President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon. Once again I would like to welcome you, dear veterans.
We are meeting in the run-up to the anniversary of our Victory. I have come here today to preside at a meeting of the Victory Organising Committee, to summarise the results of our latest efforts, the work we did recently, and to clarify what has been done and what remains to be done before the anniversary.
Before meeting with officials, I wanted to touch base with you so that you could tell me what we have been able to do and what we haven’t, what we need to focus on. So the purpose of this meeting is to get your recommendations and advice and, well, just talk about life.
Of course, we must do our utmost to make this anniversary a memorable event for our country and to ensure that all events are carried out solemnly, decorously, triumphantly. These activities will involve the entire country — not long ago I signed an executive order on this subject. This order indicates where parades are to be held, where processions will take place, in short, everything that is usually done in such a situation. But of course our primary task is to organise a holiday not only for the country but first and foremost for you veterans of the Great Patriotic War. I mean that everyone should be able to participate in this celebration, those who want to do so at home or in the capital of our great country, in Moscow. That's why we are providing free transportation to travel between the regions.
Of course we will be talking about social programmes we are implementing. I cannot say that they are absolutely comprehensive; but still we are trying to meet all the commitments we undertook, and to do so well. This applies to drug provision, health services and targeted financial assistance. In relation to the anniversary of Victory there will be a one-time cash payment – I have already signed an order to that effect.
I still remember one of the first orders that I signed as President: it was almost two years ago and it involved housing for veterans. Incidentally, I met with you on February 2, 2008. Perhaps some of you who are here today remember that it was a nice sunny day. Today is nice, too, but that day was really beautiful. When we were working on this issue a few years ago I even heard people ask: ”What is the point of such housing? There are hardly any veterans left and a significant number of veterans never received any housing.” This is the wrong way to think about it. The fact that the government has not provided the housing is the government’s own problem, the problem of those who made such decisions. It is on their heads. But what we need to do now is to execute that order.
Both now and at the meeting of the Victory Organising Committee I would like to hear about what has been done, including of course here in Volgograd Region. I would like our colleague, the new Governor Mr Brovko, to tell us about how this issue is being tackled for two categories of veterans: those who registered before March 1, 2005, and those who did so after that date. I don’t want to anticipate all the questions that you undoubtedly have. I’ll stop here because I want to listen to what you have to say. Please, go ahead.