Among those invited were First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office and Chairman of the State Council Commission on Coordinating and Evaluating the Regional Executive Bodies’ Performance Sergei Kiriyenko, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Labour and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov, Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov, Minster of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov and Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Social support is on our agenda today.
There are many routine issues but this is what I would like to start with.
You may have noticed that I have just been at the [Central Military Clinical] Hospital of the Defence Ministry. I met with our servicemen who are undergoing treatment after being wounded and injured. And some of them – at any rate most of those I spoke with – still have not received any state awards. Of course, they will. But why am I talking about this? Regardless of what awards they have or will have, these people are risking their health and lives for the sake of people and children in Donbass, for the sake of Russia. All of them are heroes. This is exactly what they are. Each of them intentionally put their life in mortal danger. This is how they should be treated — as heroes.
Why am I talking about this? I had a brief talk with the medics, too. They are saying they have everything they need. I believe this is true. They have everything to render qualified medical aid to our guys who were wounded and are undergoing treatment now. All of them want to return to the ranks, all of them. But I would still like the Government to pay attention to the medical side of this, to get a sense and understanding of what is happening there. If anything is required, it is necessary to respond promptly and efficiently to any requirements of military medicine. This is my first point.
The second point. Of course, it is necessary to quickly and fully resolve all issues of social support for the military in general, but especially for those who were wounded and, first and foremost, for the families of our fallen comrades. This should be done promptly and on full scale. This applies to pay and allowances. The Prime Minister and I have already agreed on some recalculation. Since they are located abroad, they are entitled to corresponding payments. These payments should be increased because everything is tied to the dollar rate in this case and, as we know, the dollar is withering whereas the ruble is growing stronger. This is why all these payments must be recalculated and made accordingly. This applies to all social issues, including housing and so on. In other words, I am asking you to monitor all this. The Defence Ministry is doing this and doing a good job but, naturally, it is necessary to help whenever it needs support.
We have many colleagues from the regions here. I know that they are doing much in the regions. Mr Kozhemyako reported to me, I read your note about what is being done and how. I would like to thank you for this and express the hope that regardless of measures taken by the state you will show attention and care for the families of our guys in the regions and will do everything you can to support them.
As for social issues in general, as I have already said in the beginning, there are many routine tasks there and you should focus daily on them on the ground, in every region. That said, in addition to this, we should be always looking to the future, a step ahead, and keep focused on the priorities that have already been determined. Our key, unchanging priority is to raise the wellbeing, the living standards of our people.
The current year is not easy. Since its beginning, cumulative inflation has exceeded 11 percent. However, when I say this year is “not easy,” this does not mean at all that all these difficulties stem from this special military operation because in the countries that are not conducting any operations, for instance, overseas in North America and in Europe, inflation is comparable. If we look at the structure of their economies, we can see that it is even higher than here and in some neighbouring countries, it is several times higher. This is surprising, but it is several times higher. Yet, we are also dealing with it and we must respond to it, although, frankly speaking, I am surprised that inflation is several times lower here than in the countries where nothing like this is happening. I am referring to the special conditions in which we live.
But even in these conditions, in early March we set ourselves the task to lower the poverty level by the end of the year. It is clear, and I will say it again, that overall, this situation is typical not only for us but for many other countries in the world today. I am not even talking about separate types of inflation, like in food or energy where their position is so much worse than ours. Still, we must do everything we can to fulfil the task facing us in the current conditions as well. Obviously, this is not an easy task but we must try to carry it out.
The effect of this policy is not only social. It also has an economic dimension. The decisions we are adopting support domestic demand and, importantly, this demand is mostly for domestic products. As a result, our economy has a much better dynamic than some experts predicted, which means we will open new production lines and create more jobs.
Thankfully, unemployment is not going up and even went down a little, I think.
(Addressing Tatyana Golikova.) Ms Golikova, unemployment is now running at 4 percent, isn’t it?
Frankly, we did not make any forecasts concerning unemployment and assumed that it might even spike, but it is declining instead. We should not take this for granted and focus instead on examining what is going on and helping support this trend.
To reiterate, we need to help people in difficult life situations, which we keep an eye on at all times. I would like to discuss some issues separately, including the measures that need to be taken.
For example – I discussed this with the Government for quite a while, there were disputes within the Government as it was working on a decision, and I want to announce this now – I propose increasing pensions for non-working pensioners by 10 percent from June 1 with due account taken of our legal regulations. As you are aware, the insurance pensions for non-working pensioners were adjusted by 8.6 percent on January 1. Thus, their pensions will increase by 19.5 percent compared to 2021. This is above the inflation level, which, as experts say, and I already mentioned it, has slowed down to the current 0.175 and will be under 15 percent at the end of 2022, at least, this is our estimate.
