President Vladimir Putin: Good evening, dear colleagues!
I would like to inform you about the decisions that were taken concerning the composition and structure of the Government of the Russian Federation. But before we start to work on this issue and this information, I would first like to tell you that I have signed a law amending the federal law ”On Pensions in the Russian Federation“.
While our cabinet reshuffle is, of course, an important matter, this other issue is even more important to millions of people and is always the subject of particular attention, especially among pensioners.
The federal law provides that all types of pensions – old-age, disability, and survivors insurance – will benefit from a one-time increase as of 1 October 2007. I would ask you to take care to enforce this law that you have developed and the State Duma deputies adopted.
Now, about changes in the cabinet structure and a few words on its composition. First and foremost, I would like to once again return to the work done by the previous cabinet, and to thank the members of the former cabinet. In general, its work was successful. We have managed to sustain a positive dynamic in all spheres of our country's development. This includes both economic and social issues.
However, in recent times, and perhaps in anticipation of the parliamentary and presidential elections, the cabinet has not been working as effectively as before. You know this and many of those in this room have told me that themselves. During this crucial period it is necessary to not only ensure stability, but also to work energetically to implement our strategic plans. And along with this the vital, everyday problems of Russian citizens must also be resolved in a clear, planned and smooth way.
As to the efficiency of our work, already in the near future we must prepare and implement an objective evaluation system for work done by the cabinet and specific departments. This includes the activities of the administration of the regions in the Russian Federation. These performance criteria, along with establishing more personal responsibility among officials should stimulate the work done by the entire administrative apparatus.
There are great challenges in the economic and social spheres that lay ahead of us, challenges in the field of social policy. I am convinced that we have enough resources today to accomplish all of this efficiently and according to schedule.
Now a few words on the cabinet structure. It has undergone some changes. At the Prime Minister's request two new committees were created, the State Committee for Youth Affairs and the State Committee for Fisheries. Several tasks of the Economic Development and Trade Ministry have been revised.
Now, as to personnel appointments. Here too there are some changes. The Finance Minister's status has been increased. He will also serve as deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. The present Finance Minister is Alexei Leonidovich Kudrin.
We have several new colleagues. Dmitrii Nikolaevich Kozak has been appointed the Minister for Regional Development. Elvira Sakhipzadovna Nabiulina has been appointed Economic Development and Trade Minister. Tatiana Alekseevna Golikova has been appointed Minister of Health and Social Development.
You know all of those present here and have known them for a long time. They are full-value professionals who have achieved impressive and tangible results in all the places they have worked. I very much expect that under the leadership of the new Prime Minister, Viktor Alekseevich Zubkov, the cabinet of the Russian Federation will accomplish the tasks that, together with the parliamentary deputies, we have set as Russia's strategic development goals.
I would like to congratulate you all on the new appointments and wish you success.