President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
As always at the end of the year we are holding a meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and National Projects to see what has been done to reach our national goals that are, I must emphasise, the basic, integral guidelines for national development until 2030.
As a key item of our practical agenda, we will discuss today systemic mechanisms for supporting investment in technological projects that ensure Russia’s technological sovereignty, including industrial clusters that I talked about at the St Petersburg Economic Forum, as you will remember. Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Industry Denis Manturov and Head of the State Council Commission on Industry Alexei Dyumin will make reports on this issue.
But before that, I think it is necessary to outline a number of priority tasks of our national policy for 2023 and to suggest new solutions that will allow us to develop more confidently. In part, they will help us counter the challenges that our economy and our citizens are facing today in the context of the serious, tangible and even tectonic changes that are affecting the entire world.
As you know, an unprecedented sanctions aggression has been launched against Russia. It was aimed at crushing our economy, wrecking our national currency – the ruble – by stealing our currency reserves, and provoking a devastating inflation in a short span of time.
As we can see – in fact, this is common knowledge – this plan has fallen through. The Russian business community and government bodies worked in a well-coordinated and professional manner and our citizens displayed unity and responsibility. The Government, the Bank of Russia and the Russian regions stabilised the situation by pooling their efforts.
The GDP for this year is predicted to fall about 2.5 percent. So there will be a decline, as I already mentioned in public. True, recently I spoke about 2.9 percent, but the latest forecasts put it at a bit less – 2.5 percent. Of course, this is also a decline, but not the crushing 20 percent that many Western, and frankly, our experts forecasted at the time when the collective West hit us with the economic war. Moreover, in the third quarter, the economic dynamics already showed slight growth after the minimal figures of the second quarter.
After a serious surge in March-April, the level of prices has actually remained the same since May, while the Russian ruble has become one of the world’s strongest currencies since the start of the year.
We achieved this result by making decisions to regulate the capital drain, convert payments for gas into rubles, actively use national currencies in trade with our partners, but primarily, of course, by pursuing a responsible fiscal policy.
Russia’s public finances remain stable. In January-November of this year, the federal budget was executed with a surplus of 560 billion rubles, and the consolidated budget with a surplus of 1.451 trillion rubles.
At the same time, in the current and next year, we expect a federal budget deficit of about 2 percent of the GDP, and this will be the best result among the G20 countries. I won’t cite examples at this point. Experts are well aware of the figures on other G20 countries. Moreover, the budget for the next three years provides for a gradual reduction of the deficit to less than one percent of the GDP in 2025.
We will retain our responsible fiscal and macro-economic policy, which will guarantee not only the full funding of social commitments but also the resolution of new tasks facing the country in the next three years.
I would like to emphasise that this policy is important not only for countering current challenges but also in the long-term perspective. We will adhere to this policy, focusing our attention on turning it primarily into a firm foundation of economic growth for years ahead.
When we discussed the economic situation in the world, we set two main goals for this year: to reduce poverty and inequality, and to continue the development policy. Everyone knows that sanctions are being imposed on us, and that we will certainly only move forward relying above all on our own reserves and resources.
Therefore, an important decision was made on monthly payments to families with children aged 8 to 17 years. This decision directly influenced more than 5 million children. This was followed by the advanced indexation of the subsistence minimum, the minimum wage and pension increases of 10 percent. As a result, the poverty rate fell to 10.5 percent in the third quarter. Of course, this is a small drop, but a drop still. The incomes of the poorest part of the population also grew by 27.8 percent in nominal terms – in nominal terms, I want to emphasise this and say again that we are talking about people with the lowest incomes, – which helped to reduce the level of inequality a little.
We have kept all the main state programmes, continued to upgrade primary healthcare, relocate people from emergency housing, repair existing and build new roads, eliminate landfills and sites of accumulated environmental damage, build new schools, cultural centres, rural libraries and much more.
Moreover, new programmes have been launched, such as the overhaul of schools. This and next year alone, about 3,000 schools will be repaired across Russia.
Tools such as infrastructure budget loans and bonds have been made available, which will help the Russian regions attract more than 300 billion rubles this year.
We have support programmes and mechanisms for preferential and family mortgages. Loans worth 1.7 trillion rubles were issued under both programmes. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Russian families have improved their living conditions, and construction as sector has become a driver of the Russian economy: up 5.8 percent in ten months. It is expected that this year will be the most successful, a record year for domestic housing construction. We will sum up the final figures a little later. Mr Khusnullin reported to me these figures yesterday or the day before yesterday, and they are impressive. Let’s look at the final results.
