VDNKh is hosting the forum on March 13–16, where 6,500 participants from 85 Russian regions at 35 different venues have been discussing support for the projects that are part of the open platform Russia ‒ Land of Opportunity.
The main task of the platform is to create a system of transparent social lifts, help talented young people and professionals achieve self-realisation in various fields, support charity and consolidate the best public initiatives.
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Conversation with the winners and finalists of different projects of the Russia – Land of Opportunity forum
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I can already start congratulating you – all of you are winners – and it is my pleasure to do so. I know you have passed through a selection process and achieved the best results in your categories, in the areas you liked, you chose and now work quite professionally in. I would like to wish you further success.
You have the microphone. I believe you would like to set the tone.
Pavel Sorokin: Mr President, let me welcome you on behalf of everyone here. First, I would like to thank you for supporting the project and the platform. I do not think we would have had this opportunity without your support.
A month ago, I met with you as a winner of Leaders of Russia with my colleagues, and, frankly speaking, I did not think that my life would change so much after that.
Vladimir Putin: I said it was time to promote you. And you were promoted.
Pavel Sorokin: A bit.
Vladimir Putin: A bit? I like that. You have become a deputy minister, and you say a bit? (Laughs.) You are all ambitious people, this is good.
Pavel Sorokin: I meant a bit of the importance…
Vladimir Putin: Have you become a deputy minister?
Pavel Sorokin: Yes, deputy minister. Thank you very much for your trust and for the chance to show what I can do. And, of course, for my boss, Alexander Novak, who supported it all.
I would like to say a little about the platform, about the last two days. It has been a very interesting experience, because I talked a lot with people from other countries and learned new things. The world is clustering a lot today, dividing into trades and specialities. There is a lot of specialisation.
I know this from my own experience, 12 years in the oil industry, you only mix with your own circle and tend to lose a broader outlook. The Leaders of Russia contest, the platform itself breaks down boundaries. I would never have come to meet so many people from different regions, from totally different areas. Here is my colleague Oleg Salagai, a medic, there was also Yevgeny Pokushalov, and many medical professionals. One might think that the oil industry and medicine have nothing in common.
Vladimir Putin: You have to get treatment after working in the oil industry.
P. Sorokin: This is exactly what you think – God forbid you get to know a doctor, unless you know one already. Whereas here I understand that I can learn a lot from them. And they also gain from this. And this lifting of boundaries allows for a different outlook, with bankers, doctors, students, schoolchildren, because the world is not just specialised, it is also competitive.
We all know there is a struggle for talent, for brains. And as you talk with school students here, the winners of contests, you feel both good and sad. It is good to see so many talented people, I will turn to one of these talents now. On the one hand, I understand that most of them have offers to go abroad – grants and studies that have already been paid for by foreign companies. And for a person to be able to progress here, in our country, they must be given not only money, they must have a platform and a chance to commercialise a study, that is, an opportunity to bring a product to a company and to the market. And actually, this is one of the tasks that is currently set before the ministry – to create a complete chain from A to Z so people can show their talent, reveal themselves.
And one more thing. When we were talking, since there are many gifted people in the Leaders of Russia, there was a strong need to set up some Leaders of Russia club for us to be able to exchange opinions, to discuss professional, internal topics. I think this is a very good initiative to support, so it does not come down to a one-time initiative, it could gather, accumulate the critical mass, then a flow of experience between generations and people will start.
Speaking of talent, sitting next to me is Yelizaveta, a very gifted young woman, winner in the I Am a Professional platform; I would like to give her the floor.
Yelizaveta Litvintseva: Hello, my name is Yelizaveta Litvintseva.
Vladimir Putin: Hello.
Yelizaveta Litvintseva: I am a student at Oil and Gas University. I am graduating this year with a degree in exploration of oil deposits. Here I represent the “I am a Professional” project. I got a gold medal in oil and gas, as my profile would suggest. I dream of becoming a professional, an example for employees, my colleagues. So I keep studying, trying, progressing. I also do scientific research.
Regarding what Pavel spoke about. Yes, indeed, my latest projects were financed by China. But I came to know Pavel yesterday, and I hope following the meeting the situation will change and Pavel will become my mentor not only in science but also in career.
