President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zyuganov, as you may know, at the end of the year I meet with leaders of State Duma factions. I have already met with Mr Zhirinovsky and Mr Mironov.
Leader of KPRF State Duma faction Gennady Zyuganov: You left us for dessert.
Vladimir Putin: Why? You have a solid faction and there may be more questions.
Gennady Zyuganov: Right.
Vladimir Putin: Please.
Gennady Zyuganov: First, I would like to say that your Address to the Federal Assembly, your major annual press conference and the film World Order essentially give a realistic assessment of what is going on and express concern and a desire to resolve many issues jointly. Solidarity within society is of utmost importance. In my opinion, this is a key task that we need to accomplish next year, because there are quite a few problems: a war is on against international terrorism, the world is going through a crisis.
In this regard, our position is quite constructive. I would like to discuss a number of promising projects that could both further consolidate our society and help resolve production and social issues, above all others.
There will be a series of anniversaries in the next three years. Next year we will celebrate 100 years of the Trans-Siberian Railway. This is one of the most outstanding projects in the entire Russian history that brought the country together and paid back in as little as 3 months in 1941; without it, it would have been difficult to relocate 6 divisions to Moscow. Now we are witnessing its rebirth.
Vladimir Putin: It was also built very quickly, by the way.
Gennady Zyuganov: Yes.
We have implemented a project that you supported on public companies. Together with the Chamber of Trade and Commerce, we have already reviewed more than 200 companies that proved most efficient in times of crisis. The companies that I presented to you received assistance; they won a European competition and are now already fighting for their spot on the European market even with all the sanctions.
We have a good programme called Children – the forum you held in Sochi, remember, with the talented children? In my view, this was one of the top events and it is worth continuing.
I have to tell you that we have successfully implemented our programme on Artek. You supported our idea back then. In the past 18 months, we built 40 facilities there worth a total 4 billion rubles.
Vladimir Putin: At Artek?
Gennady Zyuganov: Yes.
Vladimir Putin: You brought it back into shape.
Gennady Zyuganov: Now it will accommodate 18,000 children, and next summer after we commission three more camps, it will take on 30,000. This would be the best health resort and a gift to the entire country, not just Crimea.
We would also like to resolve the issue of war babies, of whom there are 12 million. The veterans, those who fought in the Great Patriotic War, pass away, but their places are being taken today by their children – the children born in time of war, who are now 75–80 years old.
They could use some support, and we have such a programme. It is also very important to support large families and orphans. This is a programme we would like to propose and discuss with you. I believe that with your support we would be able to implement it next year.
We will soon be marking 100 years of the February Revolution and 100 years of the Great October Revolution. Unfortunately, we are now witnessing a wave of anti-Sovietism and Russophobia that has already destroyed the USSR and gave rise to many squabbles. We ought to give it a thought and sign an agreement of sorts between the 'reds' and the ‘whites’, so to speak, between all the nation’s patriotic forces, which would make it possible to approach these dates as a unified people, the way it happened recently with Crimea and Sevastopol, when their return consolidated our society. Like the Immortal Regiment march you took part in with a portrait of your father – a victorious hero. I believe this would all be very important in order to achieve unity among people, so we could implement many other projects and programmes.
Vladimir Putin: These are all very good ideas. Let us look into all of them in detail.
Gennady Zyuganov: Fine.