President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. Yesterday presidential elections took place, and this is what I would like to begin with. Once again, I would like to thank everyone who took part in the election. I must say that it was of great importance to me not just to obtain a positive result, but also to obtain a quality result in terms of voter turnout and the number of people who voted for the incumbent President, because it is this that confirms that our people really do support the policies we have pursued over the last four years. Without this support it would be difficult to work over the coming years. I would like once more to express my thanks to all those who supported me in this election.
At the same time, here, at this meeting with the government, I want to emphasise that the result of the elections is also a form of advance for me and for yourselves. The election results represent the hopes that voters have placed in us to carry out effective work together.
What I would like to say in this respect is that we often repeat the well-known phrase about the need to take so-called unpopular decisions. We should be taking not unpopular decisions, however, but necessary decisions. Is there anything so popular today in a housing and utilities system that is falling apart, in poor-quality health care or in problems in the education sector? There is nothing popular in this at all. We need to take clear, comprehensible, justified and carefully thought-out decisions in these and other sectors.
I am firmly convinced that no matter how market-oriented and tough these decisions might be, if they are justified and properly prepared, people will understand and support them. This is the kind of work I am asking you to do. This is the kind of work I want you to set your sights on. I very much hope that this work will be effective and will not be subjugated to ephemeral considerations of a historic nature, but will focus on improving the Russian people’s lives and making Russia a genuinely prosperous country in which people will see the tangible results of our work together over the coming years.
That is what I wanted to say for a start. Now let’s turn to today’s agenda, which is concerned with organising the government’s work. We are going to have to amend a number of laws in connection with the presidential decree on the government’s organisation. I know that the Deputy Prime Minister has been working on this, and I would like to hear your comments on this issue.