We will continue developing our country regardless of any foreign pressure. Moreover, we will certainly become stronger, carry out entirely new projects, upgrade Russia’s technology levels and ensure economic, financial, technological and personnel sovereignty.
At today’s meeting, and in my speech, I would like to outline six key tasks for 2023 the resolution of which will allow us to move successfully towards reaching our national goals up to 2030.
The first task is to take cooperation with our key partners to a new level. We will remove restrictions in logistics and finances for this purpose.
Let me recall that by introducing the sanctions, the Western countries were trying to push Russia to the periphery of world development, but we will never follow a path of self-isolation and autarky, as I have said more than once. On the contrary, we are expanding and will continue to expand our interaction with anyone that is interested, those who clearly understand others’ interests as well as their own interests. Russia is building up trade and investment relations with these countries. Our foreign trade is moving towards dynamic regions and markets and dynamically developing countries. In fact, we have been doing this for many years – even without the current developments in the world.
So what has Europe achieved by imposing these restrictions? First, this is what economists call an unprecedented, forced leap of inflation in its own home, the eurozone. In November, inflation in the eurozone averaged 10 percent. Some countries recorded exorbitant figures of more than 20, 21 and 25 percent.
Today, the authorities in the European Union are saying themselves that the policy of their main partner – the United States – is directly leading to Europe’s de-industrialisation. They are even trying to present some bills for this to their American suzerain. Sometimes, they even sound offended; they want to know why they deserve this. I’d like to ask them, in this context, and what did you expect? How else should one treat those that allow others to wipe their feet on them? But, after all, this is their business.
I will make a short digression regarding trade relations with the European Union. Despite the sanctions – such a curious thing – over the first nine months of this year, the supply of basic goods from Russia to the EU countries increased by 1.5 times. Aggregate Russian exports increased by 42 percent, and our trade surplus grew 2.3 times, up to US$138 billion. In fact, the European Union continues to consume our goods and services, while holding back the reverse flows. The situation with such imbalances cannot continue indefinitely.
What should we do? We will look for other, more promising partners in actively growing regions of the world economy. These are Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa. It is to the markets of friendly countries that we will reorient Russian energy supplies. Thus, over the first nine months of this year, oil exports to partner countries increased by almost a quarter.
An important step to reduce the impact of the sanctions and other hostile actions against Russia will be the development of port and pipeline infrastructure in the south and east, including increasing natural gas exports.
Projects such as the Kovykta field, the Power of Siberia 2 and the Far Eastern route will make it possible to increase gas supplies to the east to 48 billion cubic metres by 2025, and to 88 billion cubic metres by 2030. In fact, this is more than 60 percent of gas supplies to the West last year. In turn, the new LNG projects in Yamal will increase the production of liquefied natural gas by 70 billion cubic metres by 2030, which will also help expand the geography of exports.
Some of the key growing consumers of Russian gas are our neighbours, including Turkey. Its gas infrastructure has serious potential. In the coming years, we are planning to create, as I already said, a gas hub.
If we talk about creating an electronic platform, this can be done within the next few months. It is there that we will largely determine the final price for our European consumers, because what they have done on their platforms is actually crazy. And now they are still trying to make us feel guilty for what they did themselves, with their own hands.
Furthermore, Russia is playing a key role in the global agrarian market. This is the result of work by our agricultural producers, and I would like to thank them very much, to express my most sincere gratitude to them. We are one of the biggest suppliers of grain, vegetable oils and fertilisers to the world. That said, our absolute priority is to meet domestic demand and fulfil in good faith our commitments under our foreign contracts.
In the past five months alone, Russia has exported about 22 million tonnes of grain, mostly to Asian and African countries. We are ready to supply another 4 or 5 million tonnes of grain before this year expires. By the end of the agricultural year on June 30, 2023, we will be able to bring our grain exports to 50 million tonnes, considering our record harvest this year. I would like to again congratulate our rural producers on this.
We continue exporting mineral fertilisers to world markets. In the 11 months of this year, our exports exceeded 25 million tonnes. Unlike the Western countries that are shamelessly pulling the blanket over themselves, Russia is helping the poorest nations of Africa, Asia and other regions, by supplying them with food and other products. In the next few months, we will be ready to supply the needy countries with about 260,000 tonnes of fertiliser at no charge, as I have said many times. We have already sent 20,000 tonnes of fertiliser to Malawi.
