions in the Russian Federation have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses and if more stock is on the way, including if there is a possibility that our other research centres might develop vaccines.

Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko:

Good afternoon, Mr President, Mr Prime Minister, colleagues,

Today, here in the Russian Federation we have one of the most advanced systems for using immunobiological preparations, including vaccines, to protect public health. Last November we started introducing a system for controlling the quality of every batch of a vaccine at the government laboratories which have Russian and World Health Organisation accreditation. Also, Mr President, in keeping with your instruction, on July 1, 2020, we introduced a system for labelling drugs, so each vaccine packaging has a passport in the information system that corresponds to the quality control information issued by the laboratory or information on adverse effects, if any.

So far, 10 million flu vaccine doses for children and 24 million flu vaccine doses for adults have been delivered to the regions of the Russian Federation to all clinics and hospitals. About 25 million people have already received the flu vaccine, including about 10 million children. In line with the Healthcare Ministry’s order, all children from six months are subject to vaccination. The flu vaccine coverage we have today is almost 17 percent of the country’s population, which is about 5 million more people, or 24 percent more, compared to the same period last year.

With the regional supplies and employers included, the total number of vaccines will be enough to meet your goal of vaccinating 60 percent of the population. This is one of the world’s highest numbers.

The Government and the Finance Ministry have allocated an additional 4.1 billion rubles this year to buy more of the vaccine. Production is already underway, and the volume of the vaccine that was paid for with additional funds will be supplied on schedule.

In addition to permanent medical facilities, mobile medical stations are also operating in large cities to provide convenient access for people. They are connected to a single database and are equipped with information systems and the necessary means to provide help to patients, including blood pressure monitors, and the like, to measure a patient’s vital signs.

Mr Mishustin signed a Government resolution on September 28. This year, we introduced a new data entry system for our patients, including those who have been sick with the coronavirus or vaccinated, which will give us an idea about the immunity quality in the country.

The post-registration phase of observations regarding vaccination against the coronavirus infection is underway at Moscow clinics. More than 5,500 people have been vaccinated as part of post-registration observations. Everything is going as scheduled. We are the first in the world to create a unique system for tracking a patient's condition after vaccination. This is a combination of mobile app and a telemedicine centre that calls patients being monitored by medical workers.

We sent the first batches of the vaccine to all 85 regions. These are pilot deliveries, as we are dealing with a new supply chain. The preparations are stored at subzero temperatures. This was done to fine tune this logistics chain, to train personnel and to prepare storage systems.

I would also like to note that the system for monitoring vaccinated patients will be shared with the general database of recovered and vaccinated patients. That way, we will have accurate population data on the people who have immunity against the coronavirus.

Scaled-up production has been launched today. Generium has made the first batches of the vaccine at its production facilities. The batches have been sent to state laboratories for quality control and the company plans to continue expanding vaccine production. Another two production facilities will be opened. Talks are underway with the owners of two more facilities that are reviewing the scale of production and will launch it there.

I would like to note that the first doses of the vaccine have already been delivered to Belarus as part of our cooperation. Our Belarusian colleagues have allowed us to conduct clinical studies. We sent them to Belarusian medical facilities a week earlier than planned.

Now a few words about the registration of other medications and vaccines for preventing the coronavirus infection. The clinical studies of one vaccine made at the Vektor Research Centre are drawing to a close. The documents have already been submitted for expert evaluation. In addition, a permit for clinical studies has been issued for our well-known Chumakov Centre for Research and Development of Immunobiological Preparations, a world-class producer of vaccines, which supplies vaccines against jungle yellow fever to more than 80 countries. This centre has already launched clinical trials.

This concludes my report. Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

When will they apply for registration?

Mikhail Murashko:

The documents for Vektor’s vaccine have already been submitted. They are completing the paperwork and sending the medication for pharmaceutical expert evaluation that can last up to three weeks. It will be followed by clinical trials. They must perform them on 200 people.

Vladimir Putin:

Later, it will be necessary to launch an information campaign, to explain to people the difference between medications, tell them what is indicated for them and what vaccines are suitable for different age groups and people with other health problems and so on. This must be done by all means, but of course after registration.

Mikhail Murashko:

Of course.

Vladimir Putin:

All right. Thank you.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan at the initiative of the Armenian side.

September 29, 2020 - 19:40

The discussion of developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone continued. Vladimir Putin expressed grave concern over the ongoing hostilities. It was noted that stopping the fighting and adopting measures to de-escalate the crisis were necessary.

The source of information -

Condolences on the passing of Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah

Vladimir Putin sent his deepest condolences to Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on the passing of his older brother Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

September 29, 2020 - 19:45

The President of Russia noted that Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah had rightfully earned a respected reputation in the Middle East and beyond. During his years on the throne and earlier in high government positions, he did a great deal for Kuwait to develop socioeconomically and strengthen its international status, as well as to ensure regional security.

Vladimir Putin also said that Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was a true friend of Russia and a pioneer of bilateral relations and also made a large personal contribution to promoting mutually beneficial Russian-Kuwaiti cooperation in various areas.

The source of information -

Meeting on timber industry development and decriminalisation

On Tuesday evening, the President held a videoconference on the development and decriminalisation of the timber industry.

September 30, 2020 - 10:00 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Taking part in the meeting were Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Igor Krasnov, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Transport Yevgeny Ditrikh, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dmitry Kobylkin, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov, Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities Vladimir Yakushev, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and Head of the Federal Agency for Forestry (Rosleskhoz) Sergei Anopriyenko, Head of the Federal Customs Service Vladimir Bulavin, Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov, and CEO and Chairman of the Board of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues, good evening.

At our meeting tonight, we will consider the situation in the Russian timber industry. I have long wanted to do this.

We will discuss the current situation and problems in the industry and its future development goals, considering that it is not just one of the important traditional industries in our country, but also, in the fullest sense of the word, our natural heritage that has global environmental significance. Russia has one-fifth of all forests on the planet.

As we know, at the turn of the century, the domestic forestry industry was in decline. Over the last decade of the 20th century, Russia's share in the world trade in timber products decreased dramatically from 18 to 2 percent. Why? Because the so-called grey schemes for the allocation of forest plots became widespread practice, and in general, fraud flourished as never before, plundering reached an unheard-of scale and reckless and illegal logging became frequent.

All this considered, we certainly could not expect any confident development, modernisation, creation of new jobs or proper reproduction of Russia’s forest potential.

In 2006, a radical reform was implemented in this sphere, and this essentially became the first attempt to establish law and order. A new Forest Code was enacted, which stipulated that Russian regions were authorised to manage forest resources, and monitor and oversee their use. Auctions for the right to use forest resources began to take place, and those leasing forest sections were made responsible for protecting the forests and ensuring their reproduction. Of course, we must discuss the efficiency of all these measures, but this was done to rectify the situation.

Since then, the area of leased territories has soared by one-third, and nationwide timber procurement volumes have increased by 50 percent. Considerably more value-added goods, including plywood, pulp, paper, furniture and pellets, began to be manufactured. To the best of my knowledge, production of pellets has skyrocketed 63 times over.

At the same time, the national forestry industry faces numerous problems. Obviously, a lot of systemic issues remain.

Unfortunately, most regions retain purely archaic and consumerist approaches towards using forest resources, despite the industry’s overall development, stronger timber industry holdings and the appearance of new production facilities. As I have said, this is our heritage. Unfortunately, the guiding principle remains the same: to reach the target volumes at any cost. They do not care what happens, if no grass will grow afterwards. Well, no grass or forests grow because of such practices. In effect, they are using the so-called extensive models when the trees are cut down en masse. Quite frequently, this takes place at a low, if not to say barbaric, technological level, and the task of restoring forests is ignored completely.

Furthermore, the development of Russia’s forestry complex faces obvious imbalances. I will explain what I mean. The sector’s leading processing companies are located far away from the main end-product consumption centres, primarily those in the entire Asia Pacific region, which is marked by a favourable price situation and rising demand, including for environmentally friendly fuel, the very same pellets that I mentioned earlier.

At the same time, our Far Eastern regions, which have a competitive market potential due to cheap timber and a short shipment distance, are so far unable to use these advantages to increase deep processing in their timber sector.

Instead, they continue to export raw timber and low value-added goods. Moreover, they often use all kinds of grey or openly criminal export schemes. Bluntly speaking, this is illegal traffic.

I would like to point out a rather recent but still unresolved problem: illegal tree felling. We have been fighting it systematically, but it takes more than just consistency. We need fundamentally new, more efficient, modern and, most importantly, effective methods.

Today I would like you to report specifically on what you are planning to do to decriminalise the timber industry, cut short unfair competition practises and strengthen the domestic companies’ positions on foreign markets.

And lastly, a common problem in the industry is the insufficient number and low quality of forestry measures aimed at protecting and reproducing our forests, ensuring reforestation and preventing forest fires. The industry is chronically short of resources for this, which is having a direct negative impact on our forests and the industry’s future development.

As you know, I have raised this issue more than once, and met with community activists. The issue is being addressed by the Russian Popular Front, ecologists and involved individuals. However, we are not doing enough to restore order in this sphere in the best interests of the nation.

Today we will listen to Government reports on this issue. I hope to hear practical proposals. I have discussed various scenarios with some of my colleagues, but today I would like to see finalised proposals for settling the main problems of the Russian timber industry and for creating conditions for its long-term comprehensive development.

Let us begin.


Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues, what would I like to say in conclusion?

First of all, you know about the criticism and complaints from public organisations and environmental bodies regarding the level and quality of our work. I find these complaints and criticism fair. I do not think that all the government bodies at every level are efficient in this area. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Of course, I would like to thank you for your constructive efforts in preparing for today’s meeting and for the proposed approaches to solving the problems persisting in the timber industry.

To summarise the results of our discussion today, I would like to say the following. Firstly, everything I will say is based on your proposals. The proposals made during this meeting today need to be thoroughly reviewed, and the draft list of instructions needs adjusting.

There is absolutely no doubt that extensive action is required, across a number of areas. We need to build an efficient management structure in the timber industry, most decisively and using accumulated experience. We need to consistently and, I would even say, strictly deal with decriminalising the industry. What is happening in the industry right now goes beyond all limits. We must improve the quality of government oversight over the timber industry and create the conditions and a solid foundation for its steady growth and development.

In view of the proposals submitted today, I am asking the Government to develop a legislative and regulatory framework for addressing the following tasks.

First, we must finally erect a barrier against the uncontrolled export of unprocessed timber. We have discussed this multiple times. But it requires a more extensive use of modern digital technologies (I fully agree with the proposals made here); it requires the launch of a federal information system for the timber industry, including a state electronic timber registry operating according to rules common for all Russian regions.

Timber and related transactions need to be accounted for within a single system. We heard today that in some cases, transactions are carried out for one amount while a different amount was produced. This measure is necessary to make sure we can track the entire activity, from timber felling to the finished products and their export outside the Russian Federation.

This measure would help eliminate loopholes, shady schemes and remove the illegal aspect of the timber business while making the operation of honest companies more convenient.

The timber and timber-related transaction accounting system must be launched in pilot mode on January 1, 2021, and it must become mandatory from July 1, 2021.

In addition to this, I believe that we must adopt a strict rule: if a company or entrepreneur does not have commercial timber harvesting rights, they must be prohibited from having their harvesting equipment there. We should analyse Mr Kolokoltsev’s proposal on the confiscation of such equipment.

We must also revise the functioning of our customs service, so that round timber is not exported under the guise of sawn timber.

In this context, I am instructing you to introduce as of January 1, 2022, a complete ban on the export of rough timber or presumably processed coniferous or valuable hardwood timber, as the deputy prime minister has proposed.

I suggest that we launch a special modernisation programme for small and medium-sized enterprises in this sector based on the facilities of the Industrial Development Fund, as the Industry and Trade Minister has proposed. The idea is to introduce easy loans for the purchase of new equipment and for creating facilities for the deep processing of timber. We must launch the programme as early as January 1, 2021. I am asking you to allocate the necessary funds for this. I know that you have finished working on the budget, on the whole, but this provision must be taken into account.

Next, we must readjust the forest management and control mechanisms (I fully agree that this must be done, we also spoke about it today), starting with the reform of the forestry development system as the basis for forest accounting, planning, stocktaking and assessment, as well as clearly delineate the powers of the federal, regional and local authorities.

In addition to this, I suggest introducing a legal mechanism for the administrative survey of forest plots. We must widely use modern cutting-edge remote probing methods, including drones and the like. There are very many opportunities for doing this today.

Also, I propose establishing the post of chief federal state forest inspector in the regions and extending the powers of forest supervision to timber transportation, storage and processing, as it has been proposed today.

I would like to emphasise that all these issues require a careful and balanced approach to the redistribution of power between the various levels of government. But this must be done. I am asking the Government to run pilot projects in several selected regions during 2021, and later on, we will discuss extending this practice to the rest of the country.

Finally, the third task is business development and stimulation of the consumption of timber products by the Russian economy. We also spoke about this today. Mr Yakushev, the Minister of Construction, also spoke about this – about the demand. What we need to do is create the right conditions for domestic investment in the timber industry, such as building pulp and paper and processing facilities and implementing projects to grow saplings. And of course, as Mr Ivanov said, we need to check that the saplings are actually planted.

There are great prospects for the development of wooden housing construction, as the Minister of Construction said, with pre-made house kits. We need to remove all legal barriers in order to develop this segment. It is important for addressing people’s housing problems – they will have additional opportunities to build their own homes – as well as for the development of the construction industry, and for creating more jobs at timber processing enterprises.

And of course, I also ask you to focus on strengthening the industry’s personnel potential, on arranging modern working conditions and ensuring decent wages for timber industry workers.

In particular, I propose extending to them the state support policy that young specialists in rural areas are entitled to. First of all, this concerns help with the acquisition or construction of homes.

So let us work on it, let us have another go at it, seriously, to ensure that no one in our country has any more concerns about the future of Russian forests – indeed our national treasure. On the contrary, we will make sure that this industry grows, develops consistently, energetically, efficiently, and brings returns for the development of the national economy as well as gaining a foothold in the world markets.

The list of instructions needs to be finalised in accordance with the comments made during this meeting.

Thank you.

The source of information -

Greetings to President of Abkhazia Aslan Bzhania on Victory and Independence Day

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to President of Abkhazia Aslan Bzhania on the republic’s Victory and Independence Day.

September 30, 2020 - 10:05

“This holiday represents the courage and tenacity of the Abkhazian people, who fought hard to defend their right to free and peaceful life,” noted the Russian President.

The Russian leader stressed that relations between Russia and Abkhazia are developing on the principles of alliance and strategic partnership, and expressed confidence that strengthening constructive bilateral ties in different areas serves the fundamental interests of the two nations.

In addition, Vladimir Putin confirmed Russia’s intention to continue providing overarching assistance to Abkhazia with resolving topical socioeconomic issues as well as in ensuring national security.

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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Greetings to All-Russian Student Sports Festival ASSK.Fest

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to participants, organisers and guests of the All-Russian Student Sports Festival ASSK.Fest that opened in Kazan.

September 30, 2020 - 18:00

The message reads in part:

“Student sports have a rich history and wonderful traditions in Russia. We are rightfully proud of our young athletes’ successes and achievements, of the significant role of student sports clubs and other associations in promoting the values of physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle in society, especially among young people.

I am confident that the current ASSK.Fest festival that brings together in hospitable Kazan a large and close-knit team of talented and determined young men and women from many Russian regions will be highly creative and competitive, that the participants will remember its packed and diverse programme and the atmosphere of an honest competitive struggle, and that it will facilitate the development of mass student sports.”

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 at the initiative of the French side.

September 30, 2020 - 23:55

The presidents discussed the sharp escalation in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They expressed deep concern over the continued large-scale hostilities there. Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron called on the conflicting sides to fully cease fire without delay, deescalate tensions and show maximum restraint.

They pointed out that there is no alternative to a diplomatic and political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis. In this context, they discussed the practical aspects of their further interaction, primarily within the OSCE Minsk Group. They expressed readiness to issue a statement on behalf of the Minsk Group co-chairs (Russia, France and the United States) regarding the immediate termination of the hostilities and the resumption of negotiations.

Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron also spoke about the developments following the presidential election in Belarus. The Russian leader reaffirmed the position of principle that any interference in the internal affairs of the sovereign state and external pressure on the legitimate authorities are unacceptable.

It was agreed to maintain contact.

The source of information -

Greetings on Ground Forces Day

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the current and former personnel of the Ground Forces of the Russian Federation on their 470th anniversary.

October 1, 2020 - 09:00

The message reads, in part:

“The oldest and most numerous service in the Russian Armed Forces, the Ground Forces, plays a huge role in augmenting our country’s defence capability and ensuring its national security. You should be rightfully proud of the names of your talented commanders, soldiers and officers who have honestly and faithfully served the Fatherland, showed unparalleled bravery and courage in military campaigns and on the battlefields. And of course, in the year of the 75th anniversary of the Victory, Great Patriotic War veterans are entitled to special words of gratitude and recognition.

It is important that the current generation of members of the Ground Forces lives up to their assigned tasks, and promotes the military and patriotic traditions of their predecessors and that they remain faithful to their duty, their Fatherland and the Russian people.”

The source of information -

Greetings on opening of 21st Russian-Finnish Cultural Forum

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the participants and guests of the 21st Russian-Finnish Cultural Forum.

October 1, 2020 - 09:45

The message reads, in part:

“This forum has long become a good tradition and a unique networking platform for representatives of government bodies, creative groups, public and research organisations from all over Russia and Finland who can maintain a direct and informal dialogue, share experience, as well as strengthen business and personal contacts.

Notably, even today, despite the difficult epidemiological situation, these links continue to develop. You are about to discuss issues related to cooperation between Russia and Finland in such spheres as theatre, music, folklore and museums. You will launch new joint projects and outline prospective activities.

I am quite certain that this forum, held around the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Finland, will contribute to developing bilateral humanitarian cooperation, and strengthening the friendly and neighbourly relations between our countries and peoples.”

The 21st Russian-Finnish Cultural Forum opened online on October 1.

The source of information -

Greetings to President of China Xi Jinping on 71st anniversary of People’s Republic of China

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to President of China Xi Jinping on the 71st anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

October 1, 2020 - 10:00

Vladimir Putin pointed out that China was confidently moving along the path of socioeconomic, scientific and technical progress, rightfully enjoyed high authority on the international arena and was playing a major constructive role in international affairs.

The President noted that Russia attached great importance to the relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic collaboration between the two states and was committed to promoting bilateral dialogue and fruitful cooperation in various spheres, as well as coordinating mutual efforts against regional and global security challenges, including the novel coronavirus pandemic. “This certainly meets the fundamental interests of the Russian and Chinese people and is consonant with the importance of strengthening security and stability throughout the world,” the President noted.

The source of information -

Greetings on opening of 42nd Moscow International Film Festival

Vladimir Putin sent his greetings to the participants, organisers and guests of the 42nd Moscow International Film Festival.

October 1, 2020 - 13:45

The message reads, in part:

“It is fortunate that the challenging epidemiological situation has not prevented you from gathering in Moscow, socialising in a warm and informal setting, exchanging creative plans and ideas, and most importantly getting to know new works by Russian and foreign film directors, actors, screenwriters and artists. The Moscow Film Festival is known for its outstanding tradition of hospitality and cordiality, invariably offering a rich and packed programme that includes films representing various genres, schools and styles. And of course, the festival will uncover new stars and create unexpected and pleasant surprises for everyone.

I am certain that this year’s festival will be a success, and will become a cultural landmark, helping jump start inspiring and promising projects.”

The source of information -

Meeting with permanent members of Security Council

Vladimir Putin had a meeting with permanent members of the Security Council via videoconference.

October 1, 2020 - 14:00 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The participants focused on the developments along the contact line in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They expressed serious concern over the continuing hostilities and pointed out the risks created in the region by the transfer of militants from Syria and Lebanon there.

Vladimir Putin informed them about the drafting of a joint statement on Nagorno-Karabakh by the heads of state – co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, the United States and France).

There was also a discussion of Russia’s interaction with the neighbouring countries. Security Council members heard a report made by Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak.

In addition, participants exchanged views on the current socioeconomic developments in Russia.

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

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues.

Today we will discuss our relations with our neighbours, which is a priority sphere of our operations on the external contour. We will listen to a report on this matter and will also discuss current issues on our foreign and domestic agenda.

Let us begin.

The floor goes to Mr Kozak. Please.

The source of information -

Statement of the presidents of Russia, the United States and France on Nagorno-Karabakh

October 1, 2020 - 15:00

The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, the President of the United States of America Donald Trump and the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron, representing the Co-Chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, condemn in the strongest terms the recent escalation of violence along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.

We deplore the loss of human lives and extend our condolences to the families of those killed and injured.

We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities between the relevant military forces.

We also call on the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to commit without delay to resuming substantive negotiations, in good faith and without preconditions, under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.

The source of information -

Greetings to Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on taking the throne

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to Emir of the State of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on his accession to the throne.

October 1, 2020 - 16:45

Vladimir Putin noted that Russia and Kuwait enjoy friendly, constructive relations, and confirmed his intention to continue joint work on developing bilateral cooperation in different areas as well as partnership in international affairs. “Undoubtedly, this serves the interests of the two nations and is in line with strengthening peace and security in the Middle East,” the President stressed.

The source of information -

Message to President of the United States Donald Trump

October 2, 2020 - 11:50

Vladimir Putin sent a message of encouragement to the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, wishing him and the First Lady a speedy recovery and expressing sincere support at this difficult moment. “I am sure that your inherent vitality, vigour and optimism will help you overcome the dangerous virus,” the President of Russia wrote.

The source of information -

Meeting with Rector of Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration Vladimir Mau

Vladimir Putin had a meeting with Rector of the Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration Vladimir Mau.

October 2, 2020 - 13:45 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Mau, September 2020 marks the Academy’s tenth anniversary. I would like to once again cordially congratulate you and your large 17,000-strong faculty.

Over the years, the Academy has evolved into a major personnel training centre. To the best of my knowledge over 200,000 people study here under various programmes. Consequently, this amounts to very substantial and serious work. And I would like to start our today’s conversation with this subject, namely, personnel training matters in the broadest sense of the word, including a personnel reserve.

Rector of the Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration Vladimir Mau:

Mr President, First of all, thank you for this meeting and for your congratulations that we received on Sunday, September 20. The entire faculty asked me to thank you for these warm words.

Actually, the Academy was established in its current form ten years ago on your initiative. In this sense, we are ten years old. However, to be frank, as a scientist, I will say that the Institute of Red Professors, established in 1921 in Moscow and Petrograd, was our predecessor. In this sense, we are marking our tenth anniversary, and we will mark the 100th anniversary next year. The country’s leaders have signed the relevant documents.

Indeed, personnel training programmes are our main mandate. As you have said, we train over 200,000 people. This is happening despite the pandemic. We expected a certain crisis this year. About 180,000–190,000 enrolled last year, and we received 206,000 students in 2020. The distinguishing feature of the Academy – your Academy, the only Presidential Academy – is that the majority of its students are adults. They are not school graduates who want to earn a university degree because this is something prestigious. On the contrary, these people enrol here and see this as an investment in themselves and in the future of the country. This is investment, not a service, they invest time and money in themselves. It is hardly surprising that civil servants, entrepreneurs, athletes, including Olympic champions, and even cosmonauts study here and receive greater opportunities for using their skills and knowledge in various future activities.

Of course, our main mandate is to train personnel for state and municipal governance, more precisely, for the public authority system. By the way, this term, which appeared in the Constitution after the amendments, denotes much more precisely who we work with, whom we teach.

If we are referring to civil servants, about 50,000–60,000 of them study at the Academy every year. Thanks to your instructions and support, in close cooperation with the Presidential Executive Office, with the leadership of the Executive Office, we are now implementing unique flagship programmes for the entire public administration system. In fact, we are dealing with a reserve of management personnel for the civil service, for the municipal service. By the way, these programmes are not only intended for civil servants, we have quite a lot of people from the Federal Security Service, the Federal Guard Service and the National Guard.

Over the past five years, we have trained two deputy prime ministers, 12 federal ministers, nine of which are serving in the current Government of the Russian Federation; the Prosecutor General and two deputies have just graduated from the Academy, 36 acting regional heads, more than 110 deputy federal ministers. I will not list them all, although this is certainly a very important field of ​​our work, and here we work both with the highest federal reserve and with the basic, promising reserves.

A very important programme is regional management teams, where we work with the regions. And here it is very important that these are not individuals but teams: the governors invite us to engage in selection, help them in assessing personnel, in the formation of reserves, in competition for posts. Among our graduates over the past two or three years have been the leadership of the Tula, Kaliningrad, Voronezh and Tver regions, Tatarstan (Tatarstan studies always and everywhere), the Republic of Altai, Sevastopol, and so on.

A distinctive feature of our programme is the assessment of personal and professional skills. Since 2014, we have assessed about 80,000 people, but the most in-depth and complex assessments are undergone by candidates for the management personnel reserve under the patronage of the President. This assessment lasts several days and includes essays, presentations, a very in-depth conversation lasting five hours. But this is not an exam – this is about revealing inner potential. Our assessment consists in the fact that we try to reveal the inner potential of those people who go through it.

Vladimir Putin:

350,000 over 10 years?

Vladimir Mau:

For 10 years, we have trained this number of higher education students.

Vladimir Putin:

No, I mean state and municipal employees.

Vladimir Mau:

Yes, of course. We have 54 branches, and this is a large network. On the one hand, it is not easy to manage this, as we must ensure quality standards throughout the country, but on the other hand, this provides a huge opportunity for expanding programmes in order to set the tone throughout the country.

We maintain partner ties with the Russia – Land of Opportunity platform and other autonomous non-profit organisations, such as the Leaders of Russia and the Manage cup for students, in the organisation of various contests.

We also hold international business management courses. By the way, in the past 20 years the Russian team won the international championship three times, and 40 countries participate in it. So it is not true that business is underdeveloped in Russia. Quite to the contrary. It is usually young people who win these contests.

Another important event we organise together with the Agency for Strategic Initiatives is a competition dealing with social projects, which provides for the participation of young people involved in this field. We try and manage to work throughout the post-Soviet space. In 2015, the Academy became the CIS establishment base for the training of civil servants.

Vladimir Putin:

Do you have many colleagues from the CIS countries?

Vladimir Mau:

We would like to see more, but there is a problem of funding. We provide half of the necessary funds; we see this as our mission. Many republics ask us to organise courses for them, which we do. Plus, we regularly hold on-site courses at the partner academies of public administration. We do not open branches, because there are public administration academies under the president of corresponding country. So, we hold our courses there.

Vladimir Putin:

In other words, you would like to ask for additional support, am I right?

Vladimir Mau:

We could have accomplished much more, as we reported to Mr Vaino [Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office and Chairman of the RANEPA Board of Trustees] at a meeting of the Board of Trustees. He wholeheartedly supports this idea. Potentially, this could be a very strong element of soft power.

Vladimir Putin:

And it would be easier for us to work with such colleagues, as we would speak the same language.

Vladimir Mau:

They are grateful, because we have been accumulating experience not only for the past decade but already for 100 years. RANEPA’s roots go back to the Institute of Red Professors, the Academy of Social Sciences at the Communist Party Central Committee, the Academy of National Economy and the Higher Party School. Our regional branches are the modernised former Soviet institutes of advanced training. In other words, we do have a huge resource potential, which is very interesting for our colleagues.

Of course, I cannot but mention that we are actively working with students, too. We have very good students; they are a minority, but there are still tens of thousands. We have 45,000 in full-time higher education: perhaps, half in Moscow and half in the regions. And, of course, our main task is to train patriotically educated students, responsible entrepreneurs and capable officials; we regard this as…

Vladimir Putin:

Good. The level of training is very important.

Vladimir Mau:

Yes, absolutely. But, you see, I believe that lectures are not the main thing here but joint work. The older people are, the more important it is. In fact, it is very important for people who already hold a university degree to choose groups and teams correctly. In addition to courses, students of the higher talent pool become involved in projects in the regions. They form teams in line with their interests, go to the regions where governors set tasks for them, so they spend a week or two in the regions, then return there and address the tasks the governors have set, starting from the development of northern areas to construction of university complexes, for example.

Vladimir Putin:

I completely agree that practical work in the field is essential.

Vladimir Mau:

And it is the main thing for us. Of course, on the one hand, we are a university, but on the other, we are not exactly a university. Publications are not our main criterion, although we have a reason to boast: we were set a task, and over 10 years the number of our articles in foreign bases grew 40-fold in one case and 60-fold in another. The number of quotations grew, too.

But, to be honest, this is not our main criterion. Our main criterion is our alumni’s success and how many adults come to study. I think this is a very important factor today, when continuous education, lifelong education, and not education of the type “graduated from school, got a degree and moved on,” becomes mainstream. In this sense, it is very important to see how many people come for further training and re-training – this is a very important criterion, relevance. Not the fact that a person’s mother said you have to study, but…

Vladimir Putin:

Because one feels a need to do it.

Vladimir Putin:

Yes. Although, to be honest, in your Address you said – you have not repeated it since, but I tell this to everyone – that it is very important to change the area of work after the second year. I believe this is essential. It is the same as with the two-level system of bachelor and master degrees: why is it good? At the age of 17, people do not know exactly where they are going. It is very important to have a chance to change the area after the fourth year.

Vladimir Putin:


Vladimir Mau:

What you have said is very important, because universities cannot do it by themselves. It is necessary to have an opportunity to change the area after the second year, because, in fact, when a student enrols, there are no prospective areas of study yet: they will appear in five, six or seven years. So an opportunity to refocus will, of course, increase the responsibility for oneself, and for one’s family and country. But it is also very important to learn how to assume responsibility.

The experience from the pandemic is very important. When the pandemic started, I asked my colleagues to conduct a stress test and to see what would happen if the Academy received less than 50 percent of our usual number of students, including those enrolling for additional education programmes. We faced some risks, but we took in more students than expected. This year, 100 percent more students enrolled here. Today, there are about 18 real applicants, not applications, per place, on average, and the breakdown is 23 for St Petersburg and 31 for Moscow.

The additional professional education programme for adults also continues to expand. To be honest, I thought everyone would be reluctant to enrol for financial reasons and to study remotely. However, they are ready to study remotely. Yes, we had business education programmes, and we are a major business school. About 1,700 people will study in the Business MBA and Executive MBA programmes. They asked us to postpone some courses because they want to take these courses in person. This is understandable because entrepreneurs find it important to speak with other people, and they do not have enough contacts. But the majority, including corporations – we had a very interesting programme for Russian Post – said it even better: “We are technologically advanced, so let’s study online,” and we are doing this. I would like to note that we and many others do not see online, remote studies as a transition to studying by correspondence; there is some confusion here.

Vladimir Putin:

I see.

Vladimir Mau:

It took us just one day to move online this past March, in spring, with the support of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Ministry of Education because we also have school programmes. But we continued our courses on schedule. The lecturers went online as planned, and the students listened. In effect, this matter is not simple, it is more complicated.

Vladimir Putin:

The workload is even greater.

Vladimir Mau:

The workload on lecturers is quite substantial. The students said they also face tough workloads, if they do not simply pretend to take part. We have learned how to overcome this. They, too, find it hard.

We conducted a huge opinion poll of 33,000 lecturers on instructions from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. In all, 98 percent of respondents have gone online and can work this way. At the same time, about 80 percent are not satisfied and would very much like to resume in-person teaching.

Vladimir Putin:

Let us discuss the talent pool in greater detail.

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 at the initiative of the Belarusian side.

October 2, 2020 - 14:30

The discussion focused on current issues on the bilateral agenda with an emphasis on implementing the agreements reached at the summit in Sochi on September 14. It was stated with satisfaction that the governments, ministries and agencies of both countries were taking specific steps to promote bilateral cooperation in all areas, including interregional ties. The two presidents generally reaffirmed their shared intention to strengthen the alliance between Russia and Belarus.

Alexander Lukashenko expressed gratitude for Russia’s help in fighting the spread of COVID-19, primarily for its decision to prioritise the supply of the Russian vaccine to Belarus.

The two leaders also considered various aspects of the post-election situation in the Republic of Belarus, with account taken of the ongoing attempts at meddling from the outside. They expressed certainty that the current problems would be resolved soon.

Special attention was paid to the exacerbation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

It was agreed to maintain contacts at different levels.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan at the Armenian side’s initiative.

October 2, 2020 - 17:20

The two leaders continued discussing the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. They expressed serious concern over the incoming information on the involvement in hostilities of militants of illegal armed units from the Middle East.

Vladimir Putin again emphasized the need to immediately stop the hostilities and resume political and diplomatic efforts to settle the conflict in line with the Statement made by the presidents of the countries – co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, France and the US) on October 1, 2020.

It was agreed to maintain contacts in different formats.

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 October 10th, 2020 #132
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Greetings to Germany's leadership on German Unity Day

October 3, 2020 - 10:00

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel on the country’s national holiday, German Unity Day.

The President of Russia emphasised that Germany’s reunification three decades ago was a landmark event in European history. Vladimir Putin stressed Russia’s invariable commitment to dialogue and interaction with German partners as regards pressing issues on the bilateral and international agendas.

The source of information -

Message of greetings to Baikonur Cosmodrome current and former staff and residents of Baikonur

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to the Baikonur Cosmodrome current and former staff and Baikonur residents on the Baikonur complex’s 65th anniversary.

October 4, 2020 - 10:00

The message reads, in part,

“The creation of the legendary Baikonur Cosmodrome opened up a new, space era in the history of humankind and became a momentous milestone in implementing our country’s space programme. We will always remember the designers and scientists, military and civilian specialists, engineers and workers, all those who built and developed this truly unparallelled technical complex, and did so under the most strenuous conditions, who did their part in pursuing large-scale pioneering projects, which would then become a matter of pride for our cosmonautics and the entire nation. Thanks to their dedicated work and deep awareness of the importance of the work they were tasked, the first artificial satellite of the Earth was launched into space and Yury Gagarin set out on the first space flight from Baikonur.

It is gratifying that you preserve and multiply the wonderful professional traditions of your predecessors and do much for enhancing the potential of the space-rocket industry of our country. Your much-needed work contributed to strengthening Russian-Kazakhstani cooperation and to broadening international ties.”

The source of information -

Greetings on Teacher’s Day

The President sent his greetings to Russian teachers on their professional holiday, Teacher’s Day.

October 5, 2020 - 09:00

The message reads, in part:

“Millions of people throughout Russia are celebrating this holiday together with you with a feeling of deep appreciation for and gratitude to their teachers and mentors. All of us were students, and we will never forget our school time and our favourite teachers, who had opened the door into the universe of knowledge for us, who were sincerely proud of our achievements and victories and who helped us deal with the problems we encountered on the way.

On this special day, I would like to address the students of teacher training universities. Friends, you have chosen a demanding and very honourable profession. The knowledge the new generation of Russian citizens accumulate and the moral guidelines they will strive for depend entirely on you and your teaching skills, your wisdom, patience, empathy and love for your students.

I have no doubt that our teachers will continue to work diligently, preserving and developing the wonderful traditions of the Russian education system and selflessly carrying out their noble mission.”

The source of information -

Greetings to the History for the Future. A New Look forum

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to participants, organisers and guests of the History for the Future. A New Look forum.

October 5, 2020 - 10:00

The message reads, in part:

“I would like to greet all of you at Moscow’s Victory Museum on the occasion of the opening of this forum, which is bringing together famous scholars, representatives of government bodies, educational institutions, creative organisations, and the media.

I consider your meeting a serious initiative that is in demand, designed to discuss at expert level such problems as developing new approaches to the study of historical science, improving the quality of teaching history in schools and higher educational institutions and promoting the values ​​of high civic culture in society, especially among young people. All these issues are extremely important for the formation of a coherent historical policy, which plays a significant role in ensuring the sovereign development of Russia.

I would like to stress that in order to move forward, we must maintain continuity, respect all pages of our past, the deeds and accomplishments of our ancestors and their centuries-old cultural, spiritual and military traditions; and follow the moral guidelines that they bequeathed to us. And of course, it is important to pay unremitting attention to promoting historical knowledge and firmly resist all attempts to falsify history.

I am convinced that the relevance of the forum's agenda, a broad, professional discussion of the stated topics will contribute to strengthening the authority of history as a science and academic discipline and launching promising research and educational projects.”

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon

During the conversation, Vladimir Putin extended warm birthday greetings to the President of the Republic of Tajikistan.

October 5, 2020 - 12:30

The discussion covered current issues concerning the further promotion of friendly bilateral relations, developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and Belarus, as well as settlement prospects in Afghanistan.

Earlier, Vladimir Putin sent his greetings to Emomali Rahmon.

The message reads, in part:

“You rightfully enjoy high respect among your compatriots and notable international reputation as an experienced and far-sighted politician and a true leader to your country. Under your presidency, Tajikistan enjoys socioeconomic development and plays an important role in regional affairs.

It is difficult to overestimate your personal contribution to strengthening relations of strategic partnership and alliance between our countries and promoting mutually beneficial ties within the CSTO, CIS, SCO and other multilateral organisations.

I will be delighted to continue our constructive dialogue and close joint work on topical issues regarding bilateral and international affairs for the prosperity of the friendly nations of Russia and Tajikistan.”

The source of information -

Sergei Melikov appointed Acting Head of Republic of Daghestan

Vladimir Putin signed the Executive Order On the Early Termination of the Powers of the Head of the Republic of Daghestan.

October 5, 2020 - 15:50

Following the notification made by the Head of the Republic of Daghestan, Vladimir Vasilyev, on the early termination of his powers, the President has resolved to accept his voluntary resignation.

