RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Medvedev:] Government report on its performance in 2012-2017” [Excerpt] – GovernmentRu
(Government.ru – March 11, 2018)
[Full text government.ru/en/news/32246/]
“The Government of the Russian Federation <…> shall submit to the State Duma annual reports on the Government’s performance, including on issues formulated by the State Duma.” (Constitution of the Russian Federation, Article 114, Clause 1, Subclause “a”).
Excerpts from the transcript:
Dmitry Medvedev: This year, the head of the country’s executive authority is addressing parliament for the tenth time. I think the tradition of presenting a report at the State Duma, which began in 2008, helps the Government to more accurately assess its results, better plan its next steps and, of course, clarifies the Government’s view on many aspects of life in the country.
This report increases the effectiveness of our cooperation. I have every reason to say this, as the Prime Minister of the longest serving Government in the history of modern Russia. The Government and members of the State Duma’s sixth and seventh convocations have handled the most complicated tasks concerning the country’s development, and have found the best possible solutions to the most challenging situations. And there have been so many challenges. Over the past six years, more than 1,500 Government initiatives have come into force as laws.
The Government report is usually a summary of the previous year’s activity. But since this is a special report, I think it would be insufficient to speak only about the last year. Russia has elected the President. After the inauguration on May 7, the Government will be dissolved as stipulated by the Constitution. Therefore, it is the last report of the Government in its current composition. I think it is important to review the entire six years and the results of our performance, as they were.
These six years have been an endurance test for the Russian economy. Never before has it been hit by so many hard blows, all at once and over such a short period of time. These include a global financial crisis, a collapse in the commodity market, sanctions and the closure of the financial and technology markets. No economy, even the healthiest, is immune to such shocks. For our economy, with its structural problems, it could have been a disaster. But not only did we survive; we began to grow despite the external obstacles.
These six years have also been a time of parting with illusions, let’s face it, illusions about our partners. Cooperation is always more beneficial than confrontation – in the economy, culture and in the struggle against common threats. This partnership logic seems obvious to everybody. But, unfortunately, it was not valid. Contrary to common sense, America and Europe started to persistently impose the role of an enemy on our country. They have been trying to force us out of global politics and global economic relations. Speaking of which, the latest decisions by the US administration in this area are an attempt to fight us through unfair competition. The goal is to limit our development and create tension in the economy, the currency and the stock market. There is no doubt that we can handle this pressure. We have already learned how to do it. Eventually, we will be able to turn these measures in favour of our own economy and our own economic development. But we will not forget those who continue with an anti-Russian policy and cause damage to our country.
It is good that these forces are not the only authors of the script of global development. Asian and Pacific countries and the Eurasian community are successfully integrating and cooperating with Russia. The EAEU alone contains 180 million people. It is a different reality and a reality everybody must accept.
These six years have also been years of discovering ourselves and finding new opportunities. We have realised that we must be much more self-sufficient. More industrial products now say ‘made in Russia.’ And, most importantly, they are well made. We have reclaimed our status as a leading agricultural producer. Our grain is sold all over the world, just like Russian software that is building the foundation for a digital economy in Russia. We have protected our home from terrorists by preventing the transformation of the Middle East into a global terrorist camp.
Therefore, we have learned to turn our challenges into stimuli for our development.
These have been six years of conquering new heights