Taking part in the meeting via videoconference were Vladimir Zhirinovsky (LDPR), Gennady Zyuganov (KPRF), Sergei Neverov (United Russia) and Sergei Mironov (A Just Russia), as well as State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, and First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon.
We regularly meet in various formats. Today’s meeting was arranged at the State Duma Speaker’s proposal to discuss current political matters and, of course, the legislative priorities that are directly linked with the objectives the country faces.
Colleagues, you represent Russia’s four major leading parties that are active at the federal, regional and municipal levels. They enjoy popular respect and the support of millions of our citizens. Working at various levels of government, your representatives take responsibility for delivering on specific tasks. It is essential that you speak in one voice when it comes to the most important matters of principled importance, standing up for the sovereignty and security of our country, historical truth, and the vital interests of the people. You are doing a great deal to strengthen civil society and its key institutions.
I would like to emphasise once again that parliamentary parties play a fundamental, stabilising role within the political system. This means that they are essential enablers of the country’s sustainable development and ensure that we continue to move forward, guided by our national interests, while safeguarding us from various disruptions.
Of course, the approaches you adhere to may vary. But regardless of the differences, it is important to rally society around the national development goals and the basic, fundamental values that matter to every Russian citizen. This unity is vital for the country. Only united we stand.
The potential of your parties was reaffirmed on the single election day on September 13. Over 9,000 election campaigns were held throughout the country at different levels. Candidates from more than 20 parties and associations have been elected, but the so-called top four parties reported the best results, of course. I would like to congratulate you and your colleagues once against on this high public assessment of your activities. I am sure you are aware that this trust also entails huge responsibility. And you must justify this trust with constructive work.
Of course, much is expected from United Russia, which has won the majority of votes. However, I would like to mention the great and positive role of the opposition. What I mean is not only justified criticism by the opposition, which is keeping the authorities on their toes, if I can say so, but also a striving to formulate constructive and practical proposals on nearly all issues on the national agenda. We will definitely take into account all reasonable and constructive ideas. I am asking the Government to bear this in mind.
I would like to give special thanks to all of you, all the State Duma factions and your colleagues in the regions for your hard and effective work, including in the challenging conditions of the coronavirus epidemic.
It is important that the law-making process has not been disrupted. Quite to the contrary, Parliament quickly and proactively adopted dozens of laws the people needed.
The threat is not over, and the virus is still with us, but we are prepared for any contingency. We will take accurate and coordinated decisions to support our people, the social sphere and healthcare. I am sure that you will understand and support such decisions in all Duma factions.
I am aware of the problems with the coronavirus at the State Duma. Regrettably, some of you have contracted the disease. But the State Duma continues working. It has started hearings on the federal budget for 2021 and the subsequent two years.
I would like to highlight the following. In my Address to the Federal Assembly, I proposed to significantly expand the demographic programme, to strengthen the mechanisms of social protection, especially for families with children. Specific tasks were set for the development of school and university education, and the healthcare system, including primary care.
In addition, last spring and summer, with your involvement, colleagues, we adopted a number of new decisions to provide better social support, to support employment, the key industries, and small and medium-sized businesses. Some of these policies are not temporary – those are not even anti-crisis measures, but are forward-looking in nature and should be fully reflected in the new three-year state budget.
I would like you, together with the Government, the Federation Council, and the expert community, to work out all the key targets to be included in the budget. The priorities here are financing our social obligations to citizens and, of course, objectives that would move our country forward, the achievement of the strategic national development goals outlined for the next decade, until 2030.
The Government is already updating the national projects, adjusting the target figures. I want you to actively participate in this work and to take it into account both in the budgeting process and when considering other legislative initiatives to improve the quality of life in Russia and stimulate entrepreneurial activity, to improve the investment climate, accelerate the introduction of innovations and forward-looking digital services and platforms into industrial production and public administration.
In general, I ask you to provide high-quality and timely legislative support for the national projects. Please bear in mind that systemwide regulation is important, as well as a clear plan and a uniform logic of all steps related to the comprehensive development of the country's legislative framework. I am counting on the parliamentarians’ experience and competence. I know that you have varying approaches to different problems. But your ability to maintain dialogue with the expert community, the regions, business associations, and trade unions is in great demand. And I will stress again, I look forward to a cooperative and constructive effort of all parliamentary parties.
Thus, one of the major tasks is to implement the new provisions of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The amendments supported by our citizens are serious and meaningful. They concern issues of politics and the economy, science and education, patriotic upbringing, and the moral and ethical spheres and are aimed at further enhancing the role of civil society in the nation’s life and building an effective system of balance in the government.
Yes, of course, the norms of the Constitution imply direct action but each of them must be appropriately and clearly reflected in the legislative provisions on implementing Constitutional provisions and new laws. A whole package of relevant draft laws has already been submitted to the State Duma.
But this is only the first step. Large-scale and very sensitive law-making work lies ahead. I would call this work lapidary. It must be carried out in a way to ensure direct contact and to upgrade feedback with the citizens, your voters. They have already become full-fledged co-authors of the amendments to the Fundamental Law. It is necessary to continue being guided by their opinions and their expectations of what exactly this or that norm of the Constitution is supposed to change in their daily lives.
I know well that different parties and deputies had their own positions, sometimes critical, on some Constitutional amendments during their discussion. This is perfectly normal and right. I understand this. This is natural for any democratic state.
The broad range of opinions we saw during the discussion of Constitutional amendments, and ideological diversity are required today, too. Therefore, I would like to ask you, colleagues, including those from parliamentary opposition parties, to take a very active part in implementing new Constitutional amendments and to be constantly in touch with the members of the working group who drafted their text.
The deeper and more comprehensive the expert drafting of laws in accordance with the new Constitutional amendments is, the better and more lasting our common result will be. Our national legislation will be modern and effective. This is primarily in the interests of our citizens, for whose benefit we work.
Let us start our discussion. Let us discus all urgent issues and topics thoroughly and openly, as we have always done.