The President has appointed Sergei Melikov as the Acting Head of the Republic of Daghestan until a duly elected person assumes office.

The source of information -

Vladimir Vasilyev appointed Presidential Advisor

Vladimir Putin signed the Executive Order On the Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation.

October 5, 2020 - 15:55

The head of state appointed Vladimir Vasilyev Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation.

The source of information -

Working meeting with Vladimir Vasilyev and Sergei Melikov

Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Vladimir Vasilyev and Sergei Melikov to discuss the socioeconomic situation in Daghestan.

October 5, 2020 - 16:10 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Vasilyev, Mr Melikov, good afternoon.

Mr Vasilyev, how many years have you been working in Daghestan?

Vladimir Vasilyev:

It has been three years recently.

Vladimir Putin:

These years probably just flew by, haven’t they?

Vladimir Vasilyev:

Exactly, Mr President. It is an interesting job. It is dynamic.

Vladimir Putin:

This is an interesting job, the people are interesting, as well as the republic.

Vladimir Vasilyev:

The people are wonderful.

Vladimir Putin:

Everything is unique there.

You have done much for the republic’s development, especially in these difficult times. You were not afraid to assume responsibility for many things, and you have fulfilled your duty very well.

What do you think about the situation in the republic, Mr Vasilyev?

Vladimir Vasilyev:

Mr President, first of all, thank you for appreciating my work. I believe the situation in the republic is stable, with a trend towards improving.

When you gave me instructions, you visited Dagestan and talked to veterans in 2017, after my appointment, for which I am grateful. You will remember they told you that Daghestan was a donor region in the Soviet Union. At that point, you gave me the task of removing the layer of bribe takers between the budget and the people. I even remember your gesture. This is where we started our work.

I owe many thanks to the law-enforcement bodies. At that time, we became national champions in the number of officials brought to justice. This was helpful. Of course, it was difficult work for law enforcement, for those who had to deal with this, but it was necessary.

This work immediately produced an effect. First, overt stealing and overstated production figures went down, and the quality of performance improved. Federal structures began to trust us. Many thanks to you for your instructions. Representatives from practically all ministries and agencies visited us and helped us to arrange consistent work.

Mr President, as a result, the budget, which until recently stood at 100 billion, is now in excess of 170 billion. This is our joint effort, and the money comes mostly from our Federation. The people understand this clearly. Most importantly, we have also learned how to make money. Not just to save, but to make it as well.

This is happening in a number of areas. For example, oil transshipment and the oil market in general are going through a rough patch. Our port quadrupled oil transshipments and tripled transshipments of general cargo over these years. Thank you very much for that, you have always helped us and been there for us whenever we faced difficulties. You provided a clear opportunity to take a step towards resolving problems in the interest of the republic and the country. Many thanks for this, without this it would be simply impossible.

We have seen significant change in a number of other areas. We have improved the production of agricultural output. In 2019, we allocated, for the first time, 2 billion from our budget, and we began to spend taxes primarily on essentials. We spent 2 billion on household water distribution and 500 million on land reclamation. I do not want to get ahead of myself, but we can already see that there will be growth at the end of this year despite the COVID-related difficulties, including in agriculture with the lack of migrant workers, especially in seasonal jobs.

I would also like to say – you started with this – that our people are just wonderful. The goal at hand would not have been achieved without popular support. People are tired, and fighting corruption and restoring order were among the important issues that were addressed from day one.

We started doing this, including with taxes, focusing on those who illegally obtained disability status or stole electricity. We began to identify violations by the thousands.

And then we realised that we must use the power of the law, but be aware that the authorities’ moves must be supported by the bulk of the population. I think we succeeded.

After the cleanup in the highest echelons of power, we held a contest. Many thanks go to the Presidential Executive Office and everyone else who helped us. There were over 11,000 prospective candidates, an unparalleled contest, which we would not have been able to hold ourselves without the federal centre’s support. Only 54 people came, but, surprisingly, 90 percent of them were Dagestanis, many of whom graduated from our state university, which is important.

Relying on these people, we were able to turn around the situation in a number of areas. I will not bore you with the details, but given the difficult situation in healthcare, I would like to say that funding in healthcare has grown 4.9 times from 2017 to 2020. We started out with about 3 billion, and in 2020, we already had 17.6 billion. Our insurance fund went from 25 billion to 34 billion. We began with a debt of 1.7 billion, and we brought it down 12 times. Our thanks also go to the oversight bodies, without which we would not have coped with the task at hand either, and the federal Mandatory Health Insurance Fund.

As a result, this time we are better prepared to deal with COVID. For example, in 2019, we bought 6.4 times more medications for the group of people entitled to special prices than in 2017. The people could feel the effect. We spent more money on purchasing equipment. We purchased more than 200 ambulances. All our vehicles are under 10 years old. The federal centre did help us, but we – we are proud of this – bought almost 200 vehicles with our own money. We wrote, “Thanks for the taxes,” when we were buying ambulances and school buses.

I told you during our first meeting – you always go deep into the matter – that it was a very difficult situation, and I want to report now. I told you about petrol stations. The situation was challenging. We took a count of our petrol stations. In fact, they engaged in cash-only business. The petrol stations benefitted greatly from our efforts with over 20 percent of them quadrupling tax payments. People are doing so of their own accord. They have created an association, registered employment contracts, and tripled the number of employees. At the same time, taxes have quadrupled, Mr President.

We are learning from them. These people are ahead of us. We – security, taxation and supervision authorities – did not accomplish as much as the Daghestan resident association. Particularly pleasing is the fact that the leader of this association, Magomed, was my advisor in a voluntary capacity. As a person in good standing, he was later elected to the city Duma, and the people supported him.

We are doing the same to improve the situation in the footwear manufacturing industry. We have about 15,000 shoemakers, who have golden hands and are true wizards, despite their hard work that used to be done underground. The decision to install microchips in the shoes beginning next year is a sound one and the businesses and authorities are cooperating now. As the prime minister has just told me, we have started to build a sixth factory to legalise the work of these 15,000 people. We will boost the existing output. We could not even imagine the scale of the operation, and people, including [business] owners and workers, see this happening. Of course, legalising what was an illegitimate business has great potential.

I can also say that having collected funds in the budget we, when we encountered problems, as I said earlier, still bought ambulances and, having secured support from the federal government, we have assigned 900 doctors to hospitals in three years and allocated funds. We were able to allocate 2.8 billion rubles for COVID related purposes, when we desperately needed this money. Thank you very much for your help. The doctors are well aware of this, so are we all. When we had a steep increase in COVID cases, with 700 new patients hospitalised every day, you promptly got involved, and we had support for building hospitals and receiving medicines; also teams of doctors were dispatched to us and two deputy ministers worked in the republic and visited this dangerous red zone, setting an example for us, teaching us how to work more effectively and explaining to our doctors how to use the technologies that were supplied to us. We have been able to deal with the situation. Thank you very much. People see and highly appreciate all these efforts. Thank you for this.

We were able to allocate significant funds – 2.8 billion rubles – this is a considerable sum for us. We used these funds to buy personal protective equipment, pay those categories of health workers that are not included in your executive orders and buy medicines. We allocated 40 million to buy Aktemra, a drug we needed then, thereby resolving the issue.

In other words, people saw taxes not only as some penalty or requirement but also as something that provides for opportunities and helps build the potential and the future of their republic.

Today, on Teacher’s Day, we met with teachers. We are pleased to see that more children are winning various competitions and getting increasingly higher scores on the United State Exam in the republic and compared to the rest of the country.

We are proud that on October 3, Rostov-on-Don hosted the final stage of the education programme on a system-based approach to regional management. It involved the Southern Federal District and the North Caucasus District. The jury awarded the title to the Dagestan team project. Ours was a large team, including executive authority representatives and our social activists, young people – and we won the Best Project award for creating the right conditions for taking the economy out of the grey zone, and forming ‘white’ industrial clusters by developing privileged zones, and the development and implementation of financial and organisational support measures. We are proud of this, especially because those shoemakers were part of it. This is what everyone talked about. It was the youth who talked about it, not us. They defended that project. And scientists, teachers, and experts appreciated it. I talked to them today; they are ready to fight, they are ready to move on.

Therefore, I would say the atmosphere is generally better, and there is something else: last year, we marked 2019 with the security forces, and I still cannot separate myself from them. We called each other until the end of the year and kept asking ourselves whether there would be some kind of incident or not. In 2019, no serious incidents or acts of terror were reported. Many thanks to the security forces, many thanks to the people, the residents, for the atmosphere we have here today. I hope this process will continue.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Vasilyev, I would like to thank you again for the work that you have done in Daghestan. You were faced with very difficult tasks; and you have made significant progress on almost every track. I can feel it, I can see it. I hope the people can see it too. I will probably have the opportunity to thank you personally, and we will do it as soon as possible.

Mr Melikov, you know the Caucasus firsthand, and you know Daghestan well. You paid attention to this in your previous position as Deputy Commander of the National Guard. How would you assess the situation at the moment and if you lead the Republic, what policy priorities would you consider?

Sergei Melikov:

Mr President, I would mention three main areas. Mr Vasilyev spoke about the first one. I think this work must be continued. It is aimed at ensuring the safety of our people during the pandemic. This is not only about the life and health of the people but also about the processes that largely negatively affect all aspects of activity. The work that was done by the emergency centre of Daghestan must be continued and probably made even more effective.

The second area is of course the development of the republic’s economy, the economic potential of Daghestan. The potential is very high, but I think it is not being fully realised, in part as regards various investment projects in the republic. Once again, Mr Vasilyev’s efforts have enhanced the investment appeal of Daghestan compared to what it was several years ago.

Therefore, I think all the current processes in Daghestan must be continued and improved and, of course, be aimed at increasing the living standards, something you, Mr President, spoke about recently addressing the Senators. This work will be continued by all means.

And the third area. I believe it is very important to have feedback from all strata of the population and society in the Caucasus. It is from this feedback that we will receive suggestions that we must implement for the people.

In this respect, I would emphasise the political aspect of activities in the republic that will help us understand the political, domestic political processes taking place in the republic and resolve these problems for the benefit of Daghestan and the rest of the Russian Federation.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Melikov, you have explained everything accurately. It is absolutely clear that the efforts to counter COVID remain current. This is an absolutely clear goal, it is on the surface, and we will continue helping the republic. You only need to decide quickly on local specialists and what else must be done, in part, at the federal level.

You brought some other issues, such as growing the economy and overcoming social challenges in healthcare, education, and so forth. Social issues abound everywhere, including in Daghestan.

There are other matters that I believe are quite important, if not critical. Firstly, Daghestan is a multi-ethnic republic. Like a drop of water, Daghestan reflects everything that Russia has: multiple religions and multiple ethnicities. This is Daghestan’s hallmark. Importantly, over the past decades, despite any and all difficulties going back to the 1990s and early 2000s, interethnic and interreligious relations have always been strong in Daghestan. It is imperative to pay attention to this, and this should be taken care of. These things do not arise by themselves. It is important to support the best there is in this sense in Daghestan.

The diverse, very interesting and unique culture of the ethnic groups of Daghestan is something that requires systematic support. This makes Daghestan a strong multiethnic republic.

Of course, sports traditions and martial arts are very popular there, so much needs to be done in this regard. The infrastructure is practically non-existent, especially in small mountain villages. There is nothing there at all. Nevertheless, there are outstanding athletes. This requires our attention.

Finally, we need efforts to continue to decriminalise the republic. Mr Vasiliev has done a lot in this area, he told us about it. But we need to continue to focus our efforts on this matter.

Daghestanis are open and honest people, and are very sensitive to all kinds of injustice, administrative rudeness or improper behaviour on the part of government officials. We need to win their respect and trust. I hope you will be able to accomplish this. You are an experienced person.

Good luck.

Sergei Melikov:

Thank you, Mr President.

The source of information -

Meeting with teachers and students of pedagogical universities

On Teacher’s Day, Vladimir Putin held a meeting, via videoconference, with teachers and students from pedagogical universities.

October 5, 2020 - 17:00 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Friends, good afternoon.

I welcome you all and I am happy to see you. Of course, today, on October 5 – Teacher’s Day – first of all I would like to congratulate the teachers and students at pedagogical universities and everyone who chose the noble and responsible goal to be a mentor, to channel your knowledge and experience, to help discover and not lose the talent that can be found in almost every child, to serve as an example and show the endless world with its complex questions and teach respect for our ancestors’ memory and a love of Russia in the growing generation.

Teachers have always been treated with special respect in Russia. All of us have fully realised how great and important the work of teachers is, along with medical workers and other people whose jobs are essential for society during the difficult times of the pandemic, especially during the months of mandatory restrictions. I understand they have been difficult for everyone: school students, parents and teachers. But you passed this with flying colours, as a team. In a short period of time, teachers established academic activities and taught remotely using advanced technologies and approaches.

I would also like to say another thing. The problems of education and of maintaining the level of education remain quite acute all over the world, especially during the pandemic. The Secretary-General of the United Nations noted this and spoke with concern about the decreasing level of education in many countries due to the pandemic and restrictions. This has not happened in Russia.

Thanks to your efforts, we have managed to remain loyal to our best traditions and the behests of your predecessors, our outstanding teachers. Moreover, we have revealed the high mission of the homeroom teacher in a completely new way for our entire society. Shaping the character and using the skills to teach life values to pupils, understanding their feelings and sharing their hobbies and interests – these were difficult tasks. Teachers had to make children feel like they are in a single class even when they were sitting at home at their computer, to give them an impetus and the motivation to study.

I am convinced that the decision on federal bonus payments for homeroom teachers, which we made last September, was very helpful and absolutely justified. It was well deserved. This is directly confirmed by your sincere devotion to your work in these uneasy times.

I know that you, your colleagues and many of our teachers have not limited themselves to the formal requirements of the education standards. They did not just work “from 9-to-5.” This is probably rarely the case at schools, but even in this difficult time, teachers have constantly been in touch with their pupils and have tried to encourage them: they corresponded with them beyond the academic curriculum, advised them, hold online meetings and even watched films together. You have devoted your personal time to this. In fact, you have acted like true volunteers, not just teachers, but their older friends and mentors.

I know that your pupils will remember for a long time, for their entire lives, the lessons of your heartfelt support and compassion. As established adults, we remember our favourite teachers and beloved mentors who played a major role in our destinies. They showed, through personal example, the importance of a humane attitude, of decency, compassion and mutual aid, unconditional love and respect for children.

What else would I like to say? The results of the national Teacher of the Year contest are usually announced in early October but this time it will be held a bit later for obvious reasons. I believe that by and large, all teachers who worked during the epidemic deserve this title because they had to bear a heavier burden. We understand this. But everything is working out largely due to your efforts. The domestic education system is coping with the challenges it faces. Thank you so very much.

Now, using this experience and our new competences, we must take a big step forward in developing Russian schools. These competences were developing earlier, but during the pandemic, everything has worked out differently. Of course, we learned to understand better the bottlenecks and problems we have. Regrettably, we still have some for now. This is primarily the issue of equipment and using advanced technology, without which it is already difficult to imagine the academic process.

Overall, we must create very modern and appropriate conditions for the education of children and, of course, for the life and work of their teachers in cities and small towns, in rural areas, everywhere. In this context, I will repeat that the talk about closing schools and the alleged complete conversion to distance learning in the future is not serious because regardless of technological developments, it is joint work, creativity and direct communication between teachers and their pupils that produce high quality education.

No matter how lofty it sounds, we say all the time that the future of the country, the future of our homeland depends on young people, and the quality, the level of training of these young people depends on school teachers. Therefore, the future of our country largely depends on you, too.

We need a strong, modern, self-respecting society. I will note in this connection that even during this incomplete year of the District Teacher programme, over 1,500 teachers came to work in towns and villages, including those in the Far East. I hope the participants in this programme are connected with us now; I would like to ask them to share their ideas and experience in their work “on the ground.”

Using this opportunity, I would like to address the students in senior courses of pedagogical and other universities. Please, come work in schools. Your right to conduct classes, vocational groups and sports sections is now fixed by law. I am sure you will find a common language with young people, win authority and their trust and will have an opportunity to learn from your experienced colleagues. This continuity and link between generations will certainly facilitate the development of domestic education.


Each of you has successful experience in your profession and education in your specialty. I would like to ask you to tell us what problems you see in education today and what must be done to ensure genuine equality of educational opportunities for all children in our country so that all of them can find their talents and start their lives with confidence. This is our common task. Let us talk about this.

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 October 10th, 2020 #133
Alex Him
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Join Date: Aug 2015
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Telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan at the initiative of the Armenian side.

October 5, 2020 - 21:55

The leaders continued their discussion of the escalating armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, which has grown in scale and has seen serious losses on both sides, including among civilians.

Vladimir Putin again emphasised the urgent need for a ceasefire.

The source of information -

Greetings on Gazprom Neft’s 25th anniversary

Vladimir Putin congratulated Gazprom Neft on its 25th anniversary.

October 6, 2020 - 09:15

The message reads, in part:

“Over time, Gazprom Neft has become a successful and competitive Russian oil company as well as a recognised leader in the production, refining and sale of oil products, and has secured important positions on the global energy market.

Thanks to the broad introduction of innovative technologies, excellent management solutions, and the high-qualified, creative work of the staff – geologists, engineers, drillers and others – the company is developing quickly and expanding its geography and areas of activity. And, of course, it is important that Gazprom Neft focuses on the environment and nature protection, and makes a significant investment in upgrading social infrastructure in the regions where the company is present, strengthening its human resources and creating new modern jobs.”

The source of information -

Meeting of Council for Development of Physical Culture and Sport

Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport, via videoconference.

October 6, 2020 - 13:00 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The meeting focused on the implementation of strategic and policy documents related to physical culture and sport and a draft Strategy on Developing Physical Culture and Sport in the Russian Federation until 2030.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues.

Today we will discuss the results of implementing the Strategy on Developing Physical Culture and Sport until 2020. This Strategy is about to expire. We will discuss the main provisions of a new policy document that will cover the next ten years.

Our colleagues will speak about the results in detail. However, I would like to note that overall, the key goal of the expiring strategy, which, as I said, expires in 2020, has been achieved. What is the main outcome? The main outcome is that the number of people, representing different generations, who engage in sports on a regular basis, has grown 2.5 times since 2009, to almost 60 million people. This number is even slightly higher than the target indicator of 40 percent of the population that was set in the strategy. Currently, it is about 43 percent. In 2009, it was only 15 percent. As we can see, the progress is significant and remarkable.

There is still something to strive for, as they say, and it is important to get practical results. There is a direct connection between the higher number of people doing sports and the higher quality and, most importantly, longer expectancy of life. This is common knowledge, not only for experts. It is obvious. Objective data confirm this statement. The average life expectancy in Russia increased by more than 4.5 years between 2009 and 2019. This is a good result. We must maintain this positive dynamic, if we want the share of people leading an active and healthy lifestyle to reach 55 percent by 2024 and 70 percent by 2030. Many countries show similar results. So when I say that there is still something to strive for, this is exactly what we need to strive for.

It is essential that quality matches quantity. Regular physical exercise should not only be a good trend (although this is also important) but a strong habit, a natural lifestyle for the majority of people in our society.

I would also like to note that this year’s difficult events have seriously affected the sphere of sport. As you know, thousands of sporting events, including the Olympics, were cancelled in Russia and all over the world due to the pandemic.

The impact of the restrictions on fitness centres and clubs was felt by the people, by professional athletes, sports organisations and businesses working in this sphere.

The new strategy must envisage measures that will help people remain physically active, support stadiums and sports clubs and, of course, prevent an interruption in the training of Russian national teams in case of such force-majeure.

The new strategy should also focus on creating conditions for intensive development of mass sports – I will elaborate later – the necessary infrastructure in schools, universities, offices and at home.

Over the past years, a lot of large, enormous sports complexes and arenas with thousands of seats have been built and upgraded; this is a good outcome of the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup, and student universiades among many other sporting events and international forums held in Russia. But today we have to focus on the widespread expansion and renovation of a network of small, well-equipped local sportsgrounds and centres. And we must make working out there mostly free of charge.

This is especially important for rural areas, as I have said many times, where such infrastructure is not developed enough. A lot of work has to be done here as part of the Rural Sports subprogramme to be launched in 2021.

Moreover, people have to know where and how sports are organised and find ways to engage in sport even when they travel to other regions, on holiday or on business. In order to do this, advanced technologies and digital information resources must be used. People should be informed about the location of sports centres and facilities and also about programmes designed for individual athletes and groups as well as for people with various levels of health and training.

Let me also remind you that at a Council meeting we decided to establish centres for the early physical development of children. Today I would like to see what has been done in this sphere, which I believe to be most important. Let us also talk today about the way in which our agreements on correcting the activities of facilities for children’s and teenagers’ sports are being implemented. Their main goal, regardless of which agency they are related to, is to create conditions for comprehensive personal development. In this work, we have to use common principles and approaches that must closely combine the growth of athletic skills with moral and intellectual education.

By the way, this is what happens in some semiprofessional schools. I have been to several football organisations for children, which work really well. This means there are good examples that have to be followed. There are additional education progammes and training standards in all sports.

Mentors also have to have equal opportunities and responsibilities. I would like to note that a coach in a sport school is like a P.E. teacher in school. And all sport organisations are in fact educational. Look what we have. For example, in Russia, it is forbidden for people with a criminal record to work with children, but only in the sphere of education. As we have said, it is necessary to harmonise all these relations, but interagency discussions have torpedoed this process. I would like to ask the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education as well as the Ministry of Education to cross the t’s and solve these issues within a month as well as prepare a report on the implementation of interagency programmes for the development of child, youth and student sports for our discussion at the next Council meeting.

Colleagues, I would like to stress once again that the new strategy for the development of fitness and sport until 2030 must, of course, be comprehensive and become an important tool for the achievement of the national development goals in general. As I said at the beginning, fitness and sport directly influence the quality of people’s lives, their health, emotions, lifespan and working ability, which means they can and must play an important role in addressing the priority tasks facing Russia and its society in general.

I know that council members have developed specific proposals on the further development of sport. I can see them here in the documents. I would like to ask the government to take them into consideration when drafting the strategy. Of course, we will talk further about this today. The strategy must be adopted before the end of the year.

Let us get down to work.


Vladimir Putin:

You said the influence of sports is enormous, even huge. Of course, the achievements of our outstanding athletes – we have said this many times and will continue to say it – influence millions and serve as an example for millions and encourage people to go to fitness centres, sport clubs and sport school. This is extremely important.

It is true that from time to time we are pushed away from the heights our athletes deserve, through non-sport related means. But what can we do? You have been in sport organisation for a long time, since the preparations for the Olympics, and you know what the coaches say: we are playing an away game, so in order to win rather than complain we must be stronger than our rivals. And, of course, we should do everything we can legally to protect the interests of our athletes. I believe recently we are regaining this skill. I hope that our agencies will focus on this area, too.

In fact, it is not important how the athletes are counted abroad. For us something else is important, namely maintaining the increasing life expectancy rates; this is the main indicator of the Government’s efforts in the social sphere, in labour relations, in healthcare and for fitness and sport, sport for all people above all.

As I said, in 2009 the average lifespan – clearly this is an average number so please do not be too picky about it –was 68.78 years, against 73.34 years in 2019. This is a result, a positive result. It is necessary to use all the tools the Government has – in this case the development of fitness and sport – effectively in order to achieve the final goal of improving the health and quality of life of our people and increase life expectancy rates. In fact, the strategy we are discussing today, the sport and fitness development strategy until 2030 is dedicated to this. We need to adjust our strategy following our discussion today and start implementing it next year.

I hope that all our agencies and ministries will work effectively in this area, as I mentioned, with support from public organisations, leading coaches, the media and of course the Presidential Council for the Development of Fitness and Sport.

I would like to thank all the council members for your effective cooperation.

All the best.

Thank you very much.

The source of information -

Meeting with State Duma party faction leaders

Vladimir Putin had a meeting with the heads of the four parliamentary groups represented in the lower house of parliament.

October 6, 2020 - 14:10 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Taking part in the meeting via videoconference were Vladimir Zhirinovsky (LDPR), Gennady Zyuganov (KPRF), Sergei Neverov (United Russia) and Sergei Mironov (A Just Russia), as well as State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, and First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues, good afternoon.

We regularly meet in various formats. Today’s meeting was arranged at the State Duma Speaker’s proposal to discuss current political matters and, of course, the legislative priorities that are directly linked with the objectives the country faces.

Colleagues, you represent Russia’s four major leading parties that are active at the federal, regional and municipal levels. They enjoy popular respect and the support of millions of our citizens. Working at various levels of government, your representatives take responsibility for delivering on specific tasks. It is essential that you speak in one voice when it comes to the most important matters of principled importance, standing up for the sovereignty and security of our country, historical truth, and the vital interests of the people. You are doing a great deal to strengthen civil society and its key institutions.

I would like to emphasise once again that parliamentary parties play a fundamental, stabilising role within the political system. This means that they are essential enablers of the country’s sustainable development and ensure that we continue to move forward, guided by our national interests, while safeguarding us from various disruptions.

Of course, the approaches you adhere to may vary. But regardless of the differences, it is important to rally society around the national development goals and the basic, fundamental values that matter to every Russian citizen. This unity is vital for the country. Only united we stand.

The potential of your parties was reaffirmed on the single election day on September 13. Over 9,000 election campaigns were held throughout the country at different levels. Candidates from more than 20 parties and associations have been elected, but the so-called top four parties reported the best results, of course. I would like to congratulate you and your colleagues once against on this high public assessment of your activities. I am sure you are aware that this trust also entails huge responsibility. And you must justify this trust with constructive work.

Of course, much is expected from United Russia, which has won the majority of votes. However, I would like to mention the great and positive role of the opposition. What I mean is not only justified criticism by the opposition, which is keeping the authorities on their toes, if I can say so, but also a striving to formulate constructive and practical proposals on nearly all issues on the national agenda. We will definitely take into account all reasonable and constructive ideas. I am asking the Government to bear this in mind.

I would like to give special thanks to all of you, all the State Duma factions and your colleagues in the regions for your hard and effective work, including in the challenging conditions of the coronavirus epidemic.

It is important that the law-making process has not been disrupted. Quite to the contrary, Parliament quickly and proactively adopted dozens of laws the people needed.

The threat is not over, and the virus is still with us, but we are prepared for any contingency. We will take accurate and coordinated decisions to support our people, the social sphere and healthcare. I am sure that you will understand and support such decisions in all Duma factions.

I am aware of the problems with the coronavirus at the State Duma. Regrettably, some of you have contracted the disease. But the State Duma continues working. It has started hearings on the federal budget for 2021 and the subsequent two years.

I would like to highlight the following. In my Address to the Federal Assembly, I proposed to significantly expand the demographic programme, to strengthen the mechanisms of social protection, especially for families with children. Specific tasks were set for the development of school and university education, and the healthcare system, including primary care.

In addition, last spring and summer, with your involvement, colleagues, we adopted a number of new decisions to provide better social support, to support employment, the key industries, and small and medium-sized businesses. Some of these policies are not temporary – those are not even anti-crisis measures, but are forward-looking in nature and should be fully reflected in the new three-year state budget.

I would like you, together with the Government, the Federation Council, and the expert community, to work out all the key targets to be included in the budget. The priorities here are financing our social obligations to citizens and, of course, objectives that would move our country forward, the achievement of the strategic national development goals outlined for the next decade, until 2030.

The Government is already updating the national projects, adjusting the target figures. I want you to actively participate in this work and to take it into account both in the budgeting process and when considering other legislative initiatives to improve the quality of life in Russia and stimulate entrepreneurial activity, to improve the investment climate, accelerate the introduction of innovations and forward-looking digital services and platforms into industrial production and public administration.

In general, I ask you to provide high-quality and timely legislative support for the national projects. Please bear in mind that systemwide regulation is important, as well as a clear plan and a uniform logic of all steps related to the comprehensive development of the country's legislative framework. I am counting on the parliamentarians’ experience and competence. I know that you have varying approaches to different problems. But your ability to maintain dialogue with the expert community, the regions, business associations, and trade unions is in great demand. And I will stress again, I look forward to a cooperative and constructive effort of all parliamentary parties.

Thus, one of the major tasks is to implement the new provisions of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The amendments supported by our citizens are serious and meaningful. They concern issues of politics and the economy, science and education, patriotic upbringing, and the moral and ethical spheres and are aimed at further enhancing the role of civil society in the nation’s life and building an effective system of balance in the government.

Yes, of course, the norms of the Constitution imply direct action but each of them must be appropriately and clearly reflected in the legislative provisions on implementing Constitutional provisions and new laws. A whole package of relevant draft laws has already been submitted to the State Duma.

But this is only the first step. Large-scale and very sensitive law-making work lies ahead. I would call this work lapidary. It must be carried out in a way to ensure direct contact and to upgrade feedback with the citizens, your voters. They have already become full-fledged co-authors of the amendments to the Fundamental Law. It is necessary to continue being guided by their opinions and their expectations of what exactly this or that norm of the Constitution is supposed to change in their daily lives.

I know well that different parties and deputies had their own positions, sometimes critical, on some Constitutional amendments during their discussion. This is perfectly normal and right. I understand this. This is natural for any democratic state.

The broad range of opinions we saw during the discussion of Constitutional amendments, and ideological diversity are required today, too. Therefore, I would like to ask you, colleagues, including those from parliamentary opposition parties, to take a very active part in implementing new Constitutional amendments and to be constantly in touch with the members of the working group who drafted their text.

The deeper and more comprehensive the expert drafting of laws in accordance with the new Constitutional amendments is, the better and more lasting our common result will be. Our national legislation will be modern and effective. This is primarily in the interests of our citizens, for whose benefit we work.

Let us start our discussion. Let us discus all urgent issues and topics thoroughly and openly, as we have always done.

The source of information -

Meeting with Viktor Medvedchuk

Earlier, in Novo-Ogaryovo, the President met with Head of the Political Council of the Ukrainian party Opposition Platform – For Life Viktor Medvedchuk.

October 6, 2020 - 17:00 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Medvedchuk, I am pleased to have you here.

I have known for a long time now that despite the many challenges you maintain a straightforward position on restoring Ukrainian-Russian relations at all levels, including state, non-governmental, and in the economy.

We are pleased to know that there are political forces in Ukraine that openly and honestly hold this position. For our part, we are ready to contribute to restoring Russian-Ukrainian relations in every way. We hope that you will have more supporters in this regard over time. To reiterate, for our part, we will do our best to restore our relations.

I would like to note that we in Russia also noticed how the 75th anniversary of Victory over Nazism was celebrated in Ukraine this year. I am aware that this is largely due to your efforts, and the efforts of your associates and your party. I am confident that many people in Ukraine are grateful to you for this.

Since this is our common victory, I would like to express our gratitude to you on behalf of the Russian people.

Viktor Medvedchuk:

Thank you very much, Mr Putin.

You are right about the celebration of the 75th anniversary of our common victory, the victory of the Soviet people and the Soviet Union. This is exactly how Ukrainian veterans see it. Indeed, we did our best despite the political crisis, despite the fact that the ‘party of war’ is still strong in Ukraine, and despite the fact that the radicals tried in every possible way to disrupt the May 9 celebrations.

We gave our veterans the respect they deserve. We owe a debt of gratitude to them. Ukraine is home to 13,243 veterans of the Great Patriotic War. This number includes both those who fought and those who worked on the home front. We are talking about elderly people who need assistance. We did our best to bring the holiday to their homes under the current circumstances in Ukraine, and we wanted to pay tribute to them.

Incidentally, on May 9, we announced the creation of the social movement The Front Line in the Struggle to Perpetuate Historical Memory. In Ukraine, it has been a long time coming, because radical nationalists, and former and current authorities are trying to erase these greatest heroic actions of the past century from people’s memory.

We will continue to do all we can to make sure that our veterans are held in respect. We organised these celebrations not only in Kiev but across all of Ukraine – we paid tribute to the fallen and acknowledged those who are still alive. We were guided by our party’s ethics, as this is the ideology of the Opposition Platform for Life party. This is also our position as the second largest parliamentary faction and as the second – for the time being – party in the country.

Mr Putin, if you allow me, I would like to ask you two questions regarding my country and, primarily, Ukrainian citizens and, if possible, discuss them with you.

First, I want to congratulate you on a great victory, as Russia has become the first country to create a vaccine, the Sputnik V vaccine, at the Gamaleya Centre. I know that another vaccine is in the pipeline. The Russian Federation has yet again demonstrated its potential and scientific prowess.

It is clear in this context that all countries, including my country, Ukraine, have been plagued by this scourge, this great tragedy. The Ukrainian people are demanding protection and vaccination is the most reliable and, to all appearance, the most viable means of protection.

I would like to ask you to consider the possibility of distributing this vaccine to Ukraine, among other countries, so that in the future Ukrainians can be protected against this terrible disease, given that Russia is the first country to have created a vaccine and has started mass vaccination on its territory.

Despite the fact that relations between our countries are in crisis, I would ask you to consider this possibility in the future.

Vladimir Putin:

I can say right away that this is possible. This vaccine has already arrived in all our regions. Unfortunately, it is not yet being produced in sufficient quantity. We need millions of doses.

As you may know, we are now working on it with our colleagues and friends in Belarus. We recently discussed this matter with Mr Lukashenko. The work there is on schedule as well.

Indeed, many research centres worldwide are working on it, and we wish everyone success. Some of our major institutions in St Petersburg and Novosibirsk are researching it as well. In Moscow, work continues at the Gamaleya Centre and other places. I hope that another Russian vaccine will be registered in the middle of October, just ten days from now. It is almost finished, and the work on it has been completed. I am referring to the Novosibirsk centre Vektor.

With regard to the vaccine you mentioned, yes, of course. Indeed, why not? If we started working with Belarus, we could work with Ukraine as well.

We would need to implement this plan in conjunction with the specialists from Ukraine. The official Ukrainian authorities should formulate their requests and needs accordingly. We are ready to do this regardless of the political difficulties. After all, this is a purely humanitarian matter, a healthcare issue, a matter of caring for the people we care about be it Russia or Ukraine.

So, we are ready to do this work. To reiterate, the corresponding authorities must come to an agreement at the official level.

Viktor Medvedchuk:

I tested this vaccine on myself. My wife Oksana, our son Bogdan, and I took the vaccine during our holiday in Crimea in August. It went well, and I think it is the most effective remedy to date to fight the coronavirus.

Vladimir Putin:

Did you have a fever?

Viktor Medvedchuk:

No, no fever, no complications whatsoever. Neither my family nor I had anything worth mentioning. We took it very easily. In fact, it simply went unnoticed.

Vladimir Putin:

We here in Russia are discussing this topic constantly. Our people are aware that there may be fever or body aches.

Viktor Medvedchuk:

This is probably a natural process. It is a vaccine after all.

Vladimir Putin:

This is natural for some types of vaccination. But it does not happen when some types of vaccines are used. At any rate this happens sometimes and it is necessary to know this. Many of my associates and close relatives have already been vaccinated, as well as employees working around me, dozens of people, about 50. Maybe seven or eight people had a fever. Their temperature was not too high but still higher than normal. But, reliable protection has been created. So again, we are certainly ready to do this with Ukraine.

Viktor Medvedchuk:

Blood samples show that there are antibodies already, and in sufficient quantity.

Vladimir Putin:

Do you mean yourself?

Viktor Medvedchuk:

Yes, my wife and I both have them. My wife has even more than our son and I do. In other words, everything is normal. Therefore, naturally I would like to congratulate Russia on this high achievement because it is the first country in the world to have done this.

Vladimir Putin:

Almost all top-ranking officials at our Defence Ministry have been vaccinated.

Viktor Medvedchuk:

Well done.

Vladimir Putin:

As well as those from other security services.

Viktor Medvedchuk:

And one more question, if I may. I would like to ask you the following.

Obviously, Ukrainian-Russian relations have been difficult in the past few years. First, this involves economic and trade relations. This is partly due to the sanctions that were introduced by the Ukrainian authorities under Mr Poroshenko when Ukraine joined the EU sanctions against Russia. This move did huge damage to or industry and our economy as a whole. Many companies, dozens of thousands were shut down in Ukraine because their exports were primarily oriented to the Russian Federation.

Russia was Ukraine’s main trade partner during all these years, literally up to 2020. Ukraine’s biggest exports in the world went to Russia. Likewise, Ukraine’s biggest imports in the world were from Russia. This chronology and order only changed this year. At this point, Russia is our second largest partner because now China is on the fore.

We have the League of Industrialists and Employers, an association of 240 companies. They are involved in heavy equipment manufacturing, radio technology and agricultural engineering. All of them appealed to our party and me personally to try to partially cancel the sanctions and some product codes because a number of companies were oriented towards exporting to the Russian Federation.

Naturally, there was a loss of jobs because these companies, even those that addressed me for help today, including companies in the pulp and paper industry and winemaking, employ over 150,000 people. In fact, today these people are either without jobs or lead a life that does not allow them to support a family.

I have a good grasp of Russia’s policy. I think it is fairly objective when it comes to sanctions. The one who imposed them should lift them. Still, if I may, I would like to have these specific proposals, which I have put together in writing and which I want to submit to you, reviewed. Perhaps the Government could look into it and find a way to create conditions conducive to at least a partial lifting of the sanctions. If it is possible at all, of course.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Medvedchuk, the first issue you touched upon, fighting the coronavirus, is a purely humanitarian matter.

The second issue has more specifics to it, which you have just touched upon. These specifics boil down to the fact that we did not impose the sanctions. Everything we do, we do in response and with regard to the states that have taken certain steps with regard to Russia, against Russia.

