The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, Deputy Prime Minister – Chief of the Government Staff Dmitry Grigorenko, Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, deputy prime ministers Viktoria Abramchenko, Tatyana Golikova, Alexander Novak, Marat Khusnullin and Dmitry Chernyshenko, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, and Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov. Also invited to the meeting were Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko, Governor of the Kaliningrad Region Anton Alikhanov, Governor of the Murmansk Region Andrei Chibis, Deputy Minister of Transport Alexander Poshivai and Head of the Russian Popular Front Executive Committee Mikhail Kuznetsov.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon.
Before we move on to the main issue on today’s agenda, let us look at a few current matters. Yesterday and also earlier this morning I spoke with Alexander Novak and with Mikhail Mishustin, about the fuel prices in the regions. This issue is above all connected with agricultural works. I will not go into detail now; I hope that Mr Novak will brief us on the situation and tell us about the proposed measures to normalise it. We have already talked about this at meetings with the Government.
Please, Mr Novak.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak: Thank you, Mr President.
Once again, I would like to note that the Russian fuel and energy sector sees providing the domestic market with essential and affordable petroleum products as its key task.
I would like to note that in January-August 2023, we saw increased petrol and diesel fuel output. Petrol production went up by 3.3 percent, with diesel fuel output increasing by 6.4 percent on 2022. The efforts to modernise refineries and to incentivise production allowed us to expand production of environmentally friendly Category 5 fuels.
As for domestic market prices, retail prices at petrol stations have matched inflation levels since early 2023. Understandably, there are many independent petrol stations that are charging somewhat higher prices in the current situation; they are exceeding inflation levels. It was possible to limit prices at petrol stations affiliated with vertically integrated companies, and these price changes match inflation levels.
Regarding wholesale prices, commodity and stock exchange prices have been increasing in the past two months. Petrol prices have increased by 15 percent and diesel fuel by 30 percent. I want to stress that it is for the past two months, when several factors, including higher global oil prices, reduced discounts on the sales of Russian Urals and the weaker ruble against the dollar, simultaneously influenced the current situation. This in turn certainly influenced budget revenue. At the same time, we can see that oil prices have increased since early 2023 (in rubles) by 50 percent, to over 8,000 rubles per barrel this September. Consequently, petroleum export opportunities also expanded.
This disparity and greater export opportunities have motivated “grey market” exports and increased demand in stock and commodity exchange trading.
(The Deputy Prime Minister went on to discuss measures to stabilise the situation with price increases in the domestic motor oil market. On September 21, the Government banned petrol and diesel fuel exports in an effort to meet the needs of the domestic market. The authorities moved to improve trading sessions for curbing price hikes and reducing price volatility. The Government prioritises fuel deliveries to agricultural producers, he added. Alexander Novak also listed a number of additional system-wide measures that the Government suggested for balancing the long-term domestic market and for creating economic incentives for supplying petroleum products to the domestic market).
In conclusion, I can say that generally the price situation in the domestic market is stabilising, the emergency measures taken are promoting the restoration and stable operation of the small wholesale segment, independent gas station networks, and the operation of agricultural producers.
In the near future, we will make a decision on the additional system-wide measures I mentioned. This will have a long-term impact on stability in the domestic market. Thank you.
My report is finished.
Vladimir Putin: Look, we know why this is happening – and in connection with oil prices, we understood what could happen next. This is not the first time, right? Prices are rising, companies want to make maximum profits through exports – obviously; they are doing their job, and you and I, the Government, must do another job that is agreed on, of course, with these companies, but we have different goals.
In September, according to the St Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange (SPIMEX), the cost of a litre of AI-92 gasoline increased 8 rubles. On September 21, we introduced bans on the export of petroleum and diesel. It seemed like a decrease was observed on the exchange, but yesterday the retail cost of a litre of AI-92 gasoline was 51.6 rubles, while until September 21 it was 49.7 – that is, the retail price is going up. Measures have been taken, but prices are still going up. What happens in other areas is of little interest to consumers because they only want results.
The same applies to agricultural producers. I told you yesterday, and again today, in some regions people drive – figuratively, I mean – to buy diesel in neighbouring regions, because prices are still high in their own regions. And in some regions the price of diesel has even gone up.
