President of Russia Vladimir Putin: To begin with, I would like welcome all of you to the meeting with leaders of the political parties that were elected to the State Duma of the eighth convocation.
Its composition was determined by Russian citizens who realised their constitutional and sovereign right in an open election, in strict compliance with the law. There was a high turnout: over half of the country’s voters took part in the elections.
In this context I would like to once again thank Russia’s citizens for coming to the polling stations or voting from home, or – wherever it was available – voting online, but in any case, they fulfilled their civic duty and made their responsible choice, which is critical.
You are aware, colleagues, that yesterday, on September 24, the Central Electoral Commission released the final results. Four parties reaffirmed their high status of parliamentary parties: the United Russia, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, A Fair Russia – For the Truth, and the Liberal Democratic Party. In addition, a new party – the New People, will have a separate faction, albeit a small one. For the first time since 1999, there will be more than four factions in the Duma, which speaks of the democratic nature of the electoral rules and procedures, of the progress of democracy in our country, and shows that various political forces have a real chance to assert themselves.
I want to congratulate all those present as well as your supporters on your success. It was achieved in a tough struggle with strong rivals. And I congratulate the United Russia party on its convincing victory, as the party has proved it remains the leader.
I would stress that the elections were held against the backdrop of the pandemic, decreasing real incomes and instability in the global markets. Our major economic indicators have rebounded to the pre-crisis level only recently but, regrettably, few of our citizens can sense this positive trend right away; they cannot feel it yet, so to say.
I understand how hard it was on the people during this past period, which was complicated for all. Unfortunately, it was practically impossible to avoid the negative impact of the pandemic. Nevertheless, Russia has been coping with the emerging problems better than many other countries overall, and you certainly know that.
We tried to cushion the shock as much as possible and rendered large-scale material assistance to the people, to those who lost their jobs, first of all families with children, including direct payments, as they say here, cash in hand. We supported strategic industries and the personnel of enterprises, small and medium-sized businesses and ensured, as I have already said, a fast economic recovery.
This was made possible largely thanks to closely coordinated efforts of the government and the parliament. It is essential that in the most critical moments all parliamentary factions showed solidarity, which resulted in a balanced and responsible socioeconomic policy. The safety cushion we established in the past and our reserves, by the way, made it possible for us to support both the economy and the people in a very complicated situation.
Elections are obviously a crucial and symbolic stage in the life of each party and the entire nation, but it is just one more stage. Intensive daily work lies ahead for the benefit of Russia and its citizens.
I would like to note that the role of the State Duma has been made considerably more important by the updated Constitution. In this context, the responsibility of the members of parliament has also greatly increased, primarily for the realisation of the obligations you undertook during the election campaign and numerous meetings with voters. It does not matter, by the way, which party you belong to: whatever you promised must definitely be delivered.
You are well aware of the active dialogue maintained by the parties and each candidate with the people during election campaigns and how many meetings they have. Such a totally intensive, public and open style of work must become standard throughout your tenure in parliament.
Meanwhile, we all have a number of common challenges and tasks. We must bring poverty to a minimum and take many people out of it. We must improve the standards of living, developing, educating and raising children in low-income families, increase the level and availability of high-quality modern education and healthcare for all, continue to pursue changes in the economic structure in favour of advanced high-tech industries – this one is an extremely difficult challenge but it is an absolute priority. And we must certainly boost the economic growth rate.
These are the tasks that are not just common for us – they unite us. I believe that both experienced traditional parliamentary parties and the new political forces that will be represented in the State Duma realise their responsibility to Russia and will do their best to justify the trust – the high trust that voters have in them.
I want to wish all of you success. I certainly expect that at our today’s meeting you will share your opinions of the election campaign and will inform us about your factions’ immediate plans and the legislative initiatives each of the attendees obviously has, but primarily about the goals and tasks designed to implement the election programmes and promises that were given to the voters.