From the Kremlin
Meeting with State Duma leaders and party faction heads
At the Kremlin, in the St Catherine Hall, the President met with the leaders of the State Duma and the heads of party factions in the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
The meeting was attended by State Duma deputy speakers Alexander Zhukov, Ivan Melnikov, Alexander Babakov, Alexei Gordeyev, Vladislav Davankov, Sholban Kara-ool, Anna Kuznetsova, Sergei Neverov, Pyotr Tolstoy, Boris Chernyshov and Irina Yarovaya; heads of political parties represented in the State Duma Vladimir Vasilyev (United Russia), Gennady Zyuganov (Communist Party of the Russian Federation), Sergei Mironov (A Just Russia – For Truth), Alexei Nechayev (New People), Leonid Slutsky (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia), as well as State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino and First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, Mr Volodin.
The State Duma’s spring session ended yesterday, July 6, and all deputies – I want to emphasise this – all parties made a significant contribution to the overall results.
I believe the results of your work were dignified, important and significant for the people, the entire Russian state and for protecting our national interests and ensuring the sovereign, sustainable and effective development of the country.
This Duma session was rich in events and intense work and was very important given the scale and complexity of the tasks at hand. After February 24, when the special military operation began, all the country’s branches and levels of government needed to act decisively, as a team and quickly.
Today, I want to thank you for working like that: in a collected and competent manner and at a fast pace. I believe all parties have confirmed their political viability and maturity and acted in a consolidated and cohesive manner like true statesmen and patriots of Russia, for whom inter-party disagreements fade into the background in difficult conditions. We have many parties, but one Motherland, and there is nothing more important and loftier than the fate of the Fatherland.
You have passed many resolutions and laws that significantly strengthen our system of social support and provide additional protection for our people. This was not just about the advanced indexation of pensions, which is important, an increase in the subsistence level and the minimum wage – all this was done without bureaucratic red tape and delays, in a clear and professional manner; but it was also about new measures on support for families with children, the extension and expansion of the mechanism for subsidised mortgage loans and additional guarantees for our heroic military personnel. There were also many other important decisions – I will not list all of them now since you know them as well and probably better than I do, because you created them yourselves.
I would like to acknowledge and thank every parliamentary party for the organised humanitarian support of the people of Donbass. I am talking about all parliamentary parties because the media has covered this work in different ways, but I know from my reports that all of you have been taking an active part in this.
I know that many deputies have taken an official holiday and gone to the zone of hostilities in order to provide help personally, often at the real risk of their lives. They went to help organise the distribution of food, medications, and basic necessities and quickly set up humanitarian aid centres. Some of your colleagues are still there, working as volunteers. This proactive, selfless effort is truly vital and greatly needed.
I would like to mention separately that given the rapidly changing situation, the State Duma, in cooperation with the Government, continuously upgraded a series of measures to support the backbone sectors of the Russian economy and working teams of companies, including small and medium-sized businesses, the IT-industry and other vital areas.
As a result, we have managed to preserve macroeconomic stability, which is crucial for the economy, to support employment, the normal rhythm of retail trade and economic life in the regions in general, the main transport and logistics chains, to expand the freedom of entrepreneurship, and enhance protection of businesses from excessive administrative pressure and unjustified criminal prosecution. I know that much still needs to be done in this respect but overall, we have done a good job.
In a short time, as soon as in early March, several packages of anti-sanction measures were introduced in close contact with the Government. Thanks to these packages, the consequences of the Western countries’ unfriendly and clearly hostile actions were minimised. Indeed, we understand and know this, we see that these illegal measures against Russia are clearly creating difficulties for us, but not as great as the initiators of this economic blitzkrieg against Russia were counting on.
Clearly, they tried to do more than just hit the Russian economy hard. Their goal was to sow discord and confusion in our society and to demoralise people. But here too, they failed since nothing came of it, and I am sure nothing ever will.
In this regard, the example of the Russian parliament as the highest representative body is quite telling. The policy of the parliament is based on the will of the people of Russia, our firm position and conviction that we are on the right side of history, on the unwavering resolve of the vast majority of the country’s citizens to uphold Russia’s sovereignty and to help our people in Donbass. This is what underlies the policy of our state in general.
The so-called collective West led by the United States has been extremely aggressive towards Russia for decades. Our proposals to create a system of equal security in Europe have been rejected. Initiatives for cooperation on the issue of missile defence were rejected. Warnings about the unacceptability of NATO expansion, especially at the expense of the former republics of the Soviet Union, were ignored. Even the idea of Russia’s possible integration into this North Atlantic alliance at the stage of our, as it seemed then, cloudless relations with NATO, apparently, seemed absurd to its members.
Why? Just because they do not need a country like Russia, that is why. That is why they supported terrorism and separatism in Russia, and internal destructive forces and a ‘fifth column’ in our country. All of them are still receiving unconditional support from the collective West.
We are being told, we hear some people say that we started the war in Donbass, in Ukraine. No, the war was unleashed by the collective West, which organised and supported the unconstitutional armed coup in Ukraine in 2014, and then encouraged and justified genocide against the people of Donbass. The collective West is the direct instigator and the culprit of what is happening today.
If the West wanted to provoke a conflict in order to move on to a new stage in the fight against Russia and a new stage in containing our country, we can say that it has succeeded to a certain extent. A war was unleashed, and the sanctions were imposed. Under normal circumstances, it would probably be difficult to accomplish this.