Vladimir Putin: It must be interconnected – both science and career. And what is your topic?
Yelizaveta Litvintseva: Increasing oil extraction efficiency. In general, it means to efficiently use the gas we extract so as to have more energy-efficient oil extraction.
Vladimir Putin: Injecting gas back into the reservoir.
Yelizaveta Litvintseva: No, in fact, there are two pumps there, usually there was one, and the in-built pump takes out the gas thus making it easier to bring up the oil.
Vladimir Putin: Nowadays they reinject gas back into the reservoirs to get the oil out.
Yelizaveta Litvintseva: Yes, whereas we pump the gas back into our flow, the oil becomes lighter, we spend less energy to raise it to the surface. Normally our gas was wasted, while now we pump it into the flow, it is very effective and it is not complicated. I suggested methods for selecting equipment, and it was successfully implemented. So it goes.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, it is interesting. It will also be interesting for us. And the fewer designs of this kind are introduced in other countries, the better. (Laughter.) Because we will remain above the competition in hydrocarbon extraction and trade.
Yelizaveta Litvintseva: Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
David Azaryan: Good afternoon.
I am also a winner in the “I Am a Professional” platform. My name is David Azaryan, and I am a gold medallist. I live in Volgograd and come from an ordinary family. I am studying standardisation and metrology at Volgograd State Technical University. I hope to continue my education in St Petersburg and to work in biomechatronics. I want to create new prosthetic appliances, orthoses and exoskeletons. In other words, I want to create people of the future.
Vladimir Putin: What is your university preference?
David Azaryan: ITMO University.
Vladimir Putin: You want to study at ITMO University?
David Azaryan: Yes, I do.
Winners also receive monetary prizes, which means that I would be able to finance my own research, for example, a robot for removing icicles from roofs, which is a problem in Volgograd and St Petersburg. The rest would suffice for my personal maintenance for at least six months, until I find a job in St Petersburg.
I have always wanted to become an international-class professional. I want to advance Russia’s industry to a fundamentally new level. And this Olympiad can bring me a step closer to my goal.
Vladimir Putin: This is great! I wish you luck.
Of course, removing icicles can be part of advancing Russia to the technological forefront, but this is not enough, even though removing icicles is very important for people’s safety.
David Azaryan: I have many projects, and this solution…
Vladimir Putin: So, you would like to study at ITMO University?
David Azaryan: Yes, I want to receive a master’s degree and enrol at post-graduate courses there. I want to continue my education, but I also want to combine my studies with my work.
Vladimir Putin: Have you looked for possible jobs or at least a field where you would like to work?
David Azaryan: Yes, I have, in St Petersburg.
Vladimir Putin: Where exactly? At which enterprise or sphere?
David Azaryan: Jobs are available in mechanical engineering. I had onsite training as a CAD designer at a plant that manufactures packaging equipment. Food packaging.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, there are many such jobs in St Petersburg. This sector is well developed there. Talk with the contest organisers, and I will also tell them to help you.
David Azaryan: I would be much obliged if you would do that. Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: I would like to say thank you to you too.
Anton Karelin: Mr President, my name is Anton Karelin, and I come from the Chelyabinsk Region. I won gold in bioengineering, although I major in medicine. All of us are professionals here.
Vladimir Putin: I have just signed an executive order on holding a regular SCO summit in Chelyabinsk, as requested by public activists and top managers.
Anton Karelin: Combining my professional and medical education, as well as my victory in this bioengineering Olympiad, will incentivise my academic interests, and the Nobel Committee will appreciate my achievements because the last time a Russian citizen received a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was back in the year 1908. In my opinion, it’s about time we rectified this situation, and I’ll try and become one of those who will do just that.
Vladimir Putin: This is hardly surprising. They award the prize today, although the discovery was made in 1908. This happens quite often. But you are absolutely right in saying that we must strive to achieve outstanding results.
Can you tell me once again where you are studying?
Anton Karelin: I am a six-year student at Sechenov University.
Vladimir Putin: A six-year student?
Anton Karelin: Yes.
Vladimir Putin: I see. And what are your plans for the future?
Anton Karelin: I want to embark on post-graduate studies and defend an academic thesis on my way to becoming a professional researcher.
Vladimir Putin: Have you already chosen a field?