For all the importance of the energy and food sectors, we will primarily focus on non-resource goods and mutual investment in our foreign ties. We consider the development of a convenient and independent payment infrastructure in national currencies to be a firm foundation for promoting international cooperation. We have already made good progress in this respect. According to the latest data, the share of using the Russian ruble in our international transactions has doubled compared to December 2021 reaching one third of all transactions. If we count the use of the currencies of friendly countries, the share is over half.
Different payment mechanisms are also on our agenda. I am referring to the use of digital currencies of central banks and the technology of distributed registries that remove the political risks from using the currencies of unfriendly countries.
We are developing reliable and safe transport corridors to help companies establish logistics and cooperation ties. Due to its geographical location and geopolitical opportunities, Russia can protect these logistics corridors against risks. Once again, the foundation lies in both our economic and financial potential, and the capabilities of our law enforcement sector in general.
Construction of the Moscow-Kazan motorway continues, which will connect St Petersburg with cities in the Urals and Siberia, including Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Tyumen, with a high-quality motorway, and in the long run, with Irkutsk and Vladivostok. The motorway will stretch to Kazakhstan via the city of Togliatti, while providing direct access to Mongolia and China in the east.
This will allow us to connect the country’s western and eastern territories more comprehensively; it will connect Russia’s markets to its key partners’ markets and help develop major Eurasian corridors.
We are also focusing on the North-South international transport corridor, with plans to expand the transport and logistics infrastructure towards the Caspian Sea. As early as next year, the Volga-Caspian Sea Shipping Canal will allow passage of vessels with a draft of no less than 4.5 metres, which will significantly expand Russia’s routes to the countries in the Middle East and India. We will also focus on developing rail access to the seaports in the Azov and Black Sea basins, and we will boost the port capacities.
Our plans include further modernisation of the eastern railway network, mainly the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Baikal-Amur Mainline. This will substantially increase passenger and cargo traffic, boost business activity and social mobility, provide vast opportunities for trade and new projects and, most importantly, help us successfully achieve our ambitious national goals to develop Siberia and the Far East. Meanwhile, we will continue working on such projects as the rapid modernisation of the Murmansk transport hub, the deepening and widening of navigation channels along major rivers and waterways, and construction of the Northern Latitudinal Railway in the period ahead.
I would like to emphasize once again that we should ensure comprehensive development of the infrastructure of the Volga region, the Urals, Siberia, Trans-Baikal and the Far East, and focus not solely on seaports and their approach routes but to develop land routes as well. For instance, the city of Chita, with proper federal support, could become a major logistics centre for cooperation with China.
Let me add that in early August, the Government approved a plan for developing the Northern Sea Route until 2035. In the near future, this route will see increased traffic as well. We have talked about this many times and are making all necessary efforts to bring this to fruition.
This year has shown that promoting cooperation in the EAEU was the right thing to do. I would like to speak separately about this as well. Our economies are developing ties amid global market volatility and an unfavourable global climate. Thus, in the first nine months of this year, the EAEU’s mutual trade increased by almost 12 percent. That said, trade in food and other agricultural products grew by more than one third.
Naturally, trade is just a part of Russia’s international relations. We intend to cooperate in science, technology and culture with the same enthusiasm. We are already implementing relevant measures and initiatives. Thus, to streamline the labour market in the EAEU, we launched the Work Without Borders system, which includes over 500,000 vacancies and 2 million CVs from all EAEU countries.
We have developed good cooperation in nuclear power engineering. Rosatom creates the entire chain for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants abroad, including on the build-own-operate principle.
In the near future, we will expand cooperation on projects in energy, agriculture, industry, aircraft engineering, medicine, transport, outer space, digital technology, environmental protection and other high-tech areas. Together with our partners, we will seek leadership in creating artificial intelligence elements with strict observance of ethical and moral standards. We discussed this issue recently with our colleagues, in particular at a Sber event.
Of course, the specific parameters of such cooperation are a subject for discussion but let me repeat – mutual interest is the most important factor in this respect.
The second task for 2023 is to enhance technological sovereignty and ensure faster growth of the processing industry. I don’t even know if this is the second or the first task, but if it is the second one, this is only so in terms of figures. In the near future, we will expand joint implementation of energy and agricultural projects.
Sanctions restrictions have confronted our country with many difficult tasks – we have problems with spare parts, a shortage of technological solutions and disrupted logistics. But, on the other hand, this is opening up new opportunities for us, encouraging us to build an economy with full rather than partial technological, production, personnel and scientific sovereignty.
