The congress is taking place in the Crocus Expo exhibition centre in Moscow and has been convened to discuss the creation of effective public control instruments for monitoring the implementation of the 12 national projects listed in the May Executive Order.
The President also met with the new members of the movement’s central headquarters.
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Address at the Russian Popular Front congress
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I wholeheartedly greet all the participants of the Russian Popular Front congress.
The name of your movement tells it all. The Russian Popular Front (ONF) is a nationwide movement established to protect the interests of the people, each and all citizens of Russia.
Over the past few years, the ONF has proved worthy of the purpose for which it was created, which is to provide public control over the implementation of state decisions.
Look, 11,000 illegal landfill sites have been closed thanks to the ONF’s contribution. I know that it was a challenging job. And what about your contribution to other environmental projects, such as the protection of forests from felling? This work takes great personal courage. I know this for certain. I understand what this means. The ONF has successfully fulfilled these major and very responsible tasks. Thank you very much for this.
But this is not all, of course. In a manner of speaking, this is only the beginning. In the past 10–15 years, we have done a great deal to revive the Army and the Navy, as well as the national defence industry. We have created reliable security guarantees for Russia.
Now we must make the next, a bigger and much more responsible and hence much more difficult step. We must do in the civilian sectors – the industry, science, education, healthcare and infrastructure – what we have accomplished in the sphere of national defence. We need breakthrough achievements in all of the above sectors.
Yes, much has been accomplished in the past few years, but this is not enough. People are expecting major changes. But it is impossible to achieve major changes without large-scale investment, including state investment. And even if this is happening, it will be virtually impossible to score these results without wide-ranging public oversight of what is being done, how it is being done, as well as specific results. This can only be accomplished with your involvement. Therefore I urge you to continue your previous work and to monitor the work of state agencies.
I want to assure you there are plenty of honest hard-working professionals in the bodies of state authority and all administrative tiers and they are committed to achieving positive end results. But it goes without saying that public control is absolutely essential at all times. This is the first point. For example, we cannot afford to build a rural medical assistance centre that cannot be reached. We must prevent purchases of expensive medical equipment that would rust away and decay at warehouses, while someone would obtain commission and profit from such transactions. No, this entire system must work. And this work cannot be effective without oversight by public organisations.
But this is not enough. Of course, we need to support and help those government officials who are dedicated to their work. Therefore state support is the second aspect.
And the third point is that you must become directly involved in charting development priorities, primarily at the regional and local level. We will not be able to accomplish essential tasks for people living in specific streets, courtyards and buildings, unless they become directly involved. We need to encourage them to take part in this joint work.
Therefore, we need oversight, support and involvement. It will be impossible to accomplish anything without these aspects.
I urge you to take the most active part in this work. If this happens, and I hope that it will happen, then we will really build the country of our dreams. In this connection, I know that the youth wing of the Russian Popular Front has a very good slogan: “Don’t wait for changes, make them happen.” I like it very much, and I support it completely.
Thank you and good luck.