The discussion focused on bridging the digital divide, making more essential social services available online and enabling the key economic and social sectors, including healthcare, to achieve digital maturity.
The Presidential Executive Order No. 474 of July 21, 2020, On the National Development Goals of the Russian Federation Through 2030, sets forth the performance indicators for delivering on the Digital Transformation national goal.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Oseyevsky, Rostelecom is a major Russian telecommunications operator and an integrated provider of digital solutions. Overall, it is a major corporation that covers almost all market segments across the country.
What do you think about the current situation, the state of the company, and its immediate and future goals you want to achieve?
Rostelecom President Mikhail Oseyevsky: Mr President, last year, despite all the challenges and restrictions related to sanctions, we remained proactive in expanding our operations and emerged as the country’s biggest telecommunications operator and digital services provider by the end of the year. We succeeded in increasing both our revenue and profit. This is attributable to a large-scale investment effort, since we invested over 500 billion rubles over the past years. The strategy to diversify our operations and promote import substitution also played a role.
Our strategy focuses on achieving indicators set forth in the national development plan as per your Executive Order. Allow me to highlight some of them.
The first indicator deals with broadband Internet. By 2030, 97 percent of households across Russia must have access to it. This is why we remain focused on expanding our fibre optic network. Last year, we laid over 77,000 kilometres of cable, connecting over 900,000 households, including flats and single-family homes. Overall, Russia is making great strides in achieving this indicator. We have been adding about three percent every year, which suggests that we will deliver on this objective as set forth in your Executive Order.
We continued the implementation of the Bridging the Digital Divide project, which you know about, and which is aimed at providing internet access to small settlements. Last year, the project was given a new lease on life and a new meaning with the installation of mobile base stations. The people needed this, and the current traffic in these settlements is now higher than the average for the country. People are actively using the internet to access public services, educational resources and information. We will continue with this project this year and in the next few years.
Acting on your instructions, we have completed a large project for the development of trunk infrastructure in the Far East. We have laid over 2,000 kilometres of underwater cable from Kamchatka to Chukotka, and now Chukotka residents have access to same-quality and same-price services as people in the other Far Eastern regions. This is very important, and they are grateful to you for your support.
We have not abandoned our international projects either, first of all, the West-East trunk line. Its construction is ongoing. We have covered the distance from the western border to Moscow, and we plan to reach the eastern border within three years. Importantly, our Asian partners’ interest in this project has not diminished because the shortest way from Asia to Europe runs across our territory. It is an economically attractive project. I updated you on it before.
Another goal set out in your Executive Order is to provide a specified number of services online. The core of this project is the public services website, which Rostelecom has been developing under the Government’s guidance for over a decade.
We have introduced a new, modern and high-capacity version of the website, which has allowed us to increase the number of registered users from 70 million to 100 million and also to increase the number of daily users to over 9 million. But our most important achievement is that the number of services has multiplied, from 33 in 2019 to today’s 483, and it keeps growing every day.
Of course, this is not only the result of the website’s development but also of the growth of our major state information systems, which we have been modifying in the past years at the request of the Government. I will tell you about the largest three.
In the sphere of healthcare, we have launched new solutions for the Healthcare Ministry, the Mandatory Medical Insurance Fund and the Federal Medical-Biological Agency. Since its inception, over 35 million people have received mandatory medical insurance policies online, including people in the new regions of the Russian Federation, which is very important.
I would also like to mention the launch of a new register of bone marrow donors, which we never had before. Today, over 22,000 people have expressed a desire to donate bone marrow. Doctors are actively using this database to find suitable donors. This year, we plan to launch a blood donor register.
The next large-scale project is digitalising the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr). From March 1, every Russian citizen can obtain information for free and get a certified extract on all pieces of real estate property he or she owns. This takes a mere three seconds. Every day, between 15,000 and 20,000 people use these services.
The third large project I would like to talk about is the Social Treasury, the new social platform. We expect that after it is introduced – and it will include the Pension Fund, the Social Insurance Fund, and a service for medical sociological expert evaluation – that people will be able to obtain social services in a remote, paperless and pro-active format.
Vladimir Putin: Based on the one-stop principle?
Mikhail Oseyevsky: Yes. The platform itself has been developed already. This year, we plan to introduce it in all regions of the Russian Federation. I would also like to note that this is the world’s largest project for digital transformation in the social sphere.
Vladimir Putin: That’s great! This will really help people and make their lives easier.
Mikhail Oseyevsky: Much has been done recently; all the payments were made through the public services portal, but this, without a doubt, will be an entirely new level.
Jointly with the Central Election Commission, we are finalising the work to create a new election platform that should be available, along with the remote e-voting system, during the 2024 presidential elections.
Vladimir Putin: Ms Pamfilova [Chair of the Central Election Commission] says she expects this work to be done sooner.
Mikhail Oseyevsky: As I see it, we will start testing it this autumn, but on the whole, the schedules have been coordinated and set, and we will certainly comply with them.
In conclusion, Mr President, I would like to say a few words about our social policy with regard to the commitment to support our employees who are currently taking part in the special military operation.
We still pay them an average salary and have provided them with the necessary supplies. We have also allocated payments in case they are wounded or, God forbid, killed in action. But the most important thing is that we have decided to support not only our male employees who worked with us but also our female employees whose husbands are now participating in the special military operation. For us, they are all Rostelecom staff. The volunteers are very active as well: they are willing to babysit, and the men can come and do minor repairs. So, on the whole, we are very responsible towards those performing their military duty.
Vladimir Putin: Good. My special thanks for that.
And now let’s talk in more detail.