Working Day

10 april, 2012 17:11

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Russian Geographical Society’s Board of Trustees in St Petersburg

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Russian Geographical Society’s Board of Trustees in St Petersburg
“Since its inception, the Russian Geographic Society has borne a powerful patriotic charge. The society’s initiatives brought together the most prominent and educated people, selfless enthusiasts and hard workers truly devoted to our Motherland.”
Vladimir Putin
At a meeting of the Russian Geographical Society’s Board of Trustees in St Petersburg

Prior to the meeting, Vladimir Putin spoke with students of the Ivanovo-Voznesensk Marine Cadet Corps who participated in last year's trans-Arctic expedition The Path of Orion, sponsored by the Russian Geographical Society. The expedition travelled across all northern seas, including those near Alaska, Canada and Greenland.

Responding to the prime minister's questions, the students said they travelled on an inflatable trimaran and covered some 10,000 km across Arctic seas. The students said the expedition was indeed difficult, but interesting. "Job well done!" Vladimir Putin said.

One of the students presented the prime minister with a report on the expedition as a memento and invited him to visit the Cadet Corps in Ivanovo. Prime Minister Putin said he would do his best to make a visit.

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Speech by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin:

Friends and colleagues, I would like to join Mr Shoigu in welcoming all members of the board of trustees who have convened in St Petersburg, the homeland of the Russian Geographic Society, today. This is a historical building, and its renovation symbolises the revival of the society. I think the building was renovated remarkably well, and I would like to thank the municipal authorities and the renovators for making this happen.

Since its inception, the Russian Geographic Society has borne a powerful patriotic charge. The society’s initiatives brought together the most prominent and educated people, selfless enthusiasts and hard workers truly devoted to our Motherland. Researchers from all branches of science, military servicemen and cultural figures were united by their love for Russia, deep concern about its fate and thoughts about it future prosperity.

Philanthropists have played a special role in promoting the activities of the Russian Geographic Society. They made possible hundreds of expeditions and research studies that contributed greatly to the development of our country, namely, Siberia, the Far East and the Central Asia, the promotion of seafaring, the study of seas and oceans, and they also gave birth to new sciences.

The new generation of the Russian Geographic Society members and trustees should be worthy of their predecessors by preserving and maintaining the society’s traditions and expanding the scope of its work. You should act in meaningful ways and bring young, talented and caring people onboard. We have many such people in Russia, and we should help them reveal their talents, fulfill their potential and make themselves available for the benefit of the nation and society. This is exactly the purpose of organisations such as the Russian Geographic Society. They open the path to civil initiatives and help solve key socio-economic problems and improve Russia’s global authority.

The Arctic Forum is one such positive example. It became another venue of international cooperation courtesy of the Russian Geographic Society. The society came up with this idea at the right moment, and the forum almost immediately became one of the most popular venues for discussing problems of the Arctic. The priorities of the Northern Sea Route were identified and the cleaning of the polar areas began largely due to its work.

This year's Arctic Forum will be held in Salekhard. Of course –  or so I hope – it will be followed up by other events, just like a number of other interesting and important initiatives by the Russian Geographic Society in the sphere of ecology and nature conservation where small research projects often serve as a base for nationwide programmes. The expedition for assessing radioactive contamination of air and water after the Fukushima accident is a prominent case in point. The first findings provided us with the necessary data about the consequences of this terrible disaster and also allowed us to adjust the environmental and fishing activities in the Russian Far East.

The Russian Geographic Society’s wildlife conservation programme is also very important. The creation of a new nature reserve of federal importance, Pozarym, combining specially protected areas in Altai, Tuva, Khakassia and southern parts of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, resulted from the Snow Leopard Programme. Another example is the leopard research project launched a couple of years ago that led to the establishment of the Leopard Land National Park in the Primorye Territory. The government resolution establishing this park was signed last week.

I can’t help mentioning the volunteer campaign to clean up the banks of Siberia's largest river – the Yenisei – attended by over 1,000 people. In addition, members of the Russian Geographic Society suggested that local authorities make this campaign an annual event and establish the Day of the Yenisei. The initiative found fertile ground, and we now have in Russia the first environmental festival launched at the regional level upon the initiative of a public organisation. I hope this will encourage other Russian regions to follow their cue and start a good new tradition.

