Vladimir Putin: I have held consultations with the State Duma majority on a candidate for the post of Prime Minister. This week, today in fact, I will send a letter to the State Duma proposing Mikhail Fradkov, currently our representative with ministerial rank at the European Commission in Brussels, as Prime Minister.
As you know, Mr Fradkov was at one time Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, that is to say, he was part of the Government’s economic team. He was also Deputy Secretary of the Security Council, and so he is familiar with law enforcement and security issues. Before going to Brussels he headed the tax police and has ample experience in the fight against corruption. His work in Brussels has been impressive and he has shown himself to be a good organiser and manager, as well as a decent person. I hope that the Duma will support his nomination.
In this respect, I would like to ask that those among you who were involved in the administrative reform immediately start working with Mr Fradkov when he arrives in Moscow tomorrow so as to complete as quickly as possible the work that has been going on for a long time now, almost one-and-a-half years. I would ask you to complete this work and present your final proposals.
As you also know, I visited the Far East and Siberia last week. I would like to thank all those who were involved in carrying out major projects there, such as building the road between Chita and Khabarovsk. In 1903, Russia built the Trans-Siberian Railway, and now, a century later, we have completed the first motorway linking the west and east of the country. This is a big event in our country’s life, but we must not forget that our work does not stop here and that we still have a lot to do to bring this road up to world standards. I think that the Government’s plans in this respect and other plans for developing the infrastructure in the Far East should be our priority.
This visit to Siberia was very interesting and useful, but I will talk about that a bit later.