So, we will hope that the proposed measures work, and we need to cooperate more closely with these companies, as we said, so they understand their responsibility, too. It is clear that the economics of companies is important for us too, this is the goose that lays the golden egg, that’s obvious; we must treat them with care. But nevertheless, I would ask you to react to current events more quickly.
(The discussion then touched on the problems of specific regions associated with rising fuel prices, and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov joined the discussion. The President noted that it is necessary to propose solutions in advance, and then promptly and automatically respond to events as prices rise or fall. Vladimir Putin called for looking at how to help the regions and to consider emerging issues together with them.)
Mr Murashko, combating diabetes is critically important. I am in constant contact with the specialists. I meet with them regularly, and our leading specialist in this area, Ivan Dedov, writes papers on this matter. I would like you to update us on the latest.
Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko: Thank you.
Thank you very much for your tireless attention to this problem. I would like to say that the total number of type 1 and type 2 diabetes cases stood at 5.3 million patients in 2022, including about 58,000 children with type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes is high on our agenda, because it presents a real threat of disability and leads to higher mortality rates, primarily from vascular diseases. Some of the patients are affected by disabling diseases such as eye diseases and many others. Therefore, diabetes with hypoglycaemia-related complications, especially in children, with complications that cause brain lesions presents the greatest danger.
Drug provision for patients with diabetes relies on several regional and federal budget sources in the amount of 60 billion rubles, of which regional budgets account for 50 billion rubles.
There are 165 drugs for treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes registered in the Russian Federation. Half of them are produced domestically. Speaking of state procurement, 70 percent of medications are made in Russia. The domestic industry makes it possible, including today, to export this group of medications. The market of medical devices is developing fast as well. Six domestic test strips for determining blood sugar levels have been officially registered.
Mr President, acting on your instructions, the Government has developed a new federal project Combating Diabetes, which was approved by a decision of the Steering Committee of the State Health Development Programme. It was developed jointly with the National Medical Research Centre for Endocrinology with the involvement of leading experts including, of course, Academician Ivan Dedov.
(The Minister went on to describe the measures envisaged by the project, in particular, the development of the diabetes service infrastructure, primarily in the regions, rural and remote areas, retrofitting with equipment to detect and monitor patients’ condition, and improving the skills of medical workers. The discussion also focused on continuous glucose monitoring systems that are being developed by domestic manufacturers, domestic medicines for diabetes treatment and medical check-ups. Answering the President's questions, Mr Murashko spoke about problems related to the supply of glucose monitoring devices. Head of the Executive Committee of the Russian Popular Front Mikhail Kuznetsov joined the discussion and spoke about the results of the surveys conducted by the RPF, which revealed a shortage of continuous glucose monitoring devices and consumables in the regions. Summing it up, the President asked the Minister to analyse the information received by the Russian Popular Front and then report on the plans to improve the situation in this sphere).
Vladimir Putin: In the past two years, we have made substantial headway in issuing licences and various permits via the Government Services website. We have repeatedly noted that we can respond in many ways to those illegitimate restrictions that some countries are imposing on Russia. The elimination of red tape and the provision of greater freedoms to all economic players, citizens and so on is one such aspect. Indeed, I can see that the period for providing various services has been shortened by two to three times. This experience is quite good and positive.
(Deputy Prime Minister and Chief of the Government Staff Dmitry Grigorenko reported on this issue. According to him, the average number of documents submitted with licence applications has been halved, from ten to five. Average licence issue deadlines have been shortened three times over, from 45 to 15 days. Licence applications are submitted using the Government Services website. The same concerns the issue of various permits. Today, all essential permits (about 372) are listed on the Government Services website. The number of documents needed to obtain permits has been reduced from eight to five, and average permit issuance deadlines on the Government Services website have been shortened from 43 to 23 days).
Vladimir Putin: Indeed, we can see obvious and noticeable progress. Thank you for these results. I hope that this work will continue, since there is still room for improvement here.
We are eliminating red tape involved in these processes, reducing the load on citizens and businesses, and cutting the number of various mandatory permits, etc., as well as audits. At the same time, we should not forget that we must guarantee the interests of clients and consumers, so that the quality of products and services remains high. Labelling, another aspect of our work, also has to do with this issue.
