The meeting was attended by the Council of Legislators leadership, speakers of legislative (representative) bodies of state power of the Russian Federation constituent entities, heads of the Federation Council and State Duma committees, and other representatives of state power.
The discussion focused on the implementation of the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly of April 21, as well as the COVID-19 response effort and measures to overcome the consequences of the pandemic.
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Speech at the meeting with members of the Council of Legislators of the Federal Assembly
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
All of you are well-disciplined, everyone is wearing a face mask. Well, there is nothing we can do about this requirement of the time. Nevertheless, I can see and recognise all of you, and I would like to greet and welcome you at our today’s meeting.
I am happy to meet with you and to congratulate you on Russian Parliamentarism Day. Congratulations, everyone.
Almost 115 years ago, the first State Duma meeting opened here at the Tauride Palace. This is not just a memorable date, but an important milestone in the development of Russian statehood.
I would like to thank you for your caring and respectful attitude towards parliamentary traditions that rest on high patriotic ideals and values and a striving to honestly, openly and proactively discharge your duty to the people and our Motherland.
Just like in the early 20th century, parliamentarians of modern Russia represent various political forces. But I am convinced that deputies at all levels, as well as senators, have always prioritised our country’s national interests, and that they will continue to do this in the future. This is the most solid foundation for consolidation, for our joint and well-coordinated work to achieve strategic goals of Russia’s development, for accomplishing key tasks facing society and the state in the economy, ecology, demography and, most importantly, in improving our citizens’ living standards and quality of life.
As you know, the Address to the Federal Assembly contains specific guidelines on these areas. Colleagues, in this context I very much count on our active work and your support. I rely on your vigorous, interested participation in implementing the proposed initiatives, their additional thorough expert analysis at your level and effective legislative support. Of course, I rely on continuous and meticulous parliamentary control without any favours, which is a very important part of our joint efforts.
Much in this context depends on your ability to organise work at the Council of Legislators. It is necessary to coordinate and closely link the law-making plans of the Federal Assembly and the regional parliaments. You must develop a constructive dialogue with the Government of the Russian Federation, heads of the constituent entities and their teams.
You know that a number of important initiatives in the Address are of strictly regional importance and are aimed at a comprehensive and balanced development of the Russian Federation territory and the consolidation of the financial base of the regions and municipalities. I will not go into details now. I am sure you have already looked into this problem and studied it inside out. I am referring primarily to the need to straighten regional budgets. To carry out large projects in the regions that are important for their residents, including via infrastructure budget loans that will be granted to the constituent entities for 15 years at an interest rate of no more than 3 percent.
I would like to repeat that this is a new and powerful development tool, and I hope it will be powerful. It must start working for the benefit and in the interests of the people. Hence, priority investment areas and specific projects must be determined with due account for the opinions of the people that live there. I would like to ask you, colleagues, as a representative authority, to keep this issue under special, constant control and to strictly monitor the fulfilment of all the decisions made on social support for the people, and in part, families with children.
You know that in addition to the existing benefits, together with you, we have, in fact, made these decisions on the consistent support of Russian families, in stages: first for children under three years, then from three to seven years old. You know, a new measure has been proposed: to introduce payments for children aged 8 to 16 who grow up in single-parent families. We all understand very well that children who grow up in such families are, unfortunately, in the most vulnerable position. This is not the last thing that we must do. Ms Golikova knows, we are working on these issues together. We will do everything step by step, but we will definitely do this. We will continue to build our programmes to support Russian families step by step.
In this case, expectant mothers who find themselves in a difficult financial situation will also be able to receive monthly payments.
Moreover, in August, as you know, we will make a one-time payment of 10,000 rubles to families with school-age children, including those who are due to start first grade on September 1. It is also clear why I mentioned this in my Address, distracting from the text: we proceed from the assumption that the labour market has not yet restored; unfortunately, unemployment is higher than the pre-crisis level, and although the trend is generally positive, the market has not restored yet. Real wages are growing slowly, but the level of Russian families’ income has still dropped during the pandemic, and families with school-age children need support in order to get their children ready for school on September 1, as they should.
The system of providing various social benefits has been set in general. However, I would like to ask you to carry out your parliamentary monitoring of each of these measures. And respond immediately if a person faces any difficulties there. You know this because you work with people closely and I often hear that, despite all the tried and tested mechanisms, including those using up-to-date tools and methods, there are still failures. If people cannot get what they are entitled to by law, it is necessary to respond as quickly as possible. Please use the entire arsenal of deputy and senatorial tools in order to quickly get to the bottom of the problem and help each and every citizen in such cases.
In the end, the analysis and synthesis of such practices help to improve the entire regulatory framework and the mechanisms used to provide any public or municipal services. The rules here must be fair and absolutely clear, and services simple and user-friendly. It is also important that they are available online and round-the-clock, which, as you know, was also mentioned in the Address.
This autumn will be a time of federal parliamentary elections and important election campaigns will be held in dozens of constituent entities of the Federation, major cities and administrative centres.
Many of you and your colleagues, current deputies of different levels, are going to take part in the election campaign. Please show respect to all your opponents, and compete fairly, transparently and in strict compliance with the law and political ethics. Here Russia should be a good example to others too. Avoid idle talk and cheap unsupported populism. You know how harmful it is.
We constantly say: populism must be avoided. However, it persists in practice. Regretfully, we forget the negative experience of the past, including of the early 1990s. Empty promises were made, just to win the voters’ support. The result is that we cannot clear up some of the issues until now. What does it mean to promise something impossible? It means to arouse expectations which are never to be fulfilled, to deceive people and create mistrust in the entire country’s political system and rock it from the inside – that’s what it means. Please, do not bring back the situation the country faced in the 1990s, be responsible and honest with the people
I am sure that responsible political forces will not let anybody act that way and Russian citizens will make their choice without servile, sometimes dangerous prompts from the outside, breeding strife in the society.
Renewal of Russian authorities can only be ensured by direct and independent expression of our citizens’ will. Only they are entitled to decide who deserves to represent them, draft and adopt the laws by which the country should live.
I hope that the tension of the election campaign and political rivalry will not disrupt the steady law-making process, will not slow it down and will not affect the quality of implementation of the plans either at the State Duma or the legislatures in the Russian Federation constituent entities.
I expect all the plans to be realised by you in a professional manner and on time, including as part of our extensive joint work on implementing the Address.
I know well that everyone present here makes such national goals a priority. Thank you for your highly responsible attitude. I wish you success in your parliamentary activity and congratulate you on the upcoming major national holiday – Victory Day.
Thank you very much for you attention.