But here is what I would you like to make clear. They should have realised that they would lose from the very beginning of our special military operation, because this operation also means the beginning of a radical breakdown of the US-style world order. This is the beginning of the transition from liberal-globalist American egocentrism to a truly multipolar world based not on self-serving rules made up by someone for their own needs, behind which there is nothing but striving for hegemony, not on hypocritical double standards, but on international law and the genuine sovereignty of nations and civilisations, on their will to live their historical destiny, with their own values and traditions, and to align cooperation on the basis of democracy, justice and equality.
Everyone should understand that this process cannot be stopped. The course of history is inexorable, and the collective West’s attempts to impose its new world order on the rest of the world are doomed.
At the same time, I want to say and emphasise that we have many supporters, including in the United States and Europe, and even more so on other continents and in other countries. And there will be more, no doubt about that.
To reiterate, even in the countries that are still satellites of the United States, there is a growing understanding that their ruling elites’ blind obedience to their overlord, as a rule, does not necessarily coincide with their national interests, and most often simply and even radically contradicts them. Eventually, everyone will have to face this growing sentiment in society.
Today, these ruling elites are raising the degree to which they manipulate the public consciousness right before our eyes. The ruling classes of the Western countries, which are supranational and globalist in nature, realised that their policies are increasingly detached from reality, common sense and the truth, and they have started resorting to openly despotic methods.
The West, which once declared such principles of democracy as freedom of speech, pluralism and respect for dissenting opinions, has now degenerated into the opposite: totalitarianism. This includes censorship, media bans, and the arbitrary treatment of journalists and public figures.
These kinds of prohibitions have been extended not only to the information space, but also to politics, culture, education, and art – to all spheres of public life in the Western countries. And, they are imposing this on the world; they are trying to impose this model, a model of totalitarian liberalism, including the notorious cancel culture of widespread bans.
However, the truth and reality is that the people in most of these countries do not want this life or this future, and really do not want the formal semblance of sovereignty, they want substantive, real sovereignty and are simply tired of kneeling, of humiliating themselves before those who consider themselves exceptional, and of serving their interests even to their own detriment.
Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. Well, what can I say? Let them try. We have already heard a lot about the West wanting to fight us ”to the last Ukrainian.“ This is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but that seems to be where it is going. But everyone should know that, by and large, we have not started anything in earnest yet.
At the same time, we are not rejecting peace talks, but those who are rejecting them should know that the longer it goes on, the harder it will be for them to negotiate with us.
Our patriotic state approach is fully reflected in the work of the State Duma; in fact, it determines the entire legislative and political agenda. This is the way it should be in a democratic and truly independent state.
I am convinced that for Russia’s leading parties, a concern for the good of our country and our people, for the people who voted for you, who entrusted you with the high status of lawmaker, and who expect honest, diligent service and the adoption of effective, fair and deeply thought-out legislative acts from a parliamentary body, has been and will remain paramount. It is the people who will give their unbiased assessment of each party, including during the next regional and municipal elections in September.
I hope that the election campaigns will not harm the approach of partnership that we see here in the eighth convocation of the State Duma.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Please, the floor is yours.
State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin: Mr President, colleagues.
Mr President, I would like to say thank you. Despite your busy schedule, you always give attention to the State Duma’s agenda and we can always discuss it with you, as we are doing today at this round table.
But I want to start – and I think my colleagues will support me – by saying thank you on behalf of all the deputies for your decision to recognise the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic, as well as your decision to launch the special military operation. We all believe that, if it had not been for those decisions, there would have been a humanitarian catastrophe and a huge number of people would have died.
And today, when we are talking about the work of the State Duma, we see it as our duty and priority to do all we can for our soldiers and officers, to provide their families with care, attention and, of course, create, within our capacities, a legislative framework to overcome the challenges that our country is facing.
As many as 11,160 sanctions have been imposed on Russia. No other state has ever faced so many challenges. Therefore, for us it is a moment of truth. We must see our work differently and, as you rightly said, today we have only one party, which is our country. The interests of the Motherland must be superior to any party programmes, and we aspire to achieve that.
Since January, we have adopted 361 new laws, 35 percent of which are of social significance. This is more than in previous years, despite the fact that, to act promptly, we had to hand over authority to the Government. We could not do otherwise in the current situation. The number of directly applicable laws is growing, as per your instruction to the State Duma. Today 63.4 percent of the laws that have been adopted are immediately applicable laws. Obviously, they deal with people’s problems more effectively.
Before they are adopted, the laws are open for discussion, as a measure to improve the quality of our decisions. Therefore, it is extremely important for us to ensure that the State Duma takes effective decisions that respond to the current developments.
The summer holidays will begin soon, and deputies will work in the regions. We plan to approach this in a different way than we did before. On the one hand, we will try to pay more attention to our voters by working in the regions and solving problems that people face. On the other hand, we will use this summer time to prepare for the autumn session and to work on draft laws on import substitution and the creation of new Russian technologies together with the Government.
And, of course, given the problems and the situation in our fraternal republics – Lugansk and Donetsk – and with regard to the requests made by our colleague deputies, we have agreed to help them with creating a legal framework to deal with the issues of healthcare, education and social protection.
They visited us several weeks ago and we discussed joint work within relevant committees so that such lawmaking assistance will be provided by creating model laws and harmonising legislation, so that they will have a legal framework to address these issues. So, this summer will be quite an important time for us.
We believe that it is necessary, in view of the current challenges, to restructure the way in which we work and we plan to start doing this, together with all parliamentary parties and relevant committees, when the deputies start working in the regions on Monday.
I want to thank you, Mr President, once again for all these decisions. We feel that there is dialogue and feedback. Your support is crucial for us.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you, Mr Volodin.
Please, Mr Zyuganov, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.
