President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zyuganov, you know that preparations are underway for this year’s Annual Address to the Federal Assembly. I would like to talk to you about this, and listen to your views.
And then we will be celebrating our Constitution’s 20th anniversary. I know that you have certain thoughts and ideas on this account too. I would also like to discuss this with you.
CHAIRMAN OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION, LEADER OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY FACTION IN THE STATE DUMA Gennady Zyuganov: Thank you, Mr President.
I think that we are at a very important juncture, all the more so because you will soon make your Address. It takes place against the background of some quite interesting initiatives you’ve put forward, such as modernising Russia and strengthening national, geographical unity.
We have a range of very interesting proposals that we developed together with the academic community and experts. Today I would like to make these suggestions on behalf of our faction. I think they will be very useful and interesting.
First of all, there are problems associated with the development of our industry. We prepared a law on industrial policy, with help from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and many eminent specialists from different fields. This draft bill has now been agreed with different factions.
If United Russia responds – they are already familiar with this material – I think it would be the right time for this, especially since you already outlined the challenge of modernising the economy and creating 25 million high-qualified jobs. That’s the first issue.
The second: we are extremely worried by some statements, including those in the media, such as “let’s give the Caucasus away,” “let’s push Siberia aside,” and “let’s appoint another master for the Arctic.” I think that these injunctions are not only blasphemous, they are in large part criminal.
Because the country has taken shape over a thousand years, and when such pronouncements are made during a crisis, they are not simply a mistake, they are criminal in nature. We have prepared a draft law on this subject, and I am confident that the public will support it.
We have a number of proposals related to providing our citizens with better social guarantees. Despite the crisis, I believe that we should maintain our support for education, healthcare and science at current levels. We are currently drawing up the budget. Reducing investments in these areas will merely worsen the situation.
Therefore, there are a number of interesting ideas, and I hope you will support them.
Vladimir Putin: Let’s talk in more detail about and discuss each of these proposals.
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