Let me stress that it is important not simply to replace certain commodity positions, but to achieve leadership in key, vital areas, such as, as we have already said, artificial intelligence, computing and data transmission, new industrial technologies and others. A number of events and conferences will be held in these areas in the near future, and I will definitely ask members of the Government to take part in them, and I will try to do the same. At the same time, let me remind you that I have already given instructions to prepare and launch new programmes in robotics and aircraft drones in the coming year.
Of course, it is impossible to gain technological sovereignty in an instant, as they say: but we need to continue this systemic work for the future. In this context, it is also necessary to expedite the preparation of updated plans for the development of key sectors of the domestic economy, such as the metals industry, the automotive industry, and energy; to adjust plans for the development of the military-industrial complex and the parameters of the state defence order, including considering the results of the work of the Governmental Coordination Council for the material support of the Armed Forces in the special military operation.
At the same time, I would like to emphasise that delays and a formal approach are unacceptable here. For example, we have agreed to initiate preferential leasing terms for the domestic production of aircraft and water transport vessels with funding from the National Welfare Fund. Unfortunately, this tool has not yet worked.
I would like my colleagues from the Government to focus on implementing this programme in full. The funds for aircraft leasing should be provided as soon as this year, and for water transport vessels no later than the first quarter of 2023.
Next year’s task is to ensure the outstripping growth of the processing industry, build up capacities in a short time, and create new production lines. And the key issues here are the availability of raw materials, development and technologies, equipment, qualified personnel and prepared sites.
The tool for industrial mortgage loans has already been launched. Now a soft loan of up to 500 million rubles at a rate of 3 to 5 percent for up to seven years can be approved for the purchase of production facilities. I think it would be good to extend this industrial mortgage loan programme beyond acquiring production facilities and use it to construct or upgrade them as well. I would like to draw the Government’s attention to the fact that this mechanism must receive funding.
In addition, new preferential terms in industrial clusters will go into effect on January 1. It is designed to complement the existing mechanisms for supporting industrial projects, including the successful operation of the Industrial Development Fund. I would like to emphasise what we have mentioned more than once – the Fund is really doing a good job.
It is necessary to reduce the fiscal and administrative burden on residents of industrial clusters. They will also be entitled to low insurance payments and income tax benefits. The demand for their innovative products that are just entering the market will be supported by long-term orders and subsidies from the state.
According to estimates, these and other measures should ensure by 2030 the implementation of in-demand projects totalling over 10 trillion rubles. In fact, in 2023 the expected investment in these projects may already reach 2 trillion rubles. Denis Manturov will report in more detail on this issue today.
The third task is to ensure the financial sovereignty of our country.
Owing to Russia’s solid balance of payments, we do not have to borrow abroad. We do not have to go into bondage and we are not going to do that – our economy has financial resources. We must make them more accessible to the projects of the new economy, for building high-tech enterprises and producing products with high added value.
The work of our financial system must satisfy the requirements that were previously met by Western sources of funding, including trade and project financing. It should ensure the inflow of long-term savings and investment into joint-stock capital and investment in large-scale infrastructure and new production projects. I would like to emphasise that investment in high-tech businesses is particularly important. Next year, we must make tangible progress in all of these areas. I would like to draw the attention of the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Russia to this point.
Forward-looking infrastructure development is a vital condition for growing business and investment activity and creating jobs. This is the fourth most important task.
We have already achieved good, tangible results in upgrading the federal road network that connects regions and stiches together the space of our enormous country. Our next step is to put regional roads in order. As we recalled literally the day before yesterday, in 2024, no less than 85 percent of roads in our biggest metropolitan areas and over half of regional and municipal roads must be in normal condition. They must become modern and safe. This is what we spoke about at a meeting when we were opening completed transport infrastructure facilities.
The pace is good. We have grounds to believe that planned road repair assignments may be completed ahead of schedule. It is important to keep up the pace.
The construction and repair of networks, utilities and public transport systems is extensive work carried out at the regional level, including under national projects; we need to pay special attention to this. National project funds are planned until 2024, while some regions are ready to accelerate and put infrastructure into operation a year earlier.
In this regard, I would like to draw your attention to the following. We need to support this initiative. I ask the Government to create an advanced financing mechanism for infrastructure construction under national projects by the end of this year. Okay? It is still necessary to redistribute funds where people are doing well, in the interests of those who are doing this, in order to give the regions access to the financing planned for 2024 as early as next year and thereby shift the plans to the left. Once again, for those who are working successfully and effectively, it is necessary to work, I repeat, ahead of schedule.
Further. To develop infrastructure in the regions, we have proposed a new tool – an infrastructure budget loan. It works well: this and next year, they will be used to carry out works worth at least 500 billion rubles.