Head of the CPRF faction Gennady Zyuganov: Mr President,
This Duma started its work by taking its cues from the address you gave here in the Kremlin Palace. I am focusing on your address because it contains five main goals that this country should achieve: first of all, to become one of the five most advanced countries – and we have the necessary wherewithal for that – then to stop depopulation and impoverishment and do whatever we can to acquire cutting-edge technologies.
But during four out of the past ten months, we have had to live with a military-political operation, which is crucial from every point of view. We fully support your decision to this effect, because what is at stake is the survival of the Russian world. We must stop US globalism, which is attempting to dictate its terms to the rest of the world. Moreover, we must do whatever we can to prevent Nazism and Banderaism from spreading across Europe.
Last time, when fascism and Nazism engulfed the whole of Europe, mankind paid the cost of 71 million lives, 27 million of which were the lives of the best sons and daughters of the great Soviet homeland.
I made it a point to visit the economic forum in St Petersburg, where I followed closely your remarks and jotted down 26 statements. I felt, perhaps for the first time, that we are on the same page for every issue you identified.
I noticed even earlier, when you were addressing the Valdai Club, that you said: Yes, capitalism is at a dead-end. Macron used even tougher language, saying that it [capitalism] has gone mad. We see it run mad in the citadel of capitalism, England, and we must do our utmost to prevent the people, who have not only gone mad but have also decided to continue dictating their terms, from igniting a great war.
In this connection, our team has drawn up a “victory programme”: 12 laws and a development budget. We did our best to formulate the key measures and show in practice that these problems can be successfully solved.
As for the military-political operation, we have always called for recognising the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, Crimea and Sevastopol. I must inform you that the executive committee [of the movement] of left-wing patriotic forces held a meeting earlier today, and that each and every one of its 132 organisations across the planet, which celebrated, along with us, the anniversary of the Great October Revolution and are now preparing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the USSR, all of them have supported our political line. We believe this is our common victory.
In fact, I have talked with you many times, and I am very glad that you have strengthened our eastern wing: your trip to Beijing and India, as well as constant consultations within BRICS and efforts to expand this organisation. This very powerful counterweight to the Anglo-Saxon idea of crushing us and then dealing away with China is gaining more and more support. I am sure that if you prepare an executive order – I believe my colleagues in the State Duma will support us – we should celebrate the 100th anniversary of the formation of the USSR as a great national holiday, because then we fought the first battle against those aggressors who tried to enslave and destroy us.
It seems to me that today the tougher mobilisation of resources for implementing the programme you have outlined is an acute issue. We have all tools for this.
We have a well-developed programme for new industrialisation and innovations. I presented to you the programme of a new university created by Zhores Alferov, which today shows examples of how to train students of the future.
Now we were all watching your meeting with the future leaders. Look, what faces, what interesting young people, what glorious ideas they suggest! After all, they are born everywhere, and in this regard, we are ready to actively promote this idea in Novosibirsk, developing the second phase of Akademgorodok. You were there and authorised this. Our mayor, Anatoly Lokot, took up this idea. In our team, in our parliamentary party, every third person has a scientific degree, like Ivan Melnikov, and every second person in the party leadership does too.
The idea of creating our own cutting-edge technology has been supported greatly by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. He has allocated an additional 100 billion for the development of electronics and robotics. And now the goal of developing domestic aviation is of special importance for us.
We also developed the New Virgin Lands programme, which you submitted to the State Council, and Vladimir Kashin together with Nikolai Kharitonov and Nikolai Kolomeitsev worked on this programme. Over the last two years, we have added 28 percent in agricultural machine-building. In fact, this happened after you gave a direct instruction to the Government at the State Council meeting. I believe that we can cope with this challenge very effectively.
I went to our famous Kirov Plant; Germans came to visit, too; they were gushing over how quickly we had localised production and started manufacturing modern high-class machines.
Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, Tatarstan will hold a big festival celebrating friendship among nations. We took a public enterprise there, Kazankovskoye, similar to Pavel Grudinin’s Lenin State Farm. We will show 100 types of Russian-produced equipment and demonstrate how we can operate in modern conditions without driving up prices and still producing food products of a very high quality.
I believe that, if we could promote this idea nationwide and build at least one public enterprise in every district, we would be able to fill up our markets with affordable high-quality products, and food will be our priority and litmus test.
By the way, you set a goal of harvesting 130 million tonnes of grain this year. I believe this task is absolutely realistic, especially if my colleagues actively support the New Virgin Lands programme in the three-year budget that we are already working on.
And the new style and your idea: deadlocked? Capitalists are not only deadlocked. They are going mad. There is only one antidote because capitalism only creates Nazism, fascism and Bandera movements. Nothing but socialism can defeat it.
That is why I expect that in your next speech you will set socialist goals. I think even United Russia will support it. Vyacheslav Volodin is smiling, I can see he likes the idea. He chairs major hearings on the main issues at the State Duma. One of the recent ones was a brilliant session on education. We are ready to put our law on education into practice for everybody.
And look, you supported Andrei Klychkov to govern my home region, the Orel Region. Thank you, it is a matter of principle to me. My entire home region is scarred up. There are 800 mass graves; more than 400,000 of the best people are buried there who were breaking the back of the Nazi beast during the defence of Orel-Kursk.
This year, the Orel Region, which is not a black-earth area, will produce 6 tonnes of grain per capita. Six tonnes is the best harvest in our country. We have doubled the budget in Khakassia over the three years, the only Siberian region to do so. And even those who are called oligarchs are happy to pay taxes. They say they do not steal and instead do business, support people and lend a hand to children of war.
By the way, 44 regions have already adopted a law on children of war. I hope that you will support other regions as well. This issue has been around for a long time.
