Press Conferences

13 april, 2011 19:09

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks to the media following national forum of medical workers

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks to the media following  national forum of medical workers


Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. Please, go ahead.

Question: Mr Putin, this is the first time a forum like this has been held in this country. Ordinary doctors, nurses and postgraduate students have come to Moscow. The forum has dealt with very serious issues. We have just heard a tough speech from Dr. Leonid Roshal. Realistically speaking, do you think our healthcare system is desperately failing or is there hope for improvement? 

Vladimir Putin: Obviously, we are beset with problems, but it is also clear that we have made some progress – a decline in the mortality rate and an increase in the birth rate. These are medical facts. But, let me repeat that we have many problems. This is why after implementing a large-scale national health care project we have moved on to a new stage – the modernisation of our healthcare system. As I’ve mentioned many times, the government has allocated a huge sum of 460 billion roubles for this purpose. Each region is adopting its own programme for reorganising medical institutions, acquiring new equipment, training personnel and strengthening the regulatory framework.

Today’s conversation was very interesting, professional and specific. I agree with some points and object to others, but it is such an open discussion that can produce the most effective, acceptable and suitable approaches that will help us resolve problems.

I’m very pleased with today’s dialogue. The most important point is that the forum has gathered a group of concerned people to a lively discussion. This meeting was all the more urgent because we are now discussing the law on healthcare, which is a sensitive issue for the medical community. People want to know what this law will provide for because they realise that in a sense it will become (as some speakers said) a medical constitution.

I’ve heard many useful things. I’m confident that based on today’s discussion many issues will be adjusted in the course of work on the draft law (it should be sent to every region and subjected to repeated hearings in the State Duma).

Question: Mr Putin, could you please answer one more question. Regrettably, we didn’t have an opportunity to talk to you yesterday. Nonetheless, today Mykola Azarov (Ukrainian Prime Minister) told his cabinet that he agreed with you on revising gas prices for Ukraine. Is this true? Did you talk about a potential opportunity or discuss any specific figures?

Vladimir Putin: No, we did not agree to revise the pricing principles. We are proceeding from the premise that we have a contract that must be fulfilled. At the same time, our Ukrainian colleagues have repeatedly raised the issue of gas prices. This is nothing new. I promised to look at price formation for different countries. In general, it is based on the same principles for all of our partners. If our Ukrainian friends believe that the contract has some inaccuracies, we are ready to examine it again, but today we believe that the contract must be fulfilled. We are ready to read carefully the text of all of our agreements in the spirit of partnership like we did during the past year. But we haven’t agreed to revise the contract. We have agreed to analyse it once again because our colleagues insist that it has some problematic issues that we fail to see. We’ll look at the contract again with them and will think about our strategy for the long term. But let me repeat once again what must be interpreted unequivocally by all participants in the process: the current contract is valid and must be followed.

Question: Could you comment on President Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with the Chinese media? Too many comments have been made already.

Vladimir Putin: What part of it do you want me to comment on?

Remark: Whatever you choose.

Vladimir Putin: That relations between China and Russia are one of our foreign policy priorities? I fully agree with this. What else are you interested in?

Question: Could you speak about the elections?

Vladimir Putin: Elections in China or where?

Remark: Our elections in 2012.

Vladimir Putin: You know this is really a boring question because President Medvedev and I have been asked about it a hundred times in the last few years. I think by now we have learned to answer it in the same way. Let me repeat: neither of us rule out the possibility that either of us may take part in the election campaign. But we’ll proceed from the developments by the time of the elections, by the country’s economic and social conditions and political developments and will make a decision on this basis.

Of course, we must make this decision, but it’s still almost a year to go before the elections and this fuss around them doesn’t help normal organisation of work. If we give the wrong signals now, half of the administration and more than half of the government will stop working in anticipation of some changes. But in the meantime, as I’ve already said, everybody should keep toiling on his or her own plot every day with the devotion and diligence worthy of St. Francis.

We have a population of 143 million and there should be no failures in running the country, the economy and society. Everyone must work in his or her own place, and I’m determined to continue working in this way. I’d like to see all my colleagues in the government do the same.

Thank you.