On the occasion of International Children’s Day Vladimir Putin spoke with families awarded the Order of Parental Glory.
Taking part in the videoconference meeting were families with many children from Moscow, Arkhangelsk, Rostov, Samara and Tyumen regions, Daghestan, and Altai and Khabarovsk territories, as well as Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Anna Kuznetsova.
The Order of Parental Glory is awarded to parents (adoptive parents) who are raising or have raised seven or more children, ensuring an appropriate level of care for their health, education and physical, spiritual and moral development.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Dear friends, good afternoon.
First of all, I would like to congratulate you and all Russian citizens on International Children’s Day.
One of the good traditions of this holiday in our country is the ceremony of presenting the Order of Parental Glory. And I promise you, this ceremony will be held in a solemn atmosphere and in the presence of all members of your friendly families.
Of course, this will happen when all the forced restrictions associated with the fight against the epidemic are lifted, and when a trip to Moscow, and a cultural programme that has already been developed especially for you, become completely safe, and any risks to the health of both children and adults are eliminated.
But today it was extremely important for me to see you, to talk to you, albeit online. First of all, it is important for me to thank you for your informed choice – I am addressing the adults now – in favour of a large, strong family.
We all understand perfectly well: the birth and upbringing of a child is always a great joy. And of course, it also involves everyday concerns and a big responsibility, especially when there are seven or more children, and each of them is surrounded by the attention and love of their parents.
Children feel this compassion, this heartfelt generosity from an early age. Through words, deeds and the personal example of their father and mother, they understand how important it is to honour their elders and take care of the little ones, the younger ones, and together with their parents they create the emotional and at the same time exacting atmosphere of a large family.
Large families have always been famous for their traditions of hard work, responsiveness, selflessness and mutual support and today they serve as an example for those who are just starting to build their family life.
The mission of motherhood and fatherhood, and this is exactly a mission, is one of the noblest. It is a source of true happiness. Parenthood is a priceless contribution to preserving Russia’s traditional foundations and moral principles, which are love, strong family ties and the continuity of generations. Just as the history of a family is part of the history of the country, a feeling of pride for one’s family generates pride for our entire enormous homeland.
Time has proved that a large and friendly family can reliably support every person, society, and the state as a whole. This is what helps us reach our goals and overcome any trials and tribulations.
It is no accident that during the discussion on the amendments to the Russian Constitution, protection and support of the family were among the most frequent proposals of our citizens. I am also convinced that it is necessary to confirm in the Fundamental Law care for the younger generation as an absolute priority of the state. This amendment to the Constitution is important not only today but also in the years ahead.
Now that we are marking International Children’s Day, I would like to sincerely thank all those who are bringing up and caring for the younger generation. I would like to thank mothers and fathers and grandparents, and certainly teachers, doctors and social workers. Friends, all of you are creating the necessary conditions so that the talent of every child can be discovered.
However, it depends only on you – I am now addressing our young citizens, young people, our youth – how you will use these opportunities. This only depends on you. The main point is your understanding that success in life is determined by hard work, tenacity of purpose, kindness and a humane attitude. These are the qualities that your parents and mentors are striving to instill in you.
In this regard, I would like to note all those who showed responsibility and readiness to help those in need during this difficult time. Also, I would like to thank the young people who participated in the Big Change contest.
The contest gave young people the opportunity to engage in good deeds, try out different projects and discover what they are good at. Volunteers became the project's driver: almost 650,000 schoolchildren from all regions of the country tried to help others and developed themselves.
This is what I would also like to emphasise. As in other countries, the epidemic and the forced restrictions, justified by doctors and specialists, affected the Russian economy, the work of our enterprises, and therefore the welfare of our citizens. It was inevitable. Implementing our measures, support measures, we made a fundamental decision. It consisted in the fact that, first of all, we decided to help people directly and, above all, support families with children.
Thus, additional payments for children were introduced, the conditions for assigning benefits and the paperwork were adjusted, and new services convenient for citizens were launched.
Today, of course, I would like to know, to hear directly from you, directly, what specific help your families received, how things are going not only with your families, but also with your relatives, friends, acquaintances and neighbours.
But first, I would like to pass the floor to the Commissioner for Children’s Rights. Taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate you, Ms Kuznetsova, on the birth of the seventh child in your family – your son. I wish all the very best to all large families of Russia. I wish you all success, prosperity and happiness.
Ms Kuznetsova, the floor is yours.
Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Anna Kuznetsova: Mr President, good afternoon.
Thank you very much for your greetings.
I would like to congratulate you and everyone on International Children’s Day and wish you all the best.
Of course, we do our best to protect our young citizens. In 2019, the Institute of Commissioners considered about 90,000 appeals from citizens, and a tenth of these were considered by the federal Commissioner, which is almost 30 percent more than last year. I must say that the number of positive decisions and positively resolved cases has more than doubled. This was largely possible due to the support of the law on commissioners on children’s rights, initiated by you, Mr President, which helped us and provided new resources for dealing with complex appeals on protecting children.
