President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
I am happy to see you. We are violating a little the established procedure or the procedure we are trying to introduce, to work remotely, but the issues to be discussed are important, so we decided not to cancel the prescheduled meeting.
I will not describe the situation because all of you are competent people, you read the internet and federal media, and you know what is going on in Russia and abroad.
We have two problems: the oil market has practically collapsed, followed by other energy markets, and then there is this virus. Therefore, we will have to work in several directions at once.
I have already spoken about this and I will reiterate: the most important task now is to protect the lives and health of our citizens. This is obvious. But it is also obvious that if the economy collapses, there will be no resources to carry out this most important task. Everything is interdependent in this life.
You probably saw my statement yesterday, know about the decisions made by the Government even before that; the package of measures is impressive. All of them are aimed at supporting business in general and small and medium-sized businesses in particular. We know well that the small and medium-sized businesses are probably in the most difficult situation, given the developments in the economy stemming from these two problems.
But let us switch from my monologue to a dialogue. Our meeting has only one aim. The Government is in constant contact with representatives of various organisations, business structures and associations. We understand the situation. But the goal of today’s meeting is to listen to you and hear your proposals, ideas and assessments of what is going on. And we will try – my colleagues in the Government and I – to take relevant measures. In any case, you can be assured that we will consider everything you say; you can be one hundred percent sure of it.