I know what you are trying to say. And my heart aches from knowing that people in Ukraine who worked at the enterprises that sent their output to Russia found themselves in a difficult situation. This is the most important thing. I would like to fix this, of course. We are ready to do this. We want this situation to go back to normal. But we cannot make any exceptions from the list of the countries that have imposed sanctions on us. This is the main problem.

Nevertheless, we still need to prepare for this. Someday, I hope, this will come to pass. In this sense, of course, we probably need the Government to work on it as well.

You just mentioned a public organisation.

Vladimir Medvedchuk:

Yes. The League of Industrialists and Employers.

Vladimir Putin:

We could work on this with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other associations of entrepreneurs and, of course, the Government. I will ask my colleagues to set up a meeting with you and get this work going.

Viktor Medvedchuk:

Thank you very much. I really would like to meet with the Prime Minister and discuss this issue in as much detail as possible, and to consider and study it. As you correctly said, we need to focus on restoring trade and economic relations, including in this area.

Vladimir Putin:

I will let Mr Mishustin know.

The source of information -

Greetings to festival We Must not Forget These Roads

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to the participants, organisers and guests of the festival We Must not Forget These Roads dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory.

October 6, 2020 - 19:00

The message reads, in part:

“I consider your creative and patriotic project to be an important and necessary initiative. Bringing together drama and music companies from hero and combat glory cities, this festival is designed to familiarise audiences, especially young people, with the wonderful pieces created both during the Great Patriotic War and in our time. The drama and musicals praise the achievements of our people who upheld the freedom and independence of our Motherland and saved the world from Nazism. They do so in a positive and expressive way, without falsehood or pathos.

I am sure the festival will be a success, will contribute to the preservation of our national memory and become a wonderful gift for our veterans and all those who take pride in Russian history.”

The festival of professional theatres and music companies under the title We Must not Forget These Roads is timed for the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. The final week will take place at various Moscow venues on October 6–12.

The festival opened in November 2019 and has been held in hero and combat glory cities of Moscow, St Petersburg, Smolensk, Volgograd, Tula, Murmansk and Minsk. In all, 32 theatre companies and drama universities are taking part in it.

The source of information -

Meeting with Chief of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov

The President met with Chief of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces – First Deputy Defence Minister Valery Gerasimov.

October 7, 2020 - 10:00 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, Mr Gerasimov. Go ahead, please.

Chief of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov:

Good afternoon, Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief,

Here is what I have to report. At 7:15 am yesterday, the frigate Admiral Gorshkov deployed in the White Sea, for the first time fired a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile at a sea target in the Barents Sea.

The goal has been achieved. The test firing has been declared successful. The missile destroyed the target in a direct hit.

The missile covered a distance of 450 kilometres. The maximum altitude of its trajectory was 28 kilometres. The flight lasted 4.5 minutes. The missile reached the hypersonic speed of over Mach 8.

Following the state tests, the Tsirkon system will be deployed on submarines and surface ships.

This concludes my report.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Gerasimov,

The Tsirkon project and the stage you have reported today – the successful test flight of the missile – are a major event not only for the Armed Forces but also for the nation as a whole. Supplying our Armed Forces – the Army and the Navy – with the most advanced armaments that have no analogues in the world will reliably ensure national defences for a long time to come.

The success of this project, as we are well aware, is the result of the hard work of our scientists, engineers, talented workers and military professionals. It is an important stage in the provision of advanced armaments to our Armed Forces.

I would like to congratulate all those who have been involved in the Tsirkon project. I would like to thank the Defence Minister and you, Mr Gerasimov. I know that you not only act as the customer but are also directly involved in the creation of such systems.

I would like to thank you for a job well done and to express the hope that all specialists involved in the rearmament projects will continue to work effectively and persistently, as they always do.

Once again, I would like to congratulate you on this event and to wish you success in your future endeavours.

Thank you.

Valery Gerasimov:

Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief, thank you for this high assessment. We will continue to do our utmost to enhance the combat capability of the Armed Forces and to strengthen national defences.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you, and all the best.

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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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Interview with Rossiya TV channel

Vladimir Putin answered questions from Pavel Zarubin, Rossiya 1 TV channel journalist, author and co-host of the Moscow. Kremlin. Putin programme.

October 7, 2020 - 11:15 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Pavel Zarubin:

Mr President, you have a very busy day today, but as a journalist I have to ask you about the latest developments around Nagorno-Karabakh.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

It is a tragedy, and we are extremely concerned, because the people of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are no strangers to us. Suffice it to say that some 2 million Azerbaijanis and over 2 million Armenians live in Russia, as far as we know. A large number of Russian citizens have close friends and even family members in both republics.

It is indeed a huge tragedy. People are dying; there have been many casualties on both sides. We hope that the conflict will stop very soon. Even if it is not settled definitively, and it seems that this is a long way off, in any case, we are calling for a ceasefire, and I want to say this once again. This must be done as soon as possible.

This is it, in general.

As you know, Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, and so we have certain obligations towards it under the treaty. It is deeply regrettable that the hostilities continue, but they are not taking place in the Armenian territory. As for meeting our obligations under this treaty, Russia has always honoured and will continue to honour its commitments. You should know that I maintain regular contact with the Prime Minister of Armenia, and the Armenian leadership has not voiced any questions about the fulfilment of Russia’s allied commitments.

Pavel Zarubin:

We are witnessing yet another acute internal political situation in the recent history of Kyrgyzstan. What do you think on this score?

Vladimir Putin:

Well, what can I say? That country held parliamentary elections just recently. By the way, the vote has been recognised as valid and democratic, not only by international observers, but also by representatives of the OSCE. But what happened there after that, of course, we have every reason to be concerned about it.

We do hope that things will work out peacefully. We hope that a normal democratic political process will be restored. And, once again, this should happen as soon as possible.

We keep in touch with all the participants, with all the parties to this conflict, and I would like to hope that after the political situation in Kyrgyzstan returns to normal, we will continue to implement all our plans with that country. I mean that Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, and we have a lot of joint work planned.

We provide Kyrgyzstan with significant assistance such as loans, as well as help with its integration in the Eurasian Economic Union. There are issues such as customs, phytosanitary control, and things like that. We allocate considerable resources to ensure that Kyrgyzstan becomes a full-fledged member of this association.

I repeat once again, we hope that all the internal political processes we are witnessing there today will end well and quickly and without any losses.

Pavel Zarubin:

A few questions about the events of the past few weeks. Ten days ago, you proposed resuming cyber security cooperation with the United States. Has there been any response?

Vladimir Putin:

No. Unfortunately, just like with several other Russian initiatives, there was no answer. I consider it a very important matter; at the same time, there are ongoing complaints about Russia’s hyperactivity, alleged hyperactivity, in the information sphere, interference in US elections, and other allegations, which are completely unfounded.

Pavel Zarubin:

The entire world is watching the final stage of the US presidential race. Much has happened there, including things we could never imagine happening before but the one constant in recent years is that your name is mentioned all the time.

Moreover, during the latest debates, which have provoked a public outcry, presidential candidate Biden called candidate Trump “Putin’s puppy.”

Since they keep talking about you, I would like to ask a question which you probably will not want to answer. Nevertheless, here it is: Whose position in this race, Trump’s or Biden’s, appeals to you more?

Vladimir Putin:

I would like to say openly that the positions of presidential candidates in any country, including a great power such as the United States, must be assessed by the voters. In this particular case, by the people of the United States.

We are the onlookers; we do not interfere in the process. What can I say about the exchange of tough statements and even direct accusations? It is proof of the standard of the political culture – or the lack thereof.

However, as I have already said, we do not interfere. Everything that is happening in the United States is the result of the country’s internal political processes and problems.

By the way, when anyone tries to humiliate or insult the incumbent head of state, in this case in the context you have mentioned, this actually enhances our prestige, because they are talking about our incredible influence and power. In a way, it could be said that they are playing into our hands, as the saying goes. But anyway, as I have already pointed out, this is none of our business. Let them settle scores with each other as they deem possible in the current context.

Speaking of preferences, what can I say? We know that the incumbent President Trump has repeatedly expressed interest in the improvement of Russian-American relations. And we certainly appreciate that very much. From the very beginning, when he said so during the first iteration of the fight for the White House, we certainly heard him.

But we must look objectively at what has been happening in recent years. Yes, indeed, we have achieved a lot on a bilateral basis. I must say this. Without having to list all the positive steps we have taken to build Russian-American relations, I can say that we have taken quite a few. But the intentions that President Trump spoke about earlier have not been fully realised.

I believe that this is largely due to a certain bipartisan consensus on the need to contain Russia, to curb our country’s development. Moreover, as they say, this is a comprehensive position, which means containment on all tracks. This is my first point. And this, as we understand it, essentially limits the current administration.

Furthermore, the greatest number of various kinds of restrictions and sanctions were introduced during the Trump presidency. Decisions on imposing new sanctions or expanding previous ones were made 46 times. The incumbent's administration withdrew from the INF treaty. That was a very drastic step. After 2002, when the Bush administration withdrew from the ABM treaty, that was the second major step. And I believe it is a big danger to international stability and security.

Now the US has announced the beginning of the procedure for withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty. We have good reason to be concerned about that, too. A number of our joint projects, modest, but viable, have not been implemented – the business council project, expert council, and so on.

Nevertheless, again, bilateral trade has grown during the Trump presidency. And it has grown noticeably, despite all the restrictions, even despite the pandemic. The pandemic might have introduced some adjustments, but in general, there is an upward trend in mutual trade. And this is good, because there are jobs behind it, business activity and so on.

Our joint work to stabilise the world energy market has been unfolding quite well, because the United States is definitely interested in maintaining a certain stability, in supporting its oil-producing companies, and so on. And we managed to achieve a really good cooperative result. So you know, there are upsides and downsides, of course.

As for the Democratic candidate, what can I say? We can hear rather sharp anti-Russian rhetoric as well. Regrettably, we have become used to this. But some things are worth mentioning. First, the Democratic Party is traditionally closer to the so-called liberal values, closer to Social Democratic ideas, if compared to Europe. And it was from the Social Democratic environment that the Communist Party evolved.

After all, I was a member of the Soviet Communist Party for nearly 20 years, or more precisely 18 years. I was a rank-and-file member, but it can be said that I believed in the party’s ideas. I still like many of these left-wing values. Equality and fraternity. What is bad about them? In fact, they are akin to Christian values. Yes, they are difficult to implement, but they are very attractive, nevertheless. In other words, this can be seen as an ideological basis for developing contacts with the Democratic representative.

It is a fact that African Americans constitute a stable electorate, one of the electorates of the Democratic Party. It is a well-known fact, and there is nothing new about this. The Soviet Union also supported the African Americans’ movement for their legitimate rights. Back in the 1930s, Communist International leaders wrote that both black and white workers had a common enemy – imperialism and capitalism. They also wrote that these people could become the most effective group in the future revolutionary battle.

So, this is something that can be seen, to a degree, as common values, if not a unifying agent for us. I am not afraid to say so. This is true.

Do you remember – well, you are a young man, but people of my generation remember a time when huge portraits of Angela Davis, a member of the US Communist Party and an ardent fighter for the rights of African Americans, were on view around the Soviet Union.

Therefore, we believe that this is something we can talk about and that can be used as the basis for mutual understanding but this is far by no means all there is. For example, candidate Biden has said openly that he was ready to extend the New START or to sign a new strategic offensive reductions treaty. This is a very serious element of our potential collaboration in the future.

Therefore, I would like to repeat what I have said more than once before. We will work with any future president of the United State, the one whom the American people give their vote of confidence.

Pavel Zarubin:

It's your birthday today. Why do you usually avoid this topic on the public level? I mean, over the years, well, maybe it coincided once or twice that we saw you at foreign summits on your birthday; last year, you went to the taiga, that much I know. But no one else usually knows anything about your birthday. Why is that?

Vladimir Putin:

I don't even know how to answer this. It is my birthday we are talking about, not a national holiday. I just think it would not be too modest of me to exaggerate the significance of this day, so to speak. I would say everyone should spend their birthday like this – with their friends, with their loved ones, regardless of their official position.

The source of information -

Birthday greetings to Vladimir Putin

Heads of state and government from foreign countries and leaders of international organisations are sending Vladimir Putin messages of greetings on his birthday.

October 7, 2020 - 13:15

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, Prime Minister of the State of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, President of the Republic of Moldova Igor Dodon, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev personally greeted the Russian President on the occasion of his birthday by telephone.

In every conversation, the leaders touched upon the development of bilateral relations as well as topical regional problems. In particular, the military confrontation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and the escalation in Kyrgyzstan was discussed in several conversations with CIS heads of state.

Vladimir Putin was also warmly greeted by former Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder, President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach and President of the International Ice Hockey Federation René Fasel.

The source of information -

Greetings on the opening of the 2020 New Wave Junior international contest for young pop singers

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to the participants, organisers and guests of the 2020 New Wave Junior international contest for young pop singers.

October 7, 2020 - 18:00

The message reads, in part:

“This wonderful festival, which has become an important part of our country’s cultural life, once again brings together unique and talented young people in Crimea to give them the opportunity to become known and learn from famous artists. And, of course, to demonstrate their talents in front of an audience, who always follow the progress of the contest with interest and who sincerely support young aspiring performers.

I know that this year’s New Wave Junior contest will also be held at a high creative level, be remembered by each participant as a large and significant event and will certainly delight guests with a rich competitive programme.”

The finals of the New Wave Junior contest is taking place on October 7–8 at the Artek International Children's Centre (Republic of Crimea).

The source of information -

Vladimir Putin held a meeting on matters concerning the Emergencies Ministry

Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev reported on the actions taken after the October 7 emergency in the Ryazan Region, where a grass fire set off explosions at ammunition depot.

October 8, 2020 - 14:20 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Over the past two days, the Emergencies Ministry has worked to increase the firefighting group and supply additional equipment to the villages damaged by the explosions at the munitions depot.

Sixteen people have been taken to hospital and over 20 structures have been damaged. As of now, the group deployed in the region includes some 1,500 people and 389 pieces of equipment. The Emergencies Ministry has dispatched 400 firefighters and 87 pieces of equipment there. On October 8, the group deployed in the emergency zone was reinforced with the airmobile rescue teams of the Ministry’s main departments for Moscow and the Tula Region, as well as of its Tula Rescue Centre.

Over 2,300 people have been evacuated for safety reasons from 14 villages located within 5 to 10 kilometres of the depot. Temporary accommodation centres have been organised at educational facilities and hospitals located at a safe distance from the seat of explosions, to accommodate the evacuees and provide them with basic necessities; 86 people have been placed at such temporary facilities. Other evacuees are staying with their relatives and friends.

A situations centre staffed with psychologists has been organised onsite, and a hotline established for the emergency has already received over 60 calls.

The staff and equipment of the Noginsk Rescue Centre and the Ministry’s Leader Centre for High Risk Rescue Operations are ready to join the operation any minute.

* * *

The meeting participants also discussed the provision of technical equipment to the Emergencies Ministry departments.

In his remarks, the President said:

“As we agreed, today we will discuss the provision of new modern equipment to the departments of the Emergencies Ministry.

It is a matter of great importance and responsibility. We know with what dedication and professionalism the Emergencies Ministry personnel carry out their tasks in almost any circumstance; they promptly eliminate the consequences of accidents, natural disasters, floods and wild fires. There is a lot of work to do.

The rescuers’ efficient and fast work helps to save lives, protect people’s health and property, and minimise the consequences of accidents for the infrastructure and essential facilities in our cities and towns.

I should note that this directly affects public finances. This year, the funds allocated to compensate for the damage caused by emergencies are minimal compared to previous years, when we usually allocated 6 to 8 billion rubles a year. And this is not because we are trying to or have to save money or are holding onto these rubles, but because there is less actual damage and this is very important. The actual damage is less thanks to the work of the Emergencies Ministry. System-wide prevention measures which we discussed multiple times are bringing necessary results.

We need to further increase the effectiveness of efforts to prevent emergencies, to try to minimise their negative impact and carry out additional measures to protect forests from fires, to prevent floods and to achieve progress in other areas. That is why rescue teams need to rely not only on their own professionalism, competence, courage and heroism but also on reliable equipment.

A major technical overhaul of the Emergencies Ministry departments began in the 2000s. Thanks to those measures, our rescuers have been able to ensure a timely and comprehensive response to emergencies, and to provide help and assistance to our foreign partners whenever we received such requests.

This year, thanks to the allocation of additional funding, the Emergencies Ministry was able to purchase almost 1,500 pieces of equipment, which is almost four times more than initially planned.

At the same time, I would like to point out at least two problems that have not been resolved.

First of all, a substantial part of the firefighting equipment, including planes, helicopters and rescue boats, is worn out. Minister Zinichev is not the only one to draw our attention to this. At my request, the issue has been considered at the Security Council, and its secretariat has confirmed this state of affairs. Meanwhile, old equipment is becoming obsolete sooner than we can supply new equipment. There is still a large quantity of equipment that has outlived its service life.

Second, the modernisation process has not reached a long-term or I would say system-wide level. The rescue units cannot make long-term modernisation plans, and new equipment is purchased randomly, without a system, which often increases the price. This is a very important matter as well.

In this connection, following our meeting today we must formulate and adopt a long-term programme for the modernisation of the Emergencies Ministry’s equipment until 2030, so that our rescue teams have the required equipment in accordance with the established standards.

I would like to point out that the implementation of this programme must be financially efficient when it comes to prices and after-sales maintenance. And lastly, we must start buying equipment directly from Russian producers, without any market intermediaries.

And, frankly speaking, it would be better to use a full business cycle, as you are well aware.

Let us listen to the reports prepared for this meeting before taking the decisions needed to settle all of the above problems.”

The meeting was attended by Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Natural Disaster Relief Yevgeny Zinichev, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov and Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov.

The source of information -

Statement by President of Russian Federation

October 8, 2020 - 23:30

Below is the statement made by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin:

“Having engaged in a series of telephone conversations with President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, the President of Russia calls for halting the hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone on humanitarian grounds in order to carry out an exchange of bodies of the deceased and prisoners.

The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia are invited to Moscow on October 9 to hold consultations on these matters mediated by the Russian Foreign Ministry.”

The source of information -

Meeting with permanent members of Security Council

The President held a meeting with permanent members of the Security Council via videoconference.

October 9, 2020 - 14:15 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The meeting was attended by Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin, and Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues.

As planned, today we will talk about the situation in the Far East and protecting Russia’s interests in the Far Eastern region and in Southeast Asia. After that we will, of course, discuss the developments very close to our border, including in the South Caucasus.

So let us begin.

The source of information -

Greetings on 250th anniversary of Ingushetia’s unification with Russia

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the people of the Republic of Ingushetia on the 250th anniversary of its unification with Russia.

October 10, 2020 - 10:20

The message reads, in part:

“The unification became a landmark event in the history of the Ingush people and in strengthening Russian statehood. You can deservedly feel proud of your ancestors’ glorious deeds and labour achievements as well as their unique contribution to preserving the unique culture and traditions of the peoples of our multi-ethnic country.

It is gratifying that the republic’s current generation feels deep respect for their history as well as the customs and traditions of their predecessors, and is actively involved in solving core national tasks and implementing important economic and social projects and initiatives, as well as those in agriculture and tourism. Of course, particular attention should be paid to securing peace and stability in Ingushetia and the North Caucasus in general.”

The source of information -

Greetings to 10th Presidential Competition and Presidential Sports Games national school sports event

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to participants and guests of the nationwide stage of the 10th Presidential Competition and Presidential Sports Games national school sports event.

October 10, 2020 - 10:30

The message reads, in part:

“This year, these remarkable competitions mark their first anniversary. We can confidently say that, although currently held online, this exiting and relevant project in children’s and youth sports has proven important, gained popularity and recognition, and has grown into a true festival of sports, creativity and friendly communication for talented and ambitious kids from all across the country. And, of course, the Presidential Competition and Presidential Sports Games serve to educate young people and promote healthy living as well as an active public position and responsible attitude.”

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani at the Iranian side’s initiative.

October 10, 2020 - 13:00

The presidents had an extensive exchange of opinions on the developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. Vladimir Putin informed his Iranian counterpart about the efforts currently underway with Russia’s mediation to de-escalate the tensions in the region. The President of Iran expressed support for the agreement reached following the trilateral consultations by the foreign ministers of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia on a ceasefire for humanitarian reasons as well as on the launch of substantive talks aimed at reaching a prompt peaceful settlement.

The two leaders also considered the developments around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and noted the importance of preserving this international agreement, which is essential for international security.

Mr Putin and Mr Rouhani discussed current issues of bilateral trade and economic cooperation. They emphasised problems related to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, paying particular attention to the prospects of interaction regarding the Russian-produced Sputnik V vaccine.

During the conversation, Mr Rouhani extended his warm wishes to Mr Putin in connection with his recent birthday.

The sides agreed on further contacts.

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 October 15th, 2020 #135
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Congratulations on Agriculture and Processing Industry Workers’ Day

October 11, 2020 - 09:00

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:


I would like to congratulate all agricultural and processing industry workers and veterans on their professional holiday, and express my heartfelt thanks for your constructive and important work as well as for your devotion to your job and love for your native land.

The results of your concerted daily efforts are in demand in every household, every family. You ensure the food security of Russia and strengthen our country’s position as one of the leading agricultural producers in the world, and you perform these two duties magnificently.

Over the past few years, our agro-industrial complex has achieved some quite impressive results and this is no overstatement. It is vital that the industry as a leader constantly moves forward and boosts its efficiency and production capacities. Russia currently not only provides itself with all kinds of food commodities, but is also increasing its exports and entering global markets every single year.

I would like to emphasise that even during these hard times of the coronavirus pandemic, against the backdrop of all the new restrictions, the Russian agro-industrial complex continues to function in a stable manner. Your work shows not only great devotion, but also courage: in the most complicated months and weeks of this year you never allowed any disruptions in food deliveries; sowing was conducted on time, as well as the harvesting campaign.

It can be said already that this year will yield a good harvest, once again over 120 million tonnes of grain. I would note that figures in excess of 100 million tonnes have until recently been considered record-breaking. Now, thanks to your work, it is a routine result. In addition to this, livestock production, including meat and milk, has also significantly increased. Greenhouse vegetable farming is also developing at a good pace.

I would like to reiterate, these achievements would have been impossible without your professionalism, energy and devotion, without your readiness to improve, learn advanced technologies and approaches in agriculture.

I am quite sure that you will see new successes and achievements, the more so as much remains to be done to modernise and increase the efficiency of the agro-industrial complex, to improve the competitiveness of Russian products in Russia and abroad, and, I would like to emphasise, for the comprehensive development of rural areas, their social and educational infrastructure, the construction of up-to-date healthcare and culture facilities, and a comfortable living environment for people, for families with children. There are many families with many children living in villages, and this is wonderful, our future lies with them.

I would like to once again congratulate all the Russian agro-industrial complex workers on their professional holiday, and wish you every success, wellbeing, good health and all the very best to you and your families.

The source of information -

Greetings to 25th St Petersburg Open International Tennis Tournament

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the participants, organisers and guests of the 25th St Petersburg Open International Tennis Tournament.

October 12, 2020 - 10:00

The message reads, in part:

“For many years, these wonderful competitions have been a real festive occasion for those who are fond of tennis and watch closely the sports calendar. For those, who value the special, emotional atmosphere of this spectacular and captivating game.

Your tournament traditionally brings together on its courts both acknowledged stars and young, talented players from different countries and gives them a fine opportunity to meet with worthy rivals, square off against them, and vie for victory.”

The source of information -

Congratulations to Emomali Rahmon on his election as President of Tajikistan

Vladimir Putin sent a message of congratulations to Emomali Rahmon on his decisive victory in the presidential election.

October 12, 2020 - 12:30

“The results of the voting have fully proven your political weight and your people’s unanimous support for your line of policy, aimed at the socioeconomic development of Tajikistan and strengthening of its international positions.

We very much value the relations of strategic partnership and alliance with Tajikistan. I would like to confirm our intention to continue the close joint work on enhancing the entire range of bilateral ties to the benefit of our peoples, united by the ties of friendship, in the interests of peace, security and stability in the Central Asia,” the Russian President said in his message.

The source of information -

[In the Russian version there is a Telephone conversation with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammad Al Nahyan (October 12, 2020 - 13:10) - ]

Meeting with ALROSA CEO Sergei Ivanov

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with ALROSA General Director – Chairman of the Board Sergei Ivanov. The discussion focused on the diamond miner’s performance against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.

October 12, 2020 - 14:15 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon.

Mr Ivanov, during the pandemic, the jewellery sector and its foundation – the diamond mining sector – have come up against difficulties. I am speaking about global production now. Many of your rivals have practically frozen production and fired their staff, and many of them are on the verge of bankruptcy. ALROSA is our largest diamond miner, and since recently the largest in the world. For Yakutia, it is in fact a major budget revenue generating enterprise. How is the company faring, and what would you say about its outlook?

ALROSA CEO Sergei Ivanov:

Mr President,

I would like to begin my report with the epidemiological situation, namely in the Mirny District of Yakutia. In March 2020, we took several comprehensive decisions on preventing the spread of the coronavirus infection together with the government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). We managed to gain several months, which we used to prepare our medical infrastructure – both regional and corporate – to receive the first COVID patients.

During the pandemic, the company has invested over 800 million rubles in the measures related to supporting the medicine and health of our employees. Unlike other diamond mining companies, we have not stopped production at our underground mines and open pits.

You are absolutely correct, Mr President, that ALROSA is still the world’s largest diamond producer. Over the past several months, we even managed to somewhat increase our share despite the crisis trends you mentioned. The company keeps developing, and we are engaged in projects related to operating performance, production automation and Big Data – the digital mine project, plus some other projects that have been launched.

Mr President, with regard to infrastructure projects, I would like to thank you for the decision made several years ago to build a new airport in the town of Mirny. We have arrived at an arrangement where the construction of the airfield infrastructure would be financed from the federal budget, and the construction of the airport complex, the fuelling complex, and the grids would be financed by the company. This is a good example of a public-private partnership, where we are going roughly half with the federal budget on the new infrastructure.

We are also in the process of bringing gas to our northern towns, first of all, to the town of Udachny. This will make it possible for us to switch from expensive electricity over to our own natural gas and improve the reliability of our northern regions’ energy supply and energy security.

Of course, the epidemic has significantly adjusted our strategy. We had to respond to an unprecedented decline in sales in the second quarter. ALROSA had to take upon itself the stabilisation of the international diamond market. We supported the cutting factories that found themselves in a rather difficult situation.

We can see the demand coming back. Of course, these levels are lower than before the pandemic, but the company is in good financial shape and is capable of getting itself ready for the expanded market.

Mr President, in conjunction with the Finance Ministry, we are discussing possible purchase of diamonds for the Russian State Depository for Precious Metals and Gems. You supported such a transaction during the previous crisis in 2008. It helped the company stabilise the social situation and support the budget of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), because we are a systemically important company and our operations are critical for the budget. At the same time, in 2008, diamonds were purchased at rather low prices due to the crisis, and later, when the market recovered, the state sold them at a good price. Now, exactly the same instrument is being discussed. We are confident we will finally agree on everything soon.

As I reported to you in October 2019 during the Russia-Africa summit in Sochi, we are making good progress with our projects in Angola. You had two meetings with the President of Angola last year. We are developing our joint venture, the Catoca mining company, and discussing a number of promising projects.

Last year, you also had a meeting with the President of Zimbabwe. There has been certain progress on the issues that you discussed at that meeting. We have obtained the first licences and now our geologists have started an in-depth prospecting survey at those fields.

Naturally, our geological exploration centre is actively operating in Yakutia, which is our main area of interest when it comes to new deposits. We invest over 7 billion rubles in geological exploration every year and, as our geologists assure us, we have narrowed down the locations of the most attractive areas where new deposits and perhaps even new diamond-bearing provinces may be discovered.

Vladimir Putin:

You said that you supported diamond-cutting companies. How do you build relationships with them? Apparently, you are talking not only about our domestic diamond cutters. Or mainly about ours?

Sergei Ivanov:

Yes, Mr President. If we speak about Russian diamond-cutting companies, in late 2019 the Kristall diamond-cutting plant joined the ALROSA Group. The plant was in a very difficult financial situation and we had to work on its financial recovery. Unfortunately, the company had to be left idle for a certain period because we simply could not sell diamonds that were not in demand during the pandemic. We launched production recently and believe that we will be able to speed up the work and prepare for the holiday season and jewellery sales.

ALROSA also supported foreign diamond-cutting factories – namely, we did not force them to purchase raw materials under long-term contracts as we knew that these companies would be deprived of liquidity due to problems with diamond sales. We gave them a break for four to five months and this strategy proved right. Now we see that there is liquidity, they have the funds to buy diamonds from ALROSA and over the past few months, the price has not changed as much as it could have changed had we continued to sell diamonds during the pandemic.

Vladimir Putin:

You said the market is recovering. You are seeing this, right? Nonetheless, you are drafting with the Government and Finance Ministry potential support measures similar to those taken before. Is this support necessary?

Sergei Ivanov:

We hope that in the fourth quarter we will increase sales to the level we had in the past year. Nonetheless, the sales plunge we had in the second quarter was unprecedented. Most experts compare these figures to the sales dive in the 1920s – by 90–95 percent.

Considering that ALROSA continues fulfilling a number of social commitments – we have not cut any of our social programmes – we discussed with the Finance Ministry that at this stage it may be worth buying raw materials for the State Fund of the Russian Federation. This would also be useful for the intervention that the state is carrying out – to remove a certain amount of diamonds from the market that may experience for some time an imbalance between production and consumption.

Mr President, since 2008 when you made this decision, our company has paid over 800 billion rubles in taxes and dividends to the budget of both the Russian Federation and the Republic of Yakutia.

Vladimir Putin:

And what about employment in your company?

Sergei Ivanov:

Mr President, today over 33,000 people work in our group. Our turnover is about seven percent. The average salary is about 130,000 rubles, which is well above the national average and higher than the average for Yakutia. The company invests about nine billion rubles in social benefits a year; only half of that amount is what we must do by law, and over four billion represent additional benefits that make up our social package.

Vladimir Putin:


The source of information -

Meeting with Head of the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs Igor Barinov

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Head of the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs Igor Barinov, who reported on the agency’s current activity.

October 13, 2020 - 14:30 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Barinov, good afternoon.

Head of the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs Igor Barinov:

Good afternoon.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Barinov, you will report on the overall performance of your agency, of course. Still, the Government has received a number of instructions on matters that fall within your purview, including those related to amending the corresponding programme that is being carried out as part of the national policy strategy. I would like to ask you to elaborate on these subjects. How is your agency’s work proceeding overall?

Igor Barinov:

Mr President, if I may, I will deliver a performance report and discuss issues we are facing.

Five and a half years have passed since your Executive Order and the Government Resolution establishing the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs. This proved to be a timely decision, since at that point in time ethnic and religious tensions were on the rise in the country. Memories of events and conflicts on inter-ethnic grounds were still alive: Kondopoga, Biryulevo, the Manezh Square events, and what happened in Salsk, Rostov Region, where there were casualties and many people were injured.

At that time, there were very few mechanisms for carrying out the state national policy. There was the federal targeted programme “Strengthening the unity of the Russian nation and ethnic and cultural development of the peoples of Russia,” but it failed to include a number of work streams from the state national policy. It did not cover matters related to indigenous minorities, preventing extremism on ethnic and religious grounds, supporting NGOs, promoting social and cultural adaptation for migrants, etc.

The situation in the regions was complicated too, because we did not have any branches responsible for the state national policy, there were no regional programmes. Or rather we only had such programmes in ethnic majority regions and they were only focused on cultural events, which are very important but certainly not enough.

Mr President, I can assure you that the current situation in the field of interethnic and interreligious relations is stable and favourable.

We worked together with researchers from the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences to determine which indicators can show clearly where we stand at this particular moment and can allow us to make medium- and even long-term forecasts of the development of interethnic relations.

According to this indicator, 96 percent of our people did not have any ethnic conflicts at home, at work, in public transport or in the street over the past year, and 87 percent of respondents said they did not feel any resentment or hostility towards other ethnic groups.

One more important indicator is a feeling of civil identity, that is, seeing oneself as a citizen of Russia and part of the Russian nation, as well as a sense of being involved in and responsible for the processes underway in Russia. This indicator is currently 91 percent, the highest figure ever in the history of our surveys.

Vladimir Putin:

It is a very good figure. This is extremely important in a multinational country.

Igor Barinov:

All of this has only become possible, that is, this positive trend has been brought about by a comprehensive approach to the implementation of the state national policy and the system-wide decisions taken over the past few years. They include, first of all, the establishment of the Presidential Council for Interethnic Relations, which has rallied the expert community and the leaders of the largest public organisations and federal ethnic and cultural autonomies. Another important decision concerned the updating of the state national policy, because the previous wording was adopted in 2012. Since then, major changes have taken place in the country and the world.

At that time, we did not have a system of governance or a state national policy. Neither was there ISIS or the conflict in Donbass, and Crimea had not reunited with Russia yet.

There were major shifts in public opinion, with people overcoming many negative stereotypes they had encountered on ethnic and religious affairs. As such, the strategy in its current version is in tune with the spirit of our time, and addresses all the risks and possible threats in this area.

A state programme has been developed and is being implemented covering the state national policy in all its main aspects. Most importantly, it is backed by the necessary funding from the budget.

We established a prize category for strengthening interethnic peace and accord as part of the Best Municipal Practice national contest, and this award has become very popular, to our great satisfaction. This year alone, we have already received applications from 70 regions and about 300 projects. Of course, we will select the best ones and carry them out across the country.

The fact that structural divisions have been created in the regions along with regional programmes is a major achievement. After all, all the issues, conflicts and positive developments tend to happen at the municipal level. It is for this reason that we have been paying a lot of attention lately to personnel training.

We developed professional standards and qualifications for specialists in interethnic and interreligious relations. There are two model programmes. Together with Lomonosov Moscow State University we have been holding workshops and meetings in federal districts for a third year now. This year, 1,200 people took part in these workshops in person despite the pandemic, and another 1,440 participated online.

Ideally, we want every municipal entity to have a qualified, smart staff member, trained under our programme, who will be in charge of national policy. We will strive to achieve this objective.

Vladimir Putin:


We had to make appropriate amendments to these programmes, I mean the state programme. It runs until 2025, right?

Igor Barinov:

Yes, Mr President. We have amended the state programme, and are now discussing these indicators with our colleagues from the Presidential Executive Office. We have our own point of view on this matter. I think that we will be able to reach an agreement so that your instruction is finally carried out.

Vladimir Putin:

Please do.

Igor Barinov:

Thank you very much.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud at the latter’s initiative.

October 13, 2020 - 20:40

The sides positively assessed the level of bilateral relations and expressed mutual intention to further develop Russian-Saudi cooperation in various areas.

They exchanged in detail their views on the current situation in the world energy market and emphasised the importance of continuing joint work, including in the OPEC Plus format.

The source of information -

Meeting with Government members

Vladimir Putin held a regular meeting with Government members, via videoconference.

October 14, 2020 - 16:20 - The Kremlin, Moscow

The meeting focused on the main instruments for achieving investment development targets.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues.

Today we will hear a report by Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov on the main instruments for achieving investment development targets.

However, I would like to begin with a different matter. I have a nice piece of news: the Novosibirsk-based Vektor Centre has registered a second coronavirus vaccine, EpiVacCorona. I would like Ms Golikova to tell us about this in detail. As far as I am aware, a third vaccine is almost ready at the Chumakov Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Ms Golikova, please.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova:

Good afternoon, Mr President, colleagues.

It is good news indeed. The Vektor Centre has received the registration certificate today.

I would like to note that clinical trials involved 100 volunteers. Unlike with the first Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, which is an adenovirus vector-based vaccine, the new one is a promising synthetic vaccine based on peptides. It consists of short synthetic peptide fragments of virus proteins, which the immune system can use to identify and neutralise the virus. It should be pointed out that the peptide-based vaccine does not induce any reactogenic responses and is noted for its high level of safety.

The first batch of 60,000 vaccine doses will be produced in the near future, and the Vektor Centre will launch post-registration clinical trials in a number of Russian regions involving 40,000 volunteers. I would like to add that simultaneously the centre also plans to start clinical trials on 150 people aged over 60.

I would like to point out that the creation of a second Russian vaccine will greatly increase vaccination opportunities for people, which will help us to stabilise the situation and will bring us closer to the end of the COVID-19 epidemic.

In addition, post-registration clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine are ongoing as well. They involve 13,000 volunteers, and the vaccine has been dispatched to the regions, albeit in small amounts, but it has.

One more vaccine, which you have mentioned, has been created at the Chumakov Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It is an inactivated vaccine. We have received permission to conduct the first and second stages of clinical trials at medical facilities in Novosibirsk, St Petersburg and Kirov. During the first stage, 15 volunteers were inoculated with this vaccine on October 6. They have not reported any serious complications or side effects. All of them feel well, and the second stage will begin on October 19 on 285 volunteers. The clinical trials of this vaccine are expected to conclude by December, which means that we will have three vaccines. We certainly hope that this will be the case. The more vaccination opportunities we offer to our citizens, the sooner we defeat the coronavirus.

Mr President, may I say a few words about the epidemiological situation and the Russian regions’ preparedness to work under these conditions?

Vladimir Putin:

Please do.

Tatyana Golikova:

Actually, just as we expected, the number of coronavirus cases went up with the beginning of the autumn-winter epidemic season. As of October 14, we have 1,340,000 cases of COVID-19. The average increment rate over the past 24 hours across the country was 1.1 percent, and in 30 regions, it was even higher.

