Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
I will say a few words before giving the floor to the Commander.
The aim of this meeting is obvious: to discuss the key issues connected with naval combat training, its logistical supplies and the social position of the sailors.
Perhaps I needn’t repeat it, but still I would like to stress the special role of the Pacific Fleet in ensuring the security not only of the country’s eastern borders, but of the Russian state as a whole, considering the strategic importance of the Far East for Russia.
One of the key national priorities today is the display of a consistent and comprehensive national naval policy, which is part of the overall military reform. Its main task is to strengthen and develop the country’s naval potential. You know that Russia has adopted a naval doctrine until 2020 and a Naval Collegium has been formed. But naturally, plans don’t count for much if they are not fulfilled.
Together with the command of the Navy we have worked out one more programme, the programme of building new naval vessels in the medium and longer term. Naturally, the fulfillment of this task is directly linked with the country’s economic development. If the economy develops, the army and navy will develop. All these things are interconnected and cannot be separated from one another.
I assume that the plans we are sure to implement will give momentum to the work improving the naval component of Russia’s defence.
The modern Navy must fully meet the highest standards and must be ready to provide an adequate response to any attack by militants who are unfortunately very numerous in the modern world.
The Pacific Fleet today is conducting serious work to implement the military reform and, as the commander has reported, that work is beginning to yield early results. I am aware that the interaction between elements of the Fleet and auxiliary units has noticeably improved. The structure of the naval units has been optimised. The professional skills of the personnel have improved. I look forward to hearing more detailed information on the state of affairs from the Commander.
Today I would like to name only some of the priorities. The main task of the Pacific Fleet is maintaining the combat readiness of the units, especially the strategic nuclear forces.
The performance of operational duties cannot be affected by the relationships with the utilities, the people involved in energy and other similar problems. I will do my best to encourage the Government to support the armed forces.
I am sure these issues can be solved if we think about them in advance and not wait until the crisis starts.
The second feature of the Far Eastern Region is the existence of a long sea border, so it is necessary to cooperate closely and to coordinate actions with border units and other regional structures.
Practicing tactical missions, including with our neighbours – the Japanese, Korean and American navies – is of particular significance. An example of such interaction was the recent exercise on the Caspian.
I am aware that you already have such experience and it must be further developed. I think it would be proper if we conduct similar integrated exercises in the Far Eastern region next year. I have already issued corresponding instructions to the Defence Minister.
The Pacific Fleet, like other units of the Russian Armed Forces, still faces many challenges. They include the need to modernise materiel and weapons and to ensure uninterrupted logistical supplies.
One of the most acute issues today is the social problems of sailors and their families, above all the problems of housing, education and employment of retired servicemen.
Ensuring the due payment of the money allowances of servicemen is an important concern. Beginning on July 1, allowances for military rank were increased and I hope that payments are being made in full. Further increases are planned, but of course the economic and financial potential of the state must be taken into account. There will be two increases in allowances next year: on January 1 allowances will be increased for military rank, and on October 1 next year there will be an 11% increase of allowances across the board. You know that from now on the allowances of servicemen will be adjusted to inflation, just as they are for civil servants.
Major efforts are underway to provide servicemen with housing. I am aware that there are very many problems, but in the coming years more financial resources will be allocated to address this than previously. The Government intends to take some steps under all the previously launched programmes.
I would like to note that the regional authorities are increasing their assistance to us on these issues. I hope that the situation in the Far East will be at least as good as in the other Russian regions.
In conclusion I would like to thank all of you, to thank all the Pacific Fleet sailors for their duty and their impeccable and honest service.