We will organise a Red Route in Ulyanovsk with our Chinese friends. They are holding their 20th congress this year and preparing a programme for the next 30 years. It will bring significant profit, 10–12 million. We are renovating the Lenin Memorial Museum there. There is also an excellent programme on advanced technology and aircraft engineering.
Our parliamentary party will therefore actively support all the main tasks in this context.
But above all else, we need to provide maximum support for the special military operation. We have sent 97 convoys, 15,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Donbass. We are helping the children to the greatest possible extent. We have accommodated 10,500 children at your business administration’s holiday hotel in Snegiri. We are now actively preparing another batch of aid. I should say that your Executive Office is hard at work there.
We have many interesting people there who have achieved a lot at production facilities, who are quite tough, and who are absolutely pro-Russian because the fight against Russophobia is becoming particularly topical nowadays. However, persons with anti-Soviet views are more Russophobic than the rest. I would like to ask you, and we have already stated this viewpoint: unfortunately, Russian culture and media outlets provide too much anti-Soviet information, and we need to stop this. It is a complete disgrace because humankind has no other experience except that of Russian-Soviet patriotism and victory over Nazism. We consider this to be highly important.
In this connection, I would like to ask you once again to revisit this note, including a pardon for some of our comrades who have been punished. I believe that this is illegal. Please tell us to reexamine this issue together with Mr Vaino and Mr Kiriyenko. We will find the relevant solutions that are now virtually available.
The consolidation of society and support is the main issue today. We will support your address and your policy to strengthen national security and unity in a joint fight against Nazism, the supporters of Bandera and American globalism. This is a matter of principle and our historical survival.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.
I have no doubts that members of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation are sticking precisely to this position. Regarding the socialist idea, there is nothing bad about it. We should flesh out this idea, especially in the economic sphere. Some countries have given it substance, and this is linked with market regulation forms, etc. This idea is working quite effectively. We need to look into this.
Regarding the involvement of the state, the relevant debate focuses on the extent of such involvement and its forms. We should see how the state should regulate its economic activities. We will certainly address this during our discussions and debates. I assume that we will find these solutions, while realising that the interests of the people and the country are at stake.
Thank you very much.
Mr Slutsky, go ahead please.
Head of the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia faction Leonid Slutsky: Mr President,
On April 6, our party the LDPR, the country and the entire Russian world sustained an irretrievable loss – the death of the founder and only leader the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia has had, Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Thank you very much for your condolences.
I am meeting you in a new position today for the first time. Thank you very much for your consent to a brief separate meeting. I will report to you on a consolidated request of the State Duma Speaker and all parliamentary parties’ leaders to honour the memory of Vladimir Zhirinovsky. We believe this is very important today for our society, for all those who remember Vladimir Zhirinovsky. He was a great figure and, as we are seeing, his forecasts and estimates are coming true and will continue coming true in the near future.
Thank you, Mr President, for your personal trust in appointing me one of the four negotiators on Ukraine. You repeated today what I have said more than once and mentioned recently to our counterparts in Kiev. It would seem we had come to terms on the entire humanitarian package, with the exception of a law on heroes – they wouldn’t give up on Bandera and Shukhevich. But unfortunately, they reverted back to their initial positions. I said more than once that it would be more difficult, much more difficult further on.
As for the LDPR, I am grateful for the support from 300,000 – in fact a bit more of our party members at the congress. The delegates in all branches voted unanimously for me as the Chairman of the party. This is an enormous responsibility.
For us, this session is very difficult but effective nonetheless. We submitted at it several dozen draft laws (some of them have already been passed): on the payment of the 13th pension to pensioners; the return of inflation-adjusted pensions for working pensioners; the increase of the minimum wage to 20,000 rubles; zero tax for individuals making under double the minimum wage; progressive taxation; reimbursement of half of all housing and utility fees for combat veterans, to name a few.
I must say that today is not the time for party differences. Today we must consolidate society and remove rather than draw dividing lines between political forces with a view to supporting the national economy and social obligations.
There is no doubt that sanctions and restrictions against us will stall. In fact, they have already stalled.
Two years ago, as Chair of the State Duma International Committee, I addressed the sensible politicians of the world urging them to abandon sanctions and restrictions as a crude practice, as something atavistic and archaic in modern politics. More than 60 national leaders responded, as well as UN Secretary-General António Guterres (he recently visited Moscow), with whom we are now actively discussing Ukraine, and they supported my statement. Now we see the opposite happening.
At the same time, you are absolutely right when you say that a reverse process is under way: European politicians, including the European parliament members, in almost every country with almost no exceptions (no exaggeration here), in Asia, Africa and Latin America, more and more politicians, public figures, representatives of academia and science are saying that the approaches used against Russia today are warped and threaten the stability of the global architecture that should have become stable and secure by now.
We proceed from our understanding that the world order must remain multipolar, as it was determined after World War II when the United Nations with its dominant role was established. At the same time, Washington keeps trying to break into the Security Council. Unfortunately, it has prevailed on a number of dossiers. I am certain that we will be able to achieve our goal with the colleagues who support us. That includes BRICS, the countries accounting for one-third of the world’s GDP. They are against a unipolar world where Washington can be the only pole of power. No matter how desperately our “strategic friends” in the West keep scrabbling, it will be in vain. In this context, I would like to support your statements.
LDPR, which includes people of different ages, faiths and walks of life, unanimously supported the special military operation in Ukraine. We send out big teams of volunteers. We also provide humanitarian assistance. I will report in more detail at a separate meeting. I should say that right now, there is nothing more important than helping these courageous people who, for eight years, have been the targets of bombs with “For the children of Donbass” written on them, solely because they wanted to remain part of the Russian world and continue to speak and teach their children in a language that had been a mother tongue to many generations before them.
