Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a government meeting
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a government meeting
Vladimir Putin’s introductory remarks:
Good afternoon, colleagues. Today, we are holding the final meeting of the incumbent government. It is my pleasure to thank you for our joint work. These words of gratitude are necessary and only fitting.
But I believe that this is not enough. Just like the overwhelming majority of countries with industrialised economies, our country has passed through extremely serious and dramatic trials, in the truest sense of the word. I know and I have seen how each of you works, and how people work who are personally responsible for the situation within economic sectors and the social sphere. And I can safely say that every government member has assumed complete responsibility, including professional and political responsibility, for the state of things within those specific sectors that you head. And I know that all of you have worked to the best of your abilities.
Of course, it has been impossible to avoid all setbacks and mistakes when it comes to such large-scale and complicated work. In some cases, we were unable to accomplish everything or to do something the way we wanted. But, on the whole, we worked steadily, and, I repeat, we worked tirelessly. I would like to thank you separately for this.
As you know, I have had some experience working for the government in previous years, though it was not very rich. As President, I devoted much of my time to socio-economic issues. But my work in the government during all these very difficult years came as a special trial. It was quite a challenge and I learned a lot from it. There were times when I had the impression that I was attending a professional development session. I would like to thank you for your patience and for your extremely tactful attitude towards our joint work. In some cases, when we had to explain something or to delve into problems, we did this tactfully, with a feeling of mutual respect, despite all difficulties and emotions involved. I can say this without any exaggeration. As I see it, we managed to preserve this extremely proper approach towards our work and our mutual relations. This, too, is very important.
Our country, you and I, have managed to prevent a repeat of the shocks of 1998. This, too, can certainly be called your achievement, to a considerable extent. This attests to the fact that the plan of anti-crisis measures drafted and advanced by the government had proved effective.
Virtually all basic sectors, including the automotive industry, the construction industry, agriculture, the defence industry and our strategic enterprises, received substantial support. The sustained operation of the banking and financial sectors was also facilitated. As a result, the economy was restored rather quickly and started to grow. Together with the regions and regional leaders, whom I would also like to thank for this, we managed to prevent a shock in the labour market, and to preserve this market as well. Thank God, Russia did not experience such a slump as is currently taking place in some countries. And this is the result of well thought-out work and the implementation of a coordinated plan to shield the labour market. I repeat, this was accomplished together with the leaders of Russian regions.
We did not cut back on our social programme, the way neighbouring countries are doing, but rather, we considerably expanded social spending volumes. We conducted the valorisation of pensions and launched large-scale programmes in the area of healthcare and education. I’m confident that they will continue, and that they will be implemented in full.
At the same time, we did not lose our sense of perspective, including development prospects and long-term plans. We did not forget about them, we did not stop working in these directions, including for the development of the infrastructure and other large-scale projects. We continued to strengthen our positions, primarily on the post-Soviet space. I have already spoken about this, and I have made some assessments, and I believe that you share my views. The creation of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space has been a major geo-political event on the post-Soviet territory since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Certainly, this success belongs jointly to us together with Kazakhstan and Belarus. Today, we have established a firm and sound foundation and a base for our subsequent development.
Support from Russian citizens has always helped us, and I’m confident that the government’s future line-up will rely on the people. We must never forget about the needs of ordinary people. We must always remember how government-level decisions influence the lives of all ordinary Russian citizens. In my opinion, the incumbent government has largely managed to ensure this approach while tackling major nationwide and regional problems. I hope this will also continue in the future. Incidentally, the incumbent government will, certainly, have to work right up until the formation of the new government. I would like to draw your attention to this, and I surmise that the heads of ministries and departments who are present here will remain vigilant until the very end.
We have a lot on the agenda today. Although this is the final government meeting, we have 17 issues to discuss, nonetheless. We simply cannot continue to draft the budget unless we approve the guidelines of the tariffs policy and the tax policy. We must also sort things out in the area of state purchases. I know that, unfortunately, the concerned departments have not entirely managed to reach an agreement, but this is a normal working process. We will discuss this in greater detail today.
Thank you very much once again.
Let’s get to work.