President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zyuganov, we recently met and agreed to hold a separate meeting, so here we are.
I would also like to thank you for your work, and please convey my best wishes to the members of your faction in the State Duma. I know that very often your position on some issues does not coincide with the Government’s opinion. But at the same time, on key issues, fateful for our country’s life, I know that you take a patriotic stance, for which I am very grateful to you, and I appreciate it very much.
I hope that, despite the differences in tactical approaches, and maybe not only tactical, we will still be able to find common ground to act cooperatively in the interests of the country.
Head of the Communist Party faction in the State Duma Gennady Zyuganov: Thank you, Mr President.
You know that Russia has always been the most important political party for me. I have supported all strategic initiatives aimed at strengthening the country's position, the well-being of the working people and a decent standard of living for every citizen. Moreover, I believe that your Address to the Federal Assembly has set us realistic goals of reaching world development rates (they currently stand at around 3.5 percent) and joining the top five most powerful states.
Our main goal though is eradicating poverty. We have prepared our own programme to deal with it, Ten Steps Towards a Decent Life, with the main emphasis on reaching these rates in 2019 and getting tangible results, as you also said today.
We have reviewed the performance of several regions that our comrades are governing. Sergei Levchenko in Irkutsk has increased the growth rate to 4 percent; he has done a great deal to settle the region’s debt, which has decreased by one-third, and has prepared an action plan for the next five years. The average monthly wage at the employee-owned company in Usolye-Sibirskoye, which was established 40 years ago, has reached 100,000 rubles, and the management has preserved all social benefits.
The growth rate is truly impressive, and I am sure that employee-owned companies will fare even better under these conditions. We have balanced the accounts for all employee-owned companies. You probably remember the Zvenigovsky meat processing plant, for example, which you helped protect from raiders. Today the company has 200,000 pigs and 6,000 cattle. They have built a new dairy plant and won many medals at the IFFA meat industry fair in Frankfurt, which placed it among the top companies not only in Russia but also in Europe. They are now expanding the chain of stores: they have over 600 from Udmurtia to Ulyanovsk. The stores are happy to take Zvenigovsky products, which are moderately priced. I am sure that many companies can do the same in the future.
I invited you to the Lenin Collective Farm, which has recently marked its 100th anniversary and where the average monthly wage is 90,000 rubles. A wonderful children’s centre and a school opened there in time for the celebrations, and you promised to visit them. Many ministers, company leaders and journalists have visited this school. It is a school of the future. We are now completing the construction of a cheese production facility and a shop where products are sold with only a slight mark-up. This is wonderful.
Overall, we are working on several projects that involve new technologies. We prepared such a project with Novosibirsk Mayor Anatoly Loktev, and we are ready to present it in detail. The launch of the second phase of a unique research centre will help create world-class breakthrough technology. If you approve this project, we will implement it within two or three years.
I am especially grateful to you for my native Orel Region. The growth rate there is over 4 percent, and we have launched a programme of training in blue-collar jobs. We unveiled a monument to Turgenev on his 200th birthday anniversary, which was a marvellous event.
We have recently marked the 100th anniversary of the Komsomol. We had 10,000 visitors from around the world. I was hugely impressed. And they supported us on both Crimea and Donbass. By the way, yesterday we sent the 76th convoy with humanitarian aid to Donbass. Besides, this year, we provided rest and recreation to 2,000 Donbass children, who have become our friends and patriots, which is a matter of principle.
Overall, we have a number of proposals. I believe we will move forward if you agree to consider them.
Vladimir Putin: Let us have a look at them.