The discussion focused on the role of the regions and municipalities in promoting a healthy lifestyle and having 55 percent of the country's population involved in regular physical fitness by 2024.
Mechanisms for achieving national goals and resolving strategic issues in physical fitness and sport in the regions and the necessary changes in the area of sport were also discussed.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
This time we are meeting in Nizhny Novgorod. It is an old and beautiful Russian city. It has been the venue of various competitions and has ambitious plans. As agreed, we will be talking about the development of sports in general.
I hope that many of you attended the International Forum Russia – Country of Sports, where we met with our foreign colleagues. I had a long and very fruitful discussion with them.
Although international cooperation in the field of sports is very important, our indisputable priority is the development of national sports, primarily the involvement of Russian citizens in regular physical fitness education and sports.
Our goal is to increase the number of people getting involved in regular physical activities to at least 55 percent of the total by 2024. It is an attractive figure, which we must and will certainly achieve. However, it is not the highest figure possible, even among the neighbouring countries.
I would like to say the following in this connection: We aim not so much for quantity as for quality achievements. The best gauge is good health and an active long life.
I believe it would be absolutely correct to focus the attention of the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport on the role of the regions and the municipalities. The local authorities can see all the aspects of the sports sector better than anyone else. They know what the people want and which laws and administrative decisions should be taken to accelerate the development of physical culture and sports.
I would like to ask the heads of regions to maintain constant contact with their officials responsible for the development of physical culture and sports in municipalities. I have said many times with regard to education and healthcare that there is a gap between the competencies and responsibilities on the municipal and federal, including regional, levels of governance. It is a sphere where these discrepancies must be eliminated without any further delay. The agencies responsible for physical culture and sports must organise the necessary events on their territories and also ensure close coordination between the regional and municipal authorities.
I would like to remind you that local governments have the right and the competence to choose and implement plans for the development of physical culture and sports and that their knowledge of local conditions and possibilities, as well as their almost daily interaction with the locals, are a vital resource for adopting really effective decisions.
On the whole, the implementation of objectives set out in the national projects requires that all realisers engage in close and well-organised interaction. The overwhelming majority of the projects are of a multi-sectoral nature. The sports sphere is the best example of this, being equally important for the successful implementation of the healthcare, education and cultural programmes. It is also of importance for strengthening this country’s defence capability and even in the field of foreign policy. All things are quite closely interconnected.
It is important to create new opportunities for people to find self-fulfillment in sports and do this so that these people can be actively involved themselves. The Civic Chamber already practices debates on the performance of the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport. The recommendations they have drawn up should be taken into account under all circumstances. Moreover, the same approach must be employed at the regional level. I would like to ask the regional authorities to fully use the potential of public involvement in addressing the sports development tasks, create, along with the residents of cities, towns and villages, ever more new opportunities and ever better conditions for engaging in sports, providing all kinds of physical culture events.
In this connection, I certainly support the proposal made by the Council’s working group to draw up and approve an interagency programme to promote physical culture and sports in the countryside, complete with modernising the existing facilities and building new multifunctional sports infrastructure.
We should pay special attention to providing it with personnel and creating a barrier-free environment. This is of extreme importance everywhere, including in the countryside.
It is also necessary to organise and support in a systemic way physical culture and sports clubs at work places and where people reside. Possibly, it is worth thinking about introducing the position of sports instructor into staff schedules of work places and municipal organisations and, of course, about measures to incentivise employees who go in for sports and, accordingly, their employers.
Particular attention needs to be paid to the future generations. In this field, it would be also expedient to create school and university sports clubs. This work should go on, because much has been done but much – or even more – is yet to be done. This must be built in into the system of competitions.
Generally, the competitions that take place in Russia should embrace all ages and fitness groups and include both national and Olympic events.
Multifaceted, large-scale competitive activities kill at least two birds with one stone.
Firstly, sports and active lifestyles among the public are promoted and the second thing is talented children who want to get themselves involved in high performance sports are found and selected.
Before the meeting, as I already mentioned, we talked to the heads of international sports organisations, and they confirmed their interest in holding major international competitions in Russia. We know only too well the positive social effect of such projects and we are ready to implement them in the future.
By the way, there has been a proposal to organise major international competitions among school pupils. Of course, this is a specific matter, and a special group of people, they are young athletes, children. In this case, obviously, we need to organise everything in accordance with the recommendations of teachers, children’s psychologists and doctors. But this is an interesting idea and I think we could support it.
With regard to the previous experience in holding world championships in Russia, I would like to ask you to outline a list of potential competitions that could be of interest to us, and to think about establishing new formats of international competitions. For instance, as I already said today, those that are aimed at expanding cooperation within BRICS, the SCO, the EurAsEc, and other multilateral organisations.
Colleagues, at the previous meeting of the Council, the Government was instructed to approve before October 2020 the Strategy for Developing Physical Fitness and Sport in Russia through 2030. I suggest we summarise the results of the current strategy and discuss the new one at the next meeting of the council, which will take place next spring.
This is what I wanted to say. I would like to give the floor to the head of the working group, Oleg Kozhemyako.