The Economic Council was established by presidential executive order to draft proposals on the main areas of social and economic policy, sustainable development, and technological modernisation of the economy.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
First of all, thank you for agreeing to become members of the Council.
I will not take up your attention with long speeches. I just want to start by saying that all of us here are well aware and often talk of the imbalances in the global economy, the bubbles and so forth and so on, and we all know that the risks are more or less clear for the global economy and for our own economy. I say ‘more or less clear’, but we would like to have a more precise understanding of course. ‘More or less’ is not enough. True, the economy is one area of life where it is hard to hope for precision, but we must do our best nonetheless because the accuracy of our forecasts and understanding of the situation are crucial for the quality of our practical decisions and the subsequent results our actions will have for millions of our citizens. This is important for everyone without exception.
I therefore think it best, as I have already asked of you, that you help the President and Government to analyse economic developments and formulate recommendations on the policies and measures the state authorities should implement in the economy. It would be useful of course if you offered not just recommendations but also proposed possible practical solutions, and I ask you too, to evaluate the decisions made and their results. The situations and results that emerge out of the decisions we make are not always what we hoped for, and if such situations arise, we would like to hear from you recommendations on solutions to these difficulties.
Overall, we have built up a fair amount of experience over the last years, good experience I would say, especially in dealing with crisis situations. This concerns macroeconomic decisions, and also the ad-hoc decisions we made to support particular economic sectors: the financial sector, industry, and agriculture. This also concerns our action in the social sphere, especially the measures aimed at improving the employment situation.
Not everything we did was as effective as we would have liked, but overall, the measures we took have worked, and quite well at that. We cannot simply repeat things however, for the situation is always changing and today’s situation has its own particularities. It is vital to know how things will develop, according to which scenarios, and which factors we need to take into account now and tomorrow. This is why I wanted to pool your intellectual potential and hear your various points of view and suggested approaches on the best solutions and practical steps to take.
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I want to say in conclusion that this is our first meeting and I hope very much that it will not be the last. I think we will change the discussion format a little and perhaps work longer, with a break, without haste, freely discussing and exchanging views. I think this is very useful. We have colleagues who are often in debate with each other, whether face to face or not, and express differing points of view. Mr [Yevgeny] Yasin and Mr [Sergei] Glazyev often argue away. But I noted that when Mr Yasin said just now that the crisis began in the 1970s, some of our colleagues here smiled, and yet Mr Glazyev said just the same thing to me not so long ago. In other words, for all the differences, there are also quite a few points of agreement. There are basic positions from which we can proceed together and look for practical solutions.
As for the idea that we cannot predict anything, as our esteemed colleague Herman Gref said just before, saying that one cannot forecast anything already amounts to making a forecast. So, I would not say that we are so powerless. What can and must be done is clear, and I agree that in this volatile global economy of which we are a part, we have to live in these conditions, and for a long time to come, judging from the situation, and so we have to learn to work effectively. We should learn how to live and work effectively in these conditions.
I hope very much for your help in coming up with practical solutions.
Thank you very much.