Mr President, the ideas you put forward 10 years ago, in 2012, are more relevant today than ever. Vladimir Zhirinovsky repeatedly quoted them in his speeches. Back then, you came out with a major policy article “Russia and the Changing World” in which you said that we must increase our cultural and humanitarian presence around the world by orders of magnitude and increase it by an order of magnitude in places where they speak Russian or understand Russian. This has not been done in full yet.
Today, we are asking the Government to support, at a breakthrough level, relevant federal programmes to promote the Russian world and the Russian language as its cementing foundation. I am confident that we can make it work, even though we are moving towards this goal rather slowly. Given the circumstances, it makes sense, perhaps, to step up our efforts in this area.
In 2012, you came out with another major policy essay titled “Social Policy: Building Justice for Russia,” which we also supported back then and in subsequent years. There is an excellent section in it, “Preservation of Russia.” Mr President, you wrote that if our ethnic, migration and demographic policies remain sluggish, we – one-sixth of the planet’s land, but only 2 percent of the world’s population – we run the risk of becoming, I quote, “an empty space, the fate of which will be decided by someone else.” Of course, it will not be that way.
We need to take back thousands of people – this was mentioned during recent world congresses of our compatriots – who are registered with our foreign missions and are willing to come back. It is imperative to create clusters with excellent health care and education – we can afford it – with jobs and take our people back. This is the right time for doing so.
Now the spirit of St George’s Ribbon is simply flying in the air above the entire Russian world, no matter how far away people live from Moscow. It is necessary to support their desire to return home. To achieve this, we must take certain measures that were drafted long ago. It is simply necessary to strengthen relevant federal departments with state support mechanisms.
No war and no cutting-edge weapons can knock us down. I will say without excessive pathos that we are the most combat-ready power in the world. But we may be knocked down if the education of our youth is eroded.
We conducted a questionable experiment on ourselves with the Bologna education system in 1999. We adopted it quickly but now we have to quit very gradually.
Owing to Mr Volodin, our Speaker, we held fundamental parliamentary hearings. Rector of Moscow University Viktor Sadovnichy, our living legend, also took the floor. I have the honour to head as President the Faculty of Global Politics in his university as a public service.
I must say that we should consistently move in this direction and restore the world’s best educational system where representatives of political and business elites from over a hundred countries received their education.
This won’t take too much time. We started working towards this end and I would like to report to you on this and to ask for your support. Nothing is more important than the comprehensive education of our successors.
Thank you very much for your initiative and all-round support for the Sirius Centre. Now it is not just a centre but also Sirius Territory. But this is just a part of what should be done in this area.
We will work as the LDPR and its parliamentary party in close cooperation, as we are doing now, with other parties to resolve the issues on our current agenda. We will work intensively – this is all-important today – to enhance our national economy and the social sphere and implement our national projects.
I would like to thank the Government for maintaining close and effective cooperation with the State Duma as never before. We represent a party of constructive opposition and are ready to engage in work that is coordinated as well as possible given today’s difficult times. We are aware of the serious responsibility that lies with us.
Thank you very much for the importance you are attaching today to parliamentarianism. We will continue to work.
Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
You began your speech with a reference to Vladimir Zhirinovsky. I fully agree with you that Vladimir Zhirinovsky was not only an outstanding politician but also a multifaceted person who had broad knowledge. This explains some of his prophecies that are coming true. They did not emerge out of nowhere, nor did he read cards, but rather his predictions were based on knowledge and the understanding of the course a situation was taking and its probable outcome.
Most importantly, Vladimir Zhirinovsky was undoubtedly a patriot of Russia. This is absolutely clear. All his activities were built precisely on this platform.
They say the Liberal Democratic Party has always been a one-man, one-leader party. As I see it, this party has its own ideological platform. Of course, Mr Slutsky, it will not be easy for you because there is no denying the fact – let us be straightforward – that everyone is likely to compare your style of work with that of Vladimir Zhirinovsky. I know that you have a style of your own.
No matter what style you have, the overall approach to everything that has to do with Russia’s interests remains the same. This is extremely important. I wish you every success in your work. We will discuss details at our bilateral meeting.
Mr Mironov, please go ahead.
Head of Just Russia-For Truth party faction Sergei Mironov:
Let me start off by thanking you for keeping the good tradition of convening the State Duma leaders and party faction heads after the session.
Thank you for highly praising the State Duma’s work. Indeed, all parties represented in the State Duma stand united when it comes to legislative support, anti-sanction efforts and the special military operation.
I have several proposals and brief points to make. I will start with matters related to the special military operation.
Our faction submitted a draft law to give the same status to the people’s militia of the DPR and the LPR and all other militias as our servicemen. This includes social protection and service pay and their future status as war veterans. Here, I believe it is important to do the same for the border guards who serve in the Belgorod, Kursk, Bryansk, Voronezh and Rostov regions, because in fact they are actual participants of the special military operation.
The integration process is underway, and much remains to be done. I think the right thing to do now would be to create a dedicated agency or a commission to coordinate the activities of all ministries that will engage in integration processes for new constituent entities that are about to join the Russian Federation.
I reported to you on the situation in the Kharkov region, in particular, in the town of Izyum. I would be remiss not to express my gratitude to Mr Kiriyenko who travelled to these towns for an on-site inspection.
I have a proposal to include residents of the Kharkov region in your Executive Order of April 24 which covers the simplified procedure for granting Ukrainian citizens the citizenship of the Russian Federation.
