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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends, colleagues,
We have several important events planned. Today the Russian Railways is marking 175 years since its foundation and I want to congratulate the company’s leadership and all railway workers.
This is a significant event in the history of our country. Railway workers and the railways have played a crucial role in the development of Russia’s economy and continue to play a colossal role. No other mode of transport has come close in providing transportation for a country with such a vast territory as Russia. Most cargo volumes are still transported by rail.
I want to look back at the World War II years and the earlier periods of industrialisation and collectivisation. Those were very complicated periods that evoke a mixed response today, but they were certainly large-scale. The industrialisation was undoubtedly a very significant event for the development of our economy. Without the vital role played by the railways it would have been impossible to achieve the goals the nation had set for itself.
During World War II railways transported massive amounts of equipment to the east, delivered the required quantities in the right time to the frontlines, and did it all in extremely difficult conditions – this demanded great professionalism and courage of railway workers.
Next year the Russian Union of Transport Workers will mark its 10th anniversary. It is a fairly young association, but it is very large in terms of the challenges it addresses and the people it unites, which includes almost all transportation workers in our country: aviation, road, river and sea transport.
I am very grateful to the Union of Transport Workers for their active support of the Russian Popular Front, their essential role in the presidential election and participation in the State Duma elections, in which they won seats on a United Russian ticket. Now they have an opportunity to have a direct impact on the legislative process.
I am sure we will address many issues at our meeting today, although this is almost a celebratory event, so I hope you won’t attack me with particularly complex matters, but nevertheless, this meeting will also have a working part. I want to say straight away that the Union of Transport Workers representatives are members of the State Duma, and if you ask me about improving legislation, I will forward all such questions to them.
Seriously, the Union of Transport Workers indeed plays a vitally important role in ensuring the proper operation and functioning of the Russian transport industry and is directly involved in drafting laws and regulations. We do not always succeed in reaching full consensus but nevertheless, the Government always listens to the opinions of the Union of Transport Workers and always looks for and finds compromises.
I very much hope that we will continue to work side by side with the Union of Transport Workers on the development of our strategies, or rather, on correcting them if the need arises. The Union of Transport Workers participated in drafting the Russian Transport Strategy until 2030. Hopefully, we will continue our joint efforts not only on conceptual tasks, but also on current issues.
I would like to finish this monologue by congratulating once again the Union of Transport Workers and Russian Railways on your anniversaries and wish you all the best.