We have received 37 percent more appeals regarding judicial protection and 30 percent more questions regarding the protection of children’s rights to education. The number of questions and complaints on the actions of children’s guardianship and trusteeship bodies increased by 23 percent. Explosive growth – 88 percent – was recorded concerning issues of children’s health. We have only one category that decreased, by 4.3 percent, regarding housing provision issues.
Working with appeals gives us a large layer of information to analyse the main problematic trends in the field of childhood support. And of course, the incredible concentration of children’s problems we deal with motivates us all the time to put forth new proposals.
Last year, based on inspections in the regions, inspections in children’s, social, healthcare and educational facilities, based on our monitoring, which we regularly conduct with our colleagues, we put forth about 50 different initiatives to the Federation Council, the State Duma, to the various relevant ministries and agencies. Of course, we strongly hope that they will be supported.
Thus, for example, analysing an 88 percent increase in appeals concerning healthcare, we selected questions pertaining specifically to providing medicines for children with orphan diseases, and the corresponding proposals were sent to the Russian Government, the State Duma, including on providing medicines for children with spinal muscle atrophy. Of course, this is a difficult issue, but I can see that it is being resolved. We hope that these trends will be developed and continued.
We have also worked on issues of post-institutional support for orphans together with those who leave orphanages. Jointly with experts, we have drafted proposals on improving this support and have sent them to lawmakers at the State Duma. We hope these proposals will be adopted.
Mr President, after our meeting last year, you instructed us to develop a package of measures to improve the performance of orphanages for our most vulnerable children with developmental disorders. We have done this and the relevant package of measures will be implemented soon. These practically envisage reforming these institutions that hopefully will completely change their format.
We are trying to build up our international cooperation. We will sign a third memorandum with our foreign colleagues. This year we signed a memorandum with our partner in Kazakhstan.
On your instruction, we created an algorithm for bringing home children from hot spots. This is being successfully carried out. Our colleagues from other countries and related international organisations are interested in it. But the main result is that 157 children have returned home. We will continue this effort. Of course, we are very grateful to the defence and foreign ministries, with which we are working on this.
But our children are waiting, and I would like to immediately go over to our problems, and I am hoping, we are hoping, for your support, Mr President. I would like to start with the activities of guardianship and custody bodies.
The number of complaints about their work has grown by 23 percent. Our inspections and monitoring of these bodies in the regions confirm systematic failures in their work. Moreover, prosecutor’s inspections and investigations have also confirmed systematic failures in the operation of these bodies.
Mr President, we believe it is necessary to reform the entire system of guardianship and custody bodies rather than take pinpoint or limited measures. We have specific proposals of how to do this and we are ready to share them. These proposals suggest some serious decisions.
In reality, the happiness of every child depends on the efficiency of the work of these bodies. But there is more to it if we look at this problem on a broader plane, notably, the successful implementation of your highly important programme documents and projects.
Another issue that I cannot sidestep, and one, which became somewhat urgent during the preventive measures on the coronavirus infection, is the issue of benefits and allowances. Your package of proposals, Mr President, has been implemented in the regions this whole time.
However, it is important to improve the procedure for granting benefits. Due to a number of legal acts, for example, disabled children and particularly orphans living in the regions with a temporary residence registration are unable to receive rehabilitation equipment at their current locations. The same trap awaits families with many children where parents are registered in different regions or in different municipalities; there are several such cases. Unfortunately, this could deprive them of support, which is unacceptable.
We suggest considering the possibility of rendering support to families with children at their current place of residence, not at their permanent registration address. And also to review how this barrier can be overcome through modern digital technologies as well as projects that are being pursued by different agencies. This could dramatically improve the solution of the task you brought up. You said, and I remembered because I thought it was crucial, that a measure is only implemented when it reaches the intended person. Therefore, we have several alternatives for resolving this issue and we are ready to present them.
But once we began talking about families with many children, and we have a few here, I would like to recall that we have been working for nearly a year with the Federation Council on legislation for families with many children, which provides minimal guarantees and other rights for such families
I would like to note that a family with many children still lacks a uniform definition, which occasionally violates their rights to different support measures.
Personally, I would like to once again congratulate everyone on International Children’s Day.
Mr President, as we see your support, your special focus on family and traditional family values, together with our colleagues, the children’s rights commissioners in the regions of the Russian Federation, we are trying to step up the efficiency of our activities, and we have new projects. Currently we are working on Childhood Quality. This is an integrated project on analysing children’s policy in the regions. We are now also developing a digital platform for this work with St Petersburg as a pilot programme.
Along with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, we are planning a large forum, which is to bring together all the achievements in the area of childhood development. We also have a number of other projects. I am sure that with your support, we can make this happen.
Once again, happy Children’s Day.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you for your proposals and ideas. We will discuss them with you a bit later. I would like you to properly document all this. You know how to do it. We will work on it and promote it.
Mr Kuznetsova, when was your seventh child born? When did it happen?
Anna Kuznetsova: This was just recently, on May 28.
Vladimir Putin: How do you manage to stay in shape? May 28 is fairly recently.
Anna Kuznetsova: I have my children’s support, they give me strength.
Vladimir Putin: All right, good. All the very best to you. Thank you very much.
Anna Kuznetsova: Thank you.