As far as customs regulations are concerned – I reported to you on that as well – certain measures have been taken. However, we introduced a special draft law that introduces customs regulations for goods transported across the Russian border to the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Lugansk People’s Republic and Ukraine in general that is similar to customs regulations with the EAEU countries.
Mr President, as has been customary since 2009, combat veterans gathered on Poklonnaya Hill on July 1. Those are veterans from the era before Afghanistan. As we know, there was Korea, Algeria, Egypt, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, Angola, Ethiopia and Syria. After Afghanistan, there was Yugoslavia, Georgia, the former Soviet republics, Tajikistan, Karabakh, and again Syria. Now, a special military operation.
The combat veterans propose making July 1 a formal Combat Veterans Day and putting this date on our holiday calendar.
Now, on to several unresolved issues and questions regarding the socioeconomic situation in our country.
You issued instructions – Mr Slutsky mentioned them – that the Government should do something about adjusting the pensions of working pensioners. So far, no decision has been made and working pensioners – about 7 million of them – are eagerly anticipating one.
Price control. You set this task both with regard to foodstuffs and medicines. There are concrete proposals. By the way, our party’s group in parliament has submitted respective legislative proposals on everything I am speaking about. A while back we made a great decision concerning retail trade and retail chains: we cancelled the so-called marketing levies, and immediately the prices somewhat stabilised.
The same story is unfolding in the chemist shops, regretfully. Medication suppliers have to pay this marketing levy which is naturally included in the price of the medications. It doesn’t really suit people’s budgets.
There is a proposal to bring down the added-value tax to five percent on socially important food products, children’s goods, medications and books.
We also raised the issue of the limit on people’s own expenses on utilities bills. The general federal standard is 22 percent, in Moscow it is ten percent, in many constituent entities of the Federation – 15 percent or other different numbers. We still propose to set a federal standard so that people do not pay more than 15 percent on utilities bills. We made calculations with the Finance Ministry – it requires 25.5 billion roubles.
There is a proposal to establish a so-called alimony fund. I think all of the MPs present here get a lot of mail, and as a rule, it comes from women. They are unable to find hapless fathers who flee, do not pay child support and the women do not have means to take care of the child. Here is the proposal, and there is a respective initiative: let the government pay average alimony, it will be easier for the state to find the debtor, get him over the barrel and demand from him everything he owes, so that women and children do not suffer.
And one more proposal. Thank you for introducing the first graduated income tax as of January 1, 2021. Those who earn over five million rubles pay a 15 percent tax. I am going to give you the numbers – the Finance Ministry expected to collect 60 billion rubles but it got 82.5 billion, 30 percent more. There is more room to grow.
We have submitted a bill. Those with an income of over 50 million rubles per year should pay 18 percent whereas those who get wages below minimum wage level (unfortunately, there are such wages) should be exempted from income tax.
Mr President, I request a brief conversation with you after the meeting.
Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much for your proposals.
Concerning equating DPR and LPR servicemen and Russian servicemen, I fully support this. Moreover, it is being implemented in practice, and if some matters are not yet streamlined, we need to look into it and get it done by all means.
This also concerns our border guards. The Federal Security Service came up with such a proposal, and I agree with it. We will also speak about the other issues.
Thank you very much.
Please, Mr Nechayev.
Head of the New People parliamentary party Alexei Nechayev: Mr President,
From day one, I have supported your decision on the special military operation in Ukraine, and I think it is motivated not only by concern for the residents of Donbass and the citizens of Russia, but also this decision gives Russia back its place in history – a country, a nation that shows other countries and nations what real sovereignty is, what real freedom is in the modern world, and thereby changes this world. Sovereignty in all spheres: social, political, military and economic.
Now we can see, despite the difficulties we had especially during the first months, that in general – my fellow industrialists tell me – many chains have been restored, the situation has become more stable, and people have begun to think that there are new opportunities, to think about development. Although the era of capitalism is coming to an end, capital itself remains. People have started to think about long money.
We are now working with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to prepare packaged solutions for financing high-quality, medium-sized Russian companies. RDIF’s funds will be used for their development and will be ready for investment both in the form of convertible loans and as a direct capital contribution. The first few pilot projects have already been selected.
One of them is the production of kitchenware. The company was developing as it was – without additional funding. But now we can see that in the next year or two the company will be able to make the same leap in the market – both domestic and foreign – as it would in five years if it developed without capital. There are a lot of examples like that. I think that if you promote this idea and if you support such medium-size companies, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and RDIF will hear such a signal.
But of course we see, and of course you know, that the elites of Anglo-Saxon countries have introduced prohibitive duties of up to 35 percent on our Russian goods, turning a blind eye to the agreements previously reached under the WTO. We have not yet responded in any way to these countries. Maybe it is time to introduce mirror duties. It is a long procedure because we are members of the EAEU: we will have to agree on it, but the sooner we start, the sooner we could introduce them.
There are also such things as Poland, for example. Poland has simply grabbed business, property, goods and money from about 50 our companies – you know this well. It is interesting that simultaneously with the official part of such attacks on us and this piratical robbery they introduced unofficial ones as well. There are also several companies that used to sell their goods in Poland well. Now all the networks are refusing them and not paying for goods already delivered. Piracy is not only taking place at the state level but also at the level of economic entities. Probably, some kind of Anglo-Saxon DNA has settled in Poland as well.
Interestingly, Poland is a location area for the production sites of many multinational corporations from unfriendly countries. It is a place where they manufacture goods for the entire CIS and Eastern Europe. As Gleb Zheglov would say, they have a rookery of these production sites – TNCs. Maybe, let’s introduce an embargo on goods manufactured in Poland, based on the commodity groups that we also manufacture in Russia. We are ready to prepare this list together with the Ministry of Industry and trade and other relevant ministries, if in general the time for this idea has come or maybe will come soon. Our companies are prepared now and ready to respond.
