Ahead of the session, the President toured an exhibition of concepts that won awards at a competition for the best new national brands. The competition aims to support Russian companies successfully substituting Western products. Over 5,000 applications were submitted during this competition, held for the first time this year, as per the President’s instruction.
Vladimir Putin viewed themed zones called High Technologies, Information Technologies, Creative Industries, Consumer Goods and Foodstuffs, in line with the five categories of the competition. ASI Director General Svetlana Chupsheva provided explanations.
During the plenary session, ASI Director General Svetlana Chupsheva, Special Presidential Representative for Digital and Technological Development and Director of the ASI Young Professionals Department Dmitry Peskov and Chairman of VEB.RF and Chair of the ASI Expert Council Igor Shuvalov showed the President various projects that had received the strongest endorsement from experts. All the proposals are divided into three categories: digital and technological development, social issues, and the economy and entrepreneurship.
The event is organised by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives for promoting new projects and the Roscongress Foundation. Strong Ideas for a New Time is an annual forum aiming to select and support socially significant initiatives of Russian citizens that will contribute to strengthening the sovereignty of Russia and achieving the national development goals up to 2030.
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ASI General Director Svetlana Chupsheva: Mr President, Mr Shuvalov, Mr Peskov.
We are happy to greet you at the third forum, Strong Ideas for a New Time. This year, we also held a competition for the best Russian brands as part of the forum.
I want to say that every year, we see a growing number of ideas and projects submitted to the platform. In 2020, we received 15,000 submissions, and this year, we have received 23,000. We have 400,000 participants, crowd platform users, who suggest ideas and projects and also evaluate and help finalising the concepts proposed by leaders from all across the country.
There are no age restrictions; anyone is welcome, from school students to the elderly – experienced people who also take part in this project. All professions – doctors, miners and researchers – all kinds of professions are represented here.
We are very happy that people believe in their country and are ready to share their ideas and projects to deal with the most complex issues and hard tasks, and most importantly, to ensure the development of our country.
Mr President, all of us, the entire country was worried on June 24. I want to say that we are all with you and support you. (Applause).
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Dear friends, good afternoon.
My greetings to the participants of the third forum, Strong Ideas for a New Time, which is being held under the motto Strong Ideas for a Strong Country.
A new time is not some distant future. It is in fact our time, we are living it now. Here are the interests of our Motherland, our country, and the striving of the people for whom we work, study and create, for whom we fight and battle.
The contribution to the common cause of each Russian citizen, each enterprise’s team and, of course, young creative, research and business teams, all initiatives aimed at strengthening and developing the country’s industrial, intellectual and technological potential is important.
As I understand it, you have gathered here today to talk about what else can be done to support this ambition – to be useful, to serve the country and the people while realising your talent and potential. The competition that Svetlana Chupsheva just mentioned was organised to that very end.
The number of entries submitted to the forum has increased by more than 50 percent since 2020. I am honestly happy that the residents of the historical territories of Donbass and Novorossiya have joined the project. I would like to greet them separately.
Let me emphasise again that civic, business and volunteer initiatives drive Russia’s development forward, while a strong and responsible civil society is the foundation of our country’s sovereignty.
Relying on the best solutions proposed by our citizens, business and other associations, we must set high standards for social support, the improvement of cities and villages, and build a supply-oriented economy that exists not by consuming foreign, imported products but by creating and producing modern goods, services and technology.
To reiterate, we can do this; we definitely have everything we need for this productive development path. Our companies already offer products with outstanding features that are often on par with foreign-made products, and sometimes surpass them. I am confident that this is how it will be. This is the advantage, this is the essence – it is not about copying but about creating our own, being one step ahead.
It is common today that our products are good, but nothing is known about them. We just talked about this at the exhibition. Someone came up with an excellent idea, which might seem like nothing much but is in fact very good and useful, especially for families with children. I hope that events like this will help people learn more about it.
