President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Medvedev, colleagues,
We are meeting ahead of the New Year, which is a time to recap. But we will not do that today, because some may think recapping is more important for us that the actual work.
However, I know that you do this constantly, and I am sure you have been discussing it just now. I will only make a few remarks regarding the way our work is organised. I would like to say that despite a far from perfect market situation, which is made up not only of oil prices, but of other parameters as well, and is not exactly favourable for us, we are nevertheless moving ahead, and this is obvious.
However, we have reached that favourable moment that people have spoken of ever since Soviet times. I am sure a majority of you know this, many colleagues, recalling the sixties and seventies remember how people used to talk about this “calamity that hit the country – we came into a lot of oil.” The entire economy relaxed; there was no need to work hard, to think about innovations, to develop engaging other internal factors.
Now we have come to realise that crude oil is not enough and that we need to work on those very internal factors that affect the development. We need to cut ineffective costs, to think of improving the business climate, to work on our infrastructure.
As we have with us the head of the Central Bank, I want to say that we also need to find ways to get commercial banks to reduce interest rates on loans to the economy. There are many more things that need to be done. We need to open up to business, to the business community in this case. We have to admit openly that it is not enough to create the Open Government system; we have to make the entire Government truly open.
Overall, I believe we are managing. I find the result satisfactory – I have already mentioned this, but it could certainly have been much better. I would like to repeat that I believe that the potential of the Government has not yet been used to the full. I do admit, nevertheless, that the government mechanism, which is a complicated one, is becoming ever more precise and well mobilised and is demonstrating its efficiency.
I have strong hope that we will put into practice everything positive that we have accumulated lately through specific undertakings and through achieving the goals that we have been discussing extensively and in a business-like manner.
I would like to thank you for our joint work and to wish you a Happy New Year.
Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you very much, Mr Putin.
First of all, we would like to thank you for coming here to meet with the Government ahead of the New Year Holidays, and more importantly for the continued focus on the Government’s work. The Government needs this constant attention, since the President is the Head of State and is responsible for taking all key decisions. What’s more, the Government has been actively involved in implementing the President’s instructions, from well-known executive orders that were enacted last year to the recent address to the Federal Assembly, as well as the latest meeting of the State Council.
These are all landmark events for our country, but even if we do not view these initiatives from this global perspective, for the Government this translates into an action plan, a daily focus on priorities.
Our meeting today was not only about summing up results. As you have said on a number of occasions, the Government is like a flywheel, a machine that never stops, and is not entitled to any breaks or leaves. During today’s meeting we discussed 30 items, which means that the Government continues to carry out its standard set of functions. However, its primary focus is to stick to the priorities. I would like to reiterate that it is the President who sets the main guidelines.
We would like to thank you once again for everything that was done over this year and for your feedback. Every government has its problems when it comes to forming and running the cabinet. Nevertheless, your feedback paves the way for further efforts to deliver on the key objectives that our country is facing. Many Russians are eager to see your instructions implemented. After all, all governments work for their country and their people.
On behalf of the Government of the Russian Federation, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year and good health and every success in this all but easy task of serving as President. We hope that next year will turn out to be a little better for our country, taking into account what you said in your opening remarks.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you. Let’s continue in an informal atmosphere.
I would like to tell you this – it is a kind of pre-holiday piece of news, not much of a secret: you may know that we have recently deployed a new nuclear missile submarine and began the deployment of new generation silo-based rocket complexes. This is an important event for our country and for enhancing its defence capability.
This is also a product of our joint efforts – this would not have been possible if the financial side of it, the economy did not operate properly, if we did not maintain the social sphere and, of course, the defence complex, the defence industry in the necessary condition.
All this would have been impossible without the joint coordinated work of all the structures – of the Government Executive Office, Presidential Executive Office, and law enforcement agencies. This is in effect a sign that we are making progress in all areas.
Happy New Year!