A decision has already been made to extend this programme for 2024–2025, and additional funds amounting to 500 billion rubles have been allocated. However, this volume, I mean the volume of work, is certainly not enough. Many projects submitted by the regions have not received guaranteed funding, but they – many of them – are already ready for implementation, we can start here and now.
I ask the Government to increase infrastructure budget loans next year and allocate an additional 250 billion to develop transport, utilities and social infrastructure, as well as for housing and utilities modernisation programmes.
At the same time, I would like to highlight a few important points.
First. We have launched a programme for developing Far Eastern cities. We have already considered the plans for Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. At the beginning of next year, we will discuss plans for developing several more cities. Not all of their needs are financially secured yet. In this regard, I propose allocating a separate limit of 100 billion rubles from the additional 250 billion provided for projects to develop Far Eastern cities.
Second. The infrastructure budget loans worth 500 billion rubles, which I already mentioned, were distributed among the regions based on the population, and then the major, most developed and effective projects were selected. I propose an additional limit of 250 billion, which I just mentioned, to be provided also based on an open competition – this includes what I said about Far Eastern cities – based on the greatest social and economic effect. I ask the Government to hold such a competition at the very beginning of next year.
I also think it’s possible to expand the programme of infrastructure bonds. Here, the projects being implemented total 150 billion rubles. I propose doubling this amount in the near future.
Next: housing construction and improving people’s living conditions remains one of our unconditional priorities. Here, a special role is to be played by the growing mortgage market, including through programmes co-sponsored by the state.
Due to the current economic situation, the number of mortgages, including preferential programmes, has objectively decreased, so we have taken measures to adjust and stabilise this market. After mortgage interest rates spiked in March and April (to 12 percent), I issued instructions to reduce the preferential mortgage rate to 7 percent. This preferential mortgage programme expires on December 31. In this regard, I consider it necessary to take the following decisions.
First. As agreed, we will curtail preferential mortgages – we discussed this yesterday, colleagues – we will curtail the programme, but we will do it smoothly. Specifically, I mean we will extend the preferential mortgage programme throughout Russia until July 1, 2024, with a slightly higher interest rate of 8 percent.
Second. At the same time, we will expand access to the family mortgage programme, which is becoming our main tool now. At this stage, only families with children born in 2018 or later are entitle to mortgages under this programme. I propose making families with at least two children under 18 entitled to a 6 percent mortgage. This is a new proposal, please consider it as soon as possible and proceed with implementation.
Third. I propose a special solution for the new regions in southwestern Russia – the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics, the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. I propose a preferential mortgage plan for people living in those new regions of the Russian Federation – 2 percent for new developments, that is, flats in new buildings. It is clear that new construction is nascent in the region right now, so this will be a tool to stimulate growth. True, the volume of housing construction is still limited there, but I believe, and my colleagues agree with this, that a preferential mortgage programme will pave the way for the long-term growth of construction in the new territories.
Next. Every house or flat, in every city and village across Russia, all industrial and social facilities must be reliably provided with heat and water.
We agreed to launch a major programme to start developing or repairing the public utilities infrastructure in 2023. The plan is to raise at least 4.5 trillion rubles for the programme over the next ten years. The government will contribute 30 billion rubles in 2023 and 100 billion rubles in 2024. However, according to the estimates, this amount is not enough to radically change the situation in the housing and utilities services system.
In this regard, I ask the Government, as well as the regions, to make it their priority to allocate infrastructure budget loans to resolve the problems in this area. I also propose discussing the allocation of additional resources for this purpose when drafting the budgets for the forthcoming periods.
The growth of the economy and business initiative, industrial and infrastructure opportunities, scientific and technological potential of Russia must create powerful social incentives. This kind of growth should result in a decrease in poverty and inequality, in closing the gap between the regions, and in an increase in the real incomes of citizens.
In this regard, colleagues, the next key task is, in fact, critical and cuts across many areas, it concentrates and integrates work everywhere else. Despite the objective difficulties this year, we will achieve positive results in reducing poverty, and next year we need to consolidate this positive trend.
We provide targeted support to the most vulnerable groups of people: pensioners, families with children, as well as those in a difficult life situation. Pensions grow annually at a rate higher than inflation. This year, as I have said, they were raised twice, including by an additional ten percent from June 1.
At the same time, the subsistence minimum was indexed for the second time this year, and many social benefits and payments are tied to it. They also increased accordingly, directly affecting the income of about 15 million people.
