The head of state also toured Leo Tolstoy’s house and signed the visitors’ book.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
First of all, I would like to thank Yekaterina Tolstaya [director of the Leo Tolstoy house museum in Yasnaya Polyana] for her inspiring presentation. I do not remember when I was here last. It was long ago – I even feel as though I have never been here before – but as you walk around it comes back to you as if it were yesterday. It’s unusual.
I probably should not talk too long but I have to say that it is a very good thing that all of this has been preserved, that there are people who take care of this – starting with the first custodian, Leo Tolstoy’s wife, and then during the turbulent events of the Civil War, I know that peasants, ordinary people, took care of it, tried to preserve it during the Great Patriotic War. The main exhibits were moved to Siberia but were later returned.
Today, of course, the memory of Leo Tolstoy, his legacy means a great deal to us. There is no doubt that this is: a source of our pride and that it has inspired generations and will continue to. They will be inspired by the spirit of humanism, love of humanity, love of their Motherland. So this is of course very important.
I hope that Alexei Dyumin [Acting Governor of the Tula Region] understands all of this and will also do his utmost to ensure that the regional authorities and agencies see to it that the museum is duly preserved and maintained.
Mr Dyumin proposed that we meet for a different purpose of course – not simply to talk about museums even though this is very important. I know that he has put forward an initiative to discuss – and it was a wide-ranging discussion – plans for the Tula Region’s development, plans to formulate a strategy, measures to develop Tula and the Tula Region for a five-year period through 2021. It is very good that it covers all spheres: economic development and industry. We all understand and know that Tula is the heart of our arms production industry, but it is more than just the defence industry. A great deal has changed in recent years. For our country, for Russia, for the national economy, Tula is also important in other areas of activity: the chemical industry, machine manufacturing in the broadest sense of the word, the food industry, the processing industry and light industry.
However, what is equally important – and we also discussed this at our meeting here today – is the capacity of the defence industry in Tula, the Tula Region, to switch to the production of dual-purpose goods or the production of purely civilian goods at defence industry enterprises. We addressed this today.
But to ensure that people here live a full, interesting and pleasant life, love their homeland and never leave it – and right now there is an outflow, especially among young people – it is necessary to provide favourable living conditions of course. And it is very good that in addition to purely economic matters, in your five-year development programme, you have paid attention to healthcare, culture and education. These are very important things, of course.
I very much hope that these plans, which you have already drawn up, will be implemented consistently, efficiently, with good quality and on time. However, to this end, just as for the country as a whole, it is essential to have a united team, to rally around Tula’s leader. I took a look of course – there is no hiding it – and the plenipotentiary envoy just briefed me: The ratings are very good, but this is not enough. A great deal will need to be done to put everything that has been committed to paper into practice, to make it happen.
However, as we’re all gathered here, I believe it would be wrong if I talked until morning. Now let’s hear from you.