Taking part in the meeting were Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Naryshkin, Speaker of the Federation Council Sergei Mironov, Speaker of the State Duma Boris Gryzlov, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, and Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Mikhail Fradkov.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: I just wanted to say a few words on one subject that we have discussed on a number of occasions, namely, one of our country’s regions – Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands.
I visited the Southern Kuril Islands recently, and the purpose of this visit, the first by a Russian president, was to draw more attention to this remote part of the Russian Federation. There was a need to pay more attention to the people living there, living difficult lives, because it is a harsh place, and it is important to bring more money and investment into this region and carry out social sector projects there.
Acting on my instructions, a number of senior officials have visited the region now. The First Deputy Prime Minister visited in order to examine programmes for developing the Kuril Islands, the Regional Development Minister was there, the Foreign Minister made a separate visit to the area, and the Defence Minister is there right now.
The reason for all of these visits is that we must pay more attention to the Kuril Islands’ development. They are part of Russia and should develop along the same clear lines as every other part of the country.
When I spoke with local people there, I said that they should have the same decent wages and living conditions as their friends and colleagues on Sakhalin Island or in other parts of Russia. This is something we must work on.
Let’s not forget either that we have defence facilities on these islands. This is why the Defence Minister is there right now, and, acting on my instructions, he will make a number of decisions. I therefore ask all of the Security Council members in their work to remember the need to develop this remote part of our country.
At the same time, there is the whole background of our relations with Japan to take into account too, and we will of course continue to discuss all aspects of Russian-Japanese relations, including the issue of a peace treaty with Japan, which would enable us to continue building our ties in the spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding and take us to a new level of bilateral cooperation. At the same time, the main priority for all Russian officials is to develop this part of our country, and I ask the Security Council members to keep this in mind and make it the guiding principle in their work.