President Vladimir Putin: Good day, dear colleagues!
Yesterday elections were held to choose a new president of the Russian Federation and they took place in full accordance with the Constitution and the rule of law. Preliminary results suggest that Dmitry Medvedev has won a convincing victory. Once again, I would like to congratulate him and wish him every success in his very important work for the benefit of Russia and its citizens. I am sure that Dmitry Anatolyevich will prove worthy of the people’s trust and do everything to ensure that the policies designed to strengthen the country in both the economic and social spheres will be reinforced by important new results.
I would note that during the campaigns for the Duma and for the president, the entire state apparatus and the government have continued to function as per usual. Many thanks to Viktor Alekseevich Zubkov for that. The crucial thing now is to maintain the momentum we have established in attempts to realise our country’s strategic objectives. During the next two months, until the formation of a new government, I would like all the members of the current government to work consistently and effectively with the same sort of dedication.
Now a word or two about what requires special attention.
First: let me remind you that as early as May ideas for the long-term development of the Russian Federation through to 2020 should be considered. What I said to the State Council about the strategy for Russia's development through to 2020 was set out in a comprehensive way, but it was still just ideas. Now we need a vision, set down on paper, to serve as the basis for specific, step-by-step plans for each of the areas that I mentioned.
Moreover, we need to create a corresponding outline for the legislation the government plans to enact. This should be agreed on even earlier, now, and the members of State Duma should get to work right away.
Second: I ask you to submit immediately concrete proposals on the issues raised during the recent meeting of the Council concerning the implementation of national projects. It outlined specific issues: urban policy, streamlining turnover of agricultural lands, the creation of a competitive environment in the social sector and encouraging investment in human capital.
Spending on education and medicine, health insurance and co-financed pension savings should be as tax-exempt as possible. The law on co-financed pension savings should be elaborated and adopted as soon as possible. It is now in the Duma and must be put into final form. The deputies have to complete this work immediately so that this year citizens will have the chance to make use of it.
The question of establishing a preferential system for deducting depreciation and promoting intensive processing of natural resources has yet to be decided. As we’ve said many times, we export everything as raw materials. You need to consider this issue, decide how you want to proceed and what decisions have to be taken in order to ensure that intensive processing of these raw materials takes place on Russian soil.
All these innovations should be put into effect as early as next year.
Third: at the Council for the Implementation of National Projects the subject of the development of the mortgage system in Russia came up. I would like you to quickly come up with proposals to strengthen it and to create mechanisms to protect it from risks. In addition, we have to create a set of instruments for the long-term refinancing of the banking system.
Given the situation on the world markets I invite you to prepare proposals to streamline the management of the country’s financial reserves, the Reserve Fund, the National Prosperity Fund and gold reserves. We have repeatedly brought this up with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Chairman of the Central Bank. These suggestions are appropriate: i.e. there is nothing revolutionary here, but we are obliged to react to what is happening in the world economy.
Fourth: we should prepare the necessary legislative changes to simplify to the greatest extent possible the rules for setting up and running a business. Wherever possible, we should switch to a notification procedure and drastically reduce the number of different kinds of permission procedures, especially with regard to small business. I have discussed this with the Minister of Economic Development and I hope that this will be implemented soon.
Next: as you know, I recently signed a package of federal laws for the implementation of the proposals that were drafted at the end of last year, increasing the size of pensions, social benefits and cash allowances for military personnel, as well as the salaries of judges, prosecutors and a number of other categories of workers. We increased payments and the cost of services provided to those on social security. We established a system for indexing the conversion of child benefits and a range of other measures. Colleagues, let me draw your attention to the fact that we are absolutely obliged to fulfill all the commitments that we have undertaken in the social sector. This includes obligatory indexation. I ask you not to return to those discussions that we had last year about whether to index or not: now we have to index everything, just as we promised the people.
The Government must now enact the regulations necessary to implement the laws that have been adopted, and there have to be changes in the list of budget items. And of course we must ensure that additional funding is made available to the citizens of the country. I note that these are only some of the problems that need to be addressed in the short term. I very much hope that the government and the Federal Assembly will continue to work together closely and constructively in the designated areas. Let me remind you that all of these are sensitive issues for our people and necessary for our economy. They must be immediately resolved. Citizens have given their full support to the policies we have chosen, and we must be worthy of this trust.
Now, as for current issues, they too must not be ignored. The government has introduced a list of proposals to simplify the procedure for reclassifying the disabled. This is the question that was put to me during the Direct Line [TV and Radio Broadcast with President Vladimir Putin].
Minister of Health and Social Development Tatyana Golikova on simplifying medical assessment procedures for disabled people and making it easier for them to obtain funds for rehabilitation.
On Friday, we completed the paperwork for two government orders concerning simplifying procedures for the medical assessment of people unable to work and for those entitled to money for rehabilitation. This consisted of two bills. The first contains a list of medical conditions and the second a mechanism for receiving rehabilitation money, simplified, as we suggested. We have worked out the document with the main associations of disabled people. They have been looking forward to it. We are counting on its adoption and implementation in the very near future.
I want to say that for the first time in this bill, which proposes simplifying the process for obtaining funds for rehabilitation, we have introduced a category for children with disabilities and special procedures so that they can obtain funds for rehabilitation, This has never been done before. And the first bill, the one that defines the list of medical conditions — after the official announcement – will address precisely the issue that was raised in the question you were asked during the Hot Line: once someone acquires invalid status, he need never go back. That is the first bill. And the second, the one that simplifies the receipt of funds for rehabilitation, we proposed that it enter into effect in 2008, but now it will be a bit later, to release other necessary bills (internal orders from the Ministry of Health and Social Development), and to prepare the appropriate regulatory framework to ensure that there is no interruption in the supply of these rehabilitation funds.
Regional Development Minister Dmitry Kozak on the preparation of documents for territorial planning measures.
In mid-February, at a meeting of the government of the Russian Federation, we looked at one of the issues involved in strategic planning and development [of the regions]. These bills for territorial planning should be an important element of the Vision for the country’s long-term development that you mentioned. They are an important element of strategic planning and will guide the development of industrial and social infrastructure in the Russian Federation for the long term. The set of organisational, legal and technical measures that were approved by the government just last week will finally allow us to accomplish the task of developing territorial planning documents before January 1, 2010. It will require intense and coordinated work by all the federal executive agencies, since practically all of them are involved in it. But if already in May we consider the Vision of long-term development, a bill that will set the direction for these plans, then by January 1, 2010, such documents will become available. They facilitate the work of those regions involved and, more importantly, the communities in the preparation of their designs for territorial planning and urban master plans. More generally, these documents will serve as a benchmark for business, for the establishment of their own programmes. That is, we can significantly improve the investment climate in the country, if we provide such benchmarks for business in terms of industrial and social infrastructure.