Taking part in the meeting were Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino and his First Deputy Sergei Kiriyenko, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, Deputy Prime Ministers Viktoria Abramchenko, Yury Borisov, Tatyana Golikova, Alexander Novak, Alexei Overchuk, Marat Khusnullin and 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 and Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov. First Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council Andrei Turchak, a number of ministers and federal agency heads, and President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin were also invited to attend.
A number of current issues were discussed during the meeting.
In particular, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova provided an update on the coronavirus and the plan for combatting the new omicron strain.
First Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council Andrei Turchak and Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev reviewed the discussion of the draft law on introducing QR codes for transport.
Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media Maksut Shadayev discussed the new capabilities of the website Gossuslugi.Avto, while Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova spoke about the development of municipal museums of regional history.
Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko made the main report on implementing measures to reduce air pollution. President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) Alexander Shokhin and Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov offered comments on this issue.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
Let’s get down to work. Today, Viktoria Abramchenko will give the main report on reducing air pollution and decreasing emissions. We will discuss this separately, in more detail.
Now I would like to talk about a number of current issues. The first question is, of course, to Tatyana Golikova on the spread of omicron, a new coronavirus strain.
Ms Golikova, what is happening with this in the country?
Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova: Good afternoon, Mr President, colleagues.
Mr President, with your permission I would like to give a very brief account of the current epidemiological situation, including the spread of the omicron strain, as you said.
Following the 49th week – this past week – a 7.3 percent reduction in the disease rate has been recorded in Russia. However, the rate is still up in five regions: the Sakhalin Region, the Republic of Adygea, the Nenets Autonomous Area, the Kamchatka Territory and the Republic of Altai.
An absence of any meaningful dynamic (decrease or increase) in the incidence rate has been recorded in 24 regions. The rate was down in 56 regions. However, this reduction is not sustainable: in retrospect, during the past four weeks we have seen either a reduction or an increase after each week. Last week, the number of regions where the disease rate was up, increased, whereas this week it is going down again.
This is due to the fact that the number of daily cases is still quite high at about 30,000, and the omicron variant has already spread to 74 countries, as you mentioned. We see this from genomic sequencing data.
As you are aware, Russia was impacted as well. We imported omicron with Russians returning from the Republic of South Africa and other countries. We took timely measures to stop it from spreading and isolated these people, with 177 of them now staying at observation facilities in the Moscow Region; 16 of them were found to have the omicron variant, which is almost 10 percent and indicates the fairly high contagiousness of this variant meaning that we need to extend restrictions with the New Year holiday approaching.
Despite transport restrictions, cross-border travel was quite extensive, and our people will go on vacations soon to take advantage of the New Year holidays. Of course, we cannot rule out the possibility that this variant will continue to spread.
According to international analysts, each person with the omicron variant in South Africa can infect 3 to 3.5 people. With the delta variant this figure was 0.8.
So, we teamed up with researchers in order to continue to study the omicron variant. Of course, we will adjust our response measures depending on developments.
(Then, Ms Golikova spoke in detail about the situation in healthcare, and the measures that have been taken and will be taken soon. The additional measures to respond to the spread of the novel coronavirus infection and the omicron variant include four blocks. The first block is the creation of barriers to slow the pace of COVID-19 spreading, including restrictions on the entry to Russia of foreign nationals from RSA and a number of other countries affected by omicron. It was also recommended that the regions strengthen oversight over compliance with restrictive measures and sanitary requirements in crowded places during the upcoming holidays. The second block includes timely prevention, including improving the efficiency of test systems for the diagnosing and early detection of the coronavirus. The third block includes deploying extra health workers and allocating funds for one-time insurance and dedicated social payments to medical workers who engage in fighting the coronavirus infection. And, finally, the mandatory health insurance system will receive full advance funding to ensure the uninterrupted provision of medical care in January.)
As for herd immunity, it now stands at 56.1 percent. About 75.8 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine and 69.4 million have had two jabs.
Mr President, we continue working on measures and adjusting them based on our monitoring of the situation. And we will continue to update you on this issue, and would like to ask you to support these measures. Thank you for your attention.
Vladimir Putin: Good. Thank you very much.
Ms Golikova, this year we provided medical and social workers with special payments during the 2021 New Year holidays. Those who worked and continue working with COVID patients received double pay. I would like to ask the Government to do the same for the New Year holidays in 2022.
Tatyana Golikova: All right, we will do this, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, because the situation now is probably not as alarming as it was in January this year, but it is still complicated and people are working under a heavy load.
Mr Siluanov, can we do this?
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov: Yes.
Mr President, according to our estimates, this will cost us a bit more than 8 billion rubles. We will find these funds in the budget.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Now there is one more issue related to this. I am referring to a draft law on introducing QR codes for transport. I know that the Duma is reviewing this bill.
First Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council Andrei Turchak: Mr President.
I would like to report to you that as soon as the Government submitted the relevant draft law on restrictions in transport, United Russia began a large-scale public discussion.
Indeed, this draft is sensitive and affects the interests of a large number of our people. Of course, before adopting such decisions, it is necessary to consult those for whom we are actually working.
