The discussion focused on the priorities of the upcoming work to bring the federal and regional legislation in line with approved amendments to the Constitution.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon,
Let’s get down to work. I would like to say a few words at the beginning.
As we all know, the nationwide vote ended on July 1. The Central Election Commission summed up the results. Almost 68 percent of voters took part in it, and the majority – about 78 percent – supported the amendments to the Constitution.
The Russian people made their choice, and in accordance with it, I have signed the Executive Order on the publication of the Constitution with the approved amendments.
The amendments are coming into effect, without any exaggeration, at people’s will. You know my position: the amendments to the Constitution are relevant for everyone, and only our people could have their final say on this issue.
I would like to once again thank everyone who made their choice responsibly. We made this important decision together, the entire country, and it concerns the values and basic principles that make the foundation for Russia’s further development and really make us a united nation.
I would like to thank everyone who worked at polling stations, members of local election commissions and tens of thousands of volunteers and observers. Their number was the highest this time: 526,000 people represented 1,500 public organisations and 18 political parties.
The vote was held during the entire week and the turnout was high. In these difficult conditions and with such a heavy workload, everything possible was done to make the nationwide voting comfortable and safe for the people, which is especially important today.
And of course, I want to express my gratitude to all of you, the working group members. Colleagues, friends, you did not just do a good and professional job, you did it earnestly – I saw it – as they say, you put your heart into it understanding the importance of the result.
Your direct contribution includes analysing and taking into account international experience in state building, current trends in the constitutional law in other countries, organising a broad discussion, systematising and summarising all individual initiatives from the people, who are, in fact, the key authors of the constitutional amendments.
Finally, many of you have come up with important amendments as well. You are certainly established experts in your areas of expertise and genuine patriots of Russia in the best sense of the word, I want to emphasise this again. Your proposals matched people’s expectations to a tee.
Suffice it to mention Vladimir Mashkov’s initiative to outlaw alienation of territory. I think many people saw televised stories where residents of one of our territories, for whom this issue is of particular importance, took Mr Mashkov’s words literally that this amendment should be as strong as “reinforced concrete” and in honour of Article 67 of the Constitution, which stipulates this procedure, this provision, installed a memorial sign made of reinforced concrete.
I must say that this concerns more than a couple of territories. This applies to a much greater number of sensitive territories in Russia.
Overall, the voting results showed a high level of consolidation in society on key matters of national importance.
In this regard, I want the Government, governors and members of parliament to make sure that the priorities, the values for which our citizens have cast their votes, are fully implemented in practical deeds, such as budgets, federal programmes and national projects. Each provision included in the Fundamental Law means action: not contemplation, but action.
I know that despite the busy schedule and the extended awareness raising activities conducted by the working group, you have already begun working on the next challenge. It is about the upcoming qualitative development of the entire legislative basis of our country. It must fully comply with the updated Constitution. We knew that if the people support the amendments, there will be need for major extensive legislative work, and this moment is now here.
Please tell us about the proposals drafted by the working group and your ideas on how to organise our work further based on the updated Constitution, amendments to the Fundamental Law of the Russian Federation adopted by Russian citizens.
Please, let’s get to work.
Vladimir Putin: The Russian people in the broad sense of this word is the main guarantor of stability in this country, the Russian people who can make such responsible decisions as, in this case, decisions on amendments to the Constitution. People felt in their hearts that what was offered by the Russian citizens themselves, the working group and the Parliament deputies is indispensable for the country. It is what Russia really needs. This inner resolve of the Russian people to create conditions for the country’s progressive and stable development, for the peaceful development, is very important.
I would like to once again thank everyone, but now I would like to address the members of the working group. Of course, I am grateful for today’s substantive and interesting discussion. I would like to respond to certain things that were said today and even make a request.
One of the speakers today said that it is quite possible to continue teamwork in this group. Indeed, if you are willing to do so, if you are not tired of such constant stewardship to strengthen the legal base of Russian statehood and constitutional foundations, then, of course, I want to ask you not to dissolve the working group but to continue your efforts based on the latest amendments to the Constitution.
The upcoming process of updating the legal base, as you have said just now, is an enormous amount of work, which, of course, will demand your knowledge and experience. The ideas and plans you described today will also be in high demand.
I believe that the working group can monitor all the stages and aspects of these lawmaking activities. Moreover, we have agreed to take into consideration all citizens’ constructive proposals, as it was also mentioned today, which were difficult to give effect to at the constitutional level. I support the proposal that was voiced today. These initiatives of our citizens must be enshrined in laws, in legislative acts and in the practical activities of government bodies. We must not forget any of the important or beneficial points that were made during the public discussions.
This is what I also wanted to say in conclusion. I have known some of you very well for many years. However, I have had no close contacts with the overwhelming majority of the working group members and was not acquainted with some of you at all before. But I followed very closely your work and public discussions in which you took part and I must say that I was pleased to note and sometimes even admired your level of knowledge and expertise and your intellectual background. Even more important was your desire to uphold your views and the openness of your positions. I noted with interest many useful things. Moreover, I made mental notes about many of them. I will not describe these things now but will use them in my work later on.
All this gives me the right to say that the working group performed the mission it shouldered with great expertise and at the highest level. This gives me an opportunity to once again draw the attention of everyone – the Government, the Federal Assembly, the regional governors and the local authorities – to the momentous matter of principle: with their decision Russian citizens approved amendments to the Constitution and, hence, determined clear-cut priorities for you and me. All of us, and now I am addressing my colleagues at different government levels, must and will be guided by these priorities in our work. It is perfectly obvious that the working group helped the country make rational decisions linked with amendments to the Fundamental Law, and I want to thank you for this.
Thank you very much.
We will continue our joint efforts by all means if you make the decision I have just mentioned, that is, not to stop the activities that you conducted for the past few months.
Thank you very much. I wish you all the best.