President Vladimir Putin: Dear colleagues!
We have already worked for more than two hours. I suggest we wrap up today's meeting and this is what I would like to say in conclusion.
Over the last few years we have already spoken a great deal and very often about the various positive tendencies in the country's development and we have cited the most various figures such as GDP growth—about seven percent over the last few years, the budgetary surplus, the positive trade balance, the growth of the Central Bank's gold and foreign currency reserves, the growth of the population's real income, reducing the level of unemployment, and the number of people living below the poverty line. As a whole this bears witness to the fact that the economic policies we have chosen and followed over the last few years are justified and lead to positive outcomes.
At the same time, and here I think you agree with me, very little has been accomplished. And we can and should do a great deal more. Unfortunately, up to now too many of our citizens live with difficulty and we must honestly say that they do not directly feel the positive results of the domestic economy's development. We should never, not for a single minute, forget about this.
Any authority either at the federal level, that of the region, or that of the municipality should benefit from the people's trust. We can only receive this by showing the concrete results of our work. And so that people can feel these results and really perceive them they must not be in abstract figures, on TV, or in the newspapers; they should feel it in their pocket, in the quality of medical services they receive, in the field of education, in their apartments and in their houses.
You know that according to a number of economic and political reasons, in certain cases we are repaying the state's external debts ahead of schedule. National projects are in a sense repaying the debts owed to citizens ahead of time.
Development in the social sphere planned within the national projects is stipulated to provide means for these goals ahead of times. Certainly, these plans are imperfect and demand special attention both from the Government and the heads of regions. Moreover, these plans imply certain dangers concerning keeping to main principles of economic development, macroeconomic indicators and inflation, and I therefore ask that a great deal of attention be devoted to this issue. But along with this the signal given by our policies' priorities is absolutely clear. The basis of these policies is the citizen of the Russian Federation, a person with real needs and demands, and a living standard; it is thus necessary to pay the utmost attention to attending to his vital needs with the plan we are developing today. This is our fundamental priority. And this is the purpose of economic growth that we are striving for together.
I very much ask that both the federal Government and the heads of the regions to respond to this in the most serious way and I count on your effective teamwork.