Mr President, thank you very much for your speech at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. It inspired a lot of people. Among other things, you said that it is necessary to give more freedom to entrepreneurs and reduce the number of criminal cases based on economic criminal law.
We have not changed the parameters for determining the transition from administrative responsibility to criminal responsibility depending on the amount of damage for over 10 years. No one says and I do not suggest that we should be irresponsible but there are absurdities in a number of cases.
For example, article 180 of the Criminal Code on counterfeiting. In it, major damage is punishable by fines and community service for up to two years, correctional labour for up to two years and imprisonment for up to two years with a fine. In this context, major damage in this statute is defined as 250,000 rubles. This is real money but maybe it is already possible to adjust it and maybe in general we should take a look considering the new conditions: after all, 250,000 rubles of damage is probably from some past life already. Of course, no one is talking about irresponsibility, there is just an administrative form and it may be sufficient.
Back in May we drafted a relevant law, received a positive assessment from the Supreme Court and since May 19 have been waiting for the Government’s response. So far, we have not received any. This decision does not require that extra funds be allocated by the Government. Quite the opposite, it will allow detention centres to reduce prison overcrowding, if necessary, and will boost confidence in many people, particularly honest people who have committed mistakes. We are not afraid of making mistakes and being charged with an administrative offence is better than with a criminal one.
I am asking you to instruct the Government to take decision as soon as possible. The Government might also remember that you talked about this at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Mr President, last autumn I told you about a plan to develop a nationwide youth education programme, I Am In Business – we did it. The programme was launched in 62 regions across Russia six months ago. Over this six-month period we have trained 10,000 students and we will train another 40,000 in the second half of the year. Next year, we plan to reach to 200,000 university students and about 300,000 students from vocational education colleges and schools.
Both the Ministry of Education and Science, and Rosmolodezh (the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs) are helping us a lot in carrying out this programme. We plan to team up with them to hold a major Russian national education forum in November in one of the regions. We are discussing if Tomsk or Yekaterinburg might host the forum. We invite you to take part in this event in any format that is convenient for you – by attending it in person or online, because it is very important to young people to know what you think of what they are doing. They are building their businesses here in Russia and, of course, they need support and encouragement.
We are not going to confine ourselves to Russia only. Recently we met with members of parliament from the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, and agreed to cooperate, including in education, and invite young people from these republics to join the I Am In Business programme. They also need youth brimming with enthusiasm – those who will be building a peaceful life in the future. We will support them.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you. Thank you for your proposals.
The floor is yours, Mr Vasilyev.
Head of the United Russia parliamentary party faction Vladimir Vasilyev: Thank you very much for this opportunity, Mr President.
My colleagues and I highly value today’s meeting. Yesterday, while summarising the results of the work of the Government, Mr Zyuganov spoke about several issues that we assess differently, and my colleagues spoke about them today as well. He said that we have this wonderful opportunity to meet with you and discuss these issues together while listening to each other and your position.
I listened carefully to my colleagues and want to begin with the fact that you mentioned previously that our people can, in a remarkable way, define justice and make the right decisions. When elections to this parliament were held, certain events had not yet happened, but even then, people made the absolutely correct decision.
Today, parliament showed that the test of political maturity in this very complex situation has been passed. Decisions were made that allowed the launch of the special military and political operation, and the passage of legal resolutions on acknowledging the Donbass republics, which, as we see now, has changed the global geopolitical situation, let alone what is happening now in our country. My colleagues have already spoken about this, I can only agree with them.
We have a huge potential, and my comrades, in particular, Mr Zyuganov, spoke about it today. He provided examples and said that we could make big strides forward. In particular, the New Virgin Lands programme.
Firstly, what has been done in agriculture commands respect. The Committee on Agriculture is headed by a representative of the Communist Party. By the way, our Deputy Speaker Mr Gordeyev has vast experience in this area and has been working on it.
I believe that through such joint work both with the Government, with which we are in constant contact, and with the Prime Minister, we can develop solutions that will be effective and that will not destroy what has already been done. They will help us move towards goals that we are probably only dreaming about and which have not yet been presented as models and have not yet proven themselves in the real conditions of the unprecedented sanctions, pressure and the constantly changing situation.
Incidentally, today this is perhaps a very important issue, and we could continue this discussion, because the prime minister and the first deputy prime minister raised the issue of what the model of the Russian economy will look like.
Mr Zyuganov sees it like this. We can see that our economy must change from a catch-up and import-substituting development economy to an economy that is moving forward. We understand that in the current situation, it is clear that it will not be necessary to introduce a mobilisation economy.
On the other hand, we have just recently examined and adopted all these methods of a mobilisation economy in several areas. In this context, a proposal was made that there should be a model that when facing problems addresses them in a balanced manner and tests them, using some practices that exist in the areas of activity, in the regions, or in the best pilot projects.
Today we have mentioned that a lot of training of modern managers is underway. I think that today all of this, considering the rich representation of political parties in parliament and the sometimes varied approaches to solving the most complicated tasks, makes it possible for our faction, which is the majority faction… By the way, I want to thank you for making a proposal at the first meeting; we all remember this, not to divide according to the number of votes, but to do so in such a way that all voters can see their representatives in parliament.
This was a very prophetic decision, especially when the deputies started making such vital and fateful decisions for the country and for our citizens. I think it has worked out.
