Member of the Talent and Success Foundation Board of Trustees Stanislav Smirnov: Good afternoon.
(Addressing the audience.) I would like to introduce Vladimir Putin. You probably recognised him.
(Addressing Vladimir Putin.) You also probably know that these are our wonderful children. We have entire teams here that performed wonderfully this year at international Olympiads in mathematics, chemistry and physics. We also have one participant from each of the other Olympiads, in natural sciences, geography and astronomy.
I am certain they will have a lot of questions for you and you will have a lot of questions for them. The floor is yours.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I would like to greet you all on the beginning of a new academic year. I have already greeted students, parents and teachers at a bigger gathering. I want to congratulate you as well on the start of the new academic year and on Knowledge Day.
Of course, I want to congratulate you on your victories in all the international competitions that have just been mentioned. We have progressed in the most significant way. Of course, this is also thanks to the development of the Russian education system.
Stanislav Smirnov: By the way, we also have three coaches of three teams here. It is their success as well.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, but they would have nobody to train if the education system did not produce – it is a little awkward to use this language talking about real people – good ‘material.’ And it does produce it. This is my first point.
Second. Of course, it is great that we have such wonderful coaches and teachers. It is also fantastic that we have children like you who are passionate about their studies and achieve specific results. This is great.
My congratulations to you all. I wish you every success, in the new academic year and in life in general.
If you have any questions, I will try to answer them and share my thoughts with you.
Is there anything specific you would like to know? Please.
Dmitry Plotnikov: Good afternoon,
My name is Dmitry Plotnikov, I am from Moscow. I won the Olympiad in physics and I am interested in stories of successful people. Can you please tell us what qualities helped you achieve success?
Vladimir Putin: So you want me to praise myself and talk about my wonderful qualities?
You know, I am used to analysing not the things that help me reach success, but those that create obstacles. This is the thing I decided for myself, but I am not ready to talk about it in public. I think if we critically evaluate ourselves, our work and life and determine and understand what hinders our development and then eliminate it, then moving forward will be faster and more confident.
Please, take the floor.
Mikhail Selyugin: Good afternoon,
My name is Mikhail Selyugin, I am from Perm. I won the international Olympiad in geography.
Vladimir Putin: Congratulations. Did you win first prize or the gold medal?
Mikhail Selyugin: No, my colleague has the gold medal. Yes, this is our common success.
But I have enrolled at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and I have a related question: how should the university work with successful students, winners of Olympiads? During the first year, we often study what we already know or have heard before. And how should courses be organized with young experts that have enrolled at the university?
Vladimir Putin: You know, you should ask the rector’s office, the organizers of the education process, not me. But you are here now, and you can talk to your counterparts and those who are as enthused as you are. We are opening more platforms like Sirius, quantoriums and venues for talented and successful young people. You can use these platforms. There are many opportunities like this in Moscow.
And secondly, almost all leading universities have individual training programmes. I think if you talk to the administration of your university, you will come to an agreement. I think this is possible. And here, in Sirius, a whole network is created for those who have studied here, stayed here and are related to Sirius. You can use this too, and I am sure Sirius will help you.
Vladimir Petrov: Hello, my name is Vladimir Petrov. I am from St Petersburg.
Vladimir Putin: My name is also Vladimir, and I am from St Petersburg, too.
Vladimir Petrov: Glad to meet you.
Vladimir Putin: It is a pleasure to meet you.
Vladimir Petrov: I am a gold medalist of the international maths Olympiad.
Vladimir Putin: And I am not, what a pity. (Laughter)
Vladimir Petrov: I have another year of school left, and after that, I hope that I will study at St Petersburg State University. I am a bit worried about my future after that, because I have the impression, and I may be mistaken, that the demand for young specialists is Russia is not very high due to lack of experience and expertise. Perhaps that is why some of them go abroad, among other reasons. How accurate is this?