Anton Karelin: Yes, biochemistry and biotechnologies.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, this is, of course, a very promising, although very complicated field.
Anton Karelin: Yes, it’s quite complicated.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, this area combining two sciences is very complicated, but it is also very interesting and promising as well.
I wish you success.
Anton Karelin: Thank you.
Sergei Mindlin: Good afternoon, Mr President.
My name is Sergei Mindlin, I am also a six-year student at Sechenov University, and Anton is my fellow student. I won the gold medal in “I Am a Professional” Olympiad in the General Medicine category. My decision to take part in the Olympiad was motivated by the opportunity to continue my medical education with residency training. After all, an Olympiad of this kind is an impartial, independent mechanism that enables people to prove their worth without the need to rely on any connections or other insider advantages. As a third-generation doctor I know very well that shady mechanisms of this kind really matter sometimes.
I am also proactive in research with a project underway to develop a system for facilitating medical decision-making in skull base surgery. At the forum, I met Oleg Salagay, and told him about my project. He listened to what I had to say and promised to help me and support my undertaking. I hope that one day he becomes my supervisor.
Vladimir Putin: And what will the final product of your project be like?
Sergei Mindlin: This will be a system that facilitates medical decision-making. This is quite a narrow field of knowledge. The idea is that we want to develop a tool for surgeons that would enable them to choose the most suitable material for the closure of skull base defects after the removal of tumours. I work as a research fellow at a neurosurgery anatomy and neurosurgery lab, and we have extensive clinical experience. We also have a bio-informatics department that works on the related IT solutions. I won a grant for this research project.
Vladimir Putin: Is it related to new materials as well?
Sergei Mindlin: No, this is a software product.
Vladimir Putin: Interesting, and quite complicated.
Overall, anything related to the human head is very complicated.
Sergei Mindlin: Yes.
Vladimir Putin: Nothing is more important.
Sergei Mindlin: Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: I wish you every success!
Pavel Sorokin: Mr President, the organisers made it possible for us to get acquainted with the different platforms participating in Russia – a Country of Opportunity. As you mentioned in your Address to the Federal Assembly, small- and medium-sized businesses should grow and take up a significant portion of the economy.
Here is the My First Business project for high school students with 400,000 schoolchildren participating.
Vladimir Putin: 400,000?
Pavel Sorokin: Yes, 400,000 schoolchildren. We talked with them as soon as we learned about it. Some of the winners are here. They are about to receive a grant and will study at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. Most importantly, those who have won the contest will become mentors for younger participants.
I would like Darya to describe everything in detail.
Darya Bortsova: Thank you.
We only have to pass the USE to be accepted at the University.
Good afternoon, Mr President. My name is Darya Bortsova. I am from Yeysk.
When I was 14, my family ran into some difficulties, and I had to figure out what to do next. I got a job, but then I had two ideas.
The first one, which is not yet implemented, but I plan to see it to completion in the future, is a vocal studio for children. My second project is frozen semi-processed food, sales and production.
Vladimir Putin: At first glance, these two projects are not related. However, indeed, you are unlikely to sing on an empty stomach.
Darya Bortsova: I think so, too. Actually, my father came up with this idea. He quit his job because he saw how eager I was. He started helping me, and I thought it was so cool.
Vladimir Putin: He believed in you, then.
Darya Bortsova: Yes, most importantly, he believed in me. He started cooking, and our sales took off. First, it was five kilos, then 10, 15 kilos a day, and then we hit a plateau.
I took part in the ”Captains“ contest – ”My first business“ – literally a week before it ended. I went there absolutely unaware of what I was getting into. I won a grant to study at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. And then I got to know our wonderful mentors. Ksenia Goryacheva is here.
After this contest, I looked at my project from a different perspective and realised that I was going in the wrong direction. I changed rechanneled my efforts, and we went from 15 kilos a day to 100 kilos. Since the project is so young, I think I will first implement it in my town, then our district, and then take it nationwide.