I would like to note that the average daily incidence rate for the past working week was 7.5 per 100,000 people. I would like to note in this regard that Russia ranks 54th among the 189 countries that publish data on the spread of the virus. This suggests that the situation in Russia, although quite tense and complicated, is nevertheless under control. It does differ across the regions: as of the end of the last working week, an increase was observed in 38; 29 were unstable; 18 recorded a stabilisation of incidence; while eight regions showed relatively high levels.

The regions that showed a significant increase have failed to fully implement sanitary and anti-epidemiological restrictions: there was no control over wearing facemasks in public spaces and public transport, and no restrictions on public events. On the other hand, the regions showing low morbidity rates were the ones enforcing the anti- epidemiological measures. I will cite a few examples.

In the Chechen Republic and the Republic of Tatarstan, there is strict enforcement of facemask requirements and the COVID-19 incidence rate is less than one per 100,000.

(Further in her remarks, the Deputy Prime Minister addressed the regional authorities, employers and citizens to underscore the need to comply with the requirements and sanitary doctors’ recommendations, adding that the level of testing has reached almost 52 million lab tests, and also cited statistics on the graveness and age structure of cases and on the number of hospital beds available. In addition, Tatyana Golikova spoke of the Russian regions’ preparedness for the autumn-winter epidemic season and the supply of medicines.)

In closing, I would like to say that the spread of the novel coronavirus, and of course, the autumn-winter epidemic season are cause for concern. However, our preparations carried out in spring, I mean, the fact that two Russian vaccines are now available, makes us confident in the future. We believe that the situation is under control and no restrictive measures for the economy are required.

However, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the regions and the people to comply with all sanitary requirements.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

Ms Golikova, you said 40,000 volunteers are willing to take part in testing the new vaccine, EpiVacCorona. As far as I know, you and Chief Sanitary Doctor of Russia Anna Popova have been vaccinated, among these 40,000 volunteers. You have already been given the second dose of this vaccine, haven’t you? How are you doing?

Tatyana Golikova:

Yes, Mr President, Ms Popova and I were vaccinated, and not among 40,000 volunteers, but as part of clinical trials, that is, during the first and second phases in order to see if the vaccine was safe and effective.

Indeed, we have two phases behind us. Neither Ms Popova, nor I had any side effects or complications during the first and the second phase, or afterwards. We strongly hope this will be the case with everyone who takes this vaccine in the future.

Vladimir Putin:

Did you run a fever?

Tatyana Golikova:

No, we did not. Importantly, none of the volunteers in the first or second phases had a fever, either.

Vladimir Putin:

I see. But the titres appeared, did they not?

Tatyana Golikova:

Yes, they did, and at a fairly high level.

Vladimir Putin:

I see.

I would like to congratulate the researchers and staff at the Novosibirsk Center Vektor on this achievement. This is undoubtedly an important accomplishment of yours, my dear friends. Thank you very much for your work, talent and dedication. We need to step up the production of our first and second vaccines. Of course, it is critical to provide as much of the vaccine to the Russian market as possible.

We continue to cooperate with our foreign partners, and we will promote our vaccine internationally. However, we should strive to produce the vaccines for our international customers, at least at this point, at production facilities in the recipient countries. I think everyone understands this. I just want to point it out again.

Ms Golikova, you said that testing has not been properly organised in all regions. You also said that six regions clearly have a problem with that. I will call you shortly after this meeting to get a list of these regions.

Tatyana Golikova:

Fine, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin:

Let us proceed.

Several days ago, Mr Patrushev reported to me that the grain harvest in 2020 might be at least the second largest harvest in Russia’s recent history.

Mr Patrushev, are you here, can you hear us?

Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev:

Yes, Mr President, I hear you.

Vladimir Putin:

Please comment on this and elaborate on what you have already reported to me.

Dmitry Patrushev:

Thank you very much.

Mr President, colleagues,

Despite the recent developments, Russian agriculture shows positive trends. We continue to cooperate with the regions on a weekly basis to monitor the situation in the sector. In general, it remains stable. In spring, farmers had their sowing season as usual. The harvest campaign also began on time and is almost done now. The harvest rate and crop yield figures are significantly higher than last year.

As of today, grains have been harvested on 93 percent of the areas and, as I reported, we hope that this year the grain harvest will exceed 125 million tonnes in net weight, including the expected 82 million tonnes of wheat, which is 7.5 million tonnes more than in 2019. The plans for other crops are as follows.

The potato harvest should bring in about 22 million tonnes and the oilseed harvest should yield 21.5 million tonnes. In particular, a record harvest of rapeseed is expected: at least 2.5 million tonnes. The vegetable harvest is to exceed 14 million tonnes. In addition, fodder conservation for cattle breeding is on schedule.

At the same time, winter crop sowing continues. The total sowing area covers over 19 million hectares, which is half a million hectares more than last year. In 38 regions, the work has already been completed, and in another 24 regions, it is still underway.

Mr President, in general, everything is proceeding on schedule. Agricultural producers have been provided with the seed they need, and the same can be said about all the main production resources. In particular, the accumulated reserves of mineral fertilizer amount to 3.7 million tonnes, which is almost 10 percent more than last year. Prices on the mineral fertilizer market are stable now.

As for fuels and lubricants, no interruptions in fuel supplies were recorded over the past period of this year. Demand is about 4.6 million tonnes of diesel fuel and 700,000 tonnes of gasoline. Agricultural producers have been provided with fuel and lubricants for the harvesting campaign.

Next. The major farms have over 565,000 tractors and combine harvesters, and the equipment fleet is being systematically updated. According to plan, 56,000 units will be purchased this year, partly based on Resolution No. 1432 of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and preferential Rosagroleasing programmes. In 2020, Rosagroleasing will supply at least 9,000 units of machinery and equipment worth 36 billion rubles. This was possible because of the funds allocated for the additional capitalisation of Rosagroleasing. I would like to thank you separately for this. This is a very necessary solution that allows for updating the agricultural equipment fleet.

I will brief you on the main parameters of state support. In 2020, 100.5 billion rubles were allocated to the regions as direct financial assistance to farmers. These funds were directed to the regions in December of last year. As of today, 72 percent have been received by the direct recipients. I would like to note that this pace is higher than last year, but we continue to keep it under special control.

Also, during the period of seasonal field work, agricultural producers need to maintain a sufficient level of working capital. The most effective tool for this is loans, including concessional loans. To carry out seasonal work in 2020, Rosselkhozbank and Sberbank alone issued 479.8 billion rubles in loans, which is almost a quarter more than last year.

(Further, the Minister spoke about measures to support agriculture, including subsidies and concessional loans.)

Mr President, this is the current state of affairs regarding the sowing campaign. I also have information on the comprehensive development of rural areas, which I would like to present to you now, if I may.

Vladimir Putin:

Please do.

Dmitry Patrushev:

Thank you.

We have repeatedly said that the agro-industrial complex is more than just agricultural output and food, it is also the rural people employed in this industry. To improve their quality of life, since 2020 the Ministry of Agriculture has been implementing the state programme Comprehensive Development of Rural Areas. It came as an important stage in the large-scale development of the territories that one-fourth of the Russian population calls home. The state programme is based on monitoring Russia’s rural areas in terms of key parameters that describe the quality of life, so each of its action points has been thought through from the perspective of actual needs. Moreover, regions, local government bodies and, importantly, rural residents took an active part in drafting this state programme. As a result, 81 regions took part in the 2020–2021 bidding campaign.

Notably, according to the plan, the state programme will cover areas that are home to almost 5 million people, or 13 percent of Russia’s rural population, during the first year of its implementation, with 132 projects this year, including landscaping, construction and renovation of social buildings; 90 of these projects will be completed in 2020. As a result, 361 new buildings will become available, including schools, kindergartens and cultural centres, as well as medical and sports facilities. In addition, over 833 kilometres of gas distribution lines and over 733 kilometres of water supply lines will become operational in 2020. In addition, almost 690 kilometres of roads will be built or renovated.

Mr President, the rural housing mortgage programme enjoys high popularity and has already been used by over 24,000 people in 80 regions with the amount of outstanding loans nearing 48 billion rubles, which were used to buy about 1.8 million square metres of housing in rural areas. In other words, we are seeing an enormous interest in this programme and are working on proposals to extend it until 2030.

Colleagues, while providing the country’s population with sufficient amounts of produce, our agrarians have been taking on foreign markets as well. The demand for domestic agricultural produce is growing, partly because of its high quality. In 2020, we plan to export about $25 billion worth of produce. We have currently surpassed $20 billion. In addition, we are also continuing our import substitution plans. We have a package of measures for the development of foreign trade. Despite the pandemic, in 2020 we have opened new markets for 18 commodities of Russian origin. In all, we can deliver our products to 160 countries.

As a matter of course, we are carrying out our plans to promote our agro-industrial products. In part, Mr President, we have created a network of representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture in 50 countries in line with your executive order. Once coronavirus-related restrictions are lifted, our first representatives will start performing their functions in Thailand, Tunisia, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico and Malaysia. We expect this to increase the export potential of the agro-industrial complex. On the whole, we estimate that all of our planned figures for foreign trade will be reached.

Mr President, concluding my report, I would like to convey to you, members of the Government of the Russian Federation, the Federal Assembly and regional governors our enormous gratitude for your permanent attention to the development of the agro-industrial complex and assistance in helping us reach the goals of our sector.

This is my report. Thank you for your attention.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

Mr Patrushev, did I understand you correctly when you said agricultural exports have increased over the same period last year?

Dmitry Patrushev:

Yes, you are correct. On the same date last year, we had not reached $20 billion. I checked the current figures today. Our agricultural exports are already at $20.7 billion. I expect that we will fulfil our plans for this year.

Vladimir Putin:

The workers in this industry continue to make us happy. We are very grateful to them. That is great.

Dmitry Patrushev:

Thank you, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin:

I understand that we will review the final results of the harvest a bit later, is that right?

Dmitry Patrushev:

For now, 93 percent of all areas have been threshed. Only a little remains, but still it makes sense to review the results a bit later, you are quite right, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin:

All right, that is clear. Thank you very much.

Dmitry Patrushev:

Thank you.


Vladimir Putin:

Easy-term mortgage loans at 6.5% APR are among the measures to support the construction industry and individuals. It ends on November 1.

Mr Mishustin, since the situation is challenging overall and, even with the economy recovering, people and certain sectors of the economy, including construction, are struggling, so why not extend this programme into at least mid-2021? What do you think?

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin:

Mr President, colleagues,

Indeed, you are correct. The easy-term 6.5% APR mortgage loan programme for newly built housing will expire on November 1. It was launched by the Government upon your instructions in April. A person can take out a loan to buy a flat costing up to 6 million rubles throughout Russia, and 12 million rubles in Moscow and Moscow Region, and St Petersburg and Leningrad Region.

Vladimir Putin:

Is that a flat in a new building? Are you talking about new construction?

Mikhail Mishustin:


It is safe to say that this programme is among the most effective anti-crisis measures with over 220,000 loans worth 630 billion rubles already issued. The programme covers over 90 percent of the mortgage loans for new housing. We can see that it is a popular programme that families can use. By the way, this has supported the construction industry, which found itself in a plight due to the pandemic.

In this regard, Mr President, we support this and we consider it important to extend this easy-term mortgage loan programme at 6.5% APR until July 1, 2021. We can quickly come up with the corresponding directives.

Vladimir Putin:

Good, let us go ahead and do so, since this is a truly popular programme, which is really helpful. Let us extend it until at least mid-2021.

Mikhail Mishustin:

We will, Mr President.

And one more thing. Under your instructions, last week I met with Viktor Medvedchyuk, the leader of the Political Council of the Ukrainian party Opposition Platform — For Life. We discussed a number of issues, including a request by Ukrainian industrialists to open access to some companies in our markets. They are subject to our response measures. These are the companies that used to export goods to Russia.

Mr President, we think it is possible to allow the delivery of equipment and products for the following companies: Bratslav, the Barsky Machine-Building Plant and the Rubezhansky Cardboard Mill.

Mr President, if you support the return of these imports to our country, the Government will process the necessary paperwork for this purpose. Of course, the interests of our manufacturers will be fully observed. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has meticulously studied the impact of this decision. We will wait and see how our Ukrainian colleagues react to this gesture of goodwill. We will proceed from a position of parity in the development of our economic relations.

Vladimir Putin:

All right. It is common knowledge that we did not introduce these restrictions. We merely responded to them. We are always ready to restore full-scale cooperation with Ukraine. The level of cooperation between our companies was very high and comprehensive. It was useful to both of us, bringing mutual benefit and keeping jobs, providing people with decent salaries. We are ready to restore full-scale cooperation with our Ukrainian partners. Let us consider this a first move and a goodwill gesture on our part. All right, I agree with this, go ahead, all the more so since the Government believes it is possible and will not harm our producers. Why not? All right, it is a deal.

Mikhail Mishustin:

Thank you, Mr President. We will process the paperwork.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

Let us address the main issue. Mr Reshetnikov, you have the floor, please.

Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov:

Mr President,


The July executive order has upgraded our national goals. There are two key economic goals – economic growth and increased investing, and for good reason, because the two goals are interconnected. In the long run, economic growth primarily stems from an increase in investment.

In recent years, we have been systematically establishing the necessary tools, the investment climate, tax incentives, and have been expanding infrastructure and development institutions at both the federal and the regional levels.

It is crucial to identify another priority at this point, which is support for specific projects in certain industries and regions. This will be the foundation for launching a new investment cycle.

This work is to be streamlined in three areas.

First, support for private investment, large private projects including those within our new investment instrument, that is, the legislation on the protection and promotion of capital investment.

The second area is implementing projects in the regions.

And the third area is facilitating investment programmes of companies with state ownership.

The first area involves support for large private investment. The mechanism – as I mentioned, the Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (IPPA) – provides investors with long-term stability of operating conditions. The mechanism primarily stabilises taxes imposed on the implementation of investment projects, and the major conditions for implementation relating to the use of land, urban development, mandatory requirements, and conditions for support from the state.

It also offers a new opportunity that was missing before. Now developers can independently build the infrastructure needed for investment project implementation: roads, power lines, utility infrastructure, while the state will then reimburse the costs through future taxes, which will be paid from the operation of the investment project. Last week the Government approved the required legislative base for enforcing this law, and within only a few days, we have received applications for 15 projects worth 850 billion rubles, which will presumably create 35,000 new jobs.

The goal is to conclude at least 20 projects worth 900 billion rubles in investment before the end of this year. Why do I say “at least”? Because the mechanism for signing the agreement is a simple declaration. In other words, if a project meets the requirements and an investor applies, we are obliged to sign the agreement and stabilise the terms of the investment for the investor.

A special agency, the Investment Development Agency, has been set up to help investors. Now information platforms are being created to make the process as digitally compatible as possible.

Alongside this, we are developing the available tools. One of these tools, with great potential, is the Project Finance Factory, which is being developed by Vnesheconombank. As of today, the decision to fund 10 projects worth 760 million rubles has already been made as regards the Factory. In other words, these are large projects. VEB is considering another 12 projects worth 1.4 trillion rubles. Of course, we hope these tools will supplement one another. At the same time, we are now creating an opportunity to fund pools of projects and projects with long payoff periods under the Factory’s auspices.

We are also developing legislation on public-private partnerships and concessions. We have drafted a law that specifies the types of state financial participation in concessions and establishes a minimal threshold for private investment. This was not the case before. This bill simplifies the bidding procedure, it introduces an e-tender and will allow investors to be reimbursed for the expenses of pre-investment preparations. The draft law has received the necessary approvals and was submitted to the Government just a few days ago. On the whole, I would like to say that 100 new concession projects worth 300 million rubles in investment have appeared since the start of this year. In other words, this is an effective and sought for mechanism.

The second area includes support for regional projects. Here, our goal is to combine the development of the investment climate, support tools and the implementation of specific projects, so this would eventually result in implementing specific projects in the regions.

What is being offered? The mechanism for regional agreements on protecting and encouraging investment will be launched on April 1. The capabilities that investors have in relation to major projects will also become available to the regions in order to support medium-sized projects that are also important for the regions.

We are developing a mechanism for special economic areas and territories of advanced socioeconomic development. We know from practice that special economic areas are a very popular tool. Three new special economic areas were created during the challenging first six months of this year. The requisite documentation and decisions for five more areas were finalised and submitted to the Government. The decisions will be made soon.

Of course, we are following the application of the law and have drafted a package of amendments to legislation that concerns unification of such areas, reduction of administrative barriers for investors working on these projects, and expansion of the types of allowable activities in these areas. At the same time, we propose increasing the regions’ responsibility to make sure that the targeted number of jobs and the investment announced during the creation of special economic areas remain unchanged.

Concurrently, we are developing new tools to support housing construction and promote urban development. I am referring to infrastructure bonds, which we are working on.

I will take a moment to discuss the tax deduction tool for investment, which we have been using since 2018, and which needs to be upgraded given the current circumstances and goals. What is being offered? We propose tying in the provision of this deduction with the implementation of a specific project rather than the cost items, as is the case now, and providing an opportunity to write off not only the expenses associated with vehicles, equipment or transport, but also to consider the possibility – investors and governors asked for this – to include the costs associated with industrial buildings, such as factories and plants.

We also suggest providing for the regions’ budget shortfalls in revenue beyond 2021. Some 27 billion rubles were found even in the complicated budget for 2021, but the governors are asking about the medium-term perspective because the possibility of reimbursement for one year alone makes it very difficult to make long-term decisions. We will discuss all these issues at the State Council meeting with our colleagues and the governors.

Ultimately, every region, not just the top 20 investment leaders, needs to regularly update its list of projects with all the support tools, which includes all the opportunities in the regions to attract investment and create jobs.

And, finally, the third area is support for investment programmes of companies with state ownership. This is primarily about investing in the fixed assets that create new jobs. Why is this so important?

First, overall investment by companies with state participation exceeds 20 percent in the national economy. This is a sizeable percent of all investment. The main point is that these investment programmes pay for the purchase of machine-building products, metallurgical products, building materials and chemical goods. These items of expenditure have a huge multiplicative effect on the entire economy.

For example, I can quote the investment programme of Russian Railways. This year the company faced a shortage of funds for implementing its investment programme. It created a new mechanism – a mechanism of perpetual bonds that has already attracted 150 billion rubles. It still has more plans until the end of the year in this regard. It is this instrument that allows Russian Railways to stabilise the implementation of its investment programme and continue carrying out the projects it has launched before. Now other companies are interested in this approach.

Mr President, everything I listed is part of a single plan to achieve the national goals currently drafted by the Government and is being discussed. Both the regions and the involved industries, as well as federal agencies, will be advised as to the investment benchmarks. We will ultimately achieve our goals by pursuing real projects – large private projects, and state and regional projects.

Thank you for your attention.

Vladimir Putin:

All right, thank you.

(Other speakers at the meeting included Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Accounts Chamber Chairman Alexei Kudrin, and Governor of Chelyabinsk Region Alexei Teksler.)

Vladimir Putin:

As we have said, of course, you have just spoken about this, attracting investment and investment development measures are the key approaches to making progress in the economy and overall progress in the country. This includes many components, very many factors. This is definitely stability, in the broadest sense of the word, both political stability and macroeconomic stability, this is minimal bureaucracy, effective – but entirely within the law – performance of law enforcement bodies, and we often revisit this, a reasonable antimonopoly policy and general fiscal policy. There are many matters here we must look into.

I strongly expect that we will work together to pursue these measures, efficiently use the tools mentioned here and generally give it the attention it requires. I ask the Prime Minister to keep this under his control.

Thank you.

Ms Golikova, I will call you shortly; we will get in touch and talk.

Thank you very much. All the best to all of you.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Turkish side’s initiative.

October 14, 2020 - 19:40

The presidents discussed in detail developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. Both sides reaffirmed the importance of complying with the humanitarian truce that was agreed in Moscow on October 10. Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke in favour of stepping up the political process, in particular, based on the work of the OSCE Minsk Group.

Vladimir Putin expressed serious concern over the involvement of Middle Eastern fighters in the military action. The leaders stressed the urgent need for joint efforts in order to cease the bloodshed and move to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem as soon as possible.

Hope was expressed that Turkey, as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, would make a constructive contribution to de-escalating the conflict.

The effectiveness of cooperation between Russia and Turkey was pointed out during the discussion of Syrian and Libyan affairs. The cooperation helped to stabilise the situation and move forward on the political and diplomatic tracks.

A number of issues related to bilateral cooperation were also discussed. The two presidents noted mutual interest in countering the coronavirus, including collaboration in developing and producing vaccines. Specialised agencies will be instructed accordingly.

The parties agreed to maintain regular contacts via diplomatic and military channels.

The source of information -

Meeting with Head of Karachayevo-Circassia Rashid Temrezov

Vladimir Putin held a working meeting via videoconference with Head of the Karachayevo-Circassian Republic Rashid Temrezov.

October 15, 2020 - 14:20 - The Kremlin, Moscow

At the beginning of the meeting, Rashid Temrezov at the President’s request spoke about the measures to support citizens and small and medium-sized businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic, additional social support measures to families with children, as well as efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus. He noted the consolidation of all government agencies, the Russian Government, relevant ministries and the regional bodies of power, as well as the support from the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the district. Last June, at the request of the Prosecutor-General, a comprehensive inspection of medical facilities took place in the republic. Handling certain issues identified during the inspection made it possible to treat patients more efficiently.

As for healthcare, an up-to-date oncology centre, a republican children’s hospital, a new building of the prenatal centre and many rural health posts have been built in the republic over the past several years. The Head of the republic asked the President to instruct the Healthcare Ministry and the Government to include Karachayevo-Circassia in the list of regions where an infectious disease hospital is to be built. Rashid Temrezov also said that average life expectancy in the republic is 76.2 years, ranking it sixth in Russia. Plans call for reaching the 80+ threshold by 2023.

The economy and the socio-political situation were also discussed, including such problems as low incomes and growing unemployment, especially during the first six months of this year. According to Mr Temrezov, implementing a large investment package and a programme on the republic’s sustainable development is key to decreasing tensions about unemployment. About 20 projects worth 45 billion rubles in total have been prepared. Many are already underway, and many are nearing completion. Damate, the largest turkey producer, will open a sheep breeding branch in May 2021. It will be a large advanced enterprise that will create over 500 jobs.

Construction of small hydropower plants together with RusHydro continues. Fruit growing is actively developing with about 1,000 hectares of orchards restored in the republic in recent years.

In industry, the modernisation of the plant manufacturing plasterboard and dry mixes continues. The republic is among Russia’s leading producers of bottled drinking water with 800 million litres per year, and today a number of enterprises are being upgraded and are increasing their capacities. UGMK is building a mining and processing plant that meets all environmental safety standards; this is among the plant’s most important and promising projects.

Tourism is developing successfully, in particular, at the Arkhyz all-season resort. The tourist flow to Karachayevo-Circassia has grown by 20 percent, up to 1.2 million. Plans for further development have been outlined together with the Russian Government and the Ministry of Economic Development.

Over the past several years, the republic has built a large number of socially important facilities such as schools, kindergartens, hospitals, sports complexes and culture centres, which are especially important because 60 percent of the population live in rural areas.

Vladimir Putin drew Rashid Temrezov’s attention to addressing problems related to the high level of unemployment and a drop in the construction sector. He added that support measures will be taken regarding all requests of the republic and wished success in solving tasks that Mr Temrezov had outlined in the conversation.

Rashid Temrezov invited Vladimir Putin to visit Karachayevo-Circassia, which will mark its 100th anniversary in 2022, in line with the President’s executive order. Vladimir Putin accepted the invitation and noted that he enjoyed his visits to Karachayevo-Circassia and was very interested in following its development.

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 October 21st, 2020 #136
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Meeting with permanent members of the Security Council

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

October 16, 2020 - 14:10 - The Kremlin, Moscow

The meeting’s agenda included the dialogue between Russia and the United States on the New START. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov briefed the participants on this topic.

The participants also exchanged views on the ongoing developments in the conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, 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, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, and Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

Before we get to the main item on today’s agenda, I would like to ask Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov whether there has been any progress in the dialogue with the United States to extend one of the central documents in terms of international security and arms control. I am referring to the New START, the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.

Where are we in the talks with the Americans?

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov:

Mr President,

In keeping with your instructions, we remain quite proactive in our contacts with our American colleagues on strategic stability matters in all their aspects, including by emphasising our initiative to take a decision without delay to extend the New START, set to expire in February 2021, for a new five-year term without any preconditions. This initiative remains on the table.

In the meantime, we confirm that we will be ready to continue working on new agreements, and that we have submitted, with your consent, clear proposals in furtherance of the comprehensive approach to strategic stability, which have been forwarded to the US side. In reply, the United States has sent us its proposals, which have been presented as conditions, or rather preconditions for the extension of the New START. Moreover, these preconditions are rather numerous and have been formulated both outside the Treaty itself and outside our frame of reference.

To a certain extent, a critical situation has taken shape, because in February, as I said, in early February, the Treaty will expire. If there is no consent from both sides, in keeping with the Treaty’s procedures on its extension, it will cease to exist. This means, in effect, that to all intents and purposes the work on the Treaty extension proper, without the conditions that it does not contain, has not yet started.

Vladimir Putin:

What is the exact expiry date for this Treaty?

Sergei Lavrov:

February 4, 2021.

Vladimir Putin:

Does this mean that we face a full-sized threat to be left, and in general leave the world, without this Treaty?

Sergei Lavrov:

And, in general, without any other instrument that would ensure at least some joint approaches to maintaining strategic stability. The rest has been either pulled out or suggested by the Americans for termination.

Vladimir Putin:

It would be extremely sad, if this Treaty ceased to exist and was not replaced by another fundamental document of this kind. During all the previous years, the New START worked and worked properly, performing its fundamental role as a constraint curtailing the arms race and a tool of arms control. It is clear that we have new weapons systems that the American side lacks, at least for the time being. But we are not refusing to discuss this aspect of the matter as well.

In this regard, I have a proposal, namely, to extend the Treaty now in effect unconditionally for at least a year in order to have a chance to hold substantive talks on all the parameters of problems that are regulated by treaties of this kind, lest we leave our countries and all nations of the world with a vested interest in maintaining strategic stability without such a fundamental document as the Strategic Offensive Arms Limitation Treaty.

Please, formulate our position to the US partners and try to obtain at least some comprehensible reply from them as soon as possible.

Sergei Lavrov:

We will do it as soon as we can, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

Let us go over to a discussion of current matters.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud

October 17, 2020 - 16:25

In follow-up to the previous telephone conversation, the parties had a detailed exchange of opinions on the progress of the existing OPEK Plus agreements. Both sides stressed again their readiness to continue close coordination in this area in the interests of maintaining stability in the global fuel market.

In addition, they discussed issues related to interaction in fighting the spread of the coronavirus infection, in particular, prospects for using the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in Saudi Arabia.

The parties pledged to continue contacts at different levels.

The source of information -

Congratulations on Road Workers’ Day

Vladimir Putin congratulated current workers and veterans of the road industry on their professional holiday, Road Workers’ Day.

October 18, 2020 - 09:00

The message reads, in part:

“The road industry is a key and essential sector of the national economy. Construction and modernisation of motorways and increasing their safety and traffic capacity have an immense effect on the development of the country’s economy and boosting regions’ industrial and technological potential as well as living standards.

I should note that the national road sector is expanding. Under comprehensive state programmes, efforts are underway to upgrade federal, regional and local motorways and roads, with widespread introduction of advanced technologies that extend road service period and endurance. Extensive work is underway to create a comfortable and stable transport infrastructure, which is becoming more accessible for persons with limited mobility.

I am confident that through cherishing labour traditions of your predecessors and putting effort into using advanced logistic and management schemes, you will further successfully solve responsible tasks to the benefit of Russia and its citizens.”

The source of information -

Greetings on 10th anniversary of Skolkovo Foundation

Vladimir Putin congratulated the management, staff and residents of the Skolkovo Foundation on its 10th anniversary.

October 19, 2020 - 12:00

The message reads, in part:

“Over the years, the Foundation has done a lot to promote modern high-tech businesses in Russia, has accumulated positive experience in commercialising scientific research results and, what is essential, has opened up wide opportunities for the intellectual and creative self-realisation of enthusiastic talented people, young entrepreneurs and researchers.

It is a pleasure to see such a large and much-needed project implemented. Today there are over 2,500 innovative companies at Skolkovo, and their products are popular on the domestic market and abroad. The foundation plays an active part in addressing tasks related to modernising the national economy and social sphere and implementing digital technologies in everyday life.

I am confident that energy, initiative and ambition to acquire new knowledge and skills will continue to help you to grow professionally and succeed.”

Vladimir Putin also wished a constructive and substantive discussion to the guests of the Open Innovations Moscow International Forum of Innovative Development scheduled to take place online on October 19–21.

The source of information -

Greetings to participants of gala evening marking 75th anniversary of UN

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to participants of the gala evening marking the 75th anniversary of the UN.

October 19, 2020 - 12:45

The message reads, in part:

“I would like to extend my greetings on the occasion of this celebration to the leadership and staff of the UN bodies’ representative offices accredited in Russia, as well as to the UN Information Centre in Moscow and the UN Association of Russia.

The United Nations Organisation was established to strengthen peace and security worldwide, to facilitate a political and diplomatic settlement of crises, to ensure sustainable socioeconomic development and to protect human rights.

Russia as a co-founder of the UN has been actively supporting its activities, consistently advocating the strengthening of its central coordinating role in global affairs and the importance of strict compliance with the norms and principles of the UN Charter. We proceed from the assumption that there is no, nor had there ever been any alternative to the UN as a global platform for an equal multilateral dialogue and partner-like collaboration in dealing with a host of various problems facing humanity.

The theme of the 75th UN anniversary celebration is Shaping Our Future Together. It is indeed true that we will only be effective if we stand up together against the global challenges of the 21st century in order to ensure the peaceful and prosperous development of the humankind.”

The source of information -

Meeting with Head of Federal Agency for Fishery Ilya Shestakov

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Head of Federal Agency for Fishery Ilya Shestakov updated the President on developments in the industry, in particular, the implementation of investment quotas.

October 19, 2020 - 14:30 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon.

Mr Shestakov, as far as I am aware, the fishing industry has been working at a steady pace despite the coronavirus restrictions, and your figures for this year are comparable to last year’s results. I would like you to tell me about this in detail. I would also like to hear about licensing for investment purposes: what is the progress on the construction of fishing vessels? How are you monitoring the situation? And one more subject, which is not simple at all, I know, has to do with research vessels. I am aware of the funding problems in this sector. Let us talk about all this in detail.

Head of Federal Agency for Fishery Ilya Shestakov:

Thank you, Mr President.

We have prepared a presentation. Overall, I would like to note that the industry has been working constantly even amid the pandemic, as our fish catch forecasts show. We expect this year’s catch to be comparable to last year’s figure, around 5 million tonnes. The salmon season was not very good this year, but we will compensate for the salmon shortfall with an additional catch of Japanese pilchards, mackerel and Pollock.

Vladimir Putin:

By the way, in June this year I instructed the Government, Russian Railways and Rosatom to formulate proposals and take measures to minimise the cost of fish deliveries from the Far East to European Russia.

Ilya Shestakov:

Mr President, I would like to report that our working group is dealing with this, and that a carrier ship with a cargo of salmon has set sail from Kamchatka. Unfortunately, it will be the only run, because of the salmon shortfall this year, among other things.

In general, if we speak of logistics and infrastructure problems, we are working closely enough with Russian Railways. There is understanding and a well-established schedule for provision of rail cars. What I mean here is that there are no problems when it comes to the delivery of fish goods at the moment. We certainly regard the Northern Sea Route as an opportunity to diversify the routes, when a large volume of fish needs to be delivered during the salmon fishing season and seaport facilities are overburdened.

In general, I would like to say that the 2020 economic indicators in the industry are stable. The collected taxes and fees increased by 13.5 percent. It is important to note that the average salary across the industry rose by 7.2 percent. Overall, the average pay in the fishing industry in the first half of the year amounted to 91,000 rubles, we are in third place among all sectors of the economy, after finance and mining; this is a very good indicator.

I would also like to say a few words about aquaculture. It is a point of growth for us. After the law on aquaculture was adopted, production has gained a good pace. We expect an increase of 17 percent this year. Last year it was 20 percent. Salmon production is going to double by the end of 2020, to as much as 100,000 tonnes.

I would also like to mention the interim results of using the investment quotas mechanism. Overall, the construction of 107 vessels has now been announced: 56 vessels within the investment quotas, and another 35 crab vessels will be built following the crab auction; and the rest will be built due to a support measure implemented by the Ministry of Industry and Trade – the ministry is compensating 30 percent of the construction costs. In addition, 25 onshore factories will be built; to date11 have been completed. Of the 107 vessels, four have already been delivered to the customer, and 11 have been launched.

Unfortunately, there are certain problems related to the construction deadlines, but we are working on rescheduling things with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and shipyards are expected to meet the new deadlines.

Vladimir Putin:

Which shipyards are falling behind?

Ilya Shestakov:

Actually, Mr President, all shipyards are falling behind, the delays range from six months to two years, and the situation differs from shipyard to shipyard. The Vyborg Shipyard was the main problem, with delays of up to two years. We have now set new timeframes together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and fishermen, and shipyard managers promise to stick to them.

Vladimir Putin:

Please keep an eye on the situation and respond on time. Overall, companies now have enough contracts, and it is necessary to set the timeframes accordingly.

Ilya Shestakov:

We are actively dealing with this matter together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Mr President, I would like to say that the mechanism has now proved sufficiently effective. By manufacturing these vessels, we can upgrade 65 percent of capacity in the Northern basin, as well as 25 percent in the Far Eastern basin. We suggest continuing this programme, with due consideration for the shipyard’s capabilities, and allocating extra investment quotas for the Far Eastern basin from 2022 because regional renewal rates are not so impressive.

Here are some vessels now under construction and those that have already been handed over to clients. Besides, here are some brand-new fish-processing plants. Actually, those are the plants you opened on Shikotan Island – currently the most advanced fish-processing plants.

Regarding the research fleet, we will launch construction of two medium-size research vessels, and we have drawn up the design documentation for large research vessels. Unfortunately, there is a financial problem.

Vladimir Putin:

How much do you need?

Ilya Shestakov:

The first ship is estimated at 21 billion rubles. In all, we planned to build three ships worth 66 billion rubles.

Vladimir Putin:

I know that the Government is allocating funds, and a certain amount is lacking there.

Ilya Shestakov:

We are now awarding contracts for two medium-size vessels, and funding has been allocated for this purpose. So far, we have not received a single kopeck for large vessels.

Vladimir Putin:

We will work on this.

Ilya Shestakov:

We also conducted research in Antarctica upon your instructions. An important outcome of this project is that several companies have expressed interest in building three modern vessels for Antarctica at domestic shipyards. In other words, within four or five years we will be able to harvest some 300,000 tonnes of krill there for processing.

We are also repairing the mooring walls for commercial fishing vessels; we have repaired over 11 kilometres of mooring structures during this period. Private investment amounted to some 3 billion rubles. We have built three refrigerators with a total volume of 9,000 tonnes within the framework of investment obligations.

We are also working with RusHydro and Inter RAO on the reproduction of marine biological resources. Overall, our plants are working to capacity. We are also implementing an ambitious programme to build additional facilities for the reproduction of marine biological resources financed with extra-budgetary funds.

Vladimir Putin:

This is good.

Ilya Shestakov:

I would like to add briefly that in line with your instructions we are restoring the population of Baikal cisco. Additional funds have been allocated for reproduction and protection measures. We can report positive changes already: the decline in the cisco population has stopped, and we have even noticed a minor increase. Therefore, we generally believe that commercial cisco harvesting could resume in 2023–2025.

Vladimir Putin:

Was it this project that Steven Seagal took part in?

Ilya Shestakov:


Vladimir Putin:

Please give my thanks to him.

Ilya Shestakov:

Thank you, I will.

As I have already reported, this year the agency’s tall ships with some 600 naval cadets on board took part in an around-the-world expedition dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the Antarctica.

It went well, and the three Russian tall ships conducted a regatta in an area close to Antarctica. The foreign members of the expedition who were on board these vessels made highly positive comments about the race.

Mr President, the only new element this year is absolutely unique: we decided not to complete the around-the-world expedition this year because of the coronavirus lockdown, and STS Sedov [one of the world’s largest sail training vessels] is sailing from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad via the Northern Sea Route.

The source of information -

Meeting with Rosselkhozbank (Russian Agricultural Bank) Board Chairman Boris Listov

Mr Listov updated the President on the bank’s current operations.

October 20, 2020 - 13:00 - The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Listov, this year the bank marks its 20th anniversary.

Once again, my best wishes to you and all the bank’s employees.

Concerning its key performance indicators, the Russian Agricultural Bank is in the top 5 in the size of its loan portfolio. How do you assess the institution’s work? What tasks do you consider as priorities? And, of course, the results for the first half of the year.

Boris Listov, Chairman of the Board of Rosselkhozbank:

Allow me to give you a presentation on the bank's work. First of all, I would like to thank you for this meeting.

This year is very special for the bank; we marked our 20th anniversary. The bank has seen significant growth over these two decades, and it has grown along with the industry. Agriculture has become not just an efficient business, but a driver of the national economy.

I would like to thank you personally, Mr President, as well as the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the Government, and the Ministry of Agriculture for their systemic and timely decisions that promoted the development of the agro-industrial sector, including the development of the Russian Agricultural Bank.

Rosselkhozbank was established 20 years ago by your order, Mr President, on March 15, 2000.

