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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues,
Today we devoted almost the entire day to issues related to economic growth. It was a very useful meeting, which gave us an opportunity to hear the views of the expert community. Everyone agreed that the situation in Russia is far better than in the Eurozone or certain other parts of the world. The economy is stable and on the whole developing as planned. The problems we are currently seeing now are associated with the economy slowing down, but at the same time our reserves and the macroeconomic indicators we have achieved in recent years give us a chance to take a calm and unhurried look at how and what could be adjusted in our current economic policy.
“I expect you to draw up a list of proposals that best reflect the needs of our economy in terms of ensuring its growth and minimising the contradictions that exist today in the Government and in the expert community. I believe this can be done by May 15.”
Today, many talked about the need to maintain macroeconomic indicators and to safeguard our achievements in the monetary policy conducted by the Government, and, above all, the Central Bank. We talked (actually, we have been talking about it for a long time) about the possibility of using part of the reserves that we have accumulated over the years, primarily to address infrastructure development issues.
Some colleagues have suggested other measures that, in their view, would have a positive impact on the recovery of the economic growth rate, such as keeping down the natural monopolies’ tariffs. There were many other proposals as well.
As usually happens in such cases, the position of the Finance Ministry and part of the expert community on the one hand, and the Economic Development Ministry and another part of the expert community on the other, were not in perfect harmony, to put it mildly.
Therefore, as we have agreed, I expect you to follow up on this discussion. Not so much to continue the discussion as to put all the information together into a single list of proposals that best reflect the needs of our economy in terms of its growth and minimising the contradictions that exist today in the Government and in the expert community so that we can adjust what is necessary and ensure the target economic growth rate.
I believe that this could be done by May 15. If you come across irreconcilable differences (and they will probably remain), I ask you to work through them with senior Government officials, and then we can all meet again in a restricted format and put an end to these discussions and make practical changes in our current economic policies. I am absolutely certain that there are tools available to us that can and will make a radical difference to the current developments, and above all to ensure that target growth rate makes it possible for us to secure the unconditional execution of all the strategic plans in the economic and social spheres, to ensure the growth of incomes and the implementation of the goals that we set for ourselves in the executive orders of May 7, 2012 and the ensuing decisions of the Government of the Russian Federation.
Will you be able to complete the task by May 15?
First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov: Yes, we will.