Vladimir Putin: In the run-up to March 8 – you may have seen it – I met with female entrepreneurs. Have you seen that? Never mind. Watch it; I am sure it is available on video somewhere. A young woman talked about her first steps. Just like that, from cooking at home. She was making chocolate. Now, she operates several lines, takes out loans, her sales are reaching China, and so on, can you believe that? Just from the ground up. She used, among other things, various types of support that the state provides to small- and medium-sized enterprises in different areas. Not that I was surprised, but I was pleased to hear that these things work. She used everything, including grants and low-cost loans. Take a look; it is a very good example.
Darya Bortsova: Sounds promising.
Vladimir Putin: Yes. She did it. First, she did it on her own at home, kept making more and more, and now she operates a full production line making tons of product.
Darya Bortsova: Thank you.
Ksenia Goryacheva: Unlike Darya, I came to My First Business project without a project of my own, or any business idea for that matter. I was not even thinking about entrepreneurship. By the way, my name is Ksenia Goryacheva. My father is a doctor, and my mother is a teacher, and as a family, we did not talk about…
Vladimir Putin: They do not know how to cook.
Ksenia Goryacheva: No. My business is not about cooking. I engage in enrolling children in training programmes. My project was born after I joined this bigger project. Once I joined the contest, I got to know energetic young people who wanted to do something and start their own businesses. Their energy was contagious, and now I oversee 60 students who create and implement their projects and do not expect anyone to come and help them. This lifts the burden from their parents. What Dasha said, yes, she decided to help her dad when there were difficulties in the family. The child thought about this at 14. Now we have this mentoring system as part of our contest that allows a participant to grow into someone who can lead other people.
Vladimir Putin: That is great.
You know, it is impressive when people get infected with your energy and your experience. It is very good.
Congratulations, I can see that you enjoy your work from the way you talk about it.
Ksenia Goryacheva: Because they are the most wonderful people.
Vladimir Putin: There you go. You definitely enjoy it.
You know, most importantly, when people enjoy doing what they are doing, they can be very effective in their work. And this is a noble cause, above all.
All the best to you. Good luck!
Pavel Gulo: Good afternoon, Mr. President.
My name is Pavel Gulo, I am 19 years old.
Just like Ksenia, I took part in the My First Business contest a bit earlier, when it was still offline. For me, this contest became a crucial point in my life, when I found a whole family of fellow entrepreneurs in the form of the Captains of Russia. I met my mentors and was fully introduced to the business environment. Today, I am a second-year student of the Captains of Russia. I have my own business, a project called Vselennaya (Universe). We produce apple chips; we left some for you to try.
Moreover, just like Ksenia, I am a mentor to 68 participants of the My First Business contest, which was held just recently, in autumn 2017. Our main goal is to share the knowledge that we already possess against the backdrop of our knowledge of business, since we already know something and can teach something. We are just one step, an arm’s length away from these guys, and we can impart a little bit of knowledge to them.
Slava will probably expand on this.
Vladislav Machnev: Good afternoon, Mr. President.
My name is Slava Machnev, I come from Orenburg.
Indeed, I was a participant of the My First Business contest, and I did meet a lot of mentors there. In fact, I was competing in the DIY, which stands for Do It Yourself, section of the contest. I was presenting my garden furniture project. When I was very young, my father decided that my sister and I need to have new furniture in our flat, and made up his mind to make it on his own. He kept learning more and teaching me how to make my own furniture. So I presented my own project, and won a grant for the development of my business plus an educational grant.
Vladimir Putin: What kind of grant? And what was the process of obtaining this grant like?
Vladislav Machnev: First of all, you were to complete an assignment on the online platform, describe your project and develop a draft. Then, project authors were selected for participation in the qualifying camps. There was a camp called City 404, I was among the list of its participants. But at the same time, other interesting prospective projects were being selected.
Vladimir Putin: But how did you use that grant and so forth? What did you do?
Vladislav Machnev: I have grant money, but I have not spent it yet, as I decided to start preparing for the Unified State Exam instead, so I froze that account until July. As soon as I pass my Unified State Exam, I will start investing in advertising.
Vladimir Putin: What do you mean, “froze it”? Put the money under your pillow or lent it out at interest?
Vladislav Machnev: No, I put it in my bank account to spend it wisely in the future, in order not to, so to speak, make mistakes by spending it in a hurry, because right now I need to focus on passing my exams.
Vladimir Putin: This is absolutely true, absolutely correct. Once you pass your exams, you will be able to see clearly what interests you most, what you can be doing and should be doing. This is absolutely right.