Vladimir Putin:

I signed the executive order as Acting President then.

Boris Listov:

Exactly. And the first transactions were performed in June 2000, so we can say that the anniversary has already taken place.

Today Rosselkhozbank operates in 82 Russian regions. The regional network, the third in size, comprises 1,357 branch offices. The bank has 7 million clients, both individuals and legal entities. An interesting fact: the government invests 459 billion rubles in a bank, and the bank, in turn, provides support for the national agriculture at 9.4 trillion rubles. The bank currently employs 32,000 people.

Currently, Rosselkhozbank is one of the five biggest Russian banks and a backbone bank of the national economy. It ranks fifth in capital (511 billion rubles) and in the amount of attracted funds and private lending. It comes fourth in terms of mortgage and corporate lending.

Most importantly, Rosselkhozbank is the absolute leader when it comes to financing the agro-industrial complex. In 2019, we funded projects worth a total of 1.3 trillion rubles.

The bank’s operation is integral to fulfilling national-level tasks, primarily, developing the agro-industrial complex and rural areas.

The bank is an active participant in the following state programmes: agricultural development, market regulation for agricultural products, raw materials and food; comprehensive development of rural areas; the Agricultural Exports federal project; the Small and Medium-Sized Entrepreneurship and Support of Private Entrepreneurs national project, and the Housing and Urban Environment national project.

Vladimir Putin:

Is the mortgage portfolio growing?

Boris Listov:

It is growing, especially mortgages for rural housing. I was going to mention this later in my report.

This is a particularly interesting slide, which indicates that Rosselkhozbank investment is not just manifested in figures but in specific results that are tangible on the national scale. One in every two kilograms of pork and beef, one in every two litres of milk and one in every three eggs are products of the companies created with Rosselkhozbank funding. Over the past 20 years, we have supported over 5,200 investment projects. In certain sectors such as greenhouse vegetable farming, we are the primary lender – in other words, we actually shape and drive forward the development of these agricultural sectors.

Summarising the results of 2019, first of all, I would like to note that currently, one in every three rubles of loans issued to the agro-industrial complex comes from Rosselkhozbank. In 2019, Rosselkhozbank provided 22 percent more funds than in 2018 to support agricultural exports. The amount of preferential loans has increased by 20 percent while the amount of loans to residents of rural territories has increased by 13 percent.

One of the most important spheres is seasonal work, where the bank has always been the clear frontrunner. In 2019, we financed 381 billion rubles worth of seasonal work or 72 percent of the market. In quite a few regions, more precisely in 11, we are the only lending bank issuing loans for seasonal work.

This year we increased our lending operations, maintaining a sustainable lending pace, so that Russian farms can have everything they need and the national economy can accelerate its revival.

Next, I would like to report on our performance in the first eight months of 2020. To begin with, I would like to say that farming loans have grown considerably. The issuance of easy-term loans to farmers increased by 47 percent, loans for seasonal work went up by 35 percent, and overall lending to the agro-industrial complex increased by 29 percent. At the same time, our individual loan portfolio went up by only 8 percent, but we expect it to increase by some 20 percent this year compared to the 2019 figures.

We believe that one of our priorities is to ensure maximum effectiveness of government investment in the bank. These funds allow us to attract additional money on the market with the help of the banking multiplier, so that we can increase the financing of our agro-industrial complex every year.

The financing of our agro-industrial complex has increased by 119 percent or 2.2 times over the past five years. At the same time, while increasing the financing of the agricultural sector, the bank used its own funds to accelerate the settlement of the defaulted debts of the past years. The bank spent over 300 billion rubles for this purpose over the past five years, settling 44 percent of the overdue debts.

We plan to further reduce this figure to 6.5 percent by the end of the year, bringing it to the average market indicator.

Vladimir Putin:

Who owes you more money, individuals or legal entities?

Boris Listov:

Legal entities. We are among the market leaders when it comes to individual loans, holding third or fourth place in terms of quality. We have a very good portfolio of individual loans.

The next two slides are to do with to our clients, because a bank’s strength is in its clients, so we are dedicated to foster market leaders both in terms of production volumes and the use of innovative technologies. There are several examples that I will just quickly go over.

The EkoNiva Group of Companies is the largest dairy producer not only in Russia, but also in Europe. Its milk output is almost 1 million tonnes per year. A more than 100,000 strong dairy herd, with 14,000 jobs. The company operates in 14 regions. The remarkable thing about this project is that its founder and permanent head of the group is Stefan Duerr, a German-born citizen.

Vladimir Putin:

Are they in Voronezh?

Boris Listov:

Yes, he was granted Russian citizenship in 2014 upon request from Alexei Gordeyev [at that time the Governor of Voronezh Region] on the basis of your executive order for special services to Russia.

Another project is the Damate group, the largest turkey meat producer both in Russia and in Europe. The company applies artificial intelligence solutions that have no analogues in the Russian Federation. Their turkey output stands at 155,000 tonnes a year; 4,000 jobs. This project is remarkable because it is also an exporter of agricultural produce and supplies turkey meat to the Middle East. Its products can be found in onboard meals of such well-known airlines as Emirates, Etihad Airways, that is, it is a recognised leader in turkey production in Europe and in the world.

The third is NewBio, a project that we launched this year for deep processing of corn and the production of food components (maltodextrin and starch). Due to its cutting-edge technological equipment, the company meets the needs of both the domestic market and export. Its products are supplied to Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, South America and Africa.

Vladimir Putin:

Do they export 50 percent?

Boris Listov:

Even a little more. There is a huge demand for food ingredients on the global market. They are used in various products, added to various mixes, dietary supplements, so they are very popular.

In Kaliningrad Region, together with Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev, we opened the first private breeding and genetic centre for genetic material for dairy farming. This centre is part of the dairy agro-industrial holding company Zalesye. With the bank’s help, a full cycle of agricultural production was established there, not just from the field to the counter, but from genetics to the counter. The modern breeding and genetics centre was established with our German partners. We visited it, looked around, it was very interesting.

The next slide gives an idea of the geography of our projects. It is usually said that they are underway in an area reaching from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad, which is why we have decided to use this approach to demonstrate our projects as well. The first of them is Merci Trade, Primorye Territory. It is a large pig breeding complex, which I would describe as an agricultural cluster. It is not only about pork production but also about processing the meat. They have 500,000 pigs, produce 57,000 tonnes of pork a year, have created 600 new jobs and hold 15 percent of the market in the Far Eastern Federal District.

Vladimir Putin:

And what do they grow in Chechnya?

Boris Listov:

As for the Chechen Republic, they have built a cutting-edge greenhouse complex, YugAgroHolding, which turns out 12,500 tonnes of produce a year. They supply it not only to the republic but also to neighbouring regions. It is a very good modern complex.

Vladimir Putin:

Who organised the project and who invested in its implementation?

Boris Listov:

They invested the money themselves.

Vladimir Putin:

Do you mean that the investors are local?

Boris Listov:

Yes, local investors.

Vladimir Putin:

This is great. Good for them.

Boris Listov:

I would like to say a few words about Kaliningrad. The Sodrugestvo group of companies in Kaliningrad Region is Europe’s largest vegetable, or more precisely soybean oil extracting facility, 2.8 million tonnes. Everything that is required has been built there, and we are now supporting its daily operation. It is one of Russia’s largest agricultural companies.

Rosselkhozbank is working with the regions; our branches cover 75 percent of our rural areas. And our goal is for every rural resident to be able to access our financial products and services through our branches and via digital channels. To begin with, people want to have better housing. This is where our rural mortgage-lending programme comes in.

Mr President, this was largely thanks to your initiative, and we can see huge response to it. Our bank was the first to join the Agricultural Ministry’s programme, and we have become its indisputable leader. As of today, we have issued nearly 35 billion rubles in these loans and plan to increase the figure to 100 billion rubles this year. This is more than just figures; it is new housing for 17,000 families. It is especially gratifying that young people are taking out mortgages. As many as 40 percent of our loan borrowers are below the age of 30. This is really tremendous.

Here I would like to emphasise that Russian Agricultural Bank is becoming more than just a bank. In addition to banking products – standards and services – we provide a whole range of financial services such as asset management, insurance, factoring, and leasing. Today, more than half of the deals on the agricultural insurance market are signed under the Rosselkhozbank brand. But we go even further and become more than a bank for our clients; we create a comfortable environment for small and medium-sized agribusinesses, as well as for the rural and urban population.

To begin with, we have created an ecosystem for agriculture, for small and medium-sized agribusinesses. During my second presentation, I will outline in a little more detail the services that the ecosystem offers. In general terms, it is a system that has everything a small business needs to effectively and fully engage in this business on the ground.

Vladimir Putin:

Accessibility must, of course, be ensured for clients, the accessibility of the banking market.

Boris Listov:

It is one of our primary tasks, Mr President, and we are trying to do it through digital channels, and person-to-person. In other words, we are striving to become the centre of support for people’s activities, we help them, support their…

Vladimir Putin:

…business activity.

Boris Listov:


The second major field is to support exporters of agricultural produce. We have created an export accelerator jointly with the Russian Export Centre; all this is to help small and medium-sized businesses.

Together with the Ministry of Agriculture, with MGIMO University, we have opened a department for training trade attachés. Its graduates will promote our agricultural products abroad, fulfilling the task that you have set for us.

Vladimir Putin:


Boris Listov:

We have developed several online platforms, one for people buying flats, one for pensioners.

I would also like to speak about the support of agricultural universities. We support them, in particular, by equipping their lecture rooms, setting up digital classrooms, interactive classrooms, and implementing on-campus projects.

This year, we decided to increase the amount and number of scholarships. As many as 400 people in 54 agricultural universities are now receiving our personal scholarships.

Vladimir Putin:

How much is that?

Boris Listov:

12,500 rubles. We also help them with student practicum projects – we place interns in our head office as well as in regional branches. We are vigorously interacting with agricultural universities; we consider this a most important sphere for us.

We pay a lot of attention to private farmers, providing various services for doing business, helping them with product promotion; we will also speak about this later.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with President of France Emmanuel Macron

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of France Emmanuel Macron, at the French side’s initiative.

October 20, 2020 - 18:15

The Russian President expressed his condolences in connection with the terrorist act – the barbaric murder of a French teacher – that took place in the Paris suburbs on October 16. In this context, mutual interest in stepping up cooperation to combat terrorism and the spread of extremist ideology was reaffirmed.

The presidents discussed in detail developments in the conflict zone around Nagorno-Karabakh. Vladimir Putin informed his counterpart about the steps being taken to prevent the further escalation of hostilities and the prompt resumption of negotiations with a view to a political and diplomatic settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The importance of observing the ceasefire agreements by the parties to the conflict reached on October 10 and 17 was stressed.

Interest in continuing close coordination between Russia and France as co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, as well as through the UN Security Council, was emphasised.

It was agreed to maintain contact at various levels.

The source of information -

Executive Order on awarding the title of Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation to Nikita Mikhalkov

The President signed Executive Order On Awarding the Title of Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation to Nikita Mikhalkov.

October 21, 2020 - 10:00

Under the Executive Order, the title Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation is awarded to film director and public figure Nikita Mikhalkov for special merits in the development of Russian culture and arts and for years of fruitful work.

Nikita Mikhalkov (born October 21, 1945), a Soviet/Russian actor, film director, scriptwriter and producer. National Artist of the RSFSR, full cavalier of the Order For Services to the Fatherland, holder of three State Prizes (1993, 1995, 1999) and one Lenin Komsomol Prize (1978). Chairman of the Union of Cinematographers of the Russian Federation and President of the Moscow International Film Festival. Holder of numerous international film festival awards and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The source of information -

Meeting with members of the Board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs

Vladimir Putin had a meeting, via videoconference, with members of the Board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

October 21, 2020 - 16:40 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Friends, colleagues, good afternoon,

We meet on a regular basis to exchange views on the developments in the global economy and primarily in the national economy. We discuss matters that preoccupy the entire business community. Together, we analyse tasks that call for joint efforts by the government and businesses.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that companies you represent are what we call systemically important enterprises. They are part of complex cooperation and trade chains in Russia and beyond. In the course of your business activities you experience first-hand the challenges the national economy and the global markets face.

You are well aware that the global economic recovery has so far been extremely unstable. Moreover, it could stumble upon new acute hurdles.

The epidemiological situation is challenging. COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Russia and in many other countries as well, and a number of them have introduced lockdowns, with companies coming to a halt or switching over to remote work on a massive scale. This also includes restrictions in everyday life, which affects many sectors of the economy.

It is obvious that in this context the question of what can be done to mitigate the economic and other consequences of the epidemic deserves special attention.

I would just like to note once again: well-coordinated joint efforts of the state, businesses, public organisations and all citizens, their understanding of common responsibility for how this country will pass this difficult and strenuous period are in this respect extremely vital.

I would like to emphasise that protection of life and health of our people must always be in the focus of attention – I have said this many times and want to stress it once again. This is an absolutely key premise that underlies our entire work during the pandemic.

Today, I would like to ask you to give an update on how your companies are implementing measures to protect their workers, their staff from the risks of the epidemic and what you are doing to make sure people stay healthy.

And, of course, now that business connections and the smooth work of companies are undergoing the test of strength, it is particularly important to ensure jobs and wages for our people, and to protect the wellbeing of Russian families and their confidence in the future.

I would like to recall that we have already amassed experience on supporting major, backbone companies and key industries of the national economy. This concerns construction, the light and automobile industries, transport and communications that employ millions of our people.

We created these mechanisms of supporting business and workforce and launched them in spring via direct dialogue with entrepreneurs and the leading business associations, including the RSPP, for which I am very grateful to you.

This is very important for resolving our current tasks but in the process we must not forget about the future development and the build-up of capital investment, which determine the destiny of companies and their positions on the market. As for their problems, we will also discuss them today.

Let’s get going with our meeting, our discussion.

The source of information -

Meeting with Nikita Mikhalkov

During a meeting, held via videoconference, the President congratulated Nikita Mikhalkov, film director, actor, National Artist of the RSFSR and Chairman of the Union of Cinematographers of the Russian Federation, on his 75th birthday.

October 21, 2020 - 17:00 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Mikhalkov, I won’t keep you long.

You are really going to have a rather busy day today, but I would still like to extend my greetings to you, even if in this form, online, which has become a modern trend. I just wanted to see you and to wish you a happy birthday. I would also like to wish you good health, which is a traditional kind of birthday greeting but it is especially significant in the current situation. In addition to wishing you good health, I would also like to wish you many more years in your profession.

Mr Mikhalkov, you have many prizes, awards and winner’s badges, including Soviet, Russian and foreign ones. The names of some of them speak volumes, like an international award for your contribution to global culture. You may be aware – the news has been already published in the media – that today I signed Executive Order awarding the title of Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation to you.

Of course, you are an extremely talented person and an outstanding member of Russian and global culture. But there is no doubt that each of your achievements is the result of very hard work. Of course, one must be talented to make a career in your profession, but it is also hard work.

Nikita Mikhalkov:

Mr President, frankly, I was excited to learn about this award. My profession is very emotional, so I need to somehow restrain my emotions. This is a great reward for me.

Truth be told, there is not much one can do all alone in my profession. Of course, this award is also for my wonderful comrades and associates. In all sincerity, I share this award with them, because without them none of this would have been possible.

You know, when you work for only money or reward, you can never have enough. You always feel like you did not get enough. We did not work for that at all, and for me, in these challenging times, it is extremely important that you acknowledge what we are doing.

Mr President, I understand how hard it is for you and for people in general, because we are besieged. We are the only country today, outside Asia and Africa, that maintains and fights to preserve Christian values and traditional cultural values ​​in general. And naturally, I understand that this sort of antagonism against us began with your Munich speech.

We call both Asia and Europe home, so we can use the wisdom of both continents. I want to give you a wonderful Chinese proverb, which I find helpful: “Throw dirt at me, throw stones at me, I am a river.” This is a deep and accurate message. We must understand that we are a river, and we must not be broken by what they want to do to us, by the fact that they want to force us to live according to their rules.

For my part, on behalf of our studios and our Besogon programme, which, I know, you occasionally watch, and on behalf of the academy, I would like to congratulate you on the occasion of your recent birthday. When an opportunity presents itself, I will give you a book that has just been published about the history of the Mikhalkov family during the 15th-17th centuries. You know, Mr President, it is a strange feeling to be reading about my ancestors who served the Fatherland and, in this sense, I hope we will continue, try to continue to serve.

Once you told me that anything can be forgiven, except betrayal. I absolutely agree with that. I would like to wish that you and I are disappointed in people as seldom as possible. This is always sad. Our family and I will continue to serve the Fatherland, not the authorities, but the Fatherland, as you do, I hope.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Mikhalkov, unfortunately, I cannot give you something you may find significant and interesting now, but I will definitely do so personally as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Today, I want to congratulate you once again and, despite the fact that the working day has not yet ended, I would like to raise this glass to your health, purely symbolically.

Nikita Mikhalkov:

I will also do this, and I also want to… Mr President, you know and understand everything. Believe me, I am a steadfast supporter, without flattery. To your good health!

Vladimir Putin:

To your good health, Mr Mikhalkov.

Nikita Mikhalkov:

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

All the best!

Nikita Mikhalkov:

Thank you, Mr President. All the best!

The source of information -

Working meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting, via videoconference, with Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, during which they discussed issues of water supply to Sevastopol and the Republic of Crimea.

October 21, 2020 - 17:35 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, Mr Khusnullin.

Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin:

Good afternoon, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin:

In early October, I asked the Government to come up with proposals concerning reliable water supply to Sevastopol and Crimea. I know that this work has been completed, corresponding decisions have been made, and funding sources identified in the amount of almost 50 billion rubles to be released in several phases. I would like you to review this and report to me in more detail what exactly will be implemented and in what timeframe.

This is important for the people in Sevastopol and Crimea and for those who vacation there. It is also important for businesses, especially when making plans in the sphere of recreation and when making investment decisions on the construction of new hotels, resorts, etc. Clearly, to put it mildly, it is difficult to implement projects like this without water.

Mr Khusnullin, please go ahead.

Marat Khusnullin:

Mr President,

Following your instructions on ensuring safe and quality water supply in the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, the Government has drafted and endorsed a comprehensive plan of action.

The plan includes 14 measures from 2020 to 2024 with an overall funding of 48 billion rubles, including 45.9 billion from the federal budget and the rest from regional funds.

The plan envisages the development of new underwater resources (luckily, we have water reserves) and the construction of hydraulic structures, water distribution and water discharge facilities. We are also considering, of course, the need to put in order and conduct major repairs on the existing infrastructure. This infrastructure is pretty worn-out and leads to big losses.

I would like to note that the plan was drafted with consideration for Rosgidromet [Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring] forecasts. Regrettably, in the fourth quarter of 2020 we will still have difficulties due to low water levels. Apparently, a lack of water will still be a problem. The water level of the rivers will fluctuate from 10 to 60 percent of the norm. This situation is different from the past several decades.

We have divided the plan into priority, mid-term and long-term measures. At present, eight of 14 measures are now being carried out.

To implement priority measures based on your instructions, the Government has allocated priority amounts – 5.83 billion rubles from the Reserve Fund, including 4.95 billion rubles for the construction of a water supply inlet on the Belbek river, and a water pipeline to transfer water from the Kadykovsky reservoir to Sevastopol.

We have informed the Defence Ministry of the parameters and it has started working on these facilities: 144 people and 45 units of equipment are already involved. Under our plan, about 200 people and additional equipment will be mobilised in the next two weeks. As of today, we are on schedule.

Some 880 million rubles have been allocated to Crimea and Sevastopol to implement measures on reducing losses in the water supply systems. The design and preparatory work are underway now.

Also on your instruction, Rosgeo is prospecting for water intakes to increase the use of groundwater at existing water inlets. Up to 10 earth augers will be working there by the end of the year; six are already working. They will drill 30 wells, of which 22 will already supply water to the system.

We are ahead of schedule on the construction of the Beshterek-Zuisky water intake and water line to Simferopol. These measures will make it possible to avoid water restrictions in Simferopol and Sevastopol.

In the mid-term, we suggest continuing the measures on reducing losses in the water systems of both Crimea and Sevastopol. We are also conducting geological studies of the ground to find new groundwater sources for the future and to divert part of the Salgir River’s water volume to the Mezhgorny hydroelectric complex. We are also planning to launch a system for sewage water treatment for its reuse for technical purposes at current waste water reclamation plants or plants under construction.

Mr President, our plan also provides for building water connections from the Chernorechensky Reservoir to supply water to Sevastopol and constructing two facilities for reverse osmosis saline water conversion. For now, each of them has a capacity of 20,000 cubic metres per day. However, we will determine their final capacity after analysing the efficiency of the improvements I mentioned and with due account for the economic and social gains. We are also calculating how this will affect utility rates.

On the whole, implementation of the plan will make it possible to additionally supply Crimea and Sevastopol with more than 300,000 cubic metres per day. Of this amount, at least 209,000 cubic metres per day will go to Crimea and at least 100,000 cubic metres per day to Sevastopol. These volumes will be enough to provide residents with reliable water supplies and implement the plan for comprehensive economic development on the peninsula, the plans, as you said, on infrastructure and housing construction.

Funding for the plan is provided under the federal targeted programme for the development of Crimea and Sevastopol. Following your instructions, Mr President, this programme will be extended to 2025, which will make it possible to fully consider the funding for all planned projects. We are most grateful to you for this instruction. It allows us to work consistently for five years.

We maintain daily contact with all interested participants. I would like to ask you to issue an instruction for me to visit Crimea in the near future. It will allow me to personally monitor the implementation of the plan, to see what the builders are doing and how the plans are proceeding so I can report to you on the progress of this work again.

Mr President, I have good news to report to you. At some point, you issued instructions to improve Crimea’s economic appeal for businesses. Just a few days ago, we drafted and issued a Government decision on additional capitalisation for RNKB Bank with 7.5 billion, which we reported to you earlier this year. This will significantly expand lending to businesses and individuals in the region. It is particularly important now that the demand for mortgage loans in Crimea and Sevastopol is on the rise. This decision will also have a positive effect on the dynamics of housing and other construction in the region.

The Government also decided to allocate 500 million rubles for additional capitalisation of the Fund for Microfinance of Entrepreneurship of the Republic of Crimea. This will make it possible to issue several hundred loans for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Also, Mr President, we are working on introducing a special arrangement for investment activities in Crimea and Sevastopol in order to bring in greater amounts of equity capital. We believe this arrangement should allow investors to comfortably ensure the flow of funds into the economy and, of course, improve the Crimean economy. We will report the proposals to you before the end of the year.

That concludes my report.

Vladimir Putin:


Mr Khusnullin, with regard to the water pipelines that will be built to supply Sevastopol with water from a number of waterbodies, will these projects harm the environment or residential buildings in any way? Will they avoid putting local residents in a difficult situation?

Marat Khusnullin:

We carefully considered everything and agreed on these things with everyone, and then identified the route. It was not an easy thing to do. Indeed, our initial proposals touched on the interests of a number of people. We have resolved these issues, and there will be no damage either to the environment or to other users who reside near these waterbodies. We have taken this into account and have agreed on everything with the regions.

Vladimir Putin:

Excellent. Keep this possibility in mind when you go to the region, and also talk with the people.

Marat Khusnullin:

I will, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin:

Okay then, thank you.

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Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club - PART I

Vladimir Putin took part, via videoconference, in the final plenary session of the 17th Annual Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club.

October 22, 2020 - 20:15 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

This year’s theme is The Lessons of the Pandemic and the New Agenda: How to Turn the World Crisis Into an Opportunity for the World. The meeting was traditionally attended by politicians, experts, journalists and public figures from Russia and other countries. The plenary session’s moderator was Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Valdai International Discussion Club.

Fyodor Lukyanov:


Guests of the Valdai Club,

I am delighted to welcome you to the final session of the 17th annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club. It is my special honour and pleasure to welcome our traditional guest for our final meetings, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues, friends,

Participants of the 17th plenary meeting of the Valdai Club,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to welcome you all to our traditional annual meeting. We are meeting in an unusual format this time; we are videoconferencing. But I can see there are also people in the room. Not as many as usual of course, but nevertheless there are people present, and, apparently, you have had an in-person discussion, and I am delighted that you have.

We are certainly aware, we can see that the coronavirus epidemic has seriously affected public, business, and international affairs. More than that – it has affected everyone’s routine rhythm of life.

Almost all countries had to impose various restrictions, and large public gatherings have been largely cancelled. This year has been challenging for your Club as well. Most importantly, though, you continue to work. With the help of remote technology, you conduct heated and meaningful debates, discuss things, and bring in new experts who share their opinions and present interesting outside-the-box, sometimes even opposing, views on current developments. Such an exchange is, of course, very important and useful now that the world is facing so many challenges that need to be resolved.

Thus, we still have to understand how the epidemic affected and will continue to affect the present and future of humanity. As it confronts this dangerous threat, the international community is trying to take certain actions and to mobilize itself. Some things are already being done as collaborative efforts, but I want to note straight away that this is only a fraction of what needs to be done in the face of this formidable common challenge. These missed opportunities are also a subject for a candid international discussion.

From the onset of the pandemic in Russia, we have focused on preserving lives and ensuring safety of our people as our key values. This was an informed choice dictated by our culture and spiritual traditions, and our complex, sometimes dramatic, history. If we think back to the great demographic losses we suffered in the 20th century, we had no other choice but to fight for every person and the future of every Russian family.

So, we did our best to preserve the health and the lives of our people, to help parents and children, as well as senior citizens and those who lost their jobs, to maintain employment as much as possible, to minimise damage to the economy, to support millions of entrepreneurs who run small or family businesses.

Perhaps, like everyone else, you are closely following daily updates on the pandemic around the world. Unfortunately, the coronavirus has not retreated and still poses a major threat. Probably, this unsettling background intensifies the sense, like many people feel, that a whole new era is about to begin and that we are not just on the verge of dramatic changes, but an era of tectonic shifts in all areas of life.

We see the rapidly, exponential development of the processes that we have repeatedly discussed at the Valdai Club before. Thus, six years ago, in 2014, we spoke about this issue when we discussed the theme The World Order: New Rules or a Game Without Rules. So, what is happening now? Regrettably, the game without rules is becoming increasingly horrifying and sometimes seems to be a fait accompli.

The pandemic has reminded us of how fragile human life is. It was hard to imagine that in our technologically advanced 21st century, even in the most prosperous and wealthy countries people could find themselves defenceless in front of what would seem to be not such a fatal infection, and not such a horrible threat. But life has shown that not everything boils down to the level of medical science with some of its fantastic achievements. It transpired that the organisation and accessibility of the public healthcare system are no less, and probably much more important in this situation.

The values of mutual assistance, service and self-sacrifice proved to be most important. This also applies to the responsibility, composure and honesty of the authorities, their readiness to meet the demand of society and at the same time provide a clear-cut and well-substantiated explanation of the logic and consistency of the adopted measures so as not to allow fear to subdue and divide society but, on the contrary, to imbue it with confidence that together we will overcome all trials no matter how difficult they may be.

The struggle against the coronavirus threat has shown that only a viable state can act effectively in a crisis – contrary to the reasoning of those who claim that the role of the state in the global world is decreasing and that in the future it will be altogether replaced with some other forms of social organisation. Yes, this is possible. Everything may change in the distant future. Change is all around us, but today the role and importance of the state do matter.

We have always considered a strong state a basic condition for Russia’s development. And we have seen again that we were right by meticulously restoring and strengthening state institutions after their decline, and sometimes complete destruction in the 1990s.

Then, the question is: what is a strong state? What are its strengths? Definitely, not total control or harsh law enforcement. Not thwarted private initiative or civic engagement. Not even the might of its armed forces or its high defence potential. Although, I think you realise how important this particular component is for Russia, given its geography and the range of geopolitical challenges. And there is also our historical responsibility as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to ensure global stability.

Nevertheless, I am confident that what makes a state strong, primarily, is the confidence its citizens have in it. That is the strength of a state. People are the source of power, we all know that. And this recipe doesn’t just involve going to the polling station and voting, it implies people’s willingness to delegate broad authority to their elected government, to see the state, its bodies, civil servants, as their representatives – those who are entrusted to make decisions, but who also bear full responsibility for the performance of their duties.

This kind of state can be set up any way you like. When I say “any way,” I mean that what you call your political system is immaterial. Each country has its own political culture, traditions, and its own vision of their development. Trying to blindly imitate someone else’s agenda is pointless and harmful. The main thing is for the state and society to be in harmony.

And of course, confidence is the most solid foundation for the creative work of the state and society. Only together will they be able to find an optimal balance of freedom and security guarantees.

Once again, in the most difficult moments of the pandemic, I felt pride and, to be honest, I am proud of Russia, of our citizens, of their willingness to have each other’s backs. And of course, first of all, I am proud of our doctors, nurses, and ambulance workers – everyone, without exception, on whom the national healthcare system relies.

I believe that civil society will play a key role in Russia’s future. So, we want the voice of our citizens to be decisive and to see constructive proposals and requests from different social forces get implemented.

This begs the question: how is this request for action being formed? Whose voice should the state be heeding? How does it know if it is really the voice of the people and not some behind-the-scenes messages or even someone's vocal yelling that has nothing to do whatsoever with our people and that at times becomes hysterical?

Occasionally, someone is trying to substitute self-serving interests of a small social group or even external forces for a genuine public request.

Genuine democracy and civil society cannot be “imported.” I have said so many times. They cannot be a product of the activities of foreign “well-wishers,” even if they “want the best for us.” In theory, this is probably possible. But, frankly, I have not yet seen such a thing and do not believe much in it. We see how such imported democracy models function. They are nothing more than a shell or a front with nothing behind them, even a semblance of sovereignty. People in the countries where such schemes have been implemented were never asked for their opinion, and their respective leaders are mere vassals. As is known, the overlord decides everything for the vassal. To reiterate, only the citizens of a particular country can determine their public interest.

We, in Russia, went through a fairly long period where foreign funds were very much the main source for creating and financing non-governmental organisations. Of course, not all of them pursued self-serving or bad goals, or wanted to destabilise the situation in our country, interfere in our domestic affairs, or influence Russia’s domestic and, sometimes, foreign policy in their own interests. Of course not.

There were sincere enthusiasts among independent civic organisations (they do exist), to whom we are undoubtedly grateful. But even so, they mostly remained strangers and ultimately reflected the views and interests of their foreign trustees rather than the Russian citizens. In a word, they were a tool with all the ensuing consequences.

A strong, free and independent civil society is nationally oriented and sovereign by definition. It grows from the depth of people’s lives and can take different forms and directions. But it is a cultural phenomenon, a tradition of a particular country, not the product of some abstract “transnational mind” with other people's interests behind it.

The duty of the state is to support public initiatives and open up new opportunities for them. This is exactly what we do. I consider this matter to be the most important for the government's agenda in the coming decades – regardless of who exactly will hold positions in that government. This is the guarantee of Russia's sovereign, progressive development, of genuine continuity in its forward movement, and of our ability to respond to global challenges.

Colleagues, you are well aware of the many acute problems and controversies that have accumulated in modern international affairs, even too many. Ever since the Cold War model of international relations, which was stable and predictable in its own way, began to change (I am not saying I miss it, I most certainly do not), the world has changed several times. Things in fact happened so quickly that those usually referred to as political elites simply did not have the time, or maybe a strong interest or ability to analyse what was really going on.

Some countries hastily ran to divide the cake, mostly to grab a bigger piece, to take advantage of the benefits the end of the cold confrontation brought. Others were frantically looking for ways to adapt to the changes at any cost. And some countries – recall our own sad experience, frankly – just fought for survival, to survive as a single country, and as a subject of global politics, too.

Meanwhile, time increasingly and insistently makes us question what lies ahead for humanity, what the new world order should be like, or at least a semblance of one, and whether we will take informed steps forward, coordinating our moves, or we will stumble blindly, each of us just relying on ourselves.

The recent report of the Valdai Club, your club, reads: “…in a fundamentally changed international setting, the institutions themselves have become an obstacle to building a system of relations corresponding to the new era rather than a guarantee of global stability and manageability.” The authors believe that we are in for a world where individual states or groups of states will act much more independently while traditional international organisations will lose their importance.

This is what I would like to say in this respect. Of course, it is clear what underlies this position. In effect, the post-war world order was established by three victorious countries: the Soviet Union, the United States and Great Britain. The role of Britain has changed since then; the Soviet Union no longer exists, while some try to dismiss Russia altogether.

Let me assure you, dear friends, that we are objectively assessing our potentialities: our intellectual, territorial, economic and military potential. I am referring to our current options, our overall potential. Consolidating this country and looking at what is happening in the world, in other countries I would like to tell those who are still waiting for Russia’s strength to gradually wane, the only thing we are worried about is catching a cold at your funeral.

As a head of state who works directly in an environment that you and your colleagues describe from a position of expertise, I cannot agree with the assumption that existing international structures must be completely rebuilt, if not dismissed as obsolete and altogether dismantled. On the contrary, it is important to preserve the basic mechanisms of maintaining international security, which have proved to be effective. This is the UN, the Security Council and the permanent members’ right to veto. I recently spoke about this at the anniversary UN General Assembly. As far as I know, this position – the preservation of the fundamentals of the international order established after World War II – enjoys broad support in the world.

However, I believe that the idea of adjusting the institutional arrangement of world politics is at least worthy of discussion, if only because the correlation of forces, potentialities and positions of states has seriously changed, as I said, especially in the past 30 to 40 years.

Indeed, like I said, the Soviet Union is no longer there. But there is Russia. In terms of its economic weight and political influence, China is moving quickly towards superpower status. Germany is moving in the same direction, and the Federal Republic of Germany has become an important player in international cooperation. At the same time, the roles of Great Britain and France in international affairs has undergone significant changes. The United States, which at some point absolutely dominated the international stage, can hardly claim exceptionality any longer. Generally speaking, does the United States need this exceptionalism? Of course, powerhouses such as Brazil, South Africa and some other countries have become much more influential.

Indeed, by far not all international organisations are effectively carrying out their missions and tasks. Called to be impartial arbiters, they often act based on ideological prejudices, fall under the strong influence of other states, and become tools in their hands. Juggling procedures, manipulating prerogatives and authority, biased approaches, especially when it comes to conflicts involving rival powers or groups of states, have unfortunately become common practice.

The fact that authoritative international organisations following in the wake of someone’s selfish interests are drawn into politicised campaigns against specific leaders and countries is saddening. This approach does nothing but discredit these institutions, and leads them towards decline and exacerbates the world order crisis.

On the other hand, there are positive developments when a group of interested states joins forces to resolve specific issues, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which for almost 20 years now has been contributing to the settlement of territorial disputes and strengthening stability in Central Eurasia, and is shaping a unique spirit of partnership in this part of the world.

Or, for example, the Astana format, which was instrumental in taking the political and diplomatic process regarding Syria out of a deep impasse. The same goes for OPEC Plus which is an effective, albeit very complex, tool for stabilising global oil markets.

In a fragmented world, this approach is often more productive. But what matters here is that, along with resolving specific problems, this approach can also breathe new life into multilateral diplomacy. This is important. But it is also obvious that we cannot do without a common, universal framework for international affairs. Whatever interest groups, associations, or ad-hoc alliances we form now or in the future – we cannot do without a common framework.

Multilateralism should be understood not as total inclusivity, but as the need to involve the parties that are truly interested in solving a problem. And of course, when outside forces crudely and shamelessly intervene in a process that affects a group of actors perfectly capable of agreeing among themselves – nothing good can come of that. And they do this solely for the purpose of flaunting their ambition, power and influence. They do it to put a stake in the ground, to outplay everyone, but not to make a positive contribution or help resolve the situation.

Again, even amid the current fragmentation of international affairs, there are challenges that require more than just the combined capacity of a few states, even very influential ones. Problems of this magnitude, which do exist, require global attention.

International stability, security, fighting terrorism and solving urgent regional conflicts are certainly among them; as are promoting global economic development, combatting poverty, and expanding cooperation in healthcare. That last one is especially relevant today.

I spoke in detail about these challenges at the UN General Assembly last month. Meeting them will require working together in a long-term, systematic way.

However, there are considerations of a more general nature that affect literally everyone, and I would like to discuss them in more detail.

Many of us read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when we were children and remember what the main character said: “It’s a question of discipline. When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet. … It’s very tedious work, but very easy.”

I am sure that we must keep doing this “tedious work” if we want to preserve our common home for future generations. We must tend our planet.

The subject of environmental protection has long become a fixture on the global agenda. But I would address it more broadly to discuss also an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

We often say that nature is extremely vulnerable to human activity. Especially when the use of natural resources is growing to a global dimension. However, humanity is not safe from natural disasters, many of which are the result of anthropogenic interference. By the way, some scientists believe that the recent outbreaks of dangerous diseases are a response to this interference. This is why it is so important to develop harmonious relations between Man and Nature.

Tensions have reached a critical point. We can see this in climate change. This problem calls for practical action and much more attention on our part. It has long stopped being the domain of abstract scientific interests but now concerns nearly every inhabitant of the planet Earth. The polar ice caps and permafrost are melting because of global warming. According to expert estimates, the speed and scale of this process will be increasing in the next few decades.

It is a huge challenge to the world, to the whole of humanity, including to us, to Russia, where permafrost occupies 65 percent of our national territory. Such changes can do irreparable damage to biological diversity, have an extremely adverse effect on the economy and infrastructure and pose a direct threat to people.

