President Vladimir Putin:
Good afternoon, colleagues,
At the start of our meeting I think I should once more address our country’s citizens and thank everyone who voted in the national parliamentary election. This is an important stage in our country’s development and it is especially important as it has convincingly shown that the domestic political situation in our country is stable and that the Russian people are the main guarantor of this stability. This is very important for our country’s future and also very important for the parties in which the voters have placed their trust. Our parliament has gained greater legitimacy. The previous parliament reflected the votes of 70 percent of voters, while the new parliament represents 90 percent of the voters, because the parties that did not make it into the State Duma received considerably fewer votes than in previous elections. This is one of the highest results in Europe in terms of broad-based support for the parties represented in the parliament. This also entails great responsibilities, especially for the party that has obtained the majority, the constitutional majority, in the Duma, namely, United Russia. People will be expecting serious results and active work from United Russia and from the other parties in the State Duma. In this respect I think it would make sense to hold the first session of the new parliament earlier than the 30-day time period set by law. The law gives the President the right to convene the Duma earlier, and this we will do. I therefore ask the Presidential Executive Office to draft a decree convening the Duma earlier than this date and begin work together with the Government.
It is a pity, of course, that we have one election campaign coming straight after another, with the presidential campaign now underway. People are no doubt tired of campaign tactics and political promotion, but, unfortunately, we now have to enter this next campaign, the presidential election campaign. Perhaps the new Duma could think about how to space these two election campaigns further apart in the future. But that is a matter for the members of the new parliament themselves, of course. It would be good to space the campaigns further apart so as not to burden the country with one campaign straight after another, but this is a technical matter and something that can be looked into later.
As for the present moment, we need to begin work as quickly as possible with the new State Duma. I know that the Government has already drawn up a plan for legislative work, and now we need to begin implementing this plan.
Prime Minister Viktor ZUBKOV on a meeting with forestry industry representatives and forestry products exports:
We will be holding a meeting with forestry industry representatives and forestry products exporters in Vologda on Wednesday. They have put forward a whole series of proposals for improving the sector’s overall performance that merit attention. The Forestry Code has come into force now, as have a whole number of other statutes and regulations, including on priority investment projects in forestry development, and this makes it possible for us to prepare effective investment projects. We have the necessary resources at our disposal, the Development Bank and the Investment Fund, and we should therefore make maximum use of public-private partnership mechanisms in this sector. The situation is complex at the moment: we have 25 percent of the world’s forests and we use less than three percent of this total for forestry exports, mostly round wood. In other words, we are not getting the returns we should from this sector. Holding a real and substantial meeting to discuss specific investment projects will help us to achieve results. We will hold a Government meeting on the matter, issue instructions, and we will keep this matter under our supervision.
Vladimir Putin: I certainly hope that we will start making progress on this issue.
Viktor Zubkov: We have the will and we have the means. I think that we will be able to get matters under control in this sector.
Vladimir Putin: We need to establish the conditions for developing a domestic timber processing industry.
Viktor Zubkov: Yes.
Vladimir Putin: We have already spoken about this on many occasions.
Viktor Zubkov: We have discussed these matters during talks with the Finnish prime minister and the Canadian prime minister and we have some partnership agreements in this sector. I think that we will be able to work together with these countries.
Vladimir Putin: We have absolutely no desire to create any difficulties for our partners, but we do have to think above all about developing our own economy.
First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei IVANOV on measures taken following an electricity installation accident in Kamchatka:
Quite a serious energy installation accident took place in Kamchatka at the end of November when the Dachnaya sub-station broke down. I called all the relevant officials to a Government meeting on November 23 and instructed them to address the situation within ten days and restore permanent electricity supply in Kamchatka.
Defence Ministry and Emergency Situations Ministry planes flew to Kamchatka with the needed material, a large-scale transformer, and specialists from RAO Unified Energy Systems also flew out to help the specialists from Kamchatskenergo repair the damage. I gave a deadline of ten days and I can report to you that the situation was entirely fixed up by November 30, that is, within seven days, and permanent electricity supply was restored by the evening of November 30. The governor of Kamchatka was therefore able to end the emergency situation he had decreed in the region. So, the affair is now closed.
Vladimir Putin: [addressing Prime Minister Zubkov] Viktor Alexeyevich, as we have said on many occasions, we need to pay particular attention to the Far East in general and Kamchatka too as far as strengthening the energy sector and ensuring reliable electricity and heating supply is concerned.
Viktor Zubkov: We will hold a meeting this month on the Far East and Trans-Baikal regions in Khabarovsk and will examine all of these issues together, including as far as Sakhalin and Kamchatka are concerned.
Regional Development Minister Dmitry KOZAK on preparations for the APEC summit in the Far East:
Following the discussions we had with you, Vladimir Vladimirovich, we have signed the development programme for Vladivostok as a centre for Asian-Pacific cooperation and we set up an inter-ministerial working headquarters the next day.
I must say that this task will not be easy to carry out, and this is why we have begun work immediately and set up this headquarters to coordinate the inter-ministerial work. I chaired the headquarters’ second meeting on Friday and we approved a timetable for construction work next year, have already presented reports on what is required and issued instructions to the relevant ministries and agencies and worked out the quantities of construction materials that will need to be delivered to Russky Island. Based on these figures, the Transport Ministry, together with the other ministries, will have the transport logistics and proposals for building docks ready by December 15. Also by December 15, RAO Unified Energy Systems should have its programme for energy supplies for the construction work ready for us.
We are continuing our work. All of the architectural and urban development decisions regarding the sites will be presented by the end of December. We can probably expect to see the construction costs go up a little, but this would be only after the planning for the sites has been completed and has gone through state expert evaluation.
Vladimir Putin: How much money are you planning to allocate for this work?
Dmitry Kozak: The programme currently allocates 148 billion roubles, including 100 billion from the federal budget and 48 billion from extra-budgetary sources and funds from the Primorsky Region budget.
Vladimir Putin: Does this sum include construction of the bridge?
Dmitry Kozak: Yes, it does. The total sum includes 15 billion roubles for building the bridge to Russky Island.