Ksenia Goryacheva: Thank you, Slava, for telling us more about this. I would like to add something.
When you work with other people – you have touched on an interesting point – big stories are created when there are many people. That is, when we tried to do something alone – you can go quickly, but the business is still small, a small project, a small story. Now, taking part in Russia – a Country of Opportunity, you begin to understand that there is a huge number of businesses that you can interact with, you can do many things. Pavel here has an apple chips project.
Pavel Gulo: We also began working from home, but gradually we began to grow. Then I met Alyona Avgust at the competition.
Vladimir Putin: Where do you get the apples? Do you buy them from Poland?
Pavel Gulo: No, for now, we buy from a wholesale base, but we will use Russian apples in any case because we need a certain variety.
As part of the competition, I met Alyona Avgust who works for X5 Retail Group, a major network; they liked us and are ready to help us to get into large retail chains.
We share experience in business with the people here, in projects, and they help us with this. At first, we were also helped by our project, with which we cooperate, I mean the SME Business Navigator. But Anastasia will tell you in more detail. I guess I will give her the microphone.
Anastasia Filippova: Good evening!
My name is Anastasia Filippova, I am from Ryazan. I have been an entrepreneur for six years now, running fast food restaurants.
Vladimir Putin: Don’t you see a distinction here – restaurant and fast food? When we say ‘restaurant,’ it is assumed that you order then wait forty minutes to be served. Then order something else.
Anastasia Filippova: I will tell you about the second project, I will surprise you there, and you will have to ask me again how these go together.
Restaurants – as we opened, honestly, I admit, there were so many mistakes, I lost so much money, so much time and my nerves. It is so sad to think about it now. But six years ago, when I started, there were no such platforms, and there were no mentors, there were no grants. I met many people here at the forum, and there are a lot of projects, and many who want to start up a business.
But in fact they all have the same questions, which now seem trivial to me, but for them it is strategically important. Because they have enthusiasm, and if they do not get help, they will not know how to open a business, how to open a bank account, where to find money, where to find premises – these things are very complicated at the beginning.
And here I am representing SME Navigator, which accumulates all these questions. It is great that these people will not have to learn the hard way. Because I wanted to quit so many times, it still seems strange that I have not.
My other project is about something completely different. There are quite a few young visually impaired or completely blind people working at my company in Ryazan. They train as masseurs in Kislovodsk and return to Ryazan only to find that nobody wants to take them on. This seemed strange to me because blind people have better tactile sensing, which makes them better masseurs than people with normal sight. So I opened a health-improving massage centre where only people with disabilities work. Our centre is the first specialised company in Russia that offers jobs only to people with disabilities.
Vladimir Putin: Do you have enough work to keep your business afloat?
Anastasia Filippova: Of course, we do. By the way, here at the forum, I have learned about another project, Abilimpiks. I got to know Alya. She is a jeweler. I mean, even if a person has a disability, they can excel in their chosen profession. What I am doing is rather an exception to the rule.
But I want this to become normal so that business and disability can go hand in hand. We all benefit from this. We earn money and we do not have to rely on grants or benefits. Our staffers have decent wages and a prestigious job. It is very important.
Vladimir Putin: This is so good. Well done.
Anastasia Filippova: Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: Indeed, I mean it. I wish you every success.
Oleg Salagai: Mr President,
Good afternoon. Following up on social issues… I am Oleg Salagai, Deputy Healthcare Minister.
My colleague and friend Pavel and I took part in the Leaders of Russia competition.
Vladimir Putin: And was appointed deputy minister.
Oleg Salagai: Yes, I was. Thank you very much for your confidence.
I was tasked with handling public health issues at the ministry, including risk factors such as alcohol and smoking, as well as physical activity and a reasonable diet. Of course, improvement in this area is likely to increase life expectancy by about 60 percent. This is the job we have been given – to join the club of countries where life expectancy is 80-plus years. We will work towards this goal.
Of course, the achievement of this goal requires more than just regulation. That is why society is extremely important, along with leadership in healthcare and the introduction of new management practices.
It would be very useful if our Leaders of Russia competition was extended to healthcare, among other things, and became a branch-based competition. This would allow us to raise the efficiency of many areas of healthcare.