I would like to ask Mr Manturov to say a few words about this work. Please, you have the floor.
Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov: Thank you very much.
Mr President, colleagues,
We began implementing the Chestny Znak (Honest Mark) state labelling system in conjunction with the Federal Taxation Service back in 2016, when it was led by Mr Mishustin. The number of items made with fur in legal trade increased 13-fold within the first four months following the introduction of fur labelling. It was a very telling and productive experience that gradually spread to other categories of products.
Today, there are 16 such categories accounting for approximately 15 percent of the country's non-oil-and-gas GDP, such as the processing and food industry and consumer products, including milk, water, juices, medicines, perfumes, tyres, and photographic equipment. The key goal of labelling, as you, Mr President, accurately noted, is to protect our consumers from counterfeit products and, consequently, to free up demand for the products made by honest market participants.
Noticeable results are already in place. In particular, the share of illegal perfumery products has decreased by 25 percent, footwear by 33 percent, and the number of counterfeit tyres and tyre casings has been cut in half. The availability of a digital tool to monitor trade has made many companies come out from the grey area. The water market, where labelling revealed about 450 manufacturers who had not previously reported to the authorities, is a vivid example of that. Now, all of them are registered tax-paying operators. Overall, the visible segment of the water market has increased by more than a quarter.
The social effect of labelling is best seen in the pharmaceutical industry. In 2022, withing just one year, the sale of expired medicines was reduced by 67 percent. Labelling also helps prevent expensive drugs for treating cancer, HIV and COVID-19 from showing up on the black market. They are made available to hospitals and entitled patients through budget funds and, of course, are not for sale. Digital control makes it possible for us to crack down on fraudulent schemes.
In the same vein, I would like to note the introduction of remote control over selling prescription and narcotic drugs starting from September 1. In addition to the Federal Service for Supervision of Healthcare, the Interior Ministry now has access to this system. We use the risk-based approach to identify pharmacies that violate the rules for dispensing drugs that are part of the above category.
Of course, I must also mention the role of labelling in transition to e-commerce for over-the-counter drugs. Our customers can use the Honest Mark free mobile application to check the product’s authenticity in under a minute. This significantly reduces the potential for fraud.
The Chestny Znak application is being used for all groups of labelled goods. It provides complete information about producers, product contents, expiry dates and other features. It can also be used to immediately report any violations. To date, over 11 million citizens have installed this application on their mobiles and have altogether used them more than 150 million times. Mr President, I myself regularly scan QR codes.
It is very simple, convenient and instructive. This instrument of public control must be available to everyone in Russia. It can be downloaded free of charge from the app store. In addition, the Chestny Znak scanner has been added to the Government Services system last summer. We are working with the Ministry of Digital Development now to include this application to the list of programmes for obligatory preinstallation on all mobiles imported into Russia.
Not just people and responsible businesses but also our budgetary system has seen the effect of the labelling programme. Over the years of its functioning, the additional direct and indirect tax revenues reached 471 billion rubles.
It is important that we see the fiscal results almost immediately after a new group of commodities is added to the project. For example, tax revenues in the dairy sector increased by one third during the first year. Mr President, we can say confidently today that the labelling system has proved its worth and is being widely used.
We are now conducting experiments with expanding it, for example, to titanium products, rehabilitation equipment and caviar. There are plans to apply it to fibre optics, electronics, animal medication and fodder, vegetable oil, cosmetics, household chemicals and several other product categories. When making these plans, we take into account the situation on the market and the readiness of producers to gradually introduce labelling.
Vladimir Putin: You said that many producers had to register for tax payment. As far as I can see, this has had a [positive] effect on the budget as well.
Denis Manturov: This is perfectly true, Mr President. I have provided figures for this period to show that we have received over 450 billion rubles of additional revenue thanks to product labelling.
Vladimir Putin: I hope that you will continue to do this jointly with producers, calmly and in stages, so that they are aware of all the plans and deadlines, taking the interests of consumers into account and discussing your future moves with businesses. Thank you.
Let us proceed to the main issue, which is the programme of socioeconomic development of the Kaliningrad Region. Please, Mr Reshetnikov.