I want to stress that the key to increasing the material well-being of Russian families and their incomes is high rates of economic growth. This, of course, is the foundation of all foundations, together with new well-paid jobs, not only in large metropolitan areas and major cities, but also in small cities and towns.
Next year ensuring noticeable, tangible growth in real wages must be a priority task for the Government and the regions. The minimum wage is one of the most important indicators. This year it has been increased twice, by 8.6 percent and by 10 percent, and starting next year it will amount to more than 16,000 rubles a month.
It is necessary to further increase the minimum wage, doing it at a rate above inflation and average wage growth. People who work should not be poor, struggling to make ends meet. Working must provide them with a decent income. Of course, I am looking forward to hearing your suggestions, colleagues, on possible additional steps in this area.
Furthermore, protecting maternity and childhood, supporting families and saving the nation is an absolute, indisputable value for each of us, for the whole country. And this is also the sixth most important task for government bodies at all levels.
I would like to note that the so-called children’s budget – and the Finance Ministry has started working in this paradigm as well – is a good idea. The budget allocations for family support measures have increased many times over in the past few years. This is the fastest growing section of our chief financial document – the national budget.
Considering the overlapping negative demographic factors, the situation in this area remains complicated. Yes, we managed to overcome the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and reduce the death rate, but the sharp decline in the birth rate has actually reduced these achievements to naught.
I would like to ask the Government to draft a special package of measures to overcome this trend. I realise this is not an easy task for many reasons, but it is necessary to work on it, to change the situation for the better and increase the birth rate and the average life span in Russia.
I will note that starting January 1, 2023, as you know, we will consolidate the maternity and child support system – we will launch a uniform monthly allowance for needy families with children from birth to 17 years. This benefit will be allocated based on one application from a parent or a pregnant woman and will be distributed as a single payment for all the children in the family at once. The size of the allowance will be increased to between a half or one subsistence minimum for the able-bodied population in the region of residence.
I will repeat that the processing and approval of this allowance must be easy to understand, simple and convenient for people, and, of course, provide real support for families.
I would also like to ask you to consider specific life situations. Suppose the income of a family changes because the salary has gone up a bit. In this case, the family loses its eligibility to receive the allowance on technical grounds even though its overall material status has not changed much at all. We need to provide a transitional period for these cases. I have already given instructions on this and am waiting for practical proposals from the Government in the near future.
On a separate note, I would like to briefly go over the healthcare system. Clearly, improvements in public health in previous years made it possible to avoid many negative scenarios from unfolding during the pandemic. I would like to once again thank the healthcare workers for their efforts. We were able to act quickly and make flexible decisions, and to concentrate our efforts and resources where they were most needed. We will continue to follow this approach going forward.
Notably, breakthroughs in the healthcare system can be achieved with innovative technology; we have discussed this many times. In this regard, I would like the Ministry of Healthcare to speed up the work on creating individual digital health profiles, to introduce AI and telemedicine technologies in order to improve the quality of medical care, the way it was implemented in Moscow – we discussed this recently as well – and in a number of other regions. Without a doubt, it is important to boost the motivation of healthcare professionals and to tie it to the patients’ condition and improvements in their condition, as well as to their own assessments of the outpatient clinic and hospital performance.
As you may be aware, a programme to upgrade primary care started last year. Outpatient clinics and rural health centres are where patients go first to get help, and they base their assessment of the healthcare system’s overall quality on their performance. I would like the leaders of the regions to monitor the progress of this programme. Importantly, an actual increase in the level of satisfaction with medical services rather than dry reports on events or renovations is the main criterion of success.
Primary care workers deal with an enormous workload, which is due to personnel shortages, among other things. During the pandemic, senior students and residents helped their colleagues out. I propose making this practice a rule and introducing positions of trainee doctors so that second-year residents could work as specialty doctors, primarily in primary care.
In addition, I propose introducing a permanent extra payment for primary care specialist doctors as of January 1, 2023. We have discussed this before. The amount of this payment will range from 4,500 to 18,500 rubles per month. Please note that it should be the same for each specific category of health workers regardless of the region.
Reinforcing primary care and building up human potential is extremely important for the prevention and early detection of illnesses and the prevention of risks of premature mortality. Patients with diabetes, for example, are the focus of special attention. There are over 5 million officially diagnosed patients in Russia, and the actual figure is, of course, higher. Since the disease often does not make itself felt, a person may not know they are sick.