Here, at the forum, we hit it off with some wonderful people. Some of them have already spoken at the forum, others will speak later about leadership. In their niche, for example, volunteer medical personnel are carrying out wonderful projects to improve public health. There are also young entrepreneurs who juggle studies and the manufacturing of medical equipment. With your permission, we have asked them to speak.
Darya Belimova: Thank you very much, Oleg.
Good afternoon, Mr President.
My name is Darya Belimova. I am a student at the Institute of Medicine at the People’s Friendship University of Russia, and an organiser of volunteer work in healthcare. In this capacity I represent the Medical Volunteers National Movement.
As medical volunteers, we currently attach special importance to promoting preventive care and a healthy lifestyle, especially among the Russian youth. In Moscow, we have a project called School Volunteer Units for Healthy Lifestyle Promotion. We applied to the I Want to Do Good national contest with this project, and it won us a grant. It was also presented at the Russia – Land of Opportunity platform.
I have been promoting medical volunteering for four years now, and I see and feel how we, medical volunteers, can be helpful and serve as a positive tool in the healthcare system. I hope and believe that in the future medical volunteering will become an integral part of medical education. I believe this to be very important.
Mr President, you declared the year 2018 the Year of Volunteers in Russia. This is very important for us, and we have been waiting for this to happen. Thank you very much for paying attention to what we do and supporting our endeavours. The Volunteer of Russia contest to be held late in 2018 will be the highlight and driver of the Year of Volunteers. We are looking forward to seeing you in December. I hope that you will attend the event. We are eagerly waiting for an opportunity to see you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much for the invitation. I will do my best to be there.
When you talked about volunteering and medical work, something came to mind…
Darya Belimova: These things are inseparable, I agree.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, these notions are very closely related. In both cases you need to have something in your heart, be committed to helping people. I think that this is the only way you can become a true professional. Without it volunteering is impossible. You have it all in you, so the result will also be there.
All the best to you!
Darya Belimova: Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Pavel Sobolev: Good afternoon, Mr President.
I am Pavel Sobolev, a sixth-year student at Krasnoyarsk State Medical University.
I represent a laparoscopic simulator project for surgeons. These simulators help young professionals learn the basics of laparoscopic surgery.
Vladimir Putin: Very high-quality simulators are manufactured in Tatarstan now.
Pavel Sobolev: Yes, they have a big market, but their simulators are more advanced and so more expensive.
Vladimir Putin: But they are cheaper than foreign made ones.
Pavel Sobolev: Yes, this is true.
How did I become part of this forum? Our project received support from a competition for the allocation of grants to young professionals. I won 300,000 rubles, which we invested in assembling five laparoscopic simulators for Krasnoyarsk hospitals. We are getting feedback from surgeons and can conclude that our simulators are really useful. Most importantly, our simulators are cheaper than both foreign and other Russian analogues. For example, a foreign simulator costs between 300,000 and 500,000 rubles, while our simulator, which is similar to them, only costs upwards of 120,000 rubles. This year, we registered a company jointly with Krasnoyarsk State Medical University, its rector Ivan Artyukhov and our project director Artyom Narkevich to produce and market this simulator. I met Oleg Salagay at this forum, and he said he would help us promote our project. But I have a personal problem. I like surgery very much, but I am also interested in business. I am at the crossroads and cannot decide which path to choose. I hope Mr Salagay will help me make a choice.
Vladimir Putin: He certainly will, especially if he helps you find the market for your product. This will determine your choice, as I see it.
Pavel Sobolev: The main thing is that our simulator is really good and has proved its worth.
Mr President, I have a small request. My grandmother lives in Krasnoyarsk. She is ill. Can you sign a postcard for her?
Vladimir Putin: What?
Pavel Sobolev: Could you sign a postcard for my grandmother?
Vladimir Putin: With pleasure.
Pavel Sobolev: Can I give you the postcard now?
Vladimir Putin: Let us do this after we finish. What is her name?
Pavel Sobolev: Nina.
Vladimir Putin: Nina.
You can probably help her, as a man of medicine. Or does she need additional assistance? You have made good contacts here. We call it Vitamin C contacts at the Healthcare Ministry.