I should mention one of the founders of reserves in our country, Ivan Borodin, who believed that conservation should be a top priority for heads of Russian provinces. He wrote that they should be aware of the natural landmarks in their respective provinces and that the loss of any of them was their personal moral responsibility. These fine words are as relevant today as ever. I would like to believe that heads of the regions will be guided by these considerations in their work and vigorously support local branches of the Russian Geographic Society in 80 Russian regions, coordinate the work of their boards of trustees and promote greater use of the society’s potential and unique resources, such as its vast potential in the field of cartography. This is one of its oldest traditional areas of work. In the middle of the 19th century, the society was recognised as an expert venue for a dialogue between the state and the departments involved in the creation of maps and topographical survey, and it also published regional atlases. Similar projects are now included in the agenda of the modern Russian Geographic Society. A set of regional natural history, environmental and, of course, educational maps are ready for printing. I would like to point out that education should remain a top priority of the Russian Geographic Society.

In general, we need to come up with more initiatives in the sphere of education. The convention of geography teachers held by the Russian Geographic Society is a case in point. We should focus on spreading print publications prepared by the society, and, of course, documentary films about Russia, its nature and people. The films that have already been made by our colleagues, and those that are only planned to be released should be among popular science films recommended for viewing at schools.

Speaking about the Russian Geographic Society’s role in the media, we should note two important facts: first, the Moya Planeta (My Planet) TV channel has become the society’s official partner and helps it promote its initiatives and projects and, secondly, the decision was made to establish cooperation between the society and Russia’s oldest popular science magazine Vokrug Sveta  (Around the World). I am confident that the work of such a professional and vibrant team of like-minded people will be very fruitful and exciting. I wish them ​​ success. The society’s board of trustees will provide all the support that you may need.

In closing, I would like to reiterate that the activities of the Russian Geographic Society can and should be more noticeable and meaningful in the lives of our state and society. I hope that the society’s programmes for this year and its long-term plans will help reach this goal. Thank you very much for your work. Thank you for your attention.

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Vladimir Putin presented eight grant awards from the Russian Geographic Society for 2012, at a meeting of the Russian Geographic Society’s Board of Trustees.

The grant recipients included:

Kirill Chistyakov, Head of the Department of Geography and Spatial Planning, St. Petersburg State University;

Nadezhda Maksutova, Chairperson of the Russian Geographic Society’s Vologda Region Department, Head of the Geography Department, Vologda State Pedagogical University;

Leonid Vasilyev, Chairman of the Russian Geographic Society’s Arkhangelsk Region Department, Head of Northern Directorate of the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring;

Alexander Lobzhanidze, Professor at the Moscow State Pedagogical University, President of the All-Russian Association of Geography Teachers; 

Yelena Inyakina, Chairperson of the Russian Geographic Society’s Tambov Region Department;

Vladimir Kotlyakov, Chairman of the National Committee of Russian Geographers, Director of the Institute of Geography at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Honourable President of the Russian Geographic Society, Academician; 

Vladimir Tikunov, Professor, Head of Complex Mapping Laboratory of the Geography Department at the Lomonosov Moscow State University;

Rojas Giovanni Abadia, student at the Humanitarian and Social Sciences Faculty at the People's Friendship University of Russia;

Vladimir Putin also presented certificates of election to the Russian Geographic Society’s Board of Trustees to Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kardo Alyans Magomed Magomedov; Chairman of the Gazprom Board Alexei Miller; and Sovcomflot General Director, Sergei Frank

In addition, Vladimir Putin presented Russian Geographic Society member and Chairman of the Lake Baikal Protection Fund Board of Trustees, Mikhail Slipenchuk, a certificate for the Lake Baikal Protection Fund affiliation with the Russian Geographic Society. 

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Closing remarks by Vladimir Putin:

Friends, I’d like to thank all of you once again for your work and for your contribution to the activities of the Russian Geographic Society. I propose that we choose one of the projects that we are funding and hold our next meeting somewhere on the expedition, perhaps on Lake Baikal or in some other location. Honestly, this place should be accessible and it should have an appropriate infrastructure. Together, we could have a look at how the work we are funding is proceeding, we could assess the results of what has been conducted recently in field conditions, and we could consider our future work as well. I think this additional event would unite us around the goal and objectives in the service of which we are working, and it would be an interesting event. If you agree, we will choose such an itinerary, determine such a location, and next time, I do not know whether in early autumn or in summer, in order for it to be comfortable… Because the experts, the researchers are very special people, they travel by foot on frozen ground, they fly, swim and travel on ships. Not all people here are so well conditioned… However it would be interesting to select one of the itineraries, travel there and see how the work is getting on. If you agree, we will choose such an itinerary. 

Thank you very much! Let us wish success to the grant recipients in their interesting and invaluable work. Thank you.