Dmitry Medvedev: Good day dear colleagues!
I am happy to welcome the delegates and guests of the congress. United Russia is the leading political force in the country or, to put it more simply, the ruling party. Such a high status puts many obligations on the party. Of course, these obligations also open special opportunities for active and creative endeavours.
First of all, I would like to thank you for the tangible, everyday work that you do in the legislative field and with voters in the regions.
Thanks to the influence of your party, the State Duma is promptly adopting all the laws that are essential for our country's life. It is your factions that ensures the stable and constructive work of legislative assemblies at all levels, and unites the delegates and Russian society to resolve national problems.
Today the most important of these challenges is overcoming the negative effects of the global financial crisis. I said recently that the state will fulfill its social obligations to citizens during this difficult period and that United Russia, a party which has huge organisational resources, tremendous organisational capabilities, should be involved in such work.
I would recall that our Constitution refers to Russia as a social state. The destinies of individuals, support for those who need assistance should always be at the heart of your activities. And now this is more important than ever, it should be at the forefront. In today's conditions a daily dialogue with people and a good knowledge of the problems faced by our citizens take on a special meaning of utmost importance.
I am also counting on your active support for the government cabinet of the Russian Federation. The leader of United Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, is about to give the keynote address. Our common task is not only to preserve the living standards that our citizens have achieved, but also to ensure conditions for further growth.
We need to adapt public and political institutions to the current situation, to the challenges faced by our country, as outlined in the ten policy initiatives that I laid out in my annual address. They are aimed at promoting democracy and improving the quality of representation in government, increasing the number of participants in the political process, developing political competition, strengthening the role and influence of various social groups, ensuring that the largest possible number of citizens become involved in politics, expanding their direct involvement in the formation of government and controlling the activities of government.
Finally, it is very important to promote party democracy. As everyone knows, parties are created not to satisfy the ambitions of their leaders, but for the development of the state and to assist citizens in their normal lives. Again, today it is imperative to engage more and more people in social initiatives and social projects. To do this, we need skilled personnel, so I have initiated a special programme of management training in our country at all levels and in all possible structures: in government, business and in civil society. I hope that soon United Russia will propose worthy candidates for managerial and economic tasks in many different areas. And I also hope that a significant number of those whose names are put forward will come from the younger generation.
Dear friends, the pace of our lives is such that we have no opportunity to delay decisions on some of our most important, pressing problems. Everything that we need to do should be done immediately, so that we don't lose what we have achieved, so that we ensure that our country will go on developing, so that, step by step, we arrive at the best results and so that our citizens are guaranteed the chance of living in a better, greater country.
I wish you success in your endeavours.