President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen:
You have just summed up the results of 2006 at this year’s last cabinet meeting, and you know them well. Nevertheless, I’d like to say a few words. The results of the year are good – even better than the year before. Economic growth was 6.9%, compared with 6.4% in 2005. In general, we are fulfilling our long-term plans on schedule, something we must continue to do.
Since the start of the year the stock index has gone up by 65%. This is one of the world’s best figures. The dynamics of major social indicators are also positive. Real disposable incomes have grown by 11.5%, and pensions have increased by 5.3% in real terms. Priority national projects have started yielding results. I would like to thank those of my colleagues who have worked to draw up the demographic program. They have done their job quickly, made the required decisions, drafted the appropriate documents, and, together with the deputies, turned them into law. This program will get underway on January 1st.
Fixed capital investments – both domestic and foreign ones – have grown substantially. Direct foreign investment has gone up by 55.5%.
The government has formulated its policy in the energy sphere for the next few years, which is a major achievement. I consider this a very important and difficult but responsible decision.
We have concluded talks with our major partners on Russia’s accession to WTO.
The legal procedures needed for the establishment of the Unified Aircraft-Building Corporation have been completed.
The Development Bank – a major instrument of funding and servicing infrastructure and innovation projects – has been established.
Nine projects have been planned for the Investment Fund. The Venture Fund that we talked about has also been set up. We hope that it will also start working in the near future.
All these results allow us to look forward to next year with confidence and come up with new plans for promoting the country’s economic growth, its potential, and the living standards of our people.
It goes without saying that the credit for the steady advance of the economy and social sphere primarily goes to the government of the Russian Federation. The government is the main vehicle of socioeconomic policy, and in the new year we should keep up the momentum we have gained, all the more so since we have everything we need to do so. Now that very little time is left before the New Year, I’d like to wish you good luck, thank you for the work you have done, and wish you a Happy New Year.