Taking part in the videoconference were Head of the Republic of Daghestan Vladimir Vasilyev, Chairman of the People’s Assembly of the Republic of Daghestan Khizri Shikhsaidov, Mufti of the Republic of Daghestan Ahmed Abdulayev (Sheikh Ahmad Afandi), Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, Minister for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Natural Disaster Relief Yevgeny Zinichev, Minister of Healthcare Mikhail Murashko, Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu and Head of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare, Chief State Sanitary Physician of the Russian Federation Anna Popova.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Today we are in touch with Head of Daghestan Vladimir Vasilyev, Chairman of the republic’s National Assembly Khizri Shikhsaidov and Mufti of Daghestan Akhmad-khadzhi Abdulayev.
Muslims are marking the holy month of Ramadan, a month of strict fasting. This year it began on April 24 and will end this week, on May 23, before the huge festivities of Uraza Bayram [Eid al-Fitr].
I know how people in the republic perceive this event and how they preserve their traditions. I am also aware that the Muslim religious leaders are urging believers to celebrate this event at home, not to pray collectively and meet up with lots of friends, as is the tradition. I really do hope that their authoritative appeals will definitely be heard.
Despite the relative stabilisation, the coronavirus is still threatening the entire country, and the current situation in Daghestan is far from easy. More and more cases of the disease and its grave complications are being established. In the past few days, the healthcare system of the region has been shouldering a heavy burden. Despite the selfless efforts of doctors and medical nurses, the number of tragic outcomes is growing, in part, among medical workers themselves.
People are also saying that they do not always receive timely and proper medical aid. At the same time, specialists maintain that any serious complications in the region are primarily caused by delays in asking for medical aid and self-treatment at home.
It is necessary to analyse once again how the recommendations of sanitary doctors on self-isolation and restrictions of large-scale events are being carried out.
I would like you to report in detail today in what specific areas Daghestan needs federal assistance. I will certainly immediately give instructions to the heads of the departments that are also in touch with us.
The republic will certainly receive all required financial, material and personnel assistance.
According to my information, the republic is still short of test systems and laboratory capacities. This problem must be resolved as soon as possible.
I would like to hear about your supply of medical equipment, transport, personal protective equipment for medical teams and additional payments to medical workers.
I would also like you to tell me how work is organised on the ground, and what additional decisions on protecting the life and health of the people, including senior citizens, you are going to make. I am referring to the decisions that must be commensurate with the situation and the level of risks, including the preservation or toughening of self-isolation regulations and other preventive measures, and ensuring the safe functioning of companies and medical facilities.
Now let us get down to the issues that I mentioned.
Vladimir Putin: To sum up our conversation today, here is what I would like to say.
Just as before, we will definitely follow the developments related to the coronavirus infection in all the regions of the Russian Federation. However, the situation in the Republic of Daghestan is challenging and obviously requires additional urgent measures and effective coordination between the regional government institutions and the federal government. Let me reiterate that Daghestan must get all the assistance it needs.
In this context, I will outline a number of instructions.
First, I am instructing the Healthcare Ministry to coordinate the following efforts: develop and carry out, together with other federal agencies and regional authorities, a detailed plan setting forth the steps to be taken to overcome the challenging situation in the region, provide additional assistance to Daghestan’s healthcare system, including test kits, medicine, equipment and staff. We discussed this already today.
Second, I am instructing the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare to monitor the epidemiological situation in the republic on an ongoing basis and to issue recommendations on preventive and other measures to reduce the risks and to prevent any new outbreaks.
Third, I am instructing the Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Natural Disasters to undertake a far-reaching decontamination effort in the republic with a special emphasis on social institutions, healthcare facilities and other public spaces.
If you reach agreement with the republic and the relevant agencies, we will discuss after this meeting who will be tasked with building a clinic. That said, considering the Defence Ministry’s positive experience in building multifunctional medical centres in the regions, I am instructing the Defence Ministry to promptly launch the construction of a centre of this kind in Daghestan with at least 200 beds. Just as in Voronezh Region, this centre will be handed over to the region afterwards to improve Daghestan’s healthcare system.
I am now addressing the people of Daghestan directly.
I recall my meeting with the great Rasul Gamzatov in September of the year 2003 and his very words: “What matters the most for Daghestan’s happiness and prosperity is the integrity, inviolability and unity of all the peoples and ethnic groups of Daghestan, the feeling of being a single family.”
I am well aware that the people of Daghestan have carried through the centuries their commitment to traditions of camaraderie, honour, courage, mutual assistance, and respect for senior citizens. They could rely on these traditions during the harsh years of the Great Patriotic War, and in 1999 when Daghestani fighters defended their mothers, wives, children and the elderly, and stood up to the aggression mounted by international terrorists. Since then, there has always been a special place for Daghestan in my heart.
You have done a lot to have peace in Daghestan. Together, we have taken the path toward resolving the economic and social challenges the republic faces, and we will stand by your side as we continue these efforts.
Today, our joint action, efforts by all the people of Daghestan, your cohesion, resolve, responsibility and commitment to following the advice coming from doctors and experts will enable Daghestan to overcome the threat posed by the epidemic as soon as possible. We must preserve what matters most, which is people’s lives.
I am counting on you. I want you to know that the entire Russian Federation stands with Daghestan. We will get through these hard times together. This is how it will always be. We will do all it takes to help you overcome this common calamity.