President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Kogogin, Mr Rumyantsev, Ms Shmeleva,
We met late last night to discuss the election campaign. I already had an opportunity to thank you for this joint effort. Today, I would like to do it here, in a more formal setting. I would like to thank you for working together, and to convey my gratitude to all your colleagues who led the election campaign in the Russian regions.
This was a major effort, and I know that you have travelled to many Russian regions to meet with people and talk to voters in public reception offices and in the streets.
I also know that what matters most for our citizens, our people is essential for any individual, any citizen. These are the segments that you represent: healthcare, education and research, and manufacturing. Of course, we have to add here research in a broader sense, as well as infrastructure, as I have been saying on numerous occasions lately.
I would like to thank you and your colleagues in the regions for this joint work. As I already said yesterday, I hope that we continue working together in the future even without any formal organisational frameworks, in a sense that in your activities you will not only seek to deliver on your objectives, but also contribute proactively to discussions on promoting development in the country, by voicing your perspective.
We will focus mostly on the domestic agenda, primarily ensuring the growth of our economy and making innovation part of its nature, including healthcare, education, industrial manufacturing, infrastructure and other critical areas in order to promote progress in our country and to raise the living standards of our citizens. This is what we will focus on first and foremost.
Of course, there are matters pertaining to our country's defence capability and security, which need to be addressed as well. Nevertheless, the domestic agenda is the main thing for us. To reiterate, I very much count on your support, the support of our broad-based and large team as we proceed to address the issues that our country faces, and that we must and will resolve together.
So, once again many thanks to you, and I look forward to continuing our cooperation.
Remark: Thank you.
Co-chair of Vladimir Putin’s election campaign and Director of the Talent and Success Foundation Yelena Shmeleva: Thank you, Mr President, for your trust and the opportunity to talk to the numerous experts we saw in the regions, who are working to promote our areas of focus. This represents valuable and unique experience and unparalleled results.
Co-chair of Vladimir Putin’s election campaign and General Director of the Dmitry Rogachev National Medical Research Centre for Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Immunology Alexander Rumyantsev: Mr President, I think that we should keep this group, since it includes over 500 people who represented you.
Vladimir Putin: You mean in the regions?
Alexander Rumyantsev: Yes, in the regions. In fact, they represent our country’s elite. If we keep this tool for the entire duration of your presidency, I believe it will be an absolutely independent tool designed to do precisely what you mentioned several times yesterday, that is, we, with the help of eight groups of our specialists, will be able to carry out possible oversight and recommendations to you in person and the Executive Office on the areas we as a country are working on.
Our people, election representatives, keep asking, “Are we going to continue operating throughout Mr Putin’s term in office, will we be needed and useful?” And we tell them all of course we will keep on working together. Because during our trips through the country our standing was just amazing. I had never experienced such treatment as a doctor: I was visiting different territories but it was a special position, because we were heeded by everyone, including local authorities. It was very interesting for us to see the internal climate, the condition of each territory, as you rightly said, the love, the positive attitude.
For example, I visited Bryansk, the center of Russia’s potato industry. They are so dedicated to it. Plus the company Miratorg. Plus education: two universities with seven thousand students in each one with graduates getting hired by specialised factories in different regions – there are no problems with that. I mean to say it gives an impression of a most powerful spirit. I can say that in each territory we felt something, and would have liked to intervene but we could not as we were just there to assess everything. And now comes the next stage.
Vladimir Putin: I shall definitely think about how to preserve that potential.
Alexander Rumyantsev: Because we are absolutely independent.
Vladimir Putin: I see.
Alexander Rumyantsev: We have our people there, we have already started working with them. And a new branch of oversight, management would be of interest to them, I think.
Vladimir Putin: All right.
Mr Kogogin, do you have anything to add?
Co-chair of Vladimir Putin’s election campaign and CEO of KamAZ Sergei Kogogin: The times are extremely interesting. As you stated already yesterday and in your Address – indeed, we need a technological breakthrough, and it cannot de done in the usual way.
As we were waiting now, I was peppering Yelena with questions, “You are preparing kids for the university, what shall we do with them afterwards? How should we integrate them into industry?”
I have already begun working on that too, we have been working for about five to six years, and we do a lot, because regarding the challenges facing KamAZ, we need not 1,500 but at least 5,000 or even better 10,000 in our research and development centre. It is impossible.
This is why I turned to the universities: the polytechnic university in St Petersburg, Bauman University, definitely schools in Tatarstan, the Urals and Siberia. That is, we delegated the work – and it both raises the research potential of the universities, and cuts extra expenses for us.
And the key issue today, in my view, is training management personnel that are ready for the technological revolution and to work under those conditions. I myself had training all of last year; in January all our top managers completed training. This is what the digital transition is about – we have everything ready for it in terms of methodology – the first step is this, followed by that one, and the right steps will follow.
Mr President, the way I see it today, the key challenge is the shortage of labour.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course, this is what our colleagues will have to work on.
Sergei Kogogin: The shortage of labour. I could see it everywhere I went. To be honest, I sent Mr Minnikhanov an official written inquiry (first I asked him in person) that he should ensure that the population of the city of Naberezhnye Chelny grows by 100,000.
Vladimir Putin: They are working on that in Tatarstan.
Sergei Kogogin: They are, but imagine, 100,000 people is a medium-size city. Otherwise there will not be enough workers to support the pace of development in the city now.
The digital economy everybody speaks about is the only way to reach a new level of higher labour productivity. We have already hit the ceiling with traditional methods. There is nothing else ahead but digital. Totally new specialists, mathematicians, programmers. It is all very exciting, and I was very pleased as I was reading the Address that it was your starting point.
Vladimir Putin: It is the key thing, the key issue. We will act on this agenda together with you. Thank you very much!
Sergei Kogogin: Rest assured that we are always with you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.