President Putin: Above all, I address myself to you, students, graduate students and teachers of the university and, of course, I congratulate you on this occasion, the 250th anniversary of Moscow State University. This is a great event not only in the higher education world but in the country’s life in general. It was not just coincidence that the university was founded in the eighteenth century: Russia at that time was on the rise and needed new people and new knowledge to aid the country’s development.
We are going through a similar development period today. Today, just as when the university was founded, we need new knowledge and new people, we have great need of them for our development and for Russia’s future.
I would be revealing no great secret by saying that the rector of St. Petersburg University came to see me yesterday. In Petersburg they have their own ideas and there is a debate going on there as to who is first and who is second. I discussed this historical problem with the rector, but the fact is that from the moment of its founding Moscow University has been one of the most outstanding symbols of Russia. And it is above all the people who have studied, taught and carried out creative and scientific work here who have made it such a symbol.
It was very good to see what development plans are in store for the university. And to have built this magnificent building in just a year! I agree with the rector and I think it is fair to say that this is one of the best libraries in the world, both for its outward appearance and for its contents: 55,000 square metres, 5 million volumes, excellent equipment and working conditions. But even more important is that the university has a bright future before it and excellent development plans. We have just seen what is planned for coming years and it really is very impressive, and this is a very good thing.
Now I would like to come back to what I said before about the need for knowledge and the people who are bearers of this knowledge. You will no doubt have questions. There are, of course, many problems, but the fact that knowledge can be formed and become a factor in developing production is very clear. Despite all the debates, and if there are any economists present they will know what I am talking about, we have come to the conclusion that the state should provide direct support for the development of high technology and education – direct state support. We will pursue this policy with firm commitment. Of course, this can only be done by working with scientific and educational centres such as Moscow State University. I know that you have already had a technology park up and running effectively for several years now. This is a very good example for other universities in the country. As far as I know, this project has already had a turnover of several tens of millions of dollars. This is an excellent example.
I wish you every success.
Once again, I congratulate on this holiday.
All the best!