You may be aware that this is very important to us. It affects pipeline systems, residential districts built on permafrost, and so on. If as much as 25 percent of the near-surface layers of permafrost, which is about three or four metres, melt by 2100, we will feel the effect very strongly. Moreover, the problem could snowball into a crisis very quickly. A kind of chain reaction is possible, because permafrost melting will stimulate methane emissions, which can produce a greenhouse effect that will be 28 times (sic!) larger than in the case of carbon dioxide. In other words, the temperature will continue rising on the planet, permafrost will continue melting, and methane emissions will further increase. The situation will spiral. Do we want the Earth to become like Venus, a hot, dry and lifeless planet? I would like to remind you that the Earth has an average surface temperature of 14°C while on Venus it’s 462°C.

Another subject, completely different. I would like to say a few words on a different subject. Let us not forget that there are no longer just geographical continents on Earth. An almost endless digital space is taking shape on the planet, and people are mastering it with increasing speed every year.

The restrictions forced by the coronavirus have only encouraged the development of remote e-technology. Today, communications based on the internet have become a universal asset. It is necessary to see that this infrastructure and all cyberspace operates without fail and securely.

Thus, remote, distance work is not just a forced precaution during a pandemic. This will become a new form of organising labour, employment, social cooperation and simply human communication. These changes are inevitable with the development of technological progress. This recent turn of events has merely precipitated these processes. Everyone appreciates the opportunities and conveniences provided by new technology.

But, of course, there is a reverse side as well – a growing threat to all digital systems. Yes, cyberspace is a fundamentally new environment where, basically, universally recognised rules have never existed. Technology has simply moved ahead of legislation and thus, judicial oversight. At the same time, this is a very specific area where the issue of trust is particularly urgent.

I think that at this point we must return to our historical experience. What do I mean? Let me recall that the established notion of “confidence-building measures” existed during the Cold War. It applied to relations between the USSR and the US, and between the Warsaw Pact and NATO, that is, military-political relations.

That said, let me emphasise that now, competition is usually “hybrid” in character. It concerns all areas, including those that are just taking shape. This is why it is necessary to build confidence in many areas.

In this sense, cyberspace can serve as a venue for testing these measures, like at one time, arms control paved the way for higher trust in the world as a whole.

Obviously, it is very difficult to draft a required “package of measures” in this area, cyberspace. However, it is necessary to start on it. This must be done now.

As you may be aware, Russia is actively promoting bilateral and multilateral cyber security agreements. We submitted two draft conventions on this subject at the UN and established a corresponding open-ended working group.

Recently, I proposed starting a comprehensive discussion of international cybersecurity issues with the United States. We are aware that politicians in the United States have other things to focus on now because of the election campaign. However, we hope that the next administration, whatever it may be, will respond to our invitation to start a discussion of this subject just like other items on the Russia-US agenda such as global security, the future of the strategic arms reduction treaty and a number of other issues.

As you are aware, many important matters have reached the point that they require candid talks, and we are ready for a constructive discussion on an equal footing.

Of course, the times when all important international matters were discussed and resolved by essentially just Moscow and Washington are long gone, lost to the ages. However, we see the establishment of a bilateral dialogue, in this case on cyber security, as an important step towards a much broader discussion involving many other countries and organisations. Should the United States choose not to take part in this work, which would be regrettable, we will still be willing to work with all interested partners, which I hope will not be lacking.

I would like to point out another important aspect. We live in an era of palpable international shocks and crises. Of course, we are used to them, especially the generations which lived during the Cold War, let alone World War II, for whom it is not just a memory, but a part of their lives.

It is interesting that humanity has reached a very high level of technological and socioeconomic development, while at the same time facing the loss or erosion of moral values and reference points, a sense that existence no longer has meaning and, if you will, that the mission of humankind on planet Earth has been lost.

This crisis cannot be settled through diplomatic negotiations or even a large international conference. It calls for revising our priorities and rethinking our goals. And everyone must begin at home, every individual, community and state, and only then work toward a global configuration.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which we have all been dealing with this year, can serve as a point of departure for such a transformation. We will have to reassess our priorities anyway. Trust me, we really will have to do it, sooner or later. All of us are aware of this. Therefore, I fully agree with those who say that it would be better to start this process now.

I mentioned history and the older generations who went through all the trials of last century for a reason. Everything we are discussing today will soon become the responsibility of young people. Young people will have to deal with all of the problems which I mentioned and you discussed today. Speaking about Russia, its young citizens, who are still growing up and gaining experience, will have to do this as soon as in the 21st century. They are the ones who will have to confront new and probably even more difficult challenges.

They have their own views on the past, present and future. But I believe that our people will always retain their best qualities: patriotism, fortitude, creativity, hard work, team spirit and the capacity to surprise the world by finding solutions to the most difficult and even seemingly insoluble problems.

Friends, colleagues,

I touched on a wide range of different issues today. Of course, I would like to believe that despite all the current difficulties the international community will be able to join forces to combat not imaginary but very real problems, and that we will eventually succeed. After all, it is within our power to stop being egoistical, greedy, mindless and wasteful consumers. Some may wonder if this is utopia, a pipe dream.

To be sure, it is easy to wonder if this is even possible considering what some individuals are doing and saying. However, I believe in reason and mutual understanding, or at least I strongly hope that they will prevail. We just need to open our eyes, look around us and see that the land, air and water are our common inheritance from above, and we must learn to cherish them, just as we must cherish every human life, which is precious. This is the only way forward in this complicated and beautiful world. I do not want to see the mistakes of the past repeated.

Thank you very much.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Mr President, thank you for this detailed statement. You have said that COVID-19 can serve as a point of departure for a reassessment. I can see that you are indeed reassessing things, because it is not everyone who speaks now about trust, harmony, the meaning of life and our mission on the planet Earth, and it was rarely so in the past as well.

I would like to say a few things in follow-up to what you have said. Of course, such a rethinking is ongoing, and we are trying to contribute to this process at the Valdai Club. However, the shocking spring developments, when we thought that the world would never be the same again, were followed by a degree of stabilisation. When global politics awoke from the mental torpor, it turned out that the agenda has hardly changed at all: we are facing the same problems, the conflicts are back and their number has even increased. But you continue with your active work despite the strained situation in global politics. Do you think that this shock had any effect on us? Do you feel any change in the sentiments of your counterparts at the top level?

Vladimir Putin:

You said that the conflicts resumed when the situation improved a bit. In fact, they never abated. There is much talk about a second wave, and that the situation is back to where we were in the spring. But just look at what is happening in Nagorno-Karabakh: the conflict is still with us. And it is not just the conflicts that matter. I believe that no matter how the necessity to combat the pandemic can rally the international community, we still need to take systemic measures to settle recurring problems. This concerns the Middle East, the Syrian crisis, Libya and a great number of other problems, including terrorism and the environment. In other words, the pandemic will not help us to deal with them.

However, the pandemic is playing into our hands when it comes to raising our awareness of the importance of joining forces against severe global crises. Unfortunately, it has not yet taught humanity to come together completely, as we must do in such situations. Just look at the crises I have mentioned. We have already proposed, at the UN, among other places, that all economic and cultural restrictions be lifted for humanitarian reasons, at least temporarily.

I am not referring now to all these sanctions against Russia; forget about that, we will get over it. But many other countries that have suffered and are still suffering from the coronavirus do not even need any help that may come from outside, they just need the restrictions lifted, at least in the humanitarian sphere, I repeat, concerning the supply of medicines, equipment, credit resources, and the exchange of technologies. These are humanitarian things in their purest form. But no, they have not abolished any restrictions, citing some considerations that have nothing to do with the humanitarian component – but at the same time, everyone is talking about humanism.

I would say we need to be more honest with each other and abandon double standards. I am sure that if people hear me now on the media, they are probably finding it difficult to disagree with what I have just said, difficult to deny it. Deep down in their hearts, in their minds, everyone is probably thinking, “Yes, right, of course.” However, for political reasons, publicly, they will still say, “No, we must keep restrictions on Iran, Venezuela, against Assad.” What does Assad even have to do with this when it is ordinary people who suffer? At least, give them medicines, give them technology, at least a small, targeted loan for medicine. No.

Therefore, on the one hand, it seems like there is a tendency to unite, but, frankly speaking, by and large, I do not see any practical steps to bring it to reality. Although this trend does exist.

As for technology, it is another side of the matter. As for technology, of course, online education, telemedicine and other advanced solutions – all the modern digital technologies that had been increasingly penetrating all spheres, of course, with the pandemic have made a breach in the existing regulatory systems. They are forcing politicians, legal professionals, and administrative regulators, to move towards decision-making at a faster pace than they used to. And this is certainly, definitely changing the world.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Thank you.

Here is one more question related to what you have said.

Speaking about the strategy of combating the epidemic, you clearly and unequivocally stated that people’s life and safety are the main values. This strategy is understandable, but tactics differ. Last spring, the countries that chose a different path were sharply criticised.

For example, Sweden and Belarus did not introduce an economic lockdown or a tight quarantine. There were many pro and contra arguments. Six months later, we can see that the world is largely following in the footsteps of these countries instead of doing what we did in spring. I believe that you also said yesterday that there would not be any economic lockdown.

Does this mean that the balance is changing and that the balance should sometimes change in favour of the economy?

Vladimir Putin:

I would say that nothing is changing in our country. I do not know about Sweden. On the other hand, I do know some things, and I will say a few words about them. The same is true about Belarus and other countries, where the decisions are made by their leadership. As for us, nothing has changed: people’s lives and health remain our priorities, without a doubt.

On the other hand, life and health are directly connected to healthcare, which must receive serious support from the federal and other budgets. For these budgets to be replenished, we need a working economy. Everything is closely interconnected. One needs to find a balance. I believe that we found this balance at the very beginning. We took a number of serious steps to support the economy. This support amounted to 4.5 percent of the GDP. Some other countries allocated even more funds for this purpose.

The point is actually not so much the amount of allocated funds but their effective use. I believe (we discussed several related issues with the Government today) that we disposed of these funds quite effectively, in a selective way and using the considerable resources we accumulated in the past years, as well as relying on the macroeconomic health of our economy, macroeconomic indicators and all the other positive achievements of the past years, to support our people, families with children, small and medium-sized businesses, and even large companies and whole industries.

Overall, there is no need in the current situation, at least in Russia, to reintroduce such restrictions as we had in spring, when we sent our people on paid leave and closed down whole enterprises. There is no need for this also because our healthcare system performed quite efficiently. We have also built up reserves, including a reserve of hospital beds, created new medicines and developed treatment guidelines. Our medics have learned how to deal with this disease, they know what and when needs to be done. In other words, we have become confident that we can deal with these problems. This is the first thing I wanted to say.

The second thing. We said from the beginning – I would just like to remind you, keeping in mind the vastness of our territory – that we were handing down a considerable part of authority for decision-making to the level of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. Incidentally, all major countries, have, in fact, followed this path somewhat later. This has proven to be the right approach.

There is no such need today. The economy is recovering. The processing industry is recovering, the agro-industrial sector is performing quite well and is even growing, exports are recovering… Yes, we have issues that we should target. But look, we have basically acceptable macroeconomic indicators. Russia’s second-quarter economic contraction was 8 percent, and, say, the US economy, declined by 9 [percent], and the Euro zone, if I am not mistaken, by 14.5 – 14.7 [percent].

You have mentioned Sweden that imposed no restrictions, but they also happened to face an economic downturn. At first, they went public with the figure of 8.3 [percent], which was later adjusted to less than 8 [percent] – 7.7 [percent], if my memory serves me correctly. Here we go: they have introduced no restrictions, nor have they done what we have in supporting people and the economy, but their result is the same as ours. The modern world is extremely interconnected. But an economic decline is inevitable, the first thing to do is to take care of the people. This logic is immaculate. I am certain that you will agree on this point.

Now, regarding Belarus. President Lukashenko – I had many conversations with him – is fully aware of the COVID-19 threat. But Belarus has no comparable gold and currency reserves, nor such a diverse economic landscape, and he, as he says, simply had to keep the economy viable. But on the whole, the situation there is not worse, in fact, than in many other countries.

Therefore we face – and faced – no choice of this sort; our priorities are people, health, and life. We are not going to impose tough restrictions, there is no such need. There is no need to close businesses. What is needed is to adjust support for certain sectors, for example, for small and medium-sized businesses. Certain parts of this work require additional support, maybe the extension of tax benefits and some other measures that are due to expire shortly. It is necessary to take a closer look at transportation, the transport sector, and the services. We are aware of all this, we see this, and we will continue to work in these areas, no matter how difficult this might be. As I have repeatedly said, we will get through this difficult period together, with the people’s support and trust.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Colleagues, we are moving on to our traditional conversation. This time the setup of this discussion will be quite complex, since we have people sitting in the audience here, and I am also receiving questions from those who are watching online, and some of our colleagues will be able to ask their questions in person. Therefore, I will try to act as an impartial moderator and manage this conversation, and I apologise for any possible hiccups.

Let us begin. Timofei Bordachev, our colleague from the Valdai Club.

Timofei Bordachev:

Good evening, and thank you for this unique opportunity.

Mr President, there has been much talk and debate, in the context of the global economic upheavals, about the fact that the liberal market economy has ceased to be a reliable tool for the survival of states, their preservation, and for their people.

Pope Francis said recently that capitalism has run its course. Russia has been living under capitalism for 30 years. Is it time to search for an alternative? Is there an alternative? Could it be the revival of the left-wing idea or something radically new? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Lenin spoke about the birthmarks of capitalism, and so on. It cannot be said that we have lived these past 30 years in a full-fledged market economy. In fact, we are only gradually building it, and its institutions. Russia had to do it from the ground up, starting from a clean slate. Of course, we are doing this taking into consideration developments around the world. After all, after almost one hundred years of a state-planned economy, transitioning to a market economy is not easy.

You know, capitalism, the way you have described it, existed in a more or less pure form at the beginning of the previous century. But everything changed after what happened in the global economy and in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s, after World War I. We have already discussed this on a number of occasions. I do not remember if I have mentioned this at Valdai Club meetings, but experts who know this subject better than I do and with whom I regularly communicate, they are saying obvious and well-known things.

When everything is fine, and the macro economic indicators are stable, various funds are building up their assets, consumption is on the rise and so on. In such times, you hear more and more that the state only stands in the way, and that a pure market economy would be more effective. But as soon as crises and challenges arise, everyone turns to the state, calling for the reinforcement of its supervisory functions. This goes on and on, like a sinusoidal curve. This is what happened during the preceding crises, including the recent ones, like in 2008.

I remember very well how the key shareholders of Russia’s largest corporations that are also major European and global players came to me proposing that the state buy their assets for one dollar or one ruble. They were afraid of assuming responsibility for their employees, pressured by margin calls, and the like. This time, our businesses have acted differently. No one is seeking to evade responsibility. On the contrary, they are even using their own funds, and are quite generous in doing so. The responses may differ, but overall, businesses have been really committed to social responsibility, for which I am grateful to these people, and I want them to know this.

Therefore, at present, we cannot really find a fully planned economy, can we? Take China. Is it a purely planned economy? No. And there is not a single purely market economy either. Nevertheless, the government’s regulatory functions are certainly important. For example, consider major industries such as aircraft construction. Without some regulatory function from the top – or from the left, right, bottom, for that matter, whether this regulatory function is visible or not – without it, it is impossible to operate in this market. And we can see that all the countries that claim respect as aircraft-building powers (contextually, I would say), their governments provide assistance to their aircraft manufacturers, all of them. And there are plenty of support methods.

By the way, the situation is much the same in the automotive industry, and in other industries. We just need to determine for ourselves the reasonable level of the state's involvement in the economy; how quickly that involvement needs to be reduced, if at all, and where exactly. I often hear that Russia’s economy is overregulated. But during crises like this current pandemic, when we are forced to restrict business activity, and cargo traffic shrinks, and not only cargo traffic, but passenger traffic as well, we have to ask ourselves – what do we do with aviation now that passengers avoid flying or fly rarely, what do we do? Well, the state is a necessary fixture, there is no way they could do without state support.

So, again, no model is pure or rigid, neither the market economy nor the command economy today, but we simply have to determine the level of the state's involvement in the economy. What do we use as a baseline for this decision? Expediency. We need to avoid using any templates, and so far, we have successfully avoided that. As I have said, the so-called developed economies, in Europe, have seen their GDP plummet by more than 14 percent. How high has unemployment grown in the eurozone? As far as I know, by over 10 percent. Ours has grown, too, but only by 6.3 percent. This is the result of government regulation. Or take inflation. We have been fighting it desperately. Is this not a regulatory function of the state?

Of course, the Central Bank and the Government are among the most important state institutions. Therefore, it was in fact through the joint efforts of the Central Bank and the Government that inflation was reduced to 4 percent, because the Government invests substantial resources through its social programmes and national projects and has an impact on our monetary policy. It went down to 3.9 percent, and the Governor of the Central Bank has told me that we will most likely keep it around the estimated target of around 4 percent. This is the regulating function of the state; there is no way around it. However, stifling development through an excessive presence of the state in the economy or through excessive regulation would be fatal as well. You know, this is a form of art, which the Government has been applying skilfully, at least for now.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Mr President, since you mentioned greed, I have to ask you the following. A lively discussion began the other day on the Finance Ministry’s proposal to reduce the staff at security-related agencies and to adjust their salaries and pensions. Is this a good time for this proposal? Or is it that the crisis is forcing us to cut expenses?

Vladimir Putin:

The Finance Ministry regularly makes such proposals, crisis or no crisis. It is always in favour of reducing expenditure. In general, nearly all finance ministries in other countries do this as well. There is nothing unique in the proposal of the Russian Finance Ministry.

We do not envisage making any decisions yet. We have no term reduction or extension plans. It was just one of the Finance Ministry’s proposals. It has not even been reported to me yet. It is still at the level of discussion among Government agencies. When we need to make a final decision, I will take into account the economic realities and the real situation regarding people’s incomes, including in the security and military spheres, and a comparison of the levels of income in the country’s military and civilian sectors. There are many factors we need to take into account to prevent an imbalance on the labour market, and so on. I would like to repeat that these issues have not been discussed on the practical level. These discussions are ongoing within the framework of the Government.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Great. Our meeting has produced at least one result: the military can breathe out.

I would like to give the floor to our long-time friend who has been helping the Valdai Club a lot. Please meet Sam Charap from Washington, D.C. Usually, we had him here, but now he is at his workplace. We can get him on air now.

Sam, please.

Sam Charap:

Hello, Mr. President,

I would like to return to your initiative to restore trust in cyberspace, which you mentioned in your remarks. Many argue whether there is trust in the outcome of the talks or the premises for holding them. It is not only about the election campaign, but the firm belief of many in Washington (and outside of it) that Russia is actively interfering in this area, and so on.

Can we ponder some kind of truce in this sphere in order to create proper grounds for talks and a minimum level of trust as a prerequisite for achieving more during ensuing talks? How do you think such a digital truce, so to say, may look like?

Vladimir Putin:

Listen, as far as cybercrime is concerned, it always went hand in hand with digital technology and will probably always be there just like other offences. However, when we talk about relations between states, it is no coincidence that in my opening remarks I mentioned the dialogue on limiting offensive arms between the Soviet Union and the United States.

We agreed among ourselves to keep these weapons at a certain level. We propose reaching agreements in the sphere that is taking shape now right before our eyes and which is extremely important for the entire world and our countries. We need to discuss these matters in a broad context and come up with solutions.

I am not quite sure what kind of truce you are talking about. I believe it is already in place. You said that Russia is actively interfering. But I say: “We are not interfering in anything.” Moreover, the official probes conducted in the United States, including with the involvement of a special counsel, did not bring any results. They led to admitting the fact that there was no evidence of Russia’s interference. Therefore, I believe there is no need to set any preliminary conditions for us to start this dialogue. We must immediately sit down and talk. What is wrong with that approach? We are not proposing anything that does not meet our partners’ interests. If someone thinks that someone else is interfering in their affairs, well, let us come up with some general rules and develop verification tools to monitor compliance. Frankly, I do not understand where this persistence is coming from.

During the last months of President Obama's presidency, his administration sent us a message to the effect that, indeed, it had taken them a while to review this matter, but they are now ready for a dialogue. Unfortunately, this ended quickly, and another president came to office. We started from centre-field with the new administration. Again, almost four years later now, we have not accomplished much.

I strongly hope that when the elections are over, our partners will return to this issue and respond positively to our proposals.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Thank you.

Fyodor Voitolovsky, Director of IMEMO, our flagship institute of international relations. Please.

Fyodor Voitolovsky:

Mr President, in your statement today you mentioned one of the most burning issues of global politics, arms control. During the Cold War and especially at its final stage, the Soviet Union and the United States both applied a huge amount of efforts to create a network of treaties and a system of confidence-building measures, which limited the quantitative growth of their arsenals and reduced the risk of a conflict. Over the past 20 years, our American partners have consistently and very easily dismantled this system: first the ABM Treaty, and then the INF and Open Skies treaties. As of now, there are problems with extending the New START Treaty. Hence my question. Do you think the arms control system has a future? What new moves can be taken in this sphere?

Thank you.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

I would like to add that we have a great number of questions about strategic offensive arms and especially the latest initiative advanced two days ago, and also a great deal of bewilderment over what this may mean and whether Russia has made excessive concessions.

Vladimir Putin:

You asked if such arms control treaties have a future. I think that the world will have no future unless limits are put on the arms race. This is what all of us should think about, and this is what we are urging all of our partners to think about.

All of us are well aware of the problem, and you have mentioned this just now: withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, the INF Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty (the United States has not officially pulled out of it yet, but it has stated that it had launched the withdrawal process). Why? What is the reason for this decision? They do not even try to explain. They simply do not explain. Our European colleagues tell us, “Let them withdraw, but you should not do the same.” I reply, “All of you are NATO members, and so you will make flights and forward the data you collect to the Americans, while we will be unable to do this because we will remain committed to the Treaty. Let us not play dumb. Let us be honest with each other.” In fact, as far as I am aware, the United States’ European partners would like it to remain a member of the Open Skies Treaty, to keep it intact.

With regard to the INF Treaty, we have spoken about it many times, and I do not want to go over it again. When withdrawing from the ABM Treaty, the United States acted openly, directly and bluntly, but honestly. Here, though, they came up with an excuse and accused Russia of some violations, and then withdrew from the Treaty. If this were the case, if everything were just like our American partners are saying, they could also go ahead and violate it without much ado. Who was stopping them? Instead, they took this step publicly for everyone to see.

Just do not tell me that they are white and fluffy goody two-shoes who are not into underhand dealings. We are aware of what is happening with verification, in the sphere of nuclear weapons among other thing, where they weld the lids or tamper with the aircraft. They get away with it and do not let us in there. Okay, we keep quiet, but the experts know what I am talking about. They just made it a point to take these steps, and to do so publicly, with broad coverage. Clearly, they are pursuing a political goal. I just do not see any military purpose here. But the best solution is for the verification and monitoring to be implemented by all contracting parties, so that our agreements are reliably protected by these monitoring systems.

Now, START-3.We took account of all the problems when we were negotiating these issues. Only one thing was left out. It is what Russia acquired in response to the United States withdrawing from the ABM Treaty. Precisely in response to the withdrawal. I am referring to our innovative high-precision hypersonic weapons. Indeed, neither the United States nor other countries have access to such weapons, although they are working on it, and someday they will have them as well. They are telling us, “You have it, we do not, so we must take this into account.” Well, we do not mind, let us take it into account. Both regarding the number of carriers and the number of warheads. We do not mind.

There are other issues that we can discuss. But what choice do we have? The treaty expires in February. After all, my proposal is very straightforward. It lies on the surface. Nothing will happen if we extend this agreement, without any preconditions, for one year and persistently work on all the issues of concern both to us and the Americans. We will work on it together and look for solutions.

After all, the trick is that we have had hardly any constructive discussions about this so far. Our partners, to put it bluntly, shied away from a direct and substantive professional discussion. The treaty will expire in February 2020, and that is all we have left now.

Question: What is better: to preserve the current treaty as it is, to start discussing it in detail and try to find some compromise during the year or to lose it altogether and leave us, the US and Russia, and the entire world practically without any legal foundation that limits the arms race? I believe the second option is much worse than the first.

I think it is simply unacceptable but I have said, and I want to emphasise it once again, that we are not holding on to this treaty. If our partners decide it is not necessary – all right, let it be, there is nothing we can do to prevent them. Our security, Russia’s security will not be damaged by this, especially because we have the latest weapons systems. This is the first part.

The second part boils down to making these agreements multilateral by including our Chinese friends in them. But are we against this? Russia is not against this but just do not shift on us the responsibility of making this treaty multilateral. If someone wants to do this, it is fine to try to achieve this. We do not object to this. Are we an obstacle on this road? No.

But the arguments quoted by our Chinese friends are very simple. China is an enormous country, a great power with an enormous economy and 1.5 billion people. But the level of its nuclear potential is almost twice, if not more lower than that of Russia and the US. They are asking a lawful question, “What will we limit? Or will we freeze our inequality in this area?” What can you reply to this? It is the sovereign right of a 1.5 billion strong nation to decide on the best way of building its policy on ensuring its own security.

Of course, it is possible to turn this into a subject of an argument or discussion and simply block any agreement. But may I ask why would only China be pressed to be involved in this process and in signing this treaty? Where are the other nuclear powers? Where is France that, as the press reports, has just tested another submarine-launched cruise missile? Great Britain is also a nuclear power. There are other nuclear states that are not officially recognised as such, as it were, but the whole world knows that they have nuclear arms. So, are we going to behave like ostriches? Hide our heads in the sand and pretend that we do not understand what is going on? What we need is not a checkerboard pattern on our car. We need to drive it, therefore we need to ensure security. So, let us get them involved as well. Let us do it. We are not against this. The only question is whether there is any reason for this, a goal to strive for, whether there is any positive example to follow such as the agreements between the US and Russia? Or is there nothing at all?

We are ready to work from scratch, from centre-field, fine. If you ask about our position, I believe it is better not to lose what was achieved before, to move forward from the positions that have already been reached by previous generations, by the leaders of our countries. However, if our partners decide on something different, we are willing to work in any format and on any of these tracks.

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Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club - PART II

Vladimir Putin took part, via videoconference, in the final plenary session of the 17th Annual Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club.

October 22, 2020 - 20:15 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Thank you.

Anatol Lieven, another one of our veterans, who could not come to this meeting but is taking part in it via videoconference. Please.

Anatol Lieven:

Thank you very much, Mr President, for speaking to us. And I would also like to thank you personally for your very strong statement on climate change and the environment.

My question, however, relates to the new outbreak of conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Russia, like other members of the international community, has been trying very hard to bring about a peaceful solution to this conflict, but so far these efforts have failed. If they continue to fail, given Russia’s old historic links and given Russia’s military alliance with Armenia, will it be necessary in the end for Russia to take sides against Azerbaijan and Turkey?

On the other hand, could this perhaps provide a positive opportunity for Russia, given the increasing confrontation which we see between France and Turkey over Turkey’s claims in the Eastern Mediterranean? Could this perhaps be an opportunity for a rapprochement between Russia and France and other West European countries? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

I did not quite understand the last part of the question. What does the [Nagorno-Karabakh] conflict have to do with this?

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Maybe he meant the possibility of rapprochement with France and Europe, since Turkey is now opposed to both them and, to a degree, to us?

Vladimir Putin:

I see.

Let us begin at the beginning, with Nagorno-Karabakh and who to support in this conflict. You said that Russia has always had special relations with Armenia. But we have also always had special ties with Azerbaijan as well. There are over 2 million Armenians and some 2 million Azerbaijanis living in Russia, both those who have come to Russia in search of jobs and those who live here permanently. They send billions of dollars to their families back home. All these people have stable and close ties with Russia at the humanitarian level, person-to-person, business, humanitarian and family ties. Therefore, Armenia and Azerbaijan are both equal partners for us. And it is a great tragedy for us when people die there. We would like to develop full-scale relations with both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Yes, there are some individual elements in each case, and some things in our relations with one partner differ from our relations with the other partner. In the case of Armenia, it is Christianity. But we also have very close ties with Azerbaijan in other spheres.

Speaking about religion, I would like to point out that nearly 15 percent of Russian citizens are Muslims. Therefore, Azerbaijan is not an alien country to us in this sense either.

But what we certainly cannot forget is what happened in the destiny of the Armenian people, the Armenian nation during World War I. This is an enormous tragedy for the Armenian people, This is the second part.

The third part is based on the fact that this conflict broke out not just as an interstate conflict or struggle for territories. It started with ethnic confrontation. Regrettably, it is also a fact that violent crimes against the Armenian people were also committed in Sumgait and later in Nagorno-Karabakh. We must consider all this in a package.

At the same time, we understand that a situation where Azerbaijan has lost a substantial part of its territory cannot continue. Over the years, we have suggested many diverse options for settling this crisis with a view to stabilising the situation in the long-term historical perspective.

I will not go into detail at this point but believe me, this was intensive work on bringing the positions of the parties closer. Sometimes it seemed like a bit more effort, another small step and we would find the solution. Regrettably, it did not happen, and today we are seeing the worst-case scenario in this conflict. The death of people is a tragedy. There are heavy losses on both sides. According to our information, there are over 2,000 dead on either side. The total number of victims is already approaching 5,000.

Let me emphasise that the Soviet Union, the Soviet army lost 13,000 people during the ten years of war in Afghanistan. Now the toll is almost 5,000 in such a short span of time. And how many are wounded? How many people, how many children are suffering? This is why it is a special situation for us.

Yes, the Minsk Group was established, I believe, in 1992. As its co-chairs, Russia, France and the US are responsible for organising the negotiating process. It is clear, and I am 100 percent confident of this, that all participants in the process are sincerely striving to settle the situation. That said, nobody is interested in this as much as Russia is, because this is a very sensitive issue for us. This is not just happening before our eyes, but in a broad sense, it is happening with our people, our friends and our relatives. This is why we are in a position that allows us to be trusted by both sides and play a substantial role as a mediator on the rapprochement of positions in settling this conflict. I would very much like to find a compromise here.

As you may be aware, I maintain close contacts with both President Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan. I speak to them on the phone several times a day. Our respective foreign ministers, defence ministers and heads of special services are constantly in contact. Foreign ministers of both countries came to us again. Today, or rather on October 23, they will have a meeting in Washington. I strongly hope that our American partners will act in unison with us and promote a settlement. Let us hope for the best. This covers the first part.

The second part concerns disputes within NATO between Turkey and France. We never take advantage of frictions between other states. We have good and stable relations with France. I would not say they are full-fledged, but they hold a lot of promise and, in any case, have a good track record.

Our cooperation with Turkey is expanding. Turkey is our neighbour, and I can tell you in more detail how important interaction between our states is for both Turkey and Russia.

I do not think anyone needs our mediation. Turkey and France are perfectly capable of regulating relations between themselves. No matter how tough President Erdogan’s stance may look, I know that he is a flexible person, and finding a common language with him is possible. Therefore, I hope the situation will get back to normal here as well.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Mr President, a follow-up if I may, since it is a hot topic.

Still, Turkey’s much more active role than ever before is what makes the current crisis in the South Caucasus different. You said President Erdogan is flexible. That may well be the case as you spent a lot of time with him. However, many experts believe that Erdogan’s policy is actually about expanding his zone of influence to the borders of the former Ottoman Empire. These borders stretched far and wide, as we know, and they enclosed a lot of territory, including Crimea, which was part of it at some point. It was a long time ago, but nonetheless.

Should we not fear that if this becomes a consistent policy, we would have certain differences with Ankara?

Vladimir Putin:

Russia is not afraid of anything. Thank goodness, we are not in a position where we should be afraid of anything.

I do not know about President Erdogan’s plans or his attitude towards the Ottoman legacy. You should ask him about it. But I know that our bilateral trade exceeds $20 billion. I know that Turkey is really interested in continuing this cooperation. I know that President Erdogan is pursuing an independent foreign policy. Despite a lot of pressure, we implemented the TurkStream project together rather quickly. We cannot do the same with Europe; we have been discussing this issue for years, but Europe seems unable to show enough basic independence or sovereignty to implement the Nord Stream 2 project, which would be advantageous to it in every respect.

As for Turkey, we implemented our project quite quickly, despite any threats. Erdogan, who was aware of his national interests, said that we would do it, and we did it. The same is true of our ties in other areas, for example, our military-technical cooperation. Turkey decided it needed a modern air defence system, and the world’s best is the S-400, a triumph of Russian industry. He said he would do it, and he bought it. Working with such a partner is not only pleasant but also safe.

As for aspirations, regarding Crimea or anything else, I know nothing about them, and I do not care about them because the interests of Russia are reliably protected, take my word for it. I am sure that our other partners are fully aware of this.

Regarding Turkey’s refusal to recognise Crimea as part of Russia, well, we do not see eye to eye on all subjects. For example, we are not always on the same page regarding the situation in the South Caucasus. But we also know about the positions of Europe and the United States. They claim to be true dyed-in-the-wool democrats, but they do not even want to hear about the people of Crimea voting for their future in a referendum, which is the highest form of direct democracy.

As I said, they adopted sanctions against the Crimean people. If Crimea was annexed, then they are the victims. Why are sanctions adopted against the victims? But if they voted freely, it was democracy in action, so why are they being punished for democracy? This is all rubbish and nonsense, but it is also a fact of life. So why point the finger at Erdogan? Just take a look at what is happening in other countries.

This is a consistent stand: he does not recognise Crimea, and he does not recognise Nagorno-Karabakh. What should we do? We must continue working with everyone and remain calm. This is exactly what we have been doing: trying to prove that our position is correct, and we will continue to uphold it, and when positions diverge, we look for compromise.

For example, as far as I know, our views on the developments in the South Caucasus do not coincide, because we believe that conflicts should be settled diplomatically at the negotiating table rather than with the use of armed force. Of course, one could say that talks have been ongoing there for 30 years, but to no avail. Well, I do not see this as a reason to start shooting.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Thank you very much.

Of course, Mr Erdogan has been consistent. For example, he recognises Northern Cyprus. But this is perhaps part of the flexibility that you were talking about.

Vladimir Putin:

Yes, you are right. I agree. I was supposed to say this but it slipped my mind. But you are correct. Northern Cyprus, yes. However, as far as I know, Turkey does not object to the country finally being unified. The principles of this unification are the problem. But, overall, you are right.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Thank you.

Anatoly Torkunov, President of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Anatoly Torkunov:

Mr President,

Although there are still more than two months left in 2020, I think all of us see this year as one of very dramatic and unpredictable events. So of course, there is a joke that goes, if by the end of the year we encounter aliens, nobody will be surprised.

Never mind the aliens, we will see how it goes. My question is, of course, not about them. It is related to the developments around our borders. Thank you for such a detailed and interesting account. As an expert, I was very curious to hear your remarks on the South Caucasus.

But in general, developments around our borders seem to be rather dramatic. Let us take the events in Kyrgyzstan. The elections in that country have always prompted some kind of turbulence, although this year the civil disturbances have been particularly rough. The situation in Belarus is somewhat complicated. There is also the problem of Donbass. I understand that you must be tired of talking about this. We know your firm and consistent stance on this issue.

My question is what are Russia’s current fundamental foreign policy goals in the post-Soviet space, considering that it directly concerns our security and humanitarian links? Today you have stressed several times that these people are not foreigners to us – meaning the Caucasus but also our friends in Central Asia and our friends in Belarus and Ukraine.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

You know this better than anyone else, you are a very experienced person and a professional with a capital “P”. Our policy in the post-Soviet space within the CIS framework is the main component of our overall foreign policy. This is obvious because all the countries you listed and every other country with which we have good, very good multilateral relations, as well as those with whom our ties seem to be in a stalemate in some cases – they are not foreign countries to us all the same. These are not remote countries somewhere overseas about which we know little.

It is obvious that we lived in a single country, and not just for many years but for centuries, We have strong ties and very deep cooperation in the economy, humanitarian ties. We all speak a common language. In a sense, to a greater or lesser degree, we are essentially people of the same cultural space, not to mention our history. We have a common history and a common victory over Nazism. Our predecessors – our fathers and grandfathers – validated our special relations with their blood.

Regardless of the current events and today’s political environment, I am sure that this community of interests will eventually pave the way to the restoration of our ties with all these countries, no matter how difficult our ties with them are.

At the same time, and this is also an obvious fact, when our common state, the USSR began disintegrating, the people who dealt with this did not think about the consequences this would lead to, something they should have thought about. But it was clear that our neighbours did not always have identical interests. Sometimes their interests diverged and rope pulling was always possible. I believe we must and will find solutions to complicated issues in any way we can, but we need to avoid fueling or exaggerating anything or emphasising disputed issues. On the contrary, we must look at what can and must unite us and what does unite us. What is this? Our common interests.

Look, with respect to economic integration, who is not interested in this? Only our competitors. And the post-Soviet countries are bound to understand, at least smart people are bound to understand that a concerted effort, considering we have a common infrastructure, common transport and energy system and a common language that unites rather than divides us, etc., is our distinct competitive advantage in achieving the things for which some economic associations and structures have been fighting for decades, while we have received all this from our predecessors. We must use this, and this brings benefits to all of us. It is absolutely obvious that this is simply beneficial.

Look, Ukraine saw a revolution in 2004, and then in 2014 another revolution, a state coup. What happened as a result? Read the statistics published by the Ukrainian statistical services: shrinking production, as if they had more than one pandemic. Some of the local industries, ones the entire Soviet Union and Ukraine itself were proud of – the aircraft industry, shipbuilding, rocket building – developed by generations of Soviet people, from all Soviet republics, a legacy Ukraine, too, could and should be proud of – are almost gone. Ukraine is being de-industrialised. It was perhaps the most industrialised Soviet republic, not just one of them. There was of course the Russian Federation, Moscow, St Petersburg, Siberia, the Urals – all right, but Ukraine still was one of the most industrialised republics. Where is all this now and why is it lost?

