Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary meeting of the 18th United Russia party congress. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, chairman of United Russia, also made a speech at the meeting
The congress delegates identified the challenges and priorities in the party’s work for the coming year.
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Speech at the plenary meeting of the 18th United Russia party congress
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends,
I am pleased to greet everyone at the 18th congress of the United Russia party. It is the most significant event in Russian politics and it is being held on the eve of the anniversary of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
I am very grateful for your support during the Russian presidential election campaign, and in this respect, I would like to say that it is a momentous thing – shaping the top institution of power in the country regardless of an individual’s name.
On the other hand, names are certainly important but only in the sense that each name should be backed by a certain programme of action. This concerns the president, the government, the region – any level, down to the local or municipal one.
If there is a lack of clear awareness of what is to be wished for and needed for the country’s progress, there is no point in joining power structures or taking up politics because the institutions of power are not established for those who get there to look around, relax and idle, and enjoy staying in top positions. Responsible people – and this is exactly the sort of people we are – must act in a completely different way.
Our action plan is presented in a condensed form in the above-mentioned Executive Order of the President of the Russian Federation of May 2018 and was further set out in national projects drafted by the Government (the majority in the Government are United Russia members, as you know) and was supported by legislators (United Russia also holds the majority in the State Duma).
Another important aspect is regional because the bulk of the work is to be done in Russia’s regions. There will be no success without United Russia’s backing at the regional and even municipal level. We must understand and realise that, and act as a united team guided by common goals and challenges.
United Russia has a greater responsibility here – responsibility for the historical destiny of our Motherland and the well-being of our citizens, and this is the goal of any political force, especially the leading political force, of course.
It is the well-being of our citizens, enhancing the country’s sovereignty, economic progress, and responsibility for successful resolution of large-scale breakthrough tasks that we are facing today.
As I have said, United Russia plays a special role. For a number of years the party has been showing its competence, its ability to make responsible decisions, explain these decisions to the people and then take part in elections and convince voters that the earlier decisions were right while the path we have chartered is the only correct one.
Now let me tell you about the “only correct one.” It also has its pitfalls and problems but only this sort of behaviour is that of leadership. Leadership does not mean promising manna from heaven that will come out of nowhere. Leadership means making responsible decisions the country needs.
O course, it is mandatory to reach out to the people and to show, explain, speak directly to the people; tell them why a certain decision was taken and why it is best for the country and for the current period.
This leadership is an enormous resource to achieve dynamic substantive change; the benchmarks are clearly stated, as I have already said, in the May Executive Order. Let me stress again – only such breakthrough development can ensure a radical improvement in the quality of life and greater well-being of our citizens, safeguard our sovereignty, strengthen it, and achieve a worthy place for Russia in tomorrow’s world.
You know that each of us – those among the audience and the United Russia members who are not here, and any person in general – lives their routine life: gets up in the morning, goes to work, comes back in the evening, talks with family and friends, resolves issues as they appear. Few of us think about where we stand, few people even read analytical reports.
I want to say this to you because it is crucial to understand this. The world is undergoing a transformation, a very powerful and dynamically evolving transformation, and if we do not get our bearings, if we do not understand what we need to do and how, we may fall behind for good.
This is a very dramatic situation in the history of our country. The entire world is going through a dramatic situation, and this applies to our destiny too. We must understand it and work very hard.
I think that United Russia with its tremendous legislative, organisational and human resource potential must fully utilise it and consolidate all of society, our citizens in solving development issues, in implementing our nationwide agenda.
You have representatives all over, in all bodies of power and all spheres of activity. And the overwhelming majority of them are decent professional people, patriots of Russia.
However, and we should be straightforward about it (actually, it has been like that at all times and in all places), there are also those who grasp at opportunities, happily cling to power, especially to the leading political power.
And there are certainly those who behave unscrupulously. I ask you to keep a very watchful eye over this, to never allow any sort of rudeness, arrogance, insolence towards people at any level – at the top level and the lowest, municipal level. Because, firstly, it does the country a disservice, it is unfair to the people and it denigrates the party to the lowest of the low.
It is a positive development that the party is going through a process of renewal that Mr Medvedev mentioned earlier, with new and charismatic people joining in. I am confident that United Russia will get stronger through that and will gain more trust from society.
You know how great public demand is for fairness, honesty and openness. To meet these requirements we must not brush people aside with general remarks; we must listen to them and hear them, be with them so that people get to personally know their deputies, United Russia activists, so that people can freely come up to you with any problem or proposal. It is vitally important to align all plans and actions with the people’s concerns and demands, and to do it carefully, with empathy, in substance rather than giving a formal reply.
We are certainly aware that there are as many opinions as there are people while there can only be one decision. It is clear that it is not always possible to satisfy every idea of how a certain problem should be resolved.
There are many people and many opinions. We must show respect for the people and explain our stand. This is not hard to do if there is a proper stand. And we have a stand on practically every important issue pertaining to the country’s development.
However, people’s opinions and attitudes should also be taken into account. There must be commitment to implementing people’s initiatives, and their initiatives must be used in attaining each common goal, especially at the municipal level.
How can an issue be resolved without the people? How can we decide where and what should be developed, how courtyards should be improved and so on? It is useless to work in any other way. These recommendations from the people are always pragmatic, to the point and show us society’s aspirations. What is “society”, after all? It is the people.
Vigorous and extensive work lies ahead and the future of our country depends on it, as I have already said. We must all give our best, be active and be ahead of others, without shirking responsibility, work to achieve our goals for the sake of the common cause.
The people need to see in reality that United Russia is not marking time, that it has among its ranks truly brave, gifted, honest and open people.
The number of your supporters must grow in the process of implementing particular projects, and so that people all across the country, in every town or village begin to sense and to see that United Russia does not fear change and is working towards making change for the better.
I would like to say one more thing. The most crucial thing for a political party is a steady standing of its representatives, I already mentioned that. This standing cannot be bought, as you know, it can be only earned.
It can be earned through hard work, sincere attention to people’s needs, readiness to solve their problems, to stand up for the truth, to fight injustice and not to allow oneself to be unjust.
I know, as I have said, that in the past years many young people have joined in. I would definitely recommend that you use the open contests on forming managerial staff that are already operating in the country, especially as United Russia members are actively engaged in the processes.
Ours is a free democratic country, and development tasks presuppose from the outset a creative search and realisation of new ideas and approaches. Discussions and competition, including within the party itself, are very efficient tools for solving problems in the interests of the nation.
I expect United Russia to do everything needed to instil both inside the party and in society in general this political culture, an atmosphere of dialogue, trust and cooperation with all political forces of Russia.
As the largest political force the country the party itself will advance to a new level in its performance and will become the party of Russia’s breakthrough progress.
I wish all of you and all of us success. Thank you for your attention.