We already have programmes to counter cardiovascular and oncological diseases and they are producing results. I am asking the Government to launch the same large-scale programme to combat diabetes next year. Ms Golikova knows this, and Mr Dedov talks a lot about this, writes papers, and he sent me the relevant ones. We must respond to this. This work must include early diagnosis of the disease, guaranteed provision of medical products, including consumables and medicines; and, of course, preventive work, that is, the entire range of measures that determine quality of life and life expectancy for people with diabetes.
It is also necessary to increase the volume and coverage of drug therapy for patients with hepatitis C. This will make it possible for people to return to a normal, full life, and in most cases make a full recovery. I am asking the Government to work out sources of funding for such a programme.
Another thing. A little less than two years ago, the Krug Dobra Foundation was launched in Russia. During this time, over 4,800 children suffering from severe rare diseases received its aid. The foundation pays for extremely expensive medicines for them, as well as expensive treatments, and helps to save lives.
Let me remind you that it all started with the purchase of medicines for children diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, and today the foundation already covers 59 diseases. The list of purchased drugs has almost tripled. Sliding joint prostheses and other medical products previously inaccessible to families are being purchased. Search and delivery of bone marrow for transplantation is underway, including from foreign donor bases.
In the near future, the age until which you can receive the foundation’s assistance will be raised – we have discussed this with my colleagues this morning – from 18 to 19 years. I am asking you to do this, to switch to financing further treatment using funds provided for adults for a year after reaching the age of majority, carefully, without any detriment to the patient.
We can say confidently that the foundation’s current powers guarantee that all children with serious illnesses can be treated. Its budget can cover this completely – I want to stress this –completely, and it is financed, let me remind you, by raising the tax on part of the income of people who earn more than five million rubles a year. By the way, I would like to address those who pay this tax: all the money is spent exactly as intended.
And I would like to draw the attention of the Government to the fact that the established indicators of the foundation’s activity and their fulfillment do not mean at all that in the future it will be possible to limit the financing of the foundation. On the contrary, it is necessary to develop and promote the areas of its work. There are resources for this, the Fund has significant amounts of money at its disposal. Earlier today we were counting with Ms Golikova and with the Minister of Finance: over 80 billion rubles will be raised by the end of this year.
I also believe it right to use these funds for the health of children, and for this I propose extending the fund’s mandate. It is necessary to provide for the possibility of paying for additional types and volumes of rehabilitative care for sick children at the expense of the foundation. I would like to stress that it is in excess of the volumes provided under the individual rehabilitation programme.
Children must be able not only to receive treatment, but also to undergo rehabilitation. In this regard, it is necessary to provide for the payment of expensive technical means of rehabilitation, as well as funds for the development of the musculoskeletal system.
In addition to this, the Krug Dobra Foundation will handle the purchase of medicines for children with other serious diseases that are not covered fully now by regional budgets. I am asking the Ministry of Health and Ms Golikova to regulate this.
A person’s future success depends on good education and comprehensive development. It is necessary to create opportunities for this everywhere, in every region of our country.
We are building kindergartens and schools. By the end of next year, every child under 3 will have a place in a nursery. I will remind you that at the start of this project in 2018, we could only say this for 78 percent of children of this age. At least 1,300 schools will be built and over a million more places will be added between 2019 to 2024.
As I have said, we have launched a programme for major repairs on existing schools, and I will repeat that it is necessary to consider the opinions of the teachers, pupils and, of course, the parents in planning such renovations. They know better how everything should work in their own schools. They know what must be done for the educational space to become comfortable and modern and to motivate students for success in their studies.
I suggest that after 2024, when the main construction work is completed, we adopt a course towards regular upgrading of education spaces in schools and kindergartens. The aim is to introduce some basic guidelines – make major repairs on schedule, without reminders or orders, purchase educational equipment, and use modern technology and teaching methods.
And, of course, the schools in the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics, and the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions must have the same high standards for equipment in the classrooms, for textbooks, hot meals and for personnel and accessible hobby groups and sports sections.
It is very important to use the best, advanced methods in general education in Russia. We have many very strong schools. They have a leading status in world rankings and their students become winners, prize winners in international academic competitions.
I suggest – we talk about this all the time – multiplying the experience of such schools in our country. It makes sense to open similar leading schools in every federal district based on these successful schools. They will become flagships, a good example to follow by other schools and a source of best practices, methods and teachers. I propose building one such school in the new regions of the federation.
I know that projects like this are nearing completion in Nizhny Novgorod, Pskov, Ryazan, Belgorod and Veliky Novgorod. I would like to ask you to determine which regions these projects should be carried out in and choose a construction funding format. I would ask the Ministry of Education to coordinate this work.