It was just the stupidity of those who did it, just stupidity, that is all. But I hope that these common interests will still pave the way for common sense.

You just mentioned Belarus – indeed, we have witnessed these turbulent processes there. But there is something I would like to highlight As you may have noticed, Russia did not interfere in what was happening there. And we expect no one else to interfere either. No one should be stirring up this conflict to promote their own interests and impose any decisions on the Belarusian people. I already said in my opening remarks that nothing introduced from the outside without taking into account the peculiarities, culture and history of the people will ever work for that culture, those people.

The Belarusians themselves should be given the opportunity to calmly handle their situation and make appropriate decisions. The decisions they will make could pave the way for amending the country’s Constitution or adopting a new Constitution. President Lukashenko said this publicly. True, people can say, well, he will just write something for his own benefit, this kind of constitution will have nothing to do with democracy. But, you know, it is possible to slander just about anything, and there are always sceptics. But I already said this, so I will not go into more detail.

But what happened in Belarus compares favourably with what happened on the streets of some big cities in developed democracies, do you see that? There has been some harsh action indeed, I give you that, and maybe even unjustified, but then, those who allowed it should be made responsible. But in general, if you compare and look at the pictures – in Belarus, no one shot an unarmed person in the back, that is what I mean. So let us just calmly deal with this.

The same goes for Kyrgyzstan. I think current developments there are a disaster for Kyrgyzstan and its people. Every time they have an election, they practically have a coup. What does this mean? This is not funny. It means that many of these countries are taking the first steps towards their own statehood and the culture of state development.

I have told my colleagues many times that the post-Soviet countries should be treated with special attention, and we must carefully support these new sprouts of statehood. In no case should we be pressing advice or recommendations on them, and even more so, avoid any interference, because this will destroy the fragile, nascent institutions of sovereignty and statehood in those countries. It is necessary to give these nations the opportunity to carefully build these relations within society leading by example, but not acting like an elephant in a china shop with advice and piles of money to support one or the other side.

I strongly hope that we have helped Kyrgyzstan, as a member of the CSTO and the EAEU, to get on its feet, invested hundreds of millions of dollars to support the Kyrgyz economy and various industries and to help Kyrgyzstan adapt so it can join the EAEU. This also goes for phytosanitary services, customs systems, individual sectors of the economy and enterprises. We have recently implemented projects valued at up to $500 million. I am not even talking about grants that we provide annually in the amount of tens of millions of dollars.

Of course, we cannot look at what is happening there without pity and concern. Please note that we are not pressing our advice or instructions on them. We are not supporting any particular political forces there. I strongly hope that things in Kyrgyzstan will get back to normal, and that Kyrgyzstan will get on the path to progress and we will maintain excellent relations with them.

The same goes for Moldova. We can see the developments related to Moldova, and we know the Moldovan people’s needs for promoting democracy and economy. But who is buying Moldovan wine? Will France buy Moldovan wine? Who needs it in the European markets? They have more than enough of their own. When they ship wine from country to country, even within the European Union, the farmers dump it into ditches just to get rid of the cargo.

This is not just about wine. Other sectors of the economy are so closely tied to Russia that they simply cannot exist without it, at least for now. They can only sell their products in Russia. This is exactly what happened to Ukraine. Therefore, we hope that during the next election in Moldova, the Moldovan people will appreciate the efforts that the current President of the republic is undertaking to build good relations with Russia.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Thank you very much.

Hans-Joachim Spanger has joined us from Frankfurt.

Hans-Joachim Spanger:

Mr President,

Allow me to turn to an issue which is connected with a person whose name reportedly is not really used in the Kremlin, at least not in public – Alexei Navalny.

A renowned Russian scholar, Dmitry Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, recently stated, let me quote: “The poisoning of the opposition activist Alexei Navalny has become a turning point in Russo-German relations.” And this, according to him, essentially means that, another quote, “this special role performed by Germany and its Chancellor in recent years is now a thing of the past. From now on, Germany will have the same attitude to Russia as all the other countries in Western Europe.”

My question is whether you share this view that a) there was such a special role of Germany in bilateral German-Russian relations, and b) whether you also detect such a turning point now, and if so, what Russia can do to avoid it happening, or, conversely, to turn the turning point around again? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

I will start with the first part of your question, about the poisonings. First, we have heard about poisonings here and there many times. It is not the first time.

Second, if the authorities had wanted to poison the person you mentioned or to poison anybody, it is very unlikely they would have sent him for medical treatment to Germany. Don’t you think so? As soon as this person's wife contacted me, I immediately instructed the Prosecutor General’s Office to see if it was possible to allow him to travel abroad for medical treatment. They could have prohibited it because he was under restrictions due to an investigation and a criminal case. He was under travel restrictions. I immediately asked the Prosecutor General’s Office to allow that. And he was taken to Germany.

Then we were told that they found traces of this infamous Novichok that is known around the world. I said, “Please give us the materials.” Primarily, the biological material and the official report so that we can do more research that can give us official and formal legal grounds for initiating criminal proceedings. What was unusual about this request? Our Prosecutor General’s Office, in keeping with the agreements we have with Germany, has repeatedly forwarded official requests for these materials. Is this unusual? In addition, in a conversation with a European leader, I suggested that our specialists go to Germany and together with French, German and Swedish experts work on site to obtain the necessary materials, which we could use to initiate criminal proceedings and, should this incident prove to be a crime, investigate it. But they would not give us anything. How can you explain why? There is no explanation, there is just no explanation. This all looks strange.

Well, they said that they had found traces of Novichok. Later they passed whatever they had on to the OPCW – the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Then quite unexpectedly, they said, it is not Novichok – it is something else. So, is it Novichok or not? This has cast doubt on what was said before. Well, let us investigate the incident together. I say, as I have said several times, that if this is really true, we will definitely conduct an investigation. Unfortunately, there have been attempts on the lives of public figures and businessmen in our country. These cases were investigated in Russia, the culprits were found and punished and, what is important, all of them were punished. We are prepared to spare no effort in this case as well.

As for specific individuals, we have quite a few people like Saakashvili, but I do not think that currently these people have influence to speak of… They may also change, why not? They may undergo some transformation – which, in principle, is not bad – and will also get involved in realpolitik instead of making noise in the street. Take Occupy Wall Street – where is it? Where? Where is all the informal opposition in many European countries or the United States, for that matter? There are many parties there. Where are they? Two parties dominate the political stage and that is it. However, look what is going on in the streets.

This is why we are developing the Russian political system and will continue to do so, offering all political forces – seriously-minded, sincere and patriotic ones – the opportunity to work in compliance with the law.

Now, regarding Germany’s role. We have had very good relations with Germany in the post-war years. I think this was largely due to the German Democratic Republic, the GDR, which was the Soviet Union’s key and main ally in Europe, at least during the time that state existed. We have developed very good relations at the personal and political levels, and in the economic sphere. I know there are still a lot of people there now who sympathise with Russia. And we appreciate that.

Incidentally, the Soviet Union did play a decisive role in the reunification of Germany. It was indeed a decisive role. Some of your current allies, allies of Germany, in fact, objected to the unification of Germany, no matter what they said. We know this; we still have it in our archives. While the Soviet Union played this role. I personally believe that it was the right thing to do, because it was wrong to break a single whole into parts, and if the people there really want something, in Germany’s case they wanted unity, reunification, their pursuit should not be contained by force, as it will not do anyone any good. As for building relations between East and West Germany – this should be up to the Germans, of course. Has Germany played any special role, say, as a mediator between Russia and the rest of the world or Russia and the rest of Europe? I do not think so. Russia is a country that does not need intermediaries.

At the same time, we have always had very special economic, and even humanitarian ties with Germany. Why? Because Germany wanted to play a special role? Well, no, I think it had more to do with Germany’s own interests. Even now, Germany is Russia’s second largest trade partner, in gross volume. It used to be the first, by the way, but it is second to China now, as our trade with China is twice the volume it is with Germany. Nevertheless, there are more than 2,000 companies with German capital in our market. We have a fairly large volume of German investment and German businesses are interested in working in Russia. We are happy about this, because we know these are sincere people interested in expanding ties with our country. I regularly meet with representatives of German business; they are all our friends, or I would like to think so, anyway. This cooperation provides millions of jobs in the Federal Republic of Germany as well, because goods produced by German enterprises go to the Russian market; they enjoy demand here, which means jobs there.

Incidentally, many industries have been seeing a high level of cooperation in recent years. All the above are manifestations of the special nature of our relations, of a mutual interest, I would say. Mutual interest is at the heart of this relationship – not an ambition to play some special role. And this mutual interest will not go away, regardless of the current political situation, and we will maintain such relations, no matter what anyone does.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Thank you very much.

We will stay in Europe for now.

Nathalie Tocci from Rome has joined us. Nathalie, please go ahead.

Nathalie Tocci:

Thank you, Mr President, for your extremely candid remarks.

You spoke very eloquently about the importance and centrality of the state, but at the same time the importance of international cooperation, and, in particular, highlighted areas like security as well as climate, which I would associate also with energy transition.

Now, when it comes to security, perhaps a follow-up question on the Caucasus and the resumption of war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. At some point, hopefully very soon, there will be a new ceasefire. At the same time, the conflict itself won’t be resolved. Given that the current configuration of the three Minsk Group co-chairs has been unable to deliver a settlement in all these 26 years, does Russia think that this is the setup that should be reconsidered?

And then, perhaps, if I may, a question on climate change and, in particular, energy transition. Now, energy transition requires funding. The European Union, for instance, will dedicate approximately 40 percent of its next-generation new fund to the Green Deal. Now, when it comes to Russia, it is clear that, being a country that has depended quite importantly on its fossil fuel exports, stabilising energy markets is obviously going to be key for Russia in order to obtain the funds to move forward.

In your speech you highlighted the importance OPEC Plus had in that stabilisation of the market, and I think Russia itself played an extremely important role in ensuring that supplies were cut so as to stabilise prices. But at the same time, we are now in a second wave of the pandemic, and we are likely to see demand continuing to be rather sluggish. Would you expect, or would you like to see in 2021, a further cut in supplies to ensure a further stabilisation of prices?

Vladimir Putin:

I will start with the first part of your question regarding the Minsk Group negotiation format and whether it should be changed. Unfortunately, Nathalie, I cannot answer your question. This is for a number of objective reasons, not because I want to emphasise Russia’s role, we all understand that Russia is where it is, nearby. These are our neighbours, and we have special relations with these countries and these peoples. The influences are very strong. I have already said that 2.4 million Armenians and about 2 million Azerbaijanis live in Russia. They wire tens of billions of dollars to support their families. But this is just one factor. I am not even mentioning many others, including the use of markets, cultural ties, and so on. That is, in our case, the situation is very different from relations between the United States and Armenia, or the United States and Azerbaijan, or even Turkey and Azerbaijan. Therefore, of course, we bear special responsibility and must be very careful in what we do.

In this context, the support of the United States, France and other members of the Minsk Group – 10 or 12 countries – matters a lot to us. There are European countries there, and Turkey as well. Do we need to change anything in this regard? I am not sure. Maybe the format could be tweaked a little, but it is imperative to find constructive and acceptable compromises for both sides.

To reiterate, for many years we have been looking for these compromises. We have proposed, believe me, very persistently, a variety of compromises, down to minute details and kilometres, to tell you the truth. All sorts of “corridors” were suggested, as well as an exchange of territories. All the things that were suggested… Unfortunately, we were unable to identify a solution, which eventually led to this tragedy. I hope these hostilities will come to an end soon. I agree with those who believe, including you, that the first thing is to immediately stop the hostilities. We, in fact, agreed to this during the meeting in Moscow. Unfortunately, we were unable to avoid this situation. We will continue to strive for this.

Now I would like to say a few words about oil and everything connected with it, the demand for oil and so on. We are working on alternative energy sources ourselves. We are one of the richest countries in hydrocarbons, oil and gas, but this does not mean at all that we should not think about the future. We are thinking about it and about solar energy and hydrogen energy. We are working on this. Moreover, we are working on this with a view to improving the current situation.

You know for sure that we have adopted a decision in line with which in 2022 we must make our 300 largest contaminators, that is, 300 major companies that are the biggest emitters of these gases, switch to the most accessible, latest technology that would minimise emissions into the atmosphere and into the environment in general of any pollutants, and reduce these emissions by 20 percent by 2024. But we understand that by dealing with these 300 companies and 12 cities where most of them are located, we will not drastically improve the situation. Our strategy in this respect is aimed at halving all anthropogenic emissions by 2030. We must move towards this goal. We have set it for ourselves and will pursue it consistently. We will work on it.

That said, I do not think it will be realistic, provided every country wants to be competitive, to abandon hydrocarbons in the near future. I believe the near future embraces several decades: 30, 40 and 50 years from now. This is simply unrealistic.

Therefore, when we hear about European novelties on hydrocarbons and relevant restrictions, I do not know on what basis these proposals, conclusions and decisions are made. Are they explained by domestic political struggle? Later they are followed by restrictions in international trade and cooperation, right? I do not think this will lead to anything good. It is necessary to achieve a result in this respect not through restrictions but through cooperation and a striving to reach common goals.

We have done what we ought to do under the Kyoto agreement. We have fulfilled everything we did. We are active participants in the Paris agreement and intend to do all this. We are not shutting down from it. On the contrary, we think this is the way to go.

I spoke in my opening remarks about the speed at which permafrost is disappearing and the consequences this may have for all humankind. And what about us? We have a lot of transport systems in this zone: oil and gas pipelines and railways. Our residential districts and whole cities are located on this territory. This is a huge problem for us, and that is why we are willing to work and will work, both ourselves and at the international level, for a clean environment and a reduction in anthropogenic emissions. That said, it is impossible to do without hydrocarbons.

But there is also natural gas as a hydrocarbon source. It is actually the cleanest of hydrocarbons. And what about nuclear energy? Despite what anyone says or the scare tactics around nuclear power and nuclear power stations, it is one of the cleanest kinds of energy. So what are we talking about? Take automobiles, what is the primary energy source there? Even now, Europe and the entire world still use coal to produce electricity. Yes, coal’s share is falling but it is still used.

Why should any fiscal constraints be placed on using natural gas and even diesel fuel? By the way, it can be made to be extremely clean with modern purification and usage standards. So what is the point? To give competitive advantages to certain sectors of the economy in this or that country, with politicians standing behind it. That is the only way I can explain it, not as a simple desire to improve the environment. Nevertheless, I hope sound decisions will be taken here and we will be able to find a proper balance between environmental and economic interests.

As for the demand for oil and work within OPEC+, we maintain contacts with all our partners – both the Americans and the Saudis. We do so regularly at the ministerial level. Literally just the other day I spoke to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, we consult with one another. We believe there is no need to change anything in our agreements as of yet. We will be closely tracking the recovery of the market. You said it was sluggish. It was but is recovering, I will note, it is growing.

The world economy did indeed contract due to the pandemic but consumption is on the rise. That has something to do with our decisions as part of OPEC+. We are of the opinion that nothing needs to change right now. However, we are not ruling out either maintaining existing production limits or not lifting them as soon as we had intended earlier. And if necessary, we will make further reductions. But currently we do not see the need. We have agreed with all our partners that we will closely monitor the situation.

Russia is not interested in higher or lower prices necessarily. Here, our interests overlap with those of our US partners, perhaps primarily with them, because if oil prices drop significantly, shale production will experience great difficulties, to put it mildly. However, although it did not join the OPEC+ deal in a meaningful way, the United States has, in fact, reduced output.

So, almost all market participants, all players have close or overlapping interests, as diplomats say. We will proceed based on the actual situation so as not to make a negative impact on the market. As you are aware, it is important not to impact geological exploration and the preparation of new wells. If we treat the energy sector like a stepchild and keep saying it is not good enough and does nothing but pollute, investment will dry up, and prices will skyrocket.

That is why it is necessary to act responsibly and not politicise this issue or chatter idly, especially for those who know nothing about it, but to act based on the interests of the global economy and their own countries’ interests and find a compromise between protecting nature and growing the economy, so our people can earn enough to support themselves and their families. We will succeed only if we manage to balance these interests. Anything less will lead to ruin.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Mr President, we at the Valdai Club have the pleasure to meet with you regularly and so we have a basis for comparison. If I may say so, I think you have learned something from the pandemic. You sound at peace when you talk about it. I have to ask. You speak so well of Europe, but does it bother you that you are considered almost a murderer there, that those closest to you in government are sanctioned and you are always called on to justify something? And yet I can hear absolution in what you say.

Vladimir Putin:

You know, there is little that bothers me, because to a certain extent, when I carry out my official duties, I become the function of protecting the interests of the Russian people and the Russian state. Everything else I try to shut out, so that it does not interfere with the performance of this function. I have had a long time to get used to these attacks, since 2000, when we fought international terrorists in the Caucasus. I heard and saw everything. They portrayed me with fangs and in every other way imaginable. So, it has no effect on me.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Thank you.

Let us jump to the other side. Zhao Huasheng, Shanghai.

Zhao Huasheng:

Good afternoon, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon.

Zhao Huasheng:

Thank you very much for this great opportunity.

This year’s theme at this Valdai Club session is The Lessons of the Pandemic and the New Agenda: How to Turn a World Crisis into an Opportunity for the World. I will paraphrase this: how can we turn a world crisis into an opportunity for Sino-Russian relations?

The world is rapidly changing now. Given these conditions, how do you think Sino-Russian relations should develop? I am referring to political and economic ties and regional and international cooperation. What new approaches can be expected? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

I would give a very brief answer to the question on how to further develop Sino-Russian relations: the same way we have been doing it and are doing it now. Russian-Chinese relations have reached an unprecedented level.

I am not even mentioning the term “specially privileged” relations, etc. What matters is not the name but the quality of these ties. As for the quality, we treat each other with deep trust; we have established durable, stable, and most importantly, effective ties across the board.

My friend – and I have every reason to call him a friend –President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping and I continuously consult each other on what and how things need to be done based on what has already been achieved, but we always find a way to move forward.

You know that we are working together in aviation and nuclear power engineering, as I have just mentioned, and further developing trade ties. Last year, our trade was over 111 billion. This is far from the highest figure that we can achieve. We will certainly achieve more.

We are developing infrastructure, building bridges that unite us in the literal meaning of the word. We are developing humanitarian ties and seeking implementation rather than simply planning large projects in the areas where we supplement each other effectively, including energy.

China is a big shareholder in a number of large Russian projects on gas production, and later, on liquefaction (LNG). Where are these projects carried out? Not on the border with China but in the north of the Russian Federation. We work together in a variety of other areas. And, as we have said many times, there is no doubt that international cooperation is a very important factor in stabilising world affairs; this is absolutely obvious.

To say nothing of our military and defence industry cooperation. We have traditionally maintained relations in this area on a significant scale. I am not only talking about buying and selling, I also mean the sharing of technologies. We hope to maintain this working relationship with our Chinese friends – a friendly relationship based on mutual respect, oriented toward achieving the best results for the people of both China and Russia.

As for Shanghai, it happens to be a sister city of St Petersburg, where I am from. I have been to Shanghai on more than one occasion. It is a magnificent and beautiful city, and I wish the people of Shanghai all the best.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Thank you.

Here is a follow-up question from China to clarify a bit what you just said. Professor Yan Xuetong wants to ask you a very simple and straightforward question: Is it possible to conceive of a military alliance between China and Russia?

Vladimir Putin:

It is possible to imagine anything. We have always believed that our relations have reached such a level of cooperation and trust that it is not necessary, but it is certainly imaginable, in theory.

We hold regular joint military exercises – at sea and on land in both China and the Russian Federation – and we share best practices in the build-up of the armed forces. We have achieved a high level of cooperation in the defence industry – I am not only talking about the exchange or the purchase and sale of military products, but the sharing of technologies, which is perhaps most important.

There are also very sensitive issues here. I will not speak publicly about them now, but our Chinese friends are aware of them. Undoubtedly, cooperation between Russia and China is boosting the defence potential of the Chinese People’s Army, which is in the interests of Russia as well as China. Time will tell how it will progress from here. So far, we have not set that goal for ourselves. But, in principle, we are not going to rule it out, either. So, we will see.

Anyway, we are satisfied with the current state of relations between Russia and China in this area. Unfortunately, we have to confront new threats. For example, the intention stated by our American partners to possibly deploy medium- and short-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific Region, of course, raises alarm, and we undoubtedly will have to take reciprocal steps – this fact is self-evident.

Of course, before it comes to that, we have to see what if anything is going to happen, what threats it will pose to us, and, depending on that, we will take reciprocal measures to ensure our security.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Thank you.

Piotr Dutkiewicz from Canada, please.

Piotr Dutkiewicz:

Mr President, thank you so much for this unique opportunity to talk to you.

You mentioned in your speech that the youth will have to push the future of Russia, the development of Russia forward. But young people are very unhappy with the world. Look at what is happening in the US, France and Israel. They are saying we have shut the door to a good future for them. According to international opinion polls, over half of young people think they will live worse than their parents do. But they are not impressed by any of this. So, I would like to ask you as the President of the Russian Federation, what you can advise and offer to Russian youth?

Vladimir Putin:

I touched on this in my opening remarks, but I can say it again. Of course, the future belongs to the youth, This is the first thing.

Second, young people are usually discontent not with what is happening but with what they have achieved for today, and they want more. And this is right, this is what underlies progress. This is a foundation for the young people to create a better future than the one we have built. And there is nothing surprising or new in this idea. We can understand this from classic Russian literature. Read Fathers and Sons, it is all there.

But what can we offer? We believe we will give young people more opportunities for professional growth and create more social lifts for them. We are building up these instruments and creating conditions for people to receive a good education, make a career, start a family and receive enough income for a young family.

We are drafting an increasing number of measures to support young families. Let me emphasise that even during the pandemic, most of our support measures were designed for families with children. What are these families? They are young people for the most part.

We will continue doing this in the hope that young people will use their best traits – their daring striving to move ahead without looking back at formalities that probably make older generations more reserved – for positive, creative endeavours. Eventually, the younger generation will take the baton from the older generation and continue this relay race, and make Russia stronger.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Thank you.

We have an unusual connection with Australia today. I do not remember anything like this before.

Anton Roux, Please, go ahead.

Anton Roux:

Thank you, Mr President, for the opportunity to ask you a question. I really appreciated your insightful, heartfelt and considered remarks during your speech; and I come to you from our second state lockdown in Melbourne, Australia, which is also a sister city to St Petersburg. I embrace also your urging to cast aside silo mentalities.

My question is the following: How do you want to be remembered? What do you want your legacy to be as a world leader and the President of the Russian Federation during the first half of the 21st century? How would you like international historians across the world to write about you and your legacy as a leader, a man and a human being at the end of the 21st century? And how might you shape this any differently during the next phase of your leadership as President of the Russian Federation?

Vladimir Putin:

If the translation is correct, you said “who lived in the 21st century.” But, thank God, we are alive and keep living in the 21st century. To be honest, I never think in terms of the areas you mentioned. I do not think about my role in history; those who are interested can decide. I never read a single book about myself.

I just keep working day in, day out, trying to resolve current issues and looking into the future so that these current issues do not stand in the way of achieving our strategic goals. It is, in fact, routine work. I proceed from what I must accomplish today, tomorrow, this year, or in three years given that we plan the budget of the Russian Federation three years in advance.

Of course, as I have said, we do consider strategic goals; this is why we have drafted and continue pursuing national development plans and national projects. But this totally unrelated to any desire to mark my place in history in some way. It is related to something completely different – ensuring the interests of the Russian people, the Russian state, strengthening Russia.

How I will be seen by future generations, I would rather leave to them and their judgment. But then, I do not think I would be interested in these judgments when they are made. In this sense I am a pragmatic person, and I am trying to work not for my image as a world leader, and I do not think I am one (I do not think I am any different from my colleagues – the heads of other states), I work to strengthen my country. This my priority and the meaning of my life.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Thank you. I remember your interview a few months ago, ahead of the constitution referendum, when you openly said that an opportunity to remain in office after 24 years is a guarantee against bureaucratic intrigue, the people around you, so they would not look around in search of a successor.

But if this is true, it is an endless circle; they will always be searching, even while you remain in office.

Vladimir Putin:

No, it must definitely end one day, I am perfectly aware of that. And the changes in the Constitution you mentioned are aimed not only at granting the incumbent head of state the right to be elected in 2024 and later, but these amendments are basically aimed at reinforcing the sovereignty of the Russian Federation, outlining our development prospects and building up the fundamental constitutional foundation for progress in the economy, the social sphere and enhancing our sovereignty.

I expect it will all work.

As to what will happen in 2024 or later – we will see when the times comes. Now we all just have to work hard like St Francis, everyone at his or her place.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Thank you.

Alexander Rahr, please.

Alexander Rahr:

Mr President, my question is about nostalgia as well. I remember your historical speech at the German Bundestag 20 years ago, where you actually proposed building a common space from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Do you regret that?

Here is my point. The French and the Germans supported the idea. The Eastern Europeans did not. America will not, either. Actually, that keeps us from building our relations with Russia, which, I think, many Europeans would like.

If you had the opportunity to address the Bundestag again, would you also propose working together in the digital sphere or, perhaps, the environment, which would unite Europe and Russia in terms of energy? I think this is a promising idea for the future.

Vladimir Putin:

Regarding what I would say if I were speaking there now, here is what happened back then.

At that time (it was 2007, correct?), many of my colleagues told me it was a bit harsh and it was not very good.

What did I actually say? I will refresh your memory. I said it is unacceptable for one country to extend its law beyond its national borders and try to subject other states to its regulations. Something along these lines.

What is happening now? Is it not Western European leaders who are saying that secondary sanctions and extending US jurisdiction to European companies are unacceptable?

If only they had enough guts to listen to what I said back then and to try to at least change the situation, do it carefully, without destroying Atlantic solidarity or the structural arrangement in NATO or elsewhere. I was not talking about that, but about the fact that it is unacceptable and bad for everyone, including those who do this.

Back then, our European partners seemed not to care and everyone looked the other way. Here again, what happened then is happening now. I am saying that this is still bad for everyone, including those who are pursuing or trying to pursue a policy of exceptionalism, because this actually destroys relations and interaction between Europe and the United States, and ultimately causes damage to the United States itself. Why do this?

This fleeting tactical gain that the United States is seeking may lead to negative strategic consequences and the destruction of trust. This is not my business, but since we are having an exchange at the discussion club, I will go ahead and philosophise. This is an absolutely obvious thing.

So, I did not say anything unusual, harmful or aggressive in Munich in 2007. But if I were to speak there now, I would not, of course, say I told you so. I would not do that just out of respect for my colleagues. I am fully aware of the realities back then and today. We do not live in a vacuum, but in real life conditions, our relationships are real and our interdependence is strong.

We understand everything perfectly well, but we need to change things. We are talking about a new world order, so these realities must be taken into account when building modern international relations, which must, of course, be based on consideration for each other's interests and mutual respect, and respect for sovereignty.

I hope we can build our relations carefully and calmly, without destroying what has been created over previous decades, but while taking into account today’s needs. These relations will meet present requirements and the interests of all participants in international communication.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Alexei Yekaikin. Since we have talked a lot about ecology today, we cannot go without this.

Vladimir Putin:

What time is it?

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Yes, we are finishing up, Mr President. We feel we have already exceeded our time, but we cannot do without ecology in the end.

Vladimir Putin:

No, we cannot. I agree.

Alexei Yekaikin:

Thank you, Fyodor.

Good evening, Mr President.

Maybe, this question will seem a bit surprising to you although we have met several times over the years and talked about this. I would like to raise it again. It is about the Antarctic. We spoke about this at the climate session and, in general, this is an anniversary year for us – 200 years since the discovery of the Antarctic.

This is what my question is about. Russia has adopted or is adopting a strategy for developing activities in the Antarctic. A new Vostok station is under construction in the Central Antarctic as part of this strategy. You know this.

It would seem that everything is fine, investment in the infrastructure and the like. So, you may get the impression that we are doing well in the Antarctic. Alas, this is not the case, because the policy is about infrastructure but does not say a word about science. This is a fairly paradoxical situation. I would call it strange because we invest in the infrastructure whereas the main goal for which we need it, that is, science, remains somewhere backstage.

At our Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, we have prepared a draft federal programme for studying the area around the Vostok station for the next 15 years. It has been drafted in detail. It consists of two main themes. The first is the study of the past climate based on ice core data, and this study is very closely connected with the climate theme. Yes, this is drilling the ice, that is right.

The second theme concerns the subglacial lake Vostok. You also know about this. It is one of the most unique phenomena on the planet.

These are two subjects in which we, Russian scientists, are generally strong; we are not trying catch up with anyone in this respect. We are at the proper level and even ahead of some of our colleagues. Nonetheless, there is no government support for research in the Antarctic. I find this strange.

We sent this draft programme to the Ministry of Natural Resources, our relevant ministry. I do not know where exactly it is now. We do not know what happened to it. My question is very simple: does the Russian Government have the opportunity to support our efforts to study the Antarctic or will this topic go down the drain?

After all, it would be a pity to lose our priority in this area.

Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin:

Alexei, first of all, the fact that your colleagues and you made it to Lake Vostok and made this discovery, got to this water that is thousands of years old and that was not connected in any way with the world, remaining under the ice, this, of course, is of great interest to people like you, researchers, who study what eventually became the Earth and how the climate was changing.

I saw this; they brought me the core samples and the water. It is exciting. However, the fact that the infrastructure is being created means that preparations for research are underway. I do not know the plans regarding the allocation of funds for these purposes. You said that money was allocated for the infrastructure, but not scientific research. I doubt this is a lot of money. If the Ministry of Natural Resources …unfortunately, budget cuts are underway, which are caused by certain economic difficulties.

I am not sure if it was necessary to cut the already small expenses associated with Antarctic research. I promise I will look into it. We will punish anyone who made a mistake.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Mr President, you mentioned in your speech that you do not miss the Cold War. Do you miss anything at all?

Vladimir Putin:

My children, I rarely see them.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

We at the Valdai Club miss the opportunity to get together in person. With all the great advances in technology that allow us to hold almost complete meetings, we would still very much like to talk in person to you and each other next year.

We have not broken the record; there was a forum where the President spent more time with us, but we are close. We talked with the President of the Russian Federation for almost three hours, for which we are sincerely grateful.

Thank you very much. We will try to quickly get back to our normal schedule, and we look forward to seeing you next year.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you very much for hosting this.

I want to address all members of the Valdai Club, the analysts, politicians and journalists who work with this entity. It is an entity, because it has been operational for many years now. I hope you find it interesting and useful.

I am grateful to you for showing interest in Russia, in our development plans, in us today and in our history. This means that you are engaged, and it is important for us to know your opinion.

I am saying this sincerely, because by comparing what we are doing, by comparing our own assessments of our progress and our economic and political plans, comparing them with your ideas about what is good and what is bad, we find the best solutions and can adjust our plans.

I want to thank you for this and to wish you every success. I also hope for a personal meeting next time.

Good luck to you. Thank you very much.

Fyodor Lukyanov:

Thank you very much. Good-bye.

Vladimir Putin:


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Greetings to participants and guests of events marking the 150th birth anniversary of Nobel Prize-winning author Ivan Bunin

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the participants and guests of events held on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Ivan Bunin.

October 22, 2020 - 09:30

The message reads, in part:

“This anniversary, included in the list of UNESCO events, is celebrated not only in our country, but also far beyond its borders, because the name of the great Russian writer, poet, translator, and Nobel Prize winner rightfully takes its place in the history of both Russian and world culture.

Ivan Bunin’s works are filled with deep reflections on true values, on the difficult life choices everyone is faced with, on Russia’s future and the trials that befell our people at the turn of the 20th century.

I am sure that the events honouring the 150th birth anniversary of this outstanding writer will help to preserve the wealth of his creative and philosophical legacy, which unites many generations of readers, and has a truly universal moral value. And of course, the fulfilling programme of anniversary events will help to promote cultural and educational projects aimed at strengthening the ties with our compatriots abroad, and with everyone who loves Russia.”

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Message on the opening of a memorial complex in Zhestyanaya Gorka in Novgorod Region

Vladimir Putin addressed participants in the opening ceremony of a memorial complex in the village of Zhestyanaya Gorka and to Novgorod Region residents.

October 22, 2020 - 13:30

The message reads, in part:

“The opening of this complex commemorating the peaceful civilians killed by the Nazis in the Novgorod Region is an event of huge significance for our society and the country as a whole. We will never forget how much suffering and pain the war brought or the irredeemable price the Soviet people paid for the freedom and independence of the Fatherland. We will never forget that it was our people’s courage, unprecedented strong will, endurance and tenacity that ensured peace on the planet. This memory is sacred both to the generation of victors and to those who were born after the war.

The village of Zhestyanaya Gorka is one of numerous Nazi extermination sites in the Novgorod Region. Thousands of Russians, Roma and Jews were brutally murdered there for no reason other than their existence. The Nazi butchers did not spare children, old people or pregnant women. These crimes have no statute of limitations and will never be forgotten by our people.

It is our common duty to stand up against any attempts to justify the killers, to present the aggressors, members of death squads and collaborators as innocent hostages to the situation, and to replace facts with hypocritical lies. We must continue to act consistently to restore historical justice.

This is the reason why we treasure the years-long selfless work of the Russian search groups, historians, representatives of the Defence Ministry and the Investigative Committee, as well as all those who contributed to the creation of this memorial complex, who participated in the preparation of an open trial of Nazi war criminals in the town of Batetsky, who are contributing to the Without the Statute of Limitations project, and who help establish the names of soldiers, officers and peaceful civilians killed by extermination squads in the Nazi-occupied territory.

We will always defend the Great Victory and its heroes, those who made it possible, and we will never stop fighting for historical truth on behalf of those who routed Nazism.”

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Greetings on 100th anniversary of Ural Federal University

Vladimir Putin congratulated the faculty, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and alumni of the Ural Federal University, named after the first President of Russia Boris Yeltsin, on its 100th anniversary.

October 23, 2020 - 10:00

The message reads, in part:

“The Ural Federal University is one of the largest and highly respected Russian universities, an acclaimed educational and research centre always boasting talented and dedicated professors and researchers who teach their students the meaning of creative, free and brilliant thinking. You can be rightly proud of the glorious history of this university, its contribution to the progress of our country, the national economy, social development and culture.

I am delighted to see that the Ural Federal University is faithful to its strong traditions established by its predecessors, and the principles of legacy and continuity; that it cherishes the spirit of creativity and fraternity. The university integrates the best time-tested teaching methods with state-of-the-art technology helping its graduates to be confident in their future.”

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Meeting on economic matters

Vladimir Putin chaired an online meeting on economic matters.

October 23, 2020 - 14:30 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Attendees included Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Labour and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov and Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues.

Today, we are going to have a meeting on the current and mid-term economic situation. At our September gathering, we agreed to promptly monitor what is happening, to analyse key macroeconomic and business activity indicators with due consideration for the epidemiological situation in Russia and the rest of the world.

Today, I suggest that we conduct a comprehensive survey and find out what economic development tasks require extra attention on our part, that is, on the part of the state, federal and regional agencies, as well as the business community, Russian companies and enterprises. And, of course, we will discuss what additional decisions and mechanisms should be used to maintain and consolidate positive trends in the Russian economy.

Indeed, we can see that some areas are picking up speed. For example, the processing industry’s August-September performance virtually matched that of 2019. A similar situation has taken shape in railway freight traffic volumes, with domestic traffic increasing somewhat.

At the same time, we can see that the entire economy is not yet posting a sustainable and long-term recovery. What additional tools should we use for moving ahead more confidently, what macroeconomic conditions have already been created for this, and what should be done in the short term?

As we are aware, prices remain stable in Russia, even despite the effect of certain negative factors. As of mid-October, the inflation rate was (Ms Nabiullina will correct me if I am wrong) 3.9 percent per annum, which is within the target range of the Central Bank.

Consumer demand is gradually recovering. I use the word gradually because, as you can see, there are still plenty of problems and issues. Still, it is in recovery. However, experts remain cautious (as they should be) and say that this trend may be unstable.

Obviously, the key issue here is increasing the income of our citizens and increasing their involvement in the Russian economy. I would like to discuss this topic in detail because the situation on the labour market remains rather difficult. For example, in September, the unemployment rate in Russia was, as you know, 6.3 percent – meaning there has been hardly any decrease in unemployment since August.

Of course, as I have mentioned, the epidemiological situation in the country – the spread of the coronavirus – is affecting businesses, especially small and medium-sized companies involved in retail, transportation and consumer services.

So far, the regions are refraining from strict lockdowns. I would like to point out that this situation requires carefully considered action based on the reality in each specific territory. But, of course, people’s safety must be ensured before anything else while minimising the adverse effects of the pandemic on the economy.

Federal, regional and municipal authorities must constantly keep an eye on all these matters. Naturally, the response mechanisms in case of economic risks and support measures for individuals and businesses must be readily available.

We have been dealing with all this continuously for many months. Let us review once again how proposed and operating mechanisms are working, and discuss what needs to be done in the short term.

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Congratulations on Customs Officer Day

Vladimir Putin congratulated current staff and veterans of the Federal Customs Service on their professional holiday, Customs Officer Day.

October 25, 2020 - 09:00

The message reads, in part:

“Over the past years, the Federal Customs Service has strengthened its potential and evolved into a modern, dynamically developing agency that is dedicated to protecting national interests. The competent and well-coordinated work of all FCS units ensures Russia’s economic development, the improvement of the business climate, replenishment of the federal budget, and effective fight against smuggling of strategic resources, cultural valuables​​and prohibited substances out of the country, as well as the import of counterfeit products.