As you know, any monopoly, any kind of domination does not last forever. Our companies and business teams are ready to compete, and many of them have proved that. When I speak of monopoly, I mean, of course, our Western competitors, because they have in fact established this monopoly for themselves in our domestic market, in many sectors of this market.
Our manufacturers are proving today, and they have already proved that they can work better. Right now, it is important to help Russian manufacturers to get the ball rolling. We need our own brands that the country will be proud of, trademarks that will be recognisable not only in Russia but in the rest of the world.
We are all adults here. You are also entrepreneurs. You know that work takes time and things are done step by step. We will start with our closest neighbours, the CIS, then the SCO and BRICS countries. These markets are enormous, even colossal. Speaking of BRICS countries, you know quite well that most people on our planet live in allied countries.
That is why I asked the Agency for Strategic Initiatives to hold an annual competition for the best new domestic brands on the sidelines of the forum and encourage small and medium-sized companies to participate.
As I was told, the organisers planned for 500 brands to show up for the competition, 1,000 brands at most. However, in a matter of just two months, they received over 5,000 applications from Russian manufacturers of apparel and food, and high-tech solution developers. As far as I know, the competition was fierce, and top performers won it.
I congratulate the winners on their victory.
Earlier, I mentioned the exhibition, which I just toured, and I am here to say that the results of the work displayed at this exhibition are impressive.
I asked our colleagues from the Presidential Executive Office and the Government to set up a separate and solemn venue to issue awards to the developers of these brands. Since these entrepreneurs are with us in this audience, let us greet them once again and congratulate them on their victory. (Applause.)
I am sure your ingenuity and entrepreneurial and creative talent played a decisive role in your victory. Importantly, to some extent, almost every winner had the chance to take advantage of the support measures provided under the national project to develop small and medium-sized businesses and to use the latest trademark registering mechanisms.
For example, over the past seven years, the time needed to obtain trademark protective certificates was cut by almost three times to four months. To put this in perspective, this procedure took almost 14 months on average in the United States last year, 11 months in Japan, and one to two years in the friendly People’s Republic of China.
By the way, a law is coming into force today that entitles not only legal entities and sole proprietors, but self-employed citizens to register their trademarks as well.
For your information, Russian entrepreneurs filed more than 43,000 applications for trademark registration in the first five months of this year, which is 35 percent more on the same period last year. The number of registered domestic brands and the turnover of rights to trademarks are on the rise, meaning that they are gaining value as assets. We need domestic entrepreneurs to learn to capitalise on them more effectively, and to extract extra revenue from them.
I mentioned that large foreign companies have been working for a long time to oust our national products, and not always by offering better quality and lower prices, but through aggressive advertising and, of course, by subsidising their domestic production, which reached an extremely high level with regard to some products.
The WTO prefers not to notice this, or, if it does notice it, it cannot do anything because our foreign colleagues, especially in Europe, have learned very well how to circumnavigate WHO requirements.
They invested huge funds in advertising. They even turned their withdrawal from our country into a resounding PR campaign. I do not know if this will help their businesses. Personally, I doubt it.
As I have said many times, our world did not collapse because of the sanctions or the withdrawal of Western companies. On the contrary, this created many more opportunities for Russian companies. They are actively taking over vacated market niches and spreading into new areas, including export areas. As a result, our economy is surging forward.
I would like to list several figures. I mentioned them in Dagestan yesterday, but it would not hurt to repeat them. Russia’s GDP in May increased by 5.4 percent year on year. This is a good indicator. As for the manufacturing industry, it increased by two digits, that is, 12.8 percent. Our manufacturing sector has grown considerably, and not only thanks to the defence enterprises; related industries are growing as well. This is taking place against the backdrop of the lowest unemployment and inflation rates in our modern history. This is good work, and it is a good result.