Now, on to higher education. In the next decade, Russia plans to develop 25 world class university campuses with top-quality facilities for study and scientific research. More than a million square metres of new facilities will house laboratories and other premises, where more than 25,000 students and young scientists will study and create. These campuses should become centres of attraction for talented young people from all over the country, as well as science development centres and points of economic growth for the regions where these education institutions are located.
The first eight projects have already been launched in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Ufa, Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk and Tomsk. And we certainly need to expedite this work, we need to do it faster. In 2025–2026, nine more campuses will be built in Samara, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Khabarovsk, Perm, Arkhangelsk, Tyumen, Veliky Novgorod, Ivanovo, as well as on the Sirius federal territory. The respective decisions have been made. After that we will select eight more regions that qualify to host new university campuses.
The Culture national project includes a wonderful project to create model libraries. They have already become true cultural centres. Recently I had the opportunity to see this, via videoconference. They have become good models in small towns and rural areas. Given the great need for this initiative, I propose allocating additional annual funding for the development of the library network.
Let me also remind you that young people aged 14 to 22 can visit museums, theatres, and other cultural events free of charge with the Pushkin Card. This year, which has been declared the Year of Art and Cultural Heritage of the Peoples of Russia, the face value of the Pushkin Card has been increased to 5,000 rubles.
In addition, the Government was instructed to implement a new federal programme to modernise the infrastructure for children's recreation and health improvement. I also discussed this with my colleagues this morning. We will launch it next year.
All of the above tasks are of particular importance for every city and town and, without exaggeration, every person in our country wherever they may live. Solving these issues imposes stringent, even heightened, demands on public authorities of all levels. Specialists working in this field must set high standards for themselves and the results of their work and, of course, they must be open and receptive to the latest practices, approaches, technologies and methods of work.
I spoke about this at a recently held conference on artificial intelligence. I already mentioned this event, I hope you also took note. And now I would like to turn the attention of all my colleagues to the need to focus on improving the quality of public administration, switching to a big data-based governance model, including in healthcare, education, and housing and utilities, as was just mentioned. This is the key to the success of our common work, and the main condition for achieving national development goals.
In closing, I would like to mention yet another goal of paramount importance. I mean ensuring security and restoring peaceful life in the Luhansk and Donetsk republics, and the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.
We will definitely reach our goal, and these regions will be one with the country in all key aspects of the economy, the social sphere, and governance. We have been down that road with Crimea and Sevastopol before and we know what we need to do.
In particular, nationwide social security standards will be introduced in the new regions. A maternity capital programme will be introduced and low-income families will receive payments from the state, pensions will increase, and so on. We will develop primary care and build kindergartens, nurseries and schools.
Within a span of several years, the standards of social support, healthcare, education, culture, and transport will be raised to the standard of neighbouring Russian regions.
To be sure, we will stimulate economic activity in the new territories and develop their industrial and agricultural potential. It is necessary to increase investment by orders of magnitude, to build new enterprises, including housing construction companies, and to improve the quality of roads and railways, as well as utility and energy infrastructure.
I would like the Government to put together, by the end of the first quarter of 2023, a special programme for the socioeconomic development of the new constituent entities of the Federation. All of them should be up to the nationwide standard that regulates the quality of infrastructure, social services and many other parameters that determine quality of life.
Please note that this comparatively distant timeline does not in any way mean that this work can be put off. It is important to immediately support the rapid development of the new constituent entities and to show results in each area every year. The relevant ministers and deputy prime ministers will be personally responsible for this.
Let us now get down to the agenda.
Vladimir Putin: In conclusion, I would like to, first of all, thank everyone who worked hard to implement all the outlined plans.
Let me remind you that we all have worked quite hard to build and prepare them. All this was not done from light-mindedly, but based on calculations, development plans for various industries, and national development goals. This is planned, serious, extensive work, and the implementation of plans within it should guarantee the development of Russia in the most important areas in the economy, in the social sphere, in the field of the country's defence capability, and so on.
We have only touched upon some issues that are, of course, of great importance for Russia. I hope that we will continue to work just as effectively. Although now even a superficial analysis of what is happening shows that, as they say in such cases, there is plenty to work on both at the federal centre and at the regional level. And you, colleagues, have just spoken about this in one way or another, and in one way or another touched upon problem areas that need special attention. I hope that it will be so.
And in the course of work, as we have just agreed, such proposals have now been voiced, in certain areas we will address these problematic issues on a regular working basis and, if necessary, we will adjust our actions. But on the whole, of course, everything must be done to ensure that the set goals are achieved and all our plans are implemented.
Thank you all very much. All the best.