President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, dear colleagues.
Let us begin with the Interior Ministry. Inform us please, on the results of the investigation into the terrorist act in Znamenskoye.
Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev: An act of sabotage and terrorism was committed in the town of Znamenskoye in the Nadterechny District on July 19. As a result of this attack, ten policemen were killed, seven were injured, and civilians also suffered. The investigation has resulted in two people being taken into custody. Yesterday, a complex operation was carried out and the main person who actually carried out the attack was detained at Khatun and is already giving evidence confirming his part in the attack. I think that we will soon uncover completely all the circumstances behind the committing of this terrorist act.
The Interior Ministry of the Chechen Republic has worked actively on this investigation.
Vladimir Putin: It all needs to be thoroughly completed.
Rashid Nurgaliyev: It will be.
Vladimir Putin: Concerning the incident in Poland involving the children of our diplomats, I will give the Foreign Ministry the appropriate instructions and I would ask the Presidential Executive Office to make contact with our Polish colleagues to get information on what the Polish authorities are doing to respond suitably to this unfriendly act that can only be called a crime. Inform me afterwards on the results.
Chief of the Presidential Executive office Dmitry Medvedev: I will.
Vladimir Putin: Now let us discuss internal matters – economic and social issues. So far, we are heading for a good harvest overall with up to 75 million-78 million tons of grain. We need to be thinking about price stability, of course, about maintaining a balanced situation in the agricultural sector and on the consumer market. As in previous years, it seems clear therefore, that we will need to make timely decisions about state grain purchases.
(Addressing Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref) German Oskarovich, what steps are being taken in this respect?
German Gref: Yes, the grain harvest is so far somewhat better than we had forecast. As things stand today, more than 22 million tons of grain have already been harvested. The yield per hectare is a little lower than it was last year but is considerably better than had been expected. This has set wheat prices falling. They have decreased by around 10–13 percent over the last month and are now at 2,500 roubles on average. The relevant allocations have been foreseen in the budget this year and the provisions have already gone into effect for intervention on the grain market in order to maintain market prices over the autumn, not let prices collapse and ensure that producers will be able to cover their expenses.
I hope that we will be able to carry out our intervention in timely fashion this year and we are currently preparing the relevant documents with the Agriculture Ministry. The federal agency will begin its activity on the market starting from the beginning of this autumn and I hope we will be able to maintain prices at around the current level.
Vladimir Putin: You rightly pointed out that intervention has to be carried out in timely fashion. After all, if we delay making decisions which are in any case somewhat, the whole idea simply loses all sense.
Regarding the investment fund, there was lengthy debate in the government on this point, but as far as I know, you have decided in the end to set up this investment fund. At the same time, I would ask you to take into consideration the Finance Ministry’s thoughts on this matter as far as work on all our plans for the end of this year and for next year go, because we do have to maintain our macroeconomic indicators. Could you please say a few words on this point.
German Gref: We have a meeting planned for Thursday to examine the provisions for an investment fund in Russia. The provisions on the fund’s creation and procedures for selecting projects that will be carried out with assistance from the fund have all practically been finalised. There are still a number of points that need some further work. I think that we will discuss these matters in the government and will have these provisions ready for signing within the next few weeks.
It is planned that the investment fund will be built up over the next three years and will have funds of around 70 billion roubles that will be spent on public-private partnership projects. Any economic actor, be it a federal region, municipality or simply a private company working in Russia, can initiate such projects that would be carried out with state assistance.
In accordance with the draft provisions on the investment fund, we will allocate its funds exclusively for infrastructure development projects. We will work on putting in place the conditions for business to develop. The draft provisions prohibit us from investing the fund’s money in commerce, in business. We will use the fund as an instrument to help us create mechanisms for attracting private investment into economic development.
We plan to set limits on the kinds of projects we will work with. The kinds of projects we will consider can be only major national projects with a timeframe for implementation of not more than five years and with state participation of not less than 5 billion roubles. In other words, we are talking only of large-scale projects that are national in scope. We are already examining the draft provisions and we already have several carefully planned projects proposed by federal regions, and we expect that work will begin on these projects next year using money from the investment fund.
Vladimir Putin: What is very important in all this – Alexander Dmitryevich [Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov], I want to draw your attention above all to this point – is the need to ensure that decisions of this kind are as transparent as possible.
Alexander Zhukov: The draft provisions on the investment fund that we will examine on Thursday provide precisely for selecting projects through a tender system. The first stage in this tender process will be overseen by the Economic Development and Trade Ministry and the selected projects will then need to be confirmed by a special tender commission made up of representatives of the various ministries and agencies as well as economic experts, and their final conclusions will form the basis for the government’s decisions. In other words, discussion of the projects will be as open as possible and the main selection criteria will be maximum effectiveness. I agree with you that the most important thing here is to ensure an open and effective selection process for the projects.
Vladimir Putin: For it all to be effective, we need to ensure that the decision-making process is transparent. That is the first thing to remember.
The second point to keep in mind is that, when making decisions of this kind, we need to base ourselves on what I mentioned before; they should not contradict the economic policy that we had agreed upon a few years ago, they should be in keeping with the macroeconomic indicators and the main development trends in our economy. The investment fund should be an effective instrument that will enable us to effectively develop the economic sectors that the government considers most promising in this and perhaps even in the next century while continuing to hold to the fundamental principles that we have established for ourselves over the last few years.
Addressing now one final issue, a purely social matter, I would like to thank everyone in the government and the Presidential Executive Office who worked on preparing the decree “On Measures to Improve the Financial Situation of People Disabled as a result of War Injuries”. I would point out that this decree does not extend to people who are already receiving supplementary income under the terms of the decree of March 31, 2005, “On Measures to Improve the Financial Situation of Some Categories of Russian Citizens in Connection with the 60th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War”.
What I want to draw to your attention is that, according to the decree, people who have received injuries as a result of military operations will receive an additional 1,000 roubles a month. The government thinks that this provision should come into effect as from January 1, 2006, but I think that we are in a position to begin making these payments as from September 1 of this year. I would ask the government to review this decision in order to bring the decree’s provisions into effect more quickly – as from September 1 of this year. This is completely within our possibilities. I will sign this document today.