Today we need to offer support tools to help our companies market their products more efficiently by articulating their mission, as the experts say, and the value of their goods and services for customers, and work to see that people also receive positive emotions from their purchases. I would like to point out in this connection that this issue concerns not only business development but also the quality of people’s lives and, of course, pride for products that are made in Russia.
Our friends in India and our big friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, launched the “Make in India” initiative several years ago. It has had a truly impressive effect on the Indian economy. It would do no harm to emulate what is working well, even if it was not us but our friends who created it.
Of course, we need to think about making our products more convenient and functional, with a modern look and properties. Therefore, industrial and product design should become an important resource for the development of domestic business. At the end of May, we discussed this at a meeting with representatives of creative industries, and we will definitely consider what else can be done in this respect.
I must also note that, as we pointed out to them, a vast niche has been vacated. So we need to take it, occupy it, fill the gap. It is an enormous niche, 2 million square metres and 2 trillion rubles – work till you drop. And indeed, some interesting, good products have appeared, a pleasure to look at – I hope, also a pleasure to wear or use.
I will also note that large retail chains and leading marketplaces are already using their capabilities to promote domestic brands. There is a reason why many large companies supported this competition. It is no coincidence, and it is not because they are so kind or they have extra cash lying around – no, it is because they need you; they just need you. And you need to meet those expectations, this business trust so to speak, and quickly fill all these niches and certainly fill the shelves, too. Even though, thank God, there are no empty shelves in our shops, but there are people who had really hoped for this.
They also said that Channel One, which provides information support for this brand competition, is launching a major television project, Our Everything. This is definitely the right approach. I hope that there will be similar synergies with other media.
I believe that we need a targeted policy of all-round promotion of Russian brands, at all levels: in the media, in the top state media, and on social media, and in new media as well.
And of course, each region should have its own programmes for promoting local brands. I want my colleagues in the Russian regions to hear me now. This is not something immaterial – this is a very important area of our joint work. After all, local brands start their journeys to national recognition, to projects on a federal and, I hope, international scale, from regional cities and towns.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank the governors of the Novgorod and Pskov regions, the Republic of Udmurtia, the Kamchatka Territory, and many other regions, who help promote local companies’ products, maintain dialogue with businesses, and see a powerful resource for long-term development in supporting proactive and socially oriented entrepreneurs.
We have seen many times when implementing business, public, and of course, social initiatives that the support of the regions is of key importance.
At the last forum, we discussed the Oryol Region’s project to create multifunctional family centres. Today they can be found in 21 regions helping families with children to solve important everyday tasks, and to do so quickly, with the help of online services.
Of course, there are many successful projects being implemented thanks to this forum, much more than I can list now. I believe that not all of them are presented at the exhibition. They are unique, original, and prove their effectiveness in real life, as they say, on the ground. I hope that local people are already using them and that this practice will expand.
In this context, I would like to thank everyone who helps the best ideas to gain strength: the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (Applause.) – I support this loud applause; then VEB.RF, Roscongress, and the regional heads; I see some of them here. So we would like to thank all the participants in this process.
This includes our colleagues from the ministries and departments who provide real support to public and business initiatives, who are working to remove all types of administrative barriers, although I think they have been doing this for decades. Some things succeed; not all issues have yet been resolved, but they are moving in the right direction.
And with your support, I can say this without exaggeration, with your support this work must and will continue, and in the most effective way, because of the feedback – after all, the Government has feedback from businesses, and it is imperative that this feedback continues. This is because you feel where the problems are, you know where the congestion is, and it is imperative that you provide this feedback and forward your proposals, including through VEB.RF and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, on how to move away from what hinders development and progress at a better pace than today.
I expect that the mechanisms for selecting and implementing civil projects will continue to improve. And those who create the ideas that we have just seen and that we may still hear today will receive the necessary support at all levels.
I would like to ask you – we have several more minutes – to talk about your ideas and projects. I will be happy to listen and, if I may assist you in any way, I am at your disposal.
Thank you very much.