President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues.
We met not so long ago, but perhaps not in such a broad format; on May 30, I believe it was, to speak about what we need to do to more efficiently organise our science sector.
Everyone present at that meeting said that we do need to take such steps. The question is how to organise this, how to carry it out. This includes the procedures for electing the president of the Academy of Sciences.
I believe this is not a procedural question but a serious matter, a matter of substance that to a large extent should set the priorities and determine interaction with state agencies and the regional and federal authorities.
Today, June 22, marks the start of the Great Patriotic War, the day when the enemy treacherously attacked our homeland. On this occasion, I must recall here the tremendous contribution that Soviet and Russian science made to vanquishing the enemy. We all know the T-34 – experts admit it was the best tank in World War II – Katyusha rocket launchers, the forerunners of the multiple rocket launchers we use today; our attack planes that are among the best in the world, and so on. Soviet science did much indeed to defeat the cunning adversary.
Today, we must ensure our economy’s development, and we must do this in such a way as to make our country not just a part of the technological revolution that is underway, but one of the leaders of this revolution. Russia must be a leader in the new technology landscape taking shape. We have every chance we need to achieve this, despite the setbacks that Russian science suffered in the 1990s and early 2000s.
The colossal potential that you and your predecessors have built up remains in place, fortunately. There are significant new achievements too, achievements on a world scale.
We need to move forward. We have said this before. I say it again now and I hope for a frank and constructive discussion today that will produce decisions to enable us to take final decisions at the legislative level. You know that a draft law is ready now and I would like to hear your views on this matter.
Thank you very much. Let us begin.