Pavel Sobolev: My mother is a doctor as well. We are helping my grandmother together by looking after her health. But she is going through a hard time now.
Vladimir Putin: Please, pass on my warm wishes to her.
Pavel Sobolev: Thank you, I certainly will.
Remark: You know, the dilemma between business and medicine was mentioned, but there are other dilemmas. Alevtina, a representative of the Abylimpics project, is here today. I think she has something to say about the project before we get down to the business-medicine dilemma.
Alevtina Pryanichnikova: Good afternoon,
My name is Alevtina Pryanichnikova. I am the winner of the second Abilympics competition in the jewellery making contest. I am very happy to see you again, this is our second meeting.
I would like to thank you for giving the instructions to create a national team for the professional competition, which gave us the opportunity to take part in Abilympics in Bordeaux, France. But the thing is that it is necessary to improve professional skills in order to improve the education system for people with disabilities here in Russia. We would like to ask you to help us to establish centres for professional training of the national team for the 2020 competition. It will help us become the best.
Vladimir Putin: As for specialised centres, including for people with disabilities, I must say it is important everywhere, not only in this area. When we make targeted efforts to organise preparations, we get results. The field you mentioned is not an exception. Let us do it, of course. We will.
Remark: When we created jobs for young people with disabilities, they were enthused and wanted to learn more. It is also important to have synergy, so that we, entrepreneurs, understand that it is great that we provide such jobs. It makes people enthusiastic and they should be able to develop as professionals and be certain that they will find work and not have to come back and sit at home forever. That’s something from the past.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, I absolutely agree with you.
I think we need to move along now. Am I right?
Remark: Quite so but we do have another three or four minutes or so.
I would like to give the floor to one more person. He really wants to speak because he had to deal with this dilemma and went through the hardships of the Leaders of Russia competition.
Pavel Tatarenko: Good afternoon, Mr President.
My name is Pavel Tatarenko. I am a winner of the Leaders of Russia competition. I still live in St Petersburg. I would like to tell you what happened to me after the competition. Actually, my life has been divided in two: before and after the competition.
Vladimir Putin: Do you plan to leave St Petersburg?
Pavel Tatarenko: Yes, I am leaving.
Vladimir Putin: And just imagine that I did not want to move away from St Petersburg. It just happened.
Pavel Tatarenko: The same with me. It just happened. But I have no regrets whatsoever.
During the competition I met Novgorod Region Governor Andrei Nikitin. We had a good conversation. I come from the Novgorod Region, I lived there for a long time before moving to St Petersburg. After the competition, which I won, we met with Mr Nikitin to discuss my future, because he is my mentor. And he offered me the post of Education Minister of the Novgorod Region.
I have accepted the proposal, of course. I believe it is a very important offer and a proof that he has faith in me. This has changed my life upside down. Before this moment, I was just a clerk working at Sberbank. I had a job in the business. With this proposal, everything in my life will be different. First of all, I am returning back to my home town, Novgorod. Secondly, I will have to change my way of thinking completely. In fact, public service is a huge responsibility. And it is a double responsibility when you work where you were born and raised.
Vladimir Putin: What about the pay you are going to get?
Pavel Tatarenko: It will be less, but this is not a priority at the moment. It is much more important to do something practical, to leave your mark, especially when it comes to education.
Vladimir Putin: It is good when you have such a desire!
Pavel Tatarenko: What gives me this drive? I have talked to other people here at the forum. They are young stars. And I want new stars to be in the Novgorod Region. I would like them to come with me and work in education there too.
Two more minutes, please. This is Nadezhda, an absolutely beautiful star, who wants to share her thoughts with you.
Nadezhda Galkina: My name is Nadezhda Galkina. I study at the Voronezh branch of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA). I represent the Student Management Cup at the Russia – Land of Opportunity forum.
You congratulated everyone on their victories. Unfortunately, I am not among the winners, but this has only strengthened my desire to continue to refine my skills. Regrettably, our time is running out.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, we need to go to the grand hall.
Nadezhda Galkina: Thank you.
Remark: Mr President, we would like to pose for a photograph with you. Can we?
Vladimir Putin: We will arrange it.
Nadya has said that her name is Nadezhda [“hope” in Russian]. You are the hope of our country, you and others like you. I wish you all the very best.