Before the meeting, the President toured the Moscow Region Governance Centre.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Where is Mr Golubev [Rostov Region Governor]?
Our colleague, Vasily Golubev, has a birthday today. Happy birthday to you!
Good afternoon, colleagues,
Today, we will discuss the key goals and plans for the development of local self-government.
As we often repeat, and it is true, this level of public government is the closest to the people and, thus, has a lot of responsibility. No matter where people live they want to live a decent life. They want to have safe and good roads, well-lit streets and neat courtyards, well-equipped and comfortable sports facilities and children’s playgrounds. All this determines the quality of life for our citizens and affects the future of our children.
Our common goal is to ensure the efficiency of local self-government and remove gaps and lack of coordination between the regions and municipalities.
At the federal level, we need to improve the coordination of everything that concerns local self-government. In this context, I would like to ask you to start drafting new basic principles of national policy on local self-government development through to 2030.
The main thing is, it is imperative to improve the municipal governments’ financial stability as this is the cause of many difficulties in your work.
I suggest that the regions implement measures similar to the federal measures on restructuring budget loans with regard to the municipalities’ budget loans, which account for about 25 percent of the municipalities’ budget system. Based on the municipalities’ spending to address priority issues on the ground, this, of course, should be done with consideration for additional regional budget revenue from implementing investment projects in the municipalities.
As you know, local self-government bodies are not part of the government system. At the same time, they are not located somewhere in outer space, or on the Moon. They are part of our society, country and governance system. The fact that they act independently within their authority does not mean that Russia’s single political, economic, cultural, or transport space is fragmented. On the contrary, efficient performance by each level of government of their duties and close interaction, as well as business partnership, is the basis and guarantee of fulfilling our plans to improve the living standards in Russia.
So, it is very important to ensure the unity of all levels of government. If you noticed, and I am sure you did, I mentioned this in my Address [to the Federal Assembly], when I suggested enshrining this specific principled provision in the Constitution.
I would like to emphasis: the constitutional amendments under discussion do not affect the fundamental provisions of the first and second chapters of our Basic Law, which, as you may know, guarantee local self-government bodies’ independence. We will strictly follow them and provide a proper environment for each municipality in Russia, so that it can work efficiently for the benefit of the people and actively participate in achieving the national development goals as a dependable, rather than some kind of weak or inert, link in the government.
Moreover, the majority of national projects focus on local matters, and the role of local self-government in implementing them will increase many times over if the municipalities and civil society establish strong and effective interaction.
National projects are being implemented through our people’s efforts, talent and initiative. So, municipal officials should not spend too much time in their offices. They ought to be out there discussing the most pressing issues with the people instead.
Mechanisms for direct communication between the authorities and the people have already been created in many regions. Modern digital technology makes it possible to quickly respond to people’s everyday problems, initiatives and requests, respond appropriately and therefore to more quickly and efficiently resolve everyday problems (we just saw how this is done, and our colleagues from the Moscow Region also showed how this works in real life, not just in the Moscow Region, but in many other regions as well).
We saw great examples here in Krasnogorsk. But Krasnogorsk, Tatarstan, Moscow and a few more regions are not enough. These positive practices need to be replicated throughout the country. Similar digital platforms need to be created in every region, major cities and local self-government centres. Should any of them lack budget funds of their own, such initiatives must be supported at other levels.
It is also necessary to analyse ways of encouraging the best municipalities and local project teams and, as I said, to replicate these managerial solutions.
Let's discuss this.