Mr Putin began the meeting with a minute of silence in memory of the victims of a fire in a hospital near Moscow.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues,
I am pleased to have this chance to meet with you, but as you know, there was a great tragedy that killed many people in Moscow Region today, and so I ask you to honour their memory with a minute of silence.
(Minute of silence)
This tragedy shows just how important it is to pay the utmost attention to safety issues. I hope the country’s regions will give this their particular attention. The federal and regional authorities will need to come back to this issue once again. I will not comment further now, seeing as we are meeting for a different reason today.
Today, we are marking Day of Russian Parliamentarism. It was on this day in 1906 that the first Russian State Duma began its work, and this was a big milestone in our country and society’s development.
The experts say that the start of the State Duma’s work was an event comparable to adopting the Constitution. This is indeed so, because at that time, along with the State Duma’s opening, granting of basic rights and freedoms was announced. They included personal inviolability, freedom of association and so on and so forth. In other words, this marked a new stage in the development of Russia and its society.
We will be marking two anniversaries this year – the 20th anniversary of the adoption of Russia’s Constitution and of the start of work of the Federal Assembly.
At our meeting last December, we discussed the tasks ahead, the tasks the regions face, and the work we need to do over the coming period to implement the plans drawn up over the last years, and the executive orders that I mentioned yesterday during the Direct Line with the whole country.
These are big tasks, not easy, and in many aspects their implementation concerns areas that come within the regional authorities’ powers. Of course, this work will not be possible without coordinated efforts between the federal and regional authorities, but the regions themselves have a big responsibility to shoulder.
There are many things that cannot be carried out without the support from the representative bodies of power chosen by our people. Many problems are impossible to resolve without your direct participation and without adoption of relevant legislative acts at the regional and federal levels.
I propose that we discuss all of these issues freely today and look at how our joint work is going, what problems you see, and what you think we could do to adjust our cooperation in such a way as to guarantee that we will achieve our set objectives and fulfil our promises to our citizens.