Today you are facing some major crucial tasks, such as improving the types and formats of customs control, qualitative updating of your information infrastructure, creating favourable conditions for the export of Russian products, and building up business and trade ties between our country and its foreign partners. And of course, it is important to preserve the honour of the regiment and pass on from generation to generation the traditions of honest service to the Fatherland and professional duty.”

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Meeting with State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin

Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.

October 26, 2020 - 10:00 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Volodin, it is too early to sum up the results of the year, since we have two months ahead of us. In fact, usually these are the most exacting months of the year. Overall, we can already see that the State Duma has been hard at work, especially recently, which is attributable, among other things, to the laws that have to be adopted in connection with the amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

I see that these efforts are underway in almost all spheres, which includes state building, passing social laws, the social sector, and the economy. I would like to thank you and all State Duma members for your swiftness in taking decisions that enable the economy to run smoothly, support people, and regarding the healthcare sector during the pandemic.

I know that you have an agenda you wanted to discuss today.

I am glad to see you. Go ahead, please.

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin:

Thank you, Mr President. The President’s support means a lot to us. The situation is actually quite challenging. Being a collegiate body, the State Duma has to hold meetings. For this reason, we submit ourselves to tests before every meeting. Still, more and more of my colleagues are getting sick. Today, 38 State Duma deputies are in hospitals, and one is in an intensive care unit. You know that we lost one member of parliament to the pandemic.

Of course, we take the necessary measures to keep the parliament working. Up until now, 91 deputies had the virus or are currently fighting the disease. For this reason, we are doing everything to adopt new working procedures, and to switch to remote videoconferencing tools whenever possible, for example, for the committees. However, it is impossible to have the entire parliament work remotely.

Many European parliaments, if not all of them, are on lockdown orders, so they cannot meet and only confer via videoconference. But we are aware that the President monitors the situation on a daily basis, and the deputies, for their part, must also do their best, must make every effort to ensure that the decisions made by the President have legislative support, especially pandemic-related ones, about helping people, helping affected industries and supporting the economy.

Today we have 1,305 draft laws in our legislative portfolio. The deputies have prioritised them. The priorities include helping people and all bills related to the coronavirus infection response. The next priority is the bills that implement the recent constitutional amendments: the State Duma now has 20 bills under review, of which 14 were initiated by the President of Russia. One bill has been adopted in the third reading, two bills – in the second reading, and seven bills – in the first reading.

We plan to consider as many of these bills as possible this year, only with bills of joint jurisdiction, perhaps those will have to be handled next year, at the beginning of next year.

We understand the importance of adopting these bills because the new constitutional amendments are aimed at raising living standards and ensuring better protection of people’s rights, but of course, they will also make the authorities’ work more effective.

During our autumn session, we usually adopt the federal budget. The Duma committees have by now completed the preparation of the budget for consideration in the first reading; consultations within the various party groups have ended, and we plan to review the budget in the first reading on October 28.

Vladimir Putin:

The 28th? All right, this is good timing. How is the budget discussion with the Government going?

Vyacheslav Volodin:

Work is in progress. As a rule, it involves debates on various matters, heated to varying degrees and in varying tones. But in general, this is just normal dialogue, because there are problems that the parliament members can see. The Government listens to proposals from the deputy corps, and in August we coordinated the budget in zero reading with the Government. We plan to complete our consultations today and then submit the budget for consideration in the first reading.

Of course, the main questions the State Duma members have raised are related to the coronavirus. There is no secret that we are running budget deficits and economic growth rates are in decline, just like in other countries. Still, it is very important that the current situation differs radically from the previous years, especially the 1990s, and everyone understands this. People do not like remembering those harsh years, but we have to acknowledge that despite the crisis and the challenges, all the social commitments and matters related to the social safety net have been factored into the budget so that people will not be left behind.

In this context, I would like to thank you, Mr President, since we understand that you keep these matters under your special control, especially those related to the demographic trends. As challenging as the situation may be, the programmes that you announced in your Address to the Federal Assembly, have been reflected in the federal budget.

As for the debates and controversies, this is an integral part of our work, since we seek compromises and are constructive in our efforts. It is true that emotions run high at times, but this is how parliament works.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Volodin, could you repeat how many State Duma members are currently sick?

Vyacheslav Volodin:

As of today, 38 deputies are in hospitals, including one severely ill deputy in an intensive care unit.

Vladimir Putin:

What kind of medical care are they getting?

Vyacheslav Volodin:

Mr President, they are receiving the medical care just like all Russian citizens. There were questions where the deputies are treated. They get their medical assistance where they fall ill. If a deputy gets sick in Tver, this means a hospital bed in Tver, and if this happens in Moscow, it will be in Moscow. It all depends on the region, considering that deputies are elected in electoral districts and represent regions. For this matter, they get the medical care in the region where they fall ill.

Vladimir Putin:

Please convey my gratitude to all your colleagues for their work. It is true that their efforts are very much needed. It was essential that the legislative work runs smoothly. I know that it did not come to a halt, which was not just a formality, since people worked on complex draft laws that required a lot of expertise. They did not leave this for a later time, since they knew that we needed solutions right away in order to overcome the crisis that we have faced.

Overall, of course, you have done some great work that was highly relevant and delivered tangible results. Thank you for these efforts, and please convey my gratitude to all State Duma members.

Vyacheslav Volodin:

Thank you very much, Mr President. This is very important for us, and also a great responsibility.

Vladimir Putin:


The source of information -

Greetings on Motor and Public Passenger Transport Worker Day

Vladimir Putin congratulated current and former workers of motor and public passenger transport in Russia on their professional holiday.

October 26, 2020 - 10:30

The message reads, in part:

“Efficient and well-coordinated work of all segments of the Russian transport industry, experience, competence and responsibility of its workers largely determine the dynamic development of production industries and agriculture, stronger inter-regional and international links, and solutions to topical social issues. Therefore, it is so important to prioritise the improvement of transit infrastructure, increasing the reliability, safety and accessibility of transport services, and expanding the scope of transport operations.

I am confident that the industry workers will continue to maintain established traditions, follow the example of long-time motor transport workers and successfully tackle challenges.”

The source of information -

Statement by Vladimir Putin on additional steps to de-escalate the situation in Europe in the wake of the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty)

October 26, 2020 - 12:05

The Russian Federation continues to believe that the INF Treaty was an important part of the architecture to ensure international security and strategic stability. The Treaty was essential to maintaining predictability and restraint in the missile sphere in Europe.

We consider the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, as a result of which it was terminated, a serious mistake, which increases the risks of unleashing a missile arms race, stepping up confrontational potential and sliding into uncontrollable escalation. Given the unrelenting tension between Russia and NATO, new threats to European security are becoming evident.

Under these circumstances, active efforts are required to reduce the deficit of trust and to strengthen regional and global stability, as well as to reduce the risks arising from misunderstandings and disagreements in the sphere of missile weapons.

In this context, we reiterate our adherence to the moratorium on the deployment of ground-based INF missiles earlier declared by the Russian Federation until US-made missiles of similar classes are deployed in the corresponding regions.

We also believe that our call to NATO countries to consider the possibility of declaring a counter-moratorium remains relevant.

In order to facilitate the search for compromise political and diplomatic solutions, we are ready to take further steps to minimise the negative consequences of the collapse of the INF Treaty based on the principles of equal and indivisible security and balanced consideration of the parties’ interests.

Based on our earlier proposal to develop monitoring tools to support Russia’s initiative on counter-moratoriums, we invite all interested parties to consider specific options for adopting mutual verification measures in order to address existing concerns.

In particular, we could focus on the verification measures with regard to the Aegis Ashore complexes with Mk-41 launchers that are deployed at US and NATO bases in Europe, as well as 9M729 missiles at the facilities operated by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the Kaliningrad Region. The verification measures would confirm the absence of ground-based INF missiles on the facilities covered by the agreements, as well as the weapons, on the specifications and classification of which the parties were unable to reach an agreement (Russian 9M729 missile).

Remaining committed to the consistent position on the full compliance of the 9M729 missile with the provisions of the previously existing INF Treaty, the Russian Federation, nevertheless, is ready, in the spirit of good will, to continue not to deploy 9M729 missiles in European Russia, but do so only provided NATO countries take reciprocal steps that preclude the deployment of the weapons earlier prohibited under the INF Treaty in Europe.

We also call on all the stakeholders to search for ways to maintain stability and prevent missile crises “in a world without the INF Treaty” as it applies to the Asia-Pacific region. We are open to pursue joint work in this area.

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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Greetings to participants and guests of the Sixth BRICS Parliamentary Forum

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to the participants, organisers and guests of the Sixth BRICS Parliamentary Forum.

October 27, 2020 - 14:00

The message reads, in part:

“Cooperation between representative government bodies is a major component of BRICS strategic partnership. It is only natural that the Forum that unites chamber speakers, national parliament members, leaders of major political parties and experts is playing a growing role in the public life of the BRICS Five.

This year, the Forum’s agenda is consonant with the main theme and priorities of Russian BRICS chairmanship. You are to discuss many urgent issues of international relations and exchange the experience of developing parliamentary democratic institutions. Coordination of national legislative initiatives in healthcare, social protection and economic recovery during the coronavirus pandemic obviously require special attention.

I hope your discussions will be constructive and fruitful, and will help build up multilateral inter-parliamentary ties in all key areas and promote friendship and understanding among our nations.”

The source of information -

Meeting of the Council for Culture and Art

The President held a meeting, via videoconference, of the Council for Culture and Art.

October 27, 2020 - 19:15 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues, friends,

First of all, I would like to thank all cultural workers for the tremendous spiritual and moral support of the Russian people during these difficult times.

Despite all the difficulties and restrictions that our museums, theatres, cinema and libraries have been dealing with because of the epidemic, you have been working hard and proposing totally new creative formats. With your art and talent, you have been creating an atmosphere of unity in our society, strengthening our confidence in the fact that life goes on and everything will get back to normal, no matter what.

Today we will definitely talk about the problems that the cultural sector is facing. We will discuss both urgent measures of support and strategic and long-term steps for stable development in the future.

Another important issue that requires the attention and involvement of the professional community is the legislative implementation of the new Constitutional norms, related first of all to culture and education.

Council members, cultural workers were among the most proactive participants in the discussion of the Constitutional amendments. I am confident that they will readily join parliament members in their work on respective bills.

Among other things, legal formalisation is necessary for such terms as the state’s responsibility to preserve, support and develop the culture and traditions of the Russian people, help our compatriots living abroad and preserve our common cultural identity.

And of course, one of the essential tasks for the state is to preserve the unique heritage of our country.

Here, I would like the Government, the Ministry of Culture and the regions to particularly note the earlier instruction which requires strict accounting, certification and protection of historical and cultural monuments. This instruction must be performed in full. We need to decide what additional reserves would be required for this.

It is equally important to tackle the problems that have emerged after the majority of powers that have to do with the cultural heritage conservation were transferred to regional governments.

It is obvious that, unfortunately, Russian regions do not always have the resources for the appropriate upkeep of local historical and cultural landmarks, which means we will probably need to adjust some of the legislative provisions. This also applies to the regulation of matters relating to the organisation of supervision over cultural heritage sites.

At present, the preservation of federal landmarks is the responsibility of supervisory bodies led by the regional authorities. But experts, your colleagues, believe this sometimes creates risks and conflicts of interest. This is probably the case. Introducing state control over the quality of preservation of landmarks that are assigned to different agencies and have different forms of ownership can be a solution to the problem.

Also, there have been repeated reports of problems arising in the course of activity involving existing or newly identified cultural heritage sites. I am referring, among other things, to difficulties with the proper arrangement of archaeological research, primarily, of course, at the sites of large infrastructure projects, as well as problems with staffing restoration projects, historical and cultural expert commissions.

Russia has always had rich traditions of training such unique specialists; we have old and famous schools. But, unfortunately, they are less and less in demand. This, of course, largely happens because the current rules of working with cultural heritage sites do not include a requirement to hire qualified specialists. There is no strict requirement. This means that just about any construction company with an appropriate licence can join the development of such sites. Moreover, their licences are issued for an unlimited period.

All this is fraught with poor-quality work, but worse still, with irrevocable loss of the most valuable landmarks in our historical and cultural heritage. Here, of course, decisions need to be made that will drastically change this situation.

This is important, considering the heated public debate caused by the transfer of several state-owned institutions that act in the cultural sector as customers ordering construction, restoration and renovation works, to the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities.

We will certainly discuss this today; but I would like to note from the outset that the establishment of a single state contracting authority in the construction sector is, of course, motivated by the need to ensure more cost-effective budgetary spending for capital construction projects. Of course, you realise this. And I would like to add that contractors should not be dealing with cultural heritage matters.

To make strict order in the construction sector also an efficient tool for preserving historical and cultural landmarks, it is crucially important that we initiate clear and responsible inter-agency cooperation. And we need to draft adequate requirements for working with cultural and historical landmarks in collaboration with professional associations.


I suggest that we also discuss intangible cultural heritage matters, including our unique and universally recognised system of music education that has always played a tremendous role in humanitarian and creative education and in unlocking the talents of children.

Over 8 billion rubles are to be spent on equipment for music schools and art schools under the national Culture Project. It is also necessary to put in order school buildings that need renovation.

I know that our colleagues suggest formalising the special status of music and art schools, specialised schools and higher education institutions throughout the Russian education system. Of course, it would be useful to hear your opinion on this matter, too.

And here is one more thing: please pay attention to the format of our meeting. Unfortunately, it appears that not everyone wishing to take the floor will be able to do so. I will do my best to give the floor to everyone wishing to speak. Here is the long list of extra speakers who would like to take the floor following the main speakers who have registered in advance. We will try to let as many colleagues as possible take the floor. I kindly ask you to be brief, get to the point and state the gist of the matter.

* * *

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you very much. I see that you are going through this and take it all to heart, and all these problems are not only your own and not just your team's problems. I understand that you are concerned about the future of independent theatres and not just the theatres but the people who are the very essence of theatrical activity – the creative people in various areas. I have written this down. We will definitely discuss this with our colleagues from the Government and consider what can be done in addition to the support measures that are already being taken.

In general, I would like to apologise to those who did not have a chance to speak. I have to leave for the next protocol event. I would like to thank you all not only for today's participation in our event, in our meeting, but also for what you are doing in very difficult conditions. We better understood how difficult things are thanks to your speeches today.

I still hope that, despite the difficulties, we will all move forward together, joining our efforts, we will keep what we have always been proud of in the fields of theatrical arts, music, education and staff training, and we will provide support for holding major international events, and we will do it all at a very high level worthy of Russia.

Thank you very much.

The source of information -

Telephone conversation with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the initiative of the Turkish side.

October 27, 2020 - 22:00

The two presidents discussed in detail interaction on the Syrian track, stressing the importance of cooperation in implementing the existing agreements on stabilising Idlib and the east bank of the Euphrates. The leaders also shared opinions on the issues of political settlement in Syria, including with support from the Astana process guarantor states.

The Libyan agenda was also covered, including prospects for further normalisation of the situation and stepping up intra-Libyan peace talks.

In addition, developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone were discussed. The Russian side expressed deep concern over the ongoing hostilities and the increasing involvement of Middle East terrorists. Vladimir Putin informed his counterpart about his meetings with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia and the efforts to reach a ceasefire and deescalate the crisis as soon as possible.

It was agreed to maintain coordination between Russian and Turkish foreign and defence ministries as well as the two countries’ special services.

The source of information -

Greetings on 95th anniversary of Patriot publishers

Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to the staff of Patriot, one of Russia’s oldest publishing houses, on its 95th anniversary.

October 28, 2020 - 09:45

The message reads, in part:

“Founded in 1925, Patriot publishing house has always been in step with the times, undertaking inspiring and meaningful creative projects. It worked with recognised writers and poets, historians and journalists, and helped young aspiring authors. Of course, I cannot fail to mention your momentous efforts to publish memoirs by front-line soldiers and veterans, thus making an important contribution to preserving the memory and truth about the Great Patriotic War.

It is gratifying to see Patriot staff building on these marvellous book editing and educational traditions inherited from their predecessors. They are helping to promote patriotism and the moral and spiritual tenets in our society, to preserve the memory of Russia's war feats and perpetuate research in this field, as well as to fight attempts to falsify history.”

The source of information -

Greetings on 85th anniversary of St Petersburg Judo Federation

Vladimir Putin greeted participants and guests of the anniversary event marking 85 years since the establishment of the St Petersburg Judo Federation.

October 28, 2020 - 12:45

The message reads, in part:

“Founded in 1935 as the Leningrad Freestyle Judo Wrestling Club, the federation grew into a major training and physical fitness centre that brings together talented and dedicated coaches, enthusiasts and educators. These are the people who have trained many wonderful disciples, passing on their knowledge and experience and teaching them how to achieve success – both on the tatami, in their careers and in life in general. One of the brilliant mentors and masters from this constellation was Anatoly Rakhlin. The Traditional Junior Tournament named after him is one of the most remarkable and anticipated events in young athletes’ calendar.

It is thanks to these true devotees that judo is so extremely popular in our country. It is a joy to see that members of the federation treasure the creative and educational legacy of their predecessors and do everything to make sure that this sport, which combines martial arts and a philosophy, continues to develop in St Petersburg and across Russia and continues to attract more followers into its universe.”

The source of information -

Meeting with Government members

Vladimir Putin held a regular meeting with Government members, via videoconference.

October 28, 2020 - 14:30 - Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, deputy prime ministers Viktoria Abramchenko, Yury Borisov, Tatyana Golikova, Alexei Overchuk, Marat Khusnullin, Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister – Chief of the Government Staff Dmitry Grigorenko, Deputy Prime Minister – Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko, Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov and Chairman of the Accounts Chamber Alexei Kudrin.

During the meeting dedicated to forming a financing mechanism for treating children with severe, including orphan diseases, a number of other important issues were discussed as well.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin presented information on the Plan for Achieving the National Development Goals of the Russian Federation until 2024 and the planning period until 2030.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova reported on the epidemiological trends in the regions and measures to support the regions as they continue to fight COVID-19.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov spoke about introducing online technologies in the financial sector, and Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov spoke about creating world-class research and education centres.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues.

Today we are holding a regular working meeting on current issues and the ones we have planned. Prime Minister Mishustin and I agreed that he would start by speaking about the Plan for Achieving the National Development Goals until 2024 and the planning period until 2030.

Let us begin with this extensive, important and fundamental matter and then go on to discuss the current topics.

Mr Mishustin, please, over to you.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin:

Thank you.

Mr President, colleagues,

First of all, today the State Duma has passed the law on the federal budget for the next three years, in its first reading. Yesterday we met with leaders of parliamentary factions and heads of competent committees to discuss the bill in detail. Among other things, we spoke about the Plan for Achieving the National Development Goals that was developed upon your instruction, Mr President. We have worked on it and now it has been finalised.

The plan outlines our strategic priorities for the next decade and specific steps for achieving the goals set in your Executive Order. More than anything else, the aim of the plan is to improve people’s lives and its main objective is to make sure that every resident of our country can feel the positive effect of this plan.

The plan’s structure is based on five national goals and 25 performance indicators. We determined targets for each of these indicators for the next five years and the final targets for 2030.

At the same time, all target indicators have been broken down for each ministry, agency, federal executive body, region and development institution.

We have fine-tuned national and federal projects, so that they would more confidently guide us towards national development goals, with due consideration for the complicated new conditions that have arisen due to the spread of the new coronavirus, among other things.

We have determined the results directly influencing the improvement of people’s life, the preservation of employment and incomes, more affordable and better education, the creation of favourable conditions for entrepreneurial activity and support for key economic sectors. We have updated the list of measures for achieving these results, and we have augmented this list whenever necessary.

The budgetary policy will tally with the national goals. We suggest reorienting the budgetary system towards achieving national development goals, and funding will be rigidly linked with the results. The annual joint plan implementation expenditures will exceed 12 trillion rubles or over 50 percent of the planned 2021 budget.

Over a period of the next ten years, the world and Russia will inevitably face a number of serious challenges. Mr President, you have repeatedly noted this, including at a recent meeting of the Valdai Club. This concerns economic development and demography. The technological challenge is another serious challenge to subsequent development. It is highly important that we actively introduce digital technologies and support science, enable each person to develop his or her talents, improve the infrastructure for families with children, develop healthcare, promote interest in a healthy lifestyle and involve senior citizens in active life and mainstream activities.

We tried to stipulate all these measures as answers to the challenges in our joint plan; and, as per your instruction, we have charted specific steps needed to address nationwide tasks for the upcoming decade, so that economic growth would yield tangible results for everyone. We need more targeted state support, including through digitalisation and a purposeful policy to improve the well-being of people who are still in the low-income category. We were guided by precisely this logic while drafting the joint plan.

Implementation of national development goals requires the formation of a modern, flexible and effective management system. As I have already mentioned, its main principle will be orientation on the end result for the people. We plan to create an effective communications system within this framework in order to receive feedback from the people, and, hence, promptly react to their proposals and problems.

Personal responsibility for achieving national goals will be borne by all Government members within the areas of their authority: deputy prime ministers, ministers, as well as heads of the federal executive bodies and development institutions. Importantly, control over their activities will be conducted not only at the federal level: we will monitor the movement of funds all the way to the municipalities. The governor of a specific region of the Russian Federation will be personally responsible for reaching national goals.

The integrated plan is a guide, the main document for compiling detailed schedules for implementing national development goals, including the fulfilment of state programmes and national projects.

Mr President,

The joint plan has been drafted in accordance with your instruction. All the necessary consultations with the heads of the State Council’s working groups, MPs, public organisations, business representatives and experts have been conducted. The plan will be sent to you in line with the established procedure. We are ready to present it at a meeting of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and National Projects in line with your instruction.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr Mishustin, I would like to thank all the colleagues who took part in this huge job: you, Government members, State Duma deputies and experts. This is a major landmark in our collective efforts because it is hardly possible to rely on the efficient work of the entire state apparatus without a clear understanding and definition of the goals and the instruments for reaching them and for resolving our tasks.

However, for now there is only one thing that is lacking as people say – it is necessary to carry out this plan. We are working on this, we are moving forward across a broad front quite efficiently. Now that this document has come into being, our guidelines are becoming even more understandable and more obvious. I do hope that all of us will do everything we possibly can to implement it properly.

Thank you very much.

Now I would like to ask Ms Golikova to tell us how we are countering the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, of course, we are monitoring everything and closely following the developments, work is carried out professionally. Yet, there remain quite a few questions as well. We are not speaking here about the second wave of the pandemic but as we discussed quite recently, just this morning, experts believe that the first wave is just reaching a number of regions. We must keep our finger on the pulse and respond effectively and timely to the current developments.

Mr Golikova, what do you think about the situation in general?

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova:

Mr President, colleagues, good afternoon.

I would like to give a brief account of the current situation and tell you what measures the Government is taking to overcome the negative trends that are taking shape in some regions of our country.

To begin with, I would like to say that the situation continues getting complicated. The average daily infection rate growth is 1 percent, but given the figures that we have, this is enough.

The situation is different in different regions. At the end of last week, 38 regions recorded a steady trend towards the growth of the infection rate; in 18 regions the situation remains unstable; and in 29 regions the situation is relatively stable but in 19 of these regions it has stabilised at high recorded infection rates.

You are aware that a resolution of the Chief Sanitary Doctor has come into force today. It requires the mandatory wearing of masks in public places, public transport and other crowded places. Proceeding from the epidemiological situation, the regions have been recommended to ban mass public events from 11 pm to 6 am, and to toughen sanitary and epidemiological measures as regards people aged over 65 and those with chronic diseases.

(Further Ms Golikova told the audience that 223,100 COVID beds are available in the country. Out of this number, 123,000 beds are equipped with oxygen devices and 28,400 beds have ventilators. As of yesterday morning, 19.1 percent of the beds remained vacant. She said up to 70 percent of coronavirus patients could receive outpatient treatment. The official also spoke about organising the work of ambulances.)

The heads of regions were instructed to submit to the Ministry of Healthcare and the Government updated information on the availability of medicine, as well as on available stock, by October 30. The Ministry must forward this updated information to the Ministry of Industry and Trade by November 3, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, accordingly, must make arrangements with manufacturers and supervise the launch of production lines based on the market needs.

At present, almost 82,000 doctors, 128,000 medical workers and 58,000 junior medical staff provide assistance to Covid patients. More than 24,000 students of medical universities and colleges, more than 11,000 medical residents and 500 medical teachers have joined the effort. I would like to express my gratitude to all the medical professionals and students for their dedicated involvement during this difficult period.

It has been recommended that the Ministry of Healthcare continue this work, and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, together with the regions, is to ensure the involvement of senior students and faculty members from medical departments and universities not only in helping Covid patients, but in working in the primary healthcare setting.

In addition, regional leaders have been instructed to arrange, together with Rospotrebnadzor, for regular testing of medical workers for novel coronavirus infection.

To provide assistance to Russian regions, special crews have been formed at the federal level comprising specialists from federal facilities, including service members and medical personnel from the Ministry of Defence. Such crews currently operate in Amur Region, the Republic of Altai, the Republic of Abkhazia, Altai Territory, the Republic of Crimea, Sevastopol, and Irkutsk and Kurgan regions; specialists have also been sent to Omsk Region.

A few words about the seasonal flu vaccination. To date, 43.8 million Russians have been vaccinated, which accounts for 30 percent of the population. However, several regions have a different situation, vaccination there is at an insufficient level. We have brought this to the attention of the regional authorities in order to achieve the target vaccination level that you have indicated, and to prevent an outbreak of influenza and combined forms of diseases.

Mr President, as I said at the beginning, the situation is difficult, but, together with the regions, we will make every effort to handle it.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you.

This is what I would like to draw your attention to. Ms Golikova has just mentioned that some 90 some-odd percent, or up to 95 percent of beds are already occupied. We have discussed this, it has to do not only with COVID-19, but also with the current situation with the flu and ARVI cases. They are overlapping.

First, I would like to address the governors of the Russian Federation regions. As Ms Golikova said, we are following the developments in each territory. We are helping and will continue to support them. However, please do not forget about your responsibility and what needs to be done very soon.

As I have said, experts believe that just the first wave of the pandemic rather than a second one is coming to some territories. Therefore, we must be very serious about what needs to be done right now. If it is necessary to deploy additional beds, this must be done. If some places have to be repurposed – this is undesirable because it is necessary to conduct other work there – but if there is a need for this, consult the experts from the Health Ministry and your own specialists; work more closely with them in this period and make the relevant decisions.

I have already mentioned that the Government has drafted proposals on medications as well, because some people who were infected with mild forms of the disease will be ready to receive outpatient treatment but these medications must be affordable. This is the first problem. The Government has already discussed this and has now decided to supply these people with free medications. This would allow them to receive outpatient treatment. They discussed the figure of about 5 billion. I would like to ask you not to delay this decision. Let us agree on this. I know that the approvals procedure has been generally completed. Let us consider this decision adopted. Please allocate these funds immediately.

In terms of supporting the regions, I know that funding in the amount of 10 billion rubles is finally about to be approved. This needs to be done immediately. The money must be allocated to the regions to fund transportation for those who need it, for personal protection equipment, and for the improvement of technical resources and testing. These funds must be used for combating COVID-19 rather than any other purposes.

There have been requests, including some addressed to me from certain areas, for commissions to review what is happening in the healthcare system in certain regions.

Ms Golikova, this needs to be done. Commissions must be sent out to confirm what is actually happening.

I am certain that, without a doubt, we will deal with any current difficulties. However, I would like to address the Government and all of our colleagues in charge, as well as the heads of regions. The current situation requires greater attention to the problem on our part.

Ms Golikova, we will not name any specific territories right now, but we know where the situation is causing concern. So please deal with them specifically.

Tatyana Golikova:

Yes, Mr President.

Regarding the 5 and 10 billion, we will finalise this decision immediately. We are currently in the process of finalising the approvals, and we already have an allocation plan for the respective regions, so financial support will be provided soon.

As for the teams we are sending to the regions, I have listed the areas where we have been working lately. Literally yesterday and today, we worked in Kurgan and Omsk regions. We identified the problems there with providing medical care and disruptions in the system, so our work continues. Today we reached an agreement with Sechenov University to hold medical consultations every other day for medical staff on treatment strategies, on a permanent basis.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

There are more regions than the two you just mentioned. You yourself gave a larger number, including Kursk and other regions. Therefore, you need to work through all the issues with all of our colleagues, including the use of the additional funds that will be allocated soon to support the regions.

Mr Siluanov, I am aware that you were about to talk about implementing online technology in the financial sector, which is a critically important matter. But before you do so, please update us on additional funding, assistance to the regions and the money (over 5 billion rubles) for purchasing free medications that are used in treating coronavirus patients.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov:

Mr President, colleagues,

Indeed, Ms Golikova, Mr Mishustin and I discussed financial support for the areas of focus that you have just outlined. We will find the money for this in the Reserve Fund and the funds that we have for supporting the regions in the form of subsidies to balance them. We believe that these areas are our top priority, and helping the regions achieve these goals is our highest priority now. The resources are there, and the task will be completed.

Vladimir Putin:


Anton Siluanov:

Mr Mishustin said we would adopt this at the next Government meeting on Thursday, tomorrow.

Vladimir Putin:


Mr Mishustin, do you have anything to add to that?

Mikhail Mishustin:

I wanted to say that we will adopt this decision tomorrow, and everything is ready for us to do so.

Vladimir Putin:

Good. Thank you very much.

Mr Siluanov, please, tell us about the financial sector.

Anton Siluanov:

Thank you.

I would like to report on how digitalisation is being introduced in the financial sector.

Indeed, the Government of the Russian Federation has adopted the appropriate action plan for the introduction of online technologies in the financial sector. Why are we doing this? To enable clients to use financial services online, which is quicker, simpler, and more transparent. Online services save users the need to collect an assortment of certificates because most documents can be generated without leaving home.

What are the main objectives of this plan the Government has approved on your instructions?

The first is to expand remote identification functionality. This will enable opening bank accounts remotely, applying for loans and even purchasing housing – users will be able to accomplish all this online without having to visit bank offices or financial institutions, or wait in lines.

Secondly, the process of applying for a mortgage will become completely digital. A buyer can purchase a flat from a developer, get a mortgage loan from a bank and register all the necessary documents online. Some banks have already started pilot projects to register digital mortgages during the pandemic. We are now systematising this process and putting it on a systemwide scale.

Next, the work of financial institutions will also be simplified. They, too, will be able to get all the client details they need from government information systems online. This will reduce their costs and, accordingly, reduce the cost of those services for their clients, and it will definitely improve the quality of their services.

The next part of our plan is to expedite the development of digital platforms. Such platforms should help users open bank accounts or individual investment accounts on favourable terms, and purchase their car insurance policies. Moreover, customers will have no need to compare the various offers – the platform will select the best deals available on the market today automatically.

Implementation of the planned measures has started this year, and we plan to complete it in the middle of next year.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you very much. I think that if this works out – as I am sure it will – it will certainly be of great help to the national economy and to the people. Thank you.

The national programme Science provides for creating research and education centres, which, we hope, will be world-class. Five such centres have been built in five regions.

Mr Falkov, how is this work going? Ms Golikova and I once decided that there would be five of them in the first stage, and 15 in total. How is this going?

Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov:

Mr President,

Indeed, five pilot research and education centres were identified as part of this national programme in 2019 in Belgorod, Nizhny Novgorod and Kemerovo regions, Perm Territory and one interregional centre in Tyumen Region in conjunction with the Khanty-Mansiysk and Yamalo-Nenets autonomous districts.

The research and education centre is a special kind of partnership designed to integrate all levels of training, the capabilities of universities, research organisations and businesses in order to move technological development forward.

Currently, competitive bidding is underway to identify five more research and education centres. The results will be reviewed and the winners identified in early December. In addition to the research and innovation potential of the participants, the selection criteria will also include the regions’ geostrategic location. This will allow us to keep the Arctic, Crimea, the Far East and Kaliningrad in mind when making decisions. Notably, the regions are very interested in this competition. We are expecting to receive about 30 applications. Eight of them will be formed as part of the interregional format.

In the course of the first year of operation of these five pilot centres, we have gained experience in implementing cooperation projects and achieved some positive results.

First, the regions have become actively involved in developing the research and education sector and offered their own tools to support research and education centres. For example, a competition was announced in the West Siberian Interregional Research and Education Centre this year for providing regional mega-grants to support research headed by leading scientists. In total, they plan to provide five grants of 150 million rubles each for a period of five years.

Secondly, not all at once, but businesses became interested in suggesting requirements for changing the education and research curricula at universities and research institutes. Interaction with research and academic organisations is gradually expanding, and the outlines of actual technological projects have become available. The extra-budgetary funds involved in projects amounted to 5 billion 536 million last year, and this year we plan to reach 7.4 billion rubles.

Thirdly, the actual prioritisation of the research agendas at these research and education centres and bringing them in line with the strategy of the country's research and technological level of development are underway regardless of the departmental affiliation of the research and education organisation.

Truly interesting and notable research groups have been created that are designed to achieve groundbreaking but, at the same time, very practical goals. For example, a project is being implemented in Belgorod, within the framework of which a group of researchers using machine vision technology is working to boost the output of Agro-Belogorye, a major holding company.

To analyse the first accomplishments and finalise the research and education centre models, we planned a series of meetings with the pilot research and education centres. One such event with the participation of three governors, heads of universities, research organisations and major industrial companies, was chaired by Ms Golikova in Tyumen on October 9.

During the year, these models have also been discussed at other important venues, such as the working group of the State Council for Education and Science and with the governors who are willing to participate in this programme, as well as the expert community. As a result, we found out what needs to be adjusted.

Firstly, it is necessary to make the administrative framework of the research and education centres more rigid, primarily by strengthening the governors’ role in these centres. A region must come up with new support tools and target the existing ones on promoting the research and education centres’ projects. While doing so, it is important to achieve an effective harmonisation of the activities provided for by different national programmes, not just the Science programme. The federal centre should use the budget-to-budget transfer mechanism to support the governors.

Secondly, the research and education centres’ programmes should focus on several key technological projects aimed at transforming the region’s economy, which should ultimately lead to a change in GRP structure, an increase in the number of people employed in new growing sectors, and in the market share of products and services. For example, the number of people employed in Nizhny Novgorod Region’s fast-growing IT sector is already comparable to the number of people employed in the automotive industry. The growth of this sector certainly changes the environment and the economy of the region and, most importantly, is a magnet for talented youth who would want to come to Nizhny Novgorod and Nizhny Novgorod region.

Thirdly, even closer integration of research and educational organisations, regardless of their departmental affiliation, is needed to resolve groundbreaking research and technological problems that are common for the regions, to expand and deepen the research and education centres’ technological agendas at colleges and universities.

Mr President,

Establishing research and education centres to world standards means a lot of work for us in the next ten years and later. The experience we have gained in the first year shows that the work of the centres’ participants will have a cumulative effect, which will help boost the potential for faster technological change and the development of human resources in the regions and, consequently, will shape a viable framework for spatial connectivity in our country.

Thank you for your attention.


Vladimir Putin:

Let us go back to the main issue, I mean organising support for children with serious – so-called orphan diseases.

Last June we took a principled decision to secure a permanent source of funding to finance the treatment of children with serious conditions. For this purpose, the rate of income tax charged on annual income over 5 million rubles has been increased from 13 percent to 15 percent. We have kept the income tax rate at 13 percent for quite a long time and I believe with good reason. I believe we did the right thing in this situation, as far as this is concerned.

I want to repeat this to avoid ambiguity or misunderstanding: this higher tax rate will be paid only on the part of an individual’s income in excess of 5 million rubles. I mean that the higher rate will not apply to an income up to 5 million rubles but the part of the income that exceeds 5 million. So, even in this case, an additional 60 billion rubles or so a year will be channeled into the budget and these funds have already been built into the country’s draft budget; they will be ring-fenced and targeted – I want to emphasise this again – only for children with rare and serious conditions, to treat them, buy the required medicines, equipment, including for rehabilitation purposes and to perform high-technology operations.

I want to note that all previously approved national and regional programmes to treat children must be carried out in full.

Of course, as we agreed, in each case the decision to use these targeted funds to help a child must be as transparent as possible while doctors, public figures and people who have devoted their lives to supporting sick children must have the final say here. Those who have an unquestioned reputation and enjoy authority in the eyes of people must have the final say.

I want to emphasise that this new additional mechanism for supporting children with rare and serious conditions must take effect on January 1 next year. What does this mean in practice? I want all my colleagues to understand me: this means that not only organisational, financial and technical issues must be resolved and completely fine-tuned, which, of course, matters a lot, but the most important thing is that beginning in January next year, children with rare and serious conditions can take advantage of this new mechanism to receive the support they need for treatment.

So, today during the discussion we must take decisions on all issues and parameters of the work ahead of us. Let us talk about this.

The source of information -

Condolences to President of France Emmanuel Macron

Vladimir Putin sent a message to President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron expressing heartfelt condolences over the tragic effects of the terrorist attacks in France.

October 29, 2020 - 15:30

The message reads, in part:

“Special indignation is evoked by the cynical and cruel crime committed in the church. We have seen once again that terrorists are completely devoid of human morals. It is evident that the fight against international terror requires real pooling of efforts of the entire world community.”

Vladimir Putin reaffirmed the readiness of the Russian side to very closely interact with the French and other foreign partners in all fields of anti-terrorist activities.

The President of the Russian Federation also stressed that the Russians share the anger and sorrow of the French people and conveyed their most sincere sympathy to the near and dear ones of the victims.

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