Today, when we are also discussing certain issues, issues of cooperation, I believe, and issues of the responsibility of everyone to one people… You were right in saying, “There are many parties but there is only one Motherland.” Therefore, this is a very powerful potential that today provides a solution to problems, a way out of the most difficult situations and, most importantly, will allow us, I am convinced, to solve all the problems my comrades spoke about, and which, of course, there are and will be.
I would also like to say that, of course, we all work together here, like our colleagues. Mr Volodin has spoken about how many laws have been adopted. About 50 percent were submitted by our colleagues. But the rest were submitted by other factions, and we voted on them almost in a consolidated way, when it concerned the interests of the people, when it concerned the interests of the country, and when it concerned your policy. You should also hear and know this, because we talk about this all the time, even when we disagree on something.
Today Mr Zyuganov stressed once again that he does not question what he hears from our President – this is very important – like with other factions. And there is huge potential here.
I will not go into detail; I will outline the scope of our work and my colleagues will add more later. It includes support for combat veterans and their families and expanding the number of categories of people who can be awarded the status of combat veteran. I support the proposal of my colleague, Mr Mironov. You held a wonderful exhibition on combat veterans; it was a landmark event. Thank you for this. And, of course, it is necessary to think about a commemorative date as far as it is possible. As I understand, all of us support this issue.
The hearing at the State Duma dedicated to education was a very important event, unprecedented in terms of scale. The first thing the deputies did was vote – in the presence of the party leaders, our colleagues – for a transition from the term “service” to a more professional definition. Medicine is expecting the same from us. We also ask you – I think this is our common stance – to support this and deal with these issues as soon as possible.
As for stimulating imports, we also support this and are resolving the issues related to it. I would like to draw your attention to one thing. Mr Medvedev recently reminded me that we have not done something related to the draft law that we should have.
The thing is, these so-called commissions based on payments, including utility bill payments – you understand what I am talking about – they can reach 7 percent. Mr President, this is a lot, we did the calculations.
This work was being done very energetically, but we have run into the consolidated position of the banks. We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone, but it is also difficult for those people who have to pay the 7 percent. I am saying now in your presence and in the presence of my colleagues: we want to suggest, if not completely abandoning these commissions – we understand there is a cost for services – then at least significantly reducing them; 7 percent, when a person pays their utility bill, is a lot, isn’t it? At least, we in our parliamentary faction stand by this change. I think our colleagues will also support it.
I would like to take this opportunity to mention another very important point: the Russian world. You once said, speaking about our inter-ethnic society – forgive me, I may not reproduce it exactly – that you are Chechen, Ingush, and started naming other peoples. I can relate to that. Thank you for saying it.
I looked after this and asked the Ministry of Defence and my colleagues about the ethnic origin of those who are doing heroic deeds, performing heroically on the battlefield. There are dozens of ethnic groups.
Essentially, what has happened now is that the nationalists and the Banderites – as my comrades said, and I echo this – are at war with the multiethnic people of Russia, and the ethnic groups of Russia have stood in their way and demonstrated exceptional heroism. This is a tremendous strength.
In that regard, I would like now, colleagues, to support what we already understand, that our parliamentary factions should not compete over who brought more of what to Donbass. Mr Zyuganov speaks 19 thousand tonnes, while we speak about something else. We have already agreed: maybe we should gather in one convoy more often, and let it be from several parliamentary factions.
One more important detail. I saw recently a white KAMAZ lorry with ”Armenians of Russia for Donbass“ written on it. It seems to me that we can also consider this seriously because our people are of many ethnicities and faiths. People are very eager to help, to help their sons. By the way, there is a good practice now, when the Ministry of Defence, and you too, promptly celebrate our heroes. It does not say anything about ethnic origin, but many people understand everything at once. Therefore, it seems to me, we could use this aspect, too.
And finally, as time is limited, I would like to thank once again the colleagues with whom we work. You know that we sometimes have certain tensions, but we always find common ground. Why? Because, exactly as you said, we share the same country and people, and the same President.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.
Some of our colleagues have noted that our special military operation will result in strengthening our sovereignty, and this is true. But the beginning of this operation did not have that goal: it is a side effect, an inevitable one, but a side effect. The main goal, as I have said, is to protect the Donbass and strengthen the security of Russia.
I would like to ask you something. You communicate directly with the people, with your voters. We are doing everything we need to do, supporting the Armed Forces, but I want to emphasise once again that our people who perform the combat missions there are truly the real heroes.
I would like to note that the country continues to live peacefully: summer, holiday season, cultural life, exhibitions, while people are working under flying bullets, do you see? They are risking their lives and losing their comrades in battle for their Motherland.
I am addressing you, the deputies, because the consolidation of society is very important, but we need a national agenda to support the Armed Forces. It is extremely important that our soldiers feel this support. This will give them strength.
And this is very important in achieving a final result. It will be achieved in any case, there is no doubt about that. But it will be easier for them to do this work, to carry out their combat missions, if they feel the support and breath of the Motherland on their backs, the support of our people.
Now to social and economic issues. This agenda was quite busy and in high demand. Our colleagues said that perhaps this is a blessing in disguise for some industries and economic sectors. It is good that some have left our market. It is bad that there may be less competition, but we need to strive to maintain domestic competition. If internal competition is ensured, then both the quality and prices of goods will be at the proper level.
And everything that has been happening lately shows that the fundamental, basic foundations of the Russian economy have turned out to be much more stable than our ill-wishers from abroad thought.
However, a lot of things will depend on us – on you, the deputies – in the near future in terms of supporting our economy, social sphere, the necessary number of jobs, as well as encouraging the development of Russia in all areas and all the most important spheres.
I would like to thank you all once again for your cooperation and express hope that we will continue to work like this together.
All the best. Thank you very much.