Second, the subsistence level will increase by 10 percent on June 1 as well and will average 13,919 rubles nationwide. Since some allowances and benefits are derived based on this amount, they will also go up, which will help many families with children.
Third, the monthly minimum wage will increase by 10 percent to 15,279 rubles on June 1. What we need to do is to make sure wages grow faster than the cost of living. Our main goal is to further increase the minimum wage so that individual incomes exceed the subsistence level by a wide margin.
I suggest discussing today the social contract system in the regions. It was created as a launching pad to help people who find themselves in a difficult situation to start living a decent life again. Let me remind you that since last year, this system has been extended to all regions of the country. I hope to hear regional governors’ proposals on improving this mechanism.
I would like to note that 52 regions are taking an active part in the events of the National Social Initiative. Colleagues, of course I know that in cooperation with ASI, regional teams analysed the most sensitive cases, went themselves to all the agencies where people turn for help, and drafted plans for changes that many regions are already carrying out.
I would like to ask ASI to continue building up work in all socially important areas and be in continuous dialogue with the regional governors. I believe this dialogue is very useful and this cooperation is productive.
Another important issue is the functioning of the system of long-term care for people who cannot take care of themselves without outside help due to age or illness. This system has been operating in some regions since 2018 in pilot format. In 2022, we started introducing it in some municipal entities in 34 regions.
Last year, over 108,000 people received social care in 24 regions. Out of this number, over 80,000 people received assistance at home or in day centres.
I would like to note the important results of this system. Over 9,000 relatives of people requiring care at home have gone back to work. The number of calls for emergency medical assistance by elderly people has gone down significantly. About 4,700 jobs have been created in long-term care.
Considering this positive experience, I would like to urge my colleagues to join and expand it, to support it in every way and develop it in this future.
Today, I would like to focus on the well-being of families with children, and a dignified standard of living, proper nutrition for children, including at school, which, as you can see for yourself, has a good, I would even say fundamental effect, largely determines a child’s development and lays the foundation for health, creativity and success in their independent lives as adults.
Statistics show that families with children made up about 80 percent of low-income families in the recent past. It took us several years of system-wide efforts to create a fully integrated low-income family support system. All low-income families now receive monthly allowances for children aged three through 16. In any case, everyone should be receiving them. I hope there are no setbacks in the regions.
These measures were taken gradually. The allowances for low-income families with children aged eight to 17 were introduced in April. The first payment was made in May and covered two months. Colleagues, I would like you to tell me how things are with these payments. This is an important matter going forward when we will be building an effective support system for families with children from pregnancy through school. The Government was instructed to create this system a year ago. Well, “instructed” is not the right word. We developed these plans and proposals together. I would like to know how this work is proceeding.
We must, step by step, fix the shortcomings in the mechanisms for supporting families with children and expectant families.
Here is a specific example that concerns female military personnel. This has nothing to do with the operation, it just so happened that female military personnel are not included in the insurance system, and the amount was fixed. They are paid a little over 15,000 rubles in childcare allowance for children under 18 months. As of July 1, this injustice must be dealt with. This amount will be more than doubled to slightly over 31,000 rubles precisely for women who hold this insurance policy. I want the Government to implement this proposal and keep a close eye on this issue.
Providing families with housing is a separate issue. As you know, it has been decided to extend for a year – until the end of 2023 – payments of 450,000 rubles for the repayment of mortgage loans for families that had a third child. It is necessary to carry it out.
A family with three, four and more children is a mark of status already. It must have this status in our social consciousness and receive support from the state. This is so because for Russia a large family is a historical tradition. We know this well and it has always been like this in Russia. It is necessary to return to this tradition. It is required by our current development and must take root as a norm, a value for society and a major priority for the state.
A happy thriving family with many children is a basic response to the demographic challenges we are facing. We are no exception in this respect. You know well that all post-industrial countries are having the same problems. We had a good example of successful work in the beginning and middle of the 2000s. Despite natural setbacks, we must meet this demographic challenge and turn the trend positive without fail.
I would like to note that many regions of the Federation have amassed very good experience working with large families. In this context, I would like to ask the State Council Commission on Social Policy to summarise in cooperation with the Agency for Strategic Initiative the best practices of the regions and submit their proposals for their dissemination and introduction at the federal level.
Colleagues, at the seminar with Government representatives, you discussed in detail social support measures. Let us summarise them. I will listen to your ideas and proposals with pleasure.