Vladimir Putin: Look, I have just left the previous hall with representatives of our companies. To tell you the truth, I was not only in that hall, but I walked around, saw the newly created labs here and met with heads of our largest businesses, and almost all of them have one main goal: to look for new employees for their businesses. I have talked with Yandex, with Russian Railways; there are many of them. Our main task today is to combine the training of experts with the demands on the labour market.
Of course, if you dedicate your efforts to mathematics, you should decide what you want to do: science, maths proper or applied research while working for a business. And if you show good results, such as victories at major competitions, of course that would be taken into account.
I can tell you now: if you are so concerned over this, we can help, and Sirius can also support you; I will see how they will do this. It is important that you understand where you want to work and how you see your future; this is a matter of principle. People should decide what they want to do, who they are and what they want.
If you have decided, please talk to Yelena Shmelyova [head of the Talent and Success Foundation] later. Andrei Fursenko, the former Minister of Science and Education, is also here, and we all are ready to support you and others like you.
Yegor Ryabov: My name is Yegor Ryabov. I won the gold medal at an international math competition and have enrolled at the mathematics department of the Higher School of Economics.
Various reforms are taking place at Russian schools, and experimental education programmes are being introduced. Recently the Education Minister said that she supports the idea of banning personal devices from schools. I wonder how effective these measures are and what your opinion is on this.
Vladimir Putin: I do not know whether they are effective, and if she supports this idea, it does not mean it will be implemented. An idea can only be labeled effective or ineffective after an analysis of the practice. As far as I know, there is no such policy, so it is hard to tell. However, to be honest, I do not really know if they should be banned or not; it is impossible to ban everything, instead we need to understand how an event or achievement can be used to promote the education process. It needs to be considered, and I would not comment on the Minister’s proposals on this and will not discredit these proposals and ideas. She is the Minister, and it is not for me to say that a Minister is incorrect.
I hear what you have said and I will discuss this with her.
Viktoria Chizhikova: My name is Viktoria Chizhikova. I am a medalist of an international astronomy competition. I am from St Petersburg, and of course, I am very interested in the city’s history and architecture, and so my friends – also students – and I are very concerned about the rumors that the historical buildings at St Petersburg University might be sold.
Vladimir Putin: I am also concerned about this. This is the first time I have heard about this, but I am concerned. I studied there, in those buildings, and I know what they mean to the city and the country. And the Twelve Collegia building, which is the central part of St Petersburg University, for those who do not know, this was the location of the first Russian government, the government of the Russian Empire. This is a building of great historical, cultural and architectural value. This is why I doubt that it could be sold into private hands. And who told you this?
Viktoria Chizhikova: I know that this was discussed by the supervisory board.
Vladimir Putin: Which, the university’s?
Viktoria Chizhikova: Yes, yes.
Vladimir Putin: The issue to sell the historical university buildings?
Viktoria Chizhikova: I do not know if the rector or somebody else acknowledge this, but, in any case, it came up and was even discussed for some time.
Vladimir Putin: First, this is the first I have heard about this. Second, I believe it is improbable, and I think that after I say it is improbable it will become impossible. (Laugh.) Let me calm you down, I do not think this is real; it is a fantasy. In addition, it is possible that these buildings do not belong to the university, that they are in fact federal or municipal property. I would need to clarify. Selling historical university buildings… Well, I do not know how this can be. Maybe they said some programmes could or would be implemented, but I doubt that it was about the historical buildings. There are many non-historical buildings as well. There is a lot of property there, which may be used inefficiently and is not of historical value: some land plots or something that is not used efficiently and that the state does not care about much. I should look into this. I will, do not worry.
St Petersburg University that we both graduated from… You graduated, didn’t you?
Viktoria Chizhikova: No, I study at another university, but I talk to people a lot.
Vladimir Putin: And I graduated from there. I doubt that its property will be taken or plundered; at least not any time soon.
Mikhail Selyugin: May I? I have another question for you: as a geographer, I am interested in regional policy issues, especially since I am not from Moscow.
