Media Review

6 april, 2012 14:49

Rossiyskaya Gazeta: "Cabinet of Ministers discuss cultural issues"

Vladimir Putin urges his colleagues to visit Easter Festival

Vladimir Putin urges his colleagues to visit Easter Festival.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin decided to play a role in the cultural life of the Cabinet of Ministers by inviting them to attend the Easter Festival during yesterday's Government Presidium meeting.

"I urge everyone to attend the Easter Festival," he said. "We have already been to Museum Night. Let's go to this festival now. There are numerous beautiful, exciting and uplifting events included in the programme."

Meanwhile, Minister of Culture Alexander Avdeyev noted that the festival's preparations are proceeding on plan, and the festival will include major events.

Over 150 symphonic musical concerts will be held in 50 cities, and secular and church groups will perform chorus concerts in 30 cities, he added.

As his speech winded to a close, Avdeyev surprised his listeners by announcing that bell ringers will perform for the first time during the festival at 33 churches in Moscow and the Moscow Region.

"This is a major event, and we had proper funding this year," he said. "As usual, Mr Gergiyev is at his best as a manager devoted to this festival."

However, the discussion on culture did not overshadow the economic agenda. After giving the ministers his recommendations on cultural leisure, Putin suggested doubling the quota of foreign participation in insurance companies' capital from 25% to 50%. He added that their minimal charter capital requirements were increased on Jan. 1.

"This measure is supposed to increase insurance companies' financial stability and, thus, provide better protection to policyholders," he said.

Participants in the meeting also discussed shared utility payments. Putin signed a resolution according to which they will be distributed proportionate to household floor space. He stressed that the resolution sets fixed rates for at least three years.

Explaining the document's gist, Deputy Minister of Regional Development Anatoly Popov admitted that shared utility billing is unfair, as payments are only distributed among households with individual metering devices.

"This issue has been settled," Popov said. "Tariffs are divided into two parts – individual consumption and shared household consumption – which will be pro-rated among the residents of homes based on apartment size. Moreover, this only applies to the heating season. Customers will now only pay for actual consumption."

Meanwhile, the members of the Common Economic Space are continuing to improve their cooperation. Putin stressed that acting upon the "recommendations of environmental organisations, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus have decided to introduce a disposal fee for cars, including imported vehicles."

"After creating the Common Economic Space, we should coordinate such issues with our colleagues in Kazakhstan and Belarus," he said. "I have spoken with the leaders of both countries today. They have supported our decision."

Later, Putin asked the Ministry of Economic Development to negotiate this with the government's partners at the ministerial level, so as to implement this decision.

He also asked the Ministry of Communications to prepare proposals to introduce common algorithms for the computerisation of ministries and departments within the next month and to provide a performance evaluation system for each particular department over the next two months. He boasted that the UN recently ranked Russia twenty-seventh worldwide in e-government services.

But Putin noted that there are still problems to be faced at the same time. Each ministry and department has its own ideas about the computerisation of their work.

"Some do well and others lag behind, which is mostly due to the lack of clear standardised rules and the lack of coordination between such ministries and departments," he said.


The festival includes over 150 symphonic musical concerts in 50 cities.

Vitaly Petrov