Russian President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon!
Spring is in the air, and with it the problems that occur every year about this time. How are you handling them?
Minister of Civil Defense, Emergencies and Disaster Relief Sergei Shoigu: We have a range of preventive measures to combat the floods right across the country. There is serious work going on to break up the ice on hydraulic facilities, upstream and downstream from the bridges, particularly near bridges that have national significance.
In total, the preventive activities in this battle during the flooding season, from 18 March to the end of May, involve 230,000 men, 67,000 pieces of ground equipment, about 18,000 pieces of floating equipment, and over 100 aircraft, including aviation from the Ministry of Defense. For the destruction of ice in places that are hard to access we have used military equipment and aircraft. In addition, we are monitoring all hydraulic facilities and re-enforcing protective dikes. A major aspect of this work is linked to protection against the erosion of cemeteries for animals that died of anthrax.
Vladimir Putin: Are you helping the fishermen?
Sergei Shoigu: That is a touchy subject. We have to rescue up to 5,000 per month from the ice, at a very serious cost to the state.
We have made an appeal to lovers of ice fishing, we are talking to them. We have invented a new method in the Arkhangelsk region. At night we send out an icebreaker and it simply destroys the ice. In the morning there’s no way they can catch anything; they have to wait for the ice to dissolve completely.
But what is perhaps a very typical case: just recently, in the Far East, nearly 700 people floated on the ice more than 12 kilometers from shore.
For such cases we have to do something, perhaps introduce special measures for those who violate the rules.
As per your instructions, for the last year and a half we have been putting together a National Centre for Crisis Management.
Vladimir Putin: I’d like to take a look at it.
Sergei Shoigu: The centre features the most up-to-date technology. We studied similar centres in Madrid, London, Paris and New York. In Geneva, we looked at the United Nations’ anti-crisis centre. We put together all the most recent innovations, including things that they didn’t have but that our scientists provided us with. We created this centre together with the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Federal Security Services, and the ministries of internal affairs, transport and agriculture.
So of course we would very much like you to visit, look it over and assess the capabilities currently available.
Vladimir Putin: I will do so without fail.
When was it finished?
Sergei Shoigu: We finished construction a week ago. Now we have to develop the software to bring together everything that we already have: GPS [Global Positioning System], GLONASS [Global Navigation Satellite System], digital mapping, and software from Rosatom, Gazprom, information on oil, gas and ammonia pipelines (such as Togliatti – Odessa), the port and canal lock facilities. All the ministries and departments have been involved in this, and I hope that you will get a chance to see the results of their work.
Vladimir Putin: The Government is currently discussing the Ministry's interaction with small businesses. And I have made certain recommendations in this regard. Your department also puts a lot of administrative pressure on business. I would therefore ask you to become personally involved in this work and to make sure that you reduce the volume of health and safety measures required from businesses, but to ensure that all safety regulations, including those with respect to fire safety, are nevertheless still implemented. We need to develop such a system.
Sergei Shoigu: We received your order. You spoke about this quite sternly last year. Since then we have done the following: first and foremost, I hope that in April our law on the technical regulations for fire safety will be adopted following its final reading. With the adoption of this legislation the number of mandatory requirements in the field of fire safety will decrease a hundred fold.
Secondly, we adopted a law on the insurance for potentially hazardous installations at its first reading (and I would ask for your support so that this law can be adopted without delays). It will provide the opportunity to actively carry out an independent security audit, that is an audit by independent evaluation organisations created by the insurance and business communities, and the state will no longer be involved in this field.
Following this decision we will still have 600,000 installations out of five million to review. 4,5 million will be verified by independent audit and this is vital for us: these installations must be evaluated by someone. I am referring to self-regulation, that is the business community and insurance companies will manage the risks that presently exist in these installations themselves.
I can cite a simple example with regards to technical regulations: we are moving away from the mandatory implementation of specific rules and drawing nearer to a situation in which people assume responsibility for their own security. The owner of the facility, the owner of the company itself would declare that the installation is safe and therefore assume responsibility for the people who work there. In this case, this will be criminal liability.