Mr President, you have said absolutely correctly at a meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights that such rash decisions were absolutely unacceptable. United Russia used its regional resources to get feedback from the people. We have held 10 days of receptions, during which our governors, secretaries of our regional branches, senators and deputies at all levels met with people between December 1 and 10.
We have received hundreds of thousands of requests, hundreds of thousands of questions. People asked reasonable questions, for example, how they should act in extraordinary situations. Anything can happen: people fall ill or, God forbid, die, emergencies happen, and people need to rush across the country. What should they do in such situations? Even today, when people take the first jab of the vaccine, they do not immediately receive a vaccination certificate.
As a result of this work, the party has adopted a tough stand. It has been decided that our faction in the State Duma and the Committee on Transport should withdraw the draft law. Indeed, the draft law in its current form is not even ready for the first reading.
At the same time, we understand perfectly well that the issue of passengers’ safety and health is still on the agenda. Work will continue at the level of experts and, of course, the final decision will depend on the sanitary and epidemiologic situation.
(After that, Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev provided comments at the President’s request. He reported that the decision to upgrade the draft law on the use of electronic certificates in transport had been adopted jointly with the State Duma so as to find a more comfortable routine for passengers, who should be able to use Russia’s system of transportation in the current epidemiological situation. This decision has been taken to more closely examine at all the risks associated with the use of electronic certificates.)
Vladimir Putin: Ms Golikova, how are these issues regulated in other countries?
Tatyana Golikova: There are different methods, Mr President. Some countries use the so-called 2G regulations, allowing free movement only for vaccinated persons and those who have recovered from COVID-19 when cases are on the rise. Other countries also use the results of PCR tests. But the main thing is that these restrictions are usually temporary and are only used at a time when the number of cases increases significantly. When the rate goes down, these restrictions are generally loosened.
Vladimir Putin: I see. But New Year celebrations are coming, and I believe that it would be rather difficult to impose such restrictions. We will create many problems for people.
Alright, I see what you mean. Thank you.
Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media Maksut Shadayev: Good afternoon, Mr President, colleagues,
To begin, I would like to tell you that tomorrow, on December 15, it will be 12 years since we launched the unified public services portal. During this time, we have traversed a long road from a website where we published administrative regulations to a full digital ecosystem of electronic public services.
Today, over 93 million Russian nationals have registered accounts on the portal. I would like to remind you that you can only register an account after receiving a passport. This is 75 percent of the population aged 14+. At the beginning of this year alone, the number of registered users on the portal has increased by 11 million people while the number of inquiries for services has doubled compared to the same period last year.
Mr President, today almost 10 million people visit the portal every day, which is a big figure. The portal is now one of the ten most popular websites among Russian internet users.
All this became possible owing to your instructions on the expedited digitalisation of public services and with support from Mr Mishustin, who keeps this issue under his personal control. He manually adjusts the work of any departments that might impede this process.
Since the start of this year, we have converted over 170 federal, regional and municipal pubic, socially important services to electronic form and introduced a number of separate e-services: the Pushkin Card, the census, e-voting, and anti-COVID services. I will not list them all, but in November alone, we rendered 60 million services through the portal, which is three times more than in November last year.
(Further the Minister described in detail e-services for car owners – on car registration, appointments for driving tests, and acquiring a driving license. This year alone, over 10 million people have used these services. This includes digital versions of legally important documents and the introduction of advanced digital formats for official paperwork like documents on traffic accidents.)
Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova: Mr President, colleagues,
There are over 1,500 local history museums in our country, of which 1,200 are operated by municipalities. They are developed at an uneven pace despite the fact that they have high educational capacity and boast unique knowledge of their respective local areas.
Under your instructions, measures have been designated to support local history museums financially and by the professional community. A new document – a model standard for a municipal museum of local history – has been drafted as a result of efforts led by the Russian Ethnographic Museum.
The purpose is to codify the activities of the institutions and to even out their development levels, to make them attractive for visitors, especially young people, and effective in terms of holding exhibitions and conducting research. The standard will improve museum-to-museum cooperation and make it much easier. It will also increase their audiences and improve accessibility by creating an enabling environment.
I am sure that municipality tourist appeal will improve as well. The standards imply the availability of mandatory amenities at renovated museums, including specialised equipment, access to high-speed broadband internet, an accessible environment, internal navigation, a hospitality area, a conference space for get-togethers and educational events, audio guides, as well as attractive and informative museum websites.
Infrastructure plays a decisive role in modernising museums. Over 400 museums in 73 constituent entities of the Russian Federation will be renovated and another 100 institutions upgraded over the next three years.
Renovation of community cultural centres is another important area of focus. Over the past three years, we have built or upgraded 777 such centres, and there will be 950 of them by the end of the year. These new-format community cultural centres are outfitted with modern equipment and implements, as well as costumes for performances and shows. Opportunities are being created for people to engage in a wide variety of activities. For example, a children's film studio was set up at a community cultural centre in the Belgorod Region, and a social theatre project for children and adults with disabilities was launched in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area.
Over the next three years, we will allocate 6 billion rubles to build and repair over 300 rural community cultural centres.
Mr President, municipal and local history museums and community cultural centres are being renovated with the funds that were made available upon your instructions through to 2024. However, these funds will also be used to create 600 model libraries, renovate five, repair 18 and equip 105 children's theatres, as well as to purchase 4 million books for regional libraries.