Vladimir Putin: You are from Perm.
Mikhail Selyugin: Yes, I am from Perm.
Vladimir Putin: I remembered.
Mikhail Selyugin: Thank you.
I am interested in how talented students are trained in the regions. In Moscow, there is a successful system for gifted schoolchildren: it includes the best teachers and incentives for both students and teachers. Is it possible to extend this successful experience to the rest of Russia?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, we are now trying to do this. Sirius has signed agreements with 54 regions, I believe. Therefore, I ask my colleagues –regional leaders, governors – to use the experience of Sirius, which has become an exemplary system here, and its methods everywhere across the country. But apart from that, apart from Sirius itself, we certainly need to work on the ground. This is also happening. You have probably heard of the so-called Quantoriums, children's technology parks being created, creativity centres and so on. This is a network for working with young people who want to go further, to learn, who are good at learning and have a thirst for knowledge. These people certainly need to be supported, and we will do this, will develop this network further around the country, not just in Moscow.
So you won an Olympiad, you are from Perm, and not from Moscow, right?
Mikhail Selyugin: I would say, if this network were extended to the regions, it would give Russia a qualitative breakthrough in international Olympiads.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, you are absolutely right. I fully agree with you, and we will try to do this.
Go ahead, please.
Artur Gerasimenko: Good afternoon,
My name is Artur, I live in Moscow. I won a gold medal at an Olympiad in mathematics. Not long ago lawyers and economists were believed to be professions that would be in demand. Now the world is changing quickly. In this respect, I have a question: which vocations will be in greatest demand in the future?
Vladimir Putin: You probably know yourself, which vocations will be in demand, although it is impossible to say for sure. When we were setting up these laboratories – and you are perhaps aware of which laboratories were set up here – we thought we were establishing laboratories that would train students for the careers that we would need most. This includes the big numbers industry, processing, artificial intelligence, robotics, unmanned flying vehicles, submersibles, surface drones – whatever; it is genetics and everything related to it, biology, and the agricultural sciences, by the way.
You and I know that the boundaries between different sciences are being eroded, and the best results are achieved by those who work at the intersection of disciplines, at the intersection of knowledge. These are the areas.
Actually, this does not imply that lawyers will not be needed – I am, with your permission, a lawyer – or economists. The point is that everything must be done in moderation. The number of those specialists should meet market demand, and they should be qualified people who can help people like you: let us assume you plan to work in IT, so they should help those like you achieve success by promoting your intelligence-related innovations in the market both domestically and internationally. Such people are also needed, as well as good, knowledgeable specialists.
I assure you that specialists in private international law are a rarity who deal not only with comparative law – they know the law in different countries, they know the provisions of international law and can correctly use them and help their clients achieve success, this is also important. But let me reiterate, we have to understand how many specialists will be needed in these areas. And if we train specialists only because someone believes it is easier to become a lawyer or an economist and it is much harder to become a good mathematician, this is definitely the wrong approach.
In my view, today there appears a more balanced understanding of what a person should and can do. And it is crucial that young people have an understanding that by doing what they like they can fulfill themselves, can succeed. In my view, this is one of the key elements of educational and spatial development.
Go ahead, please.
Dmitry Plotnikov: Mr President, what is the source of your inspiration?
Vladimir Putin: Inspiration?
Dmitry Plotnikov: Yes, as a person.
Vladimir Putin: The success of the country. I say this with no irony at all. Russia’s success does not just inspire me – it gives wings; I want our country to continue having positive results in all areas, results that are not yet attainable for others. And we do have the capacity for this. I am convinced of this when I look at you.
Sergei Luchinin: Good afternoon.
My name is Sergei, I am from Kirov, and I am a medal winner of an international maths Olympiad. I moved to St Petersburg to study at St Petersburg State University. I have a question. Recently, Russia did a fine job hosting the World Cup, and it enjoyed huge Soon Russia will also host the International Mathematical Olympiad and an international mathematical congress. Will every effort be made to host these events at a good level and with the same huge popularity?
Vladimir Putin: What is your name?
Sergei Luchinin: Sergei.
Vladimir Putin: Sergei, I would like the profession to which you are dedicating your life to be as popular in our country as football is. And this depends on people like you.
Of course, our country has always loved football; and when our national team began showing forceful, impressive and successful performance, football's popularity skyrocketed. If people see that talented, interesting and ambitious people are involved in maths and what it means to our country, then, I am sure, mathematics will get more attention and become much more popular.
Few know what mathematics is. Few are aware that maths is the basis of everything, be it a space flight or revealing the human genome capabilities; everything has to be calculated, such as genetic combinations, this all is maths. One cannot make any medicine without doing the corresponding calculations, and so on. The future of humankind is information technologies. How can we manage without maths? This is simply impossible; maths is at the basis of this. It is everywhere. And if we learn to implement the achievements of mathematical thinking efficiently, promote it and show its importance to the country and its people, then interest in mathematics – this seemingly dull subject – will surge.
As regards organisation, this is not the World Cup, when we held events in 11 cities, with millions of people involved. Yet we have vast experience in holding large events, and we will make every effort to do an excellent job hosting it, with the use of certain practices from the World Cup, such as visa-free entry for participants and visitors and so on, maybe also travel. There is not much travel, yet last time… This is not the first time we will be hosting the event; the first one was very long ago, in 1966 in Moscow, and this time it will be in St Petersburg. We will use our experience in hosting large international events and will try to do this efficiently to promote the achievements of both Russian mathematicians and the Russian maths school, to popularise maths, if I may say so.
Sergei Luchinin: Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.
Andrei Kobelev: Good afternoon,
My name is Andrei, I am a chemist from Nizhnekamsk, I have applied to the Chemistry Department of Moscow State University. In this connection, I had to deal with the military enlistment and registration office. I had to go there, and that resulted in various bureaucratic inconveniences for me, which is probably common in remote areas.
It is a big inconvenience that I have to settle some issues at the military registration office, then go to Moscow where they will be decided upon enrollment. If I do not settle them there, I would have to go back and do it there. There are many bureaucratic hurdles.
Do you think it is possible to combat this in rural areas?
Vladimir Putin: Bureaucracy should be fought but it cannot be beat (Laughter). Bureaucracy replicates itself, and at times devours itself. But there are matters that cannot be resolved from a distance even though we are increasingly expanding the capacities of the “electronic government.” All those technologies, including IT, that I spoke about, which are being launched thanks to mathematicians, will be further promoted in our country. I would like to stress that in this regard – I was just told this in another room – UN experts recognised Moscow as the most advanced city in IT application. This is actually a recognition.
You are not talking about Moscow now, but you have come to Moscow, and you can use this here. What can I say? Of course, we will be introducing this in other areas, though regarding the military office, all these issues must be settled, but they need to be adjusted under the law.
By the way, I should mention that, in relation to this, for a gifted young person with good results, like you, for example, so-called special scientific companies will be constituted in the army, they are already being constituted, and now we will also build up a research technology centre in Anapa where young conscripts can work and do their compulsory military service. But this, again, is related to the army. However, if you have real problems, tell my aides about them and we will help you resolve them.
Mikhail Selyugin: Andrei touched on an interesting topic.
Vladimir Putin: Please.
Mikhail Selyugin: In general, if we look more globally: what do you think about the transition to a contractual army service system in Russia?
Vladimir Putin: I think well of it. Moreover, I not only think it is good, but I was the initiator of this contractual system and its development. The issue is budget capacity. We have a plan for the army’s development, which includes the contractual system.
Originally, we had ideas to create an entire contractual army. Then we looked at our potential, analysed the experience of various countries, and saw that the majority of countries still have conscription. Nevertheless, we are building up a contractual service; we have a plan – there is a plan to increase the contingent of personnel who serve under contract, not by conscription. This is not only about what people want – although it is not bad that people who serve in the army have actually chosen to do so, but also about the need to service modern military equipment. The troops are receiving more modern hardware, which requires professional training for those who will use it in the army. Therefore, when a person is conscripted for a year, you cannot train them to be a pilot in a year, or a submariner – some things are just obvious – or a missile man. Here they really need people like you, with mathematically oriented brains that can calculate quickly and make decisions. This is important. Therefore, this is our general approach to developing the army, and we will pursue it. Well, as far as the federal budget allows, again, gradually.
Go ahead, please.
Marat Abdrakhmanov: Good afternoon.
My name is Marat, I am from Chelyabinsk, and I am a medalist of the maths Olympiad.
There are many people from Moscow here, and from other cities as well. And everyone went to study to Moscow and St Petersburg, because other cities offer few opportunities for getting a top-quality higher education. I believe it is a large problem. What is being done to solve this problem?
Vladimir Putin: Developing a network, of course. What else can be done? You see, the main thing is to develop a network of successful and advanced universities. The teaching staff is what is most important. The staff is key for a good school. But the number of such universities is growing. I will not name all of them now, but we have Kazan University, Tomsk University or Novosibirsk University: these are good world-class universities, and I mean that.
And, of course, you should chose by discipline, places that have the best professors. You know, it is the same with doctors or music teachers. If they are good, it does not matter where they are, in Tomsk or Moscow. The system of grant support or the megagrants we are speaking about promote this. Have you heard about megagrants? You have not. We have this system of grant support; there are various areas, for example, for young researchers. If a person works alone, we provide a grant of 1.5–2 million rubles for two years. If a young researcher finds a small team, it can be a grant for group support of young researches: about five million for five years. It can last for seven years in total.
There also are megagrants. We provide competitive megagrants for prospective research to internationally known scientists regardless of their nationality or workplace. They come here, even from abroad, and work in Russia with pleasure, and not only in Moscow and St Petersburg. They establish schools next to them. I do not meet with them often. By the way, there are many of our former compatriots, I mean they are still our compatriots but have been working abroad for several years: in the United States or in Europe or in Japan. Many return gladly, work here and establish such groups. I was very pleased to hear them say they believe creating such groups of young scientists or postgraduates to be an important part of their work, and we will help them in this. We have a programme for this, and we have agreed that we will provide money, I think for five years… Andrei, for how long will the funding be provided?
Presidential Aide Andrei Fursenko: We are continuing this work; the money is provided for up to seven years.
Vladimir Putin: Yes. We will provide financing for seven years. They know that their work, their labs and their research will definitely be financed for seven years. This way they can create groups of young, interesting and promising people. This is also a way to solve the problem that you have mentioned now.
Dmitry Plotnikov: Mr President, how different are talks with the heads of different countries?
Vladimir Putin: What do you mean “how different?”
Dmitry Plotnikov: Are there any ethnic distinctions?
Vladimir Putin: Of course, there are. We are only human. And people behave differently depending on their environment, way of life, practice and communication with colleagues.
Dmitry Plotnikov: Can you offer an example and tell us how it happens in general – in layman’s terms? It seems so interesting.
Vladimir Putin: I will give you an example but without mentioning the region or the names. This is an odd example, and it did not happen recently.
Well, here we were with a number of colleagues, discussing and debating a very important, if not a key regional problem. The heads of regional nations were also present. And we were talking, arguing, about four hours of arguing, getting into details, naturally. Then we finally said, ‘Let us take a break and come back to this issue later.’ So we took a break, then convened again, re-opened the discussion, and suddenly one of my colleagues in the presence of all the others says, ‘Why do we keep arguing here? Let you and I reach a deal, and they will all agree; they have no choice.’ (Laughter). It was a total surprise to me, because he could have said this to me in private. It was a complete surprise for me. I said to him, ‘No, you know, I cannot. These are people with whom we have been working for a long time; they have their own lawful interests. If we do not take into account their interests, our decision cannot be lasting, reliable and stable.’ I think this was an isolated case.
I just meant to say that there are different and unusual situations. However, there are overall certain standards; there is so-called common law, as lawyers say, that is law that proceeds from tradition. In this case, the tradition of holding talks, considering issues, and so on. There are certain standards, and everything proceeds within those standards, as a rule.
It is nearly time to wrap up, isn’t it?
Go ahead, please.
Artur Gerasimenko: September 1 is a holiday when children go to school, well rested after their summer break. Do you have time to rest and relax?
Vladimir Putin: I think so. We both know this formula: the best way to relax is to change the activity. Now, after this meeting with you, I will go play hockey.
Vladimir Petrov: I have a question about September 1: do you remember your school years? Did you like to study? Did you take part in Olympiads, or did you know that you would be the head of state?
Vladimir Putin: Of course I knew, I could not wait to become President. (Laughter) Actually, I never dreamt of it; how could one?
I liked studying in general. I cannot say I had a very active childhood; I mostly spent my leisure time outdoors. But on the whole I liked studying, I liked being with others, and we had a good class, which is in fact very important, and good teachers. I now remember many of them, and I am very grateful to them. Why? First, because they were very kind, very professional and very good teachers who worked with pupils and considered their interests, they tried to bring out the qualities that could give us a competitive edge in the future and to develop them. And they did it gently. In fact, I did not realise that at the time. Now I see that they did this, and I am very grateful for it.
Stanislav Krymsky: My name is Stanislav Krymsky, and I won two international Olympiads, in physics and mathematics.
Vladimir Putin: Congratulations, Stanislav.
Stanislav Krymsky: I would like to ask you how you think the Unified State Exam (EGE) affected our education system.
Vladimir Putin: On the whole, there are more positive aspects than negative ones although it has always needed improving, and now perhaps there are some shortcomings as well. But everyone knows that well and everyone says the main thing is that it has created an opportunity for talented children from remote cities to enroll at leading Russian universities. Of course, there are many problems there, especially ones related to the fact that it standardises the enrollment process and leaves out the creative element because there is no process of taking an exam as such. But there is no problem for someone like you, because if you won a competition, you enroll at the university of your choice, and this is a way to adjust the Exam. There are other elements as well that adjust the general scheme, which is quite strict and not always flexible. But new decisions give this system additional flexibility.
Alexei Konoplyov: My name is Alexei Konoplyov, I am a gold medal winner at the Olympiad in chemistry.
You said you used to spend a lot of time out-of-doors, and I know that in the Soviet Union…
Vladimir Putin: There used to be a unique chemistry there.
Alexei Konoplyov: In light of all the high-rise apartment buildings being built now, and that everyone wants to see a parking lot in their yards rather than a playground or a place to get together, is this possible, would you like people in their yards to get to know each other and care for their small homeland?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course, and there is a well-known formula – if there is a common wealth in the world, it is the wealth of human communication. And it all starts in childhood, including neighbourhood communities. However, it does not depend on just the architecture, or on parking cars or other equipment in open areas, it depends on the design. It could be arranged even around high-rises.
As for me, I used to live in a literal well-yard. Old Petersburg, Leningrad, the very centre of the city, within a three-minute walk of Nevsky Prospekt. It is an old city; we have 19th century buildings there. Yes, we did have a courtyard. But it was merely an open space. Meanwhile, if people, children from a building get together and spend some time, it would certainly be good. And we are trying to do that – I will tell you how – so as to develop so-called courtyard spaces. We allocate special funds from the federal budget, in five billion ruble installments. This is not enough to improve all the courtyards in this entire huge country but it gives a boost to local and regional authorities to also become engaged in the matter. And typically we are committed – and this is exactly what I ask my colleagues to do – to designing courtyard spaces that the residents want. I think this is crucial; we follow this policy, and we will continue to do so.
Andrei Kobelev: I have a slightly informal question. I also looked around and saw people wearing different clothes. The officials were dressed more formally. Historically, during official meetings, the participants wear suit jackets, white shirts and ties, and the atmosphere is slightly tense. Do you think that if people were wearing informal clothes, the degree of tension would be lower and the atmosphere would be friendlier?
Vladimir Putin: I now think differently about this matter. I think that appearance matters – the first impression comes from your clothes, they say. Probably, informal clothing presupposes informal communication and creates a certain atmosphere. There is another saying, never judge a book by its cover. So, no matter how you dress, even if you come to a meeting wearing pyjamas – excuse me for that image – and share something that would strike the mathematical world as genius, everyone will forget about what you are wearing in a moment, you see? Perelman made an online post and signed it: Grisha Perelman. That is all. This is form, appearance. So, appearance is, of course, important, especially for creating an atmosphere. However, substance is much more important.
Please go ahead.
Viktoria Chizhikova: Dmitry asked about international relations. Does your experience in intelligence work help? If so, how?
Vladimir Putin: It does help. I am serious. What is intelligence work? There are different types of intelligence: analysts who simply analyse information coming from various sources, process it and then send it to the end user. Consumers of intelligence include political decision makers. Such information is important for these people, in particular, for me, in order to understand what is going on in a particular region, what are the plans with regard to our country or some key moments in the development of the international situation. There are types of activities that are related not to analytics, but to obtaining information, and this means working with people.
When I worked in the foreign intelligence service, I worked with a variety of people, including journalists, researchers, students and artists. I am serious, no irony. This is certainly a vast experience. All of them were better than I was, that is the important part, because they were important and serious people who had achieved results, because intelligence agencies do not need to work with people who have no access to necessary information.
Of course, intelligence comes in all shapes and sizes, and the quality of work is different. We are now talking about good quality work. In that case, we need to engage people who have access to information. However, this is one side of the coin, and there is the other. How do you organise work with such people? This makes you accustomed to an idea that the most effective work is based on ideological affinity in the broad sense of the word, as ideas can be different. When you work with people who are similar to you in the way they think and in their attitude to certain matters, actions or events – this is the most effective work. This was also very useful, and it helps to a certain extent in life in general and in work in particular.
It is time to wrap up. Let us have one last question, OK?
Dmitry Plotnikov: Mr President, what is your favourite book?
Vladimir Putin: You know, it is impossible to answer questions like “favourite book,” or “favourite performance,” or “favourite music,” because there are so many favourites. Each work of fiction has something you focus on, something that calls to you. Read Kuprin, he has many such moments. By the way, Kuprin is seldom mentioned now, and he is a writer of genius. Read the “Garnet Bracelet” one more time. It seems like a small thing, but how he explores the human, how beautifully he talks about him, what sides of the soul he focuses on. There are great works like “War and Peace.” I have read Gogol many times and I laugh every time. Or, I do not know, you can read Chekhov. But I cannot say that this is the one and only.
We have just talked about genetics research: talent, how it can be defined and identified, including in those who are here today. What are the elements of talent? Genes. But not just one, two or three genes, but a combination. A combination of various genes can provide for the high-quality development of the mind and the potential for a person’s development. And some specialists believe that geniuses are not just simply talented people but the result of a genetic mutation. The same goes for literature. It is impossible to name one book and say: this is something for all time; it would be something more like a quote from a book. A combination of various works.
This is not just about books, but about music too. It is impossible for a normal personality to take shape without music. Music is like books without words, it goes straight to the heart and educates in the right way, by provoking certain emotions and feelings. By the way, this is why we united music, ballet and the technical sciences and disciplines here at Sirius: to encourage people to communicate with each other, understand what it means to succeed in every discipline, to like it and enjoy it. And I think Sirius’s experience in this area has been successful.
We will try to further support this in every way and use this expertise everywhere in Russia.
Thank you very much. I would like to wish you all good luck and success. And I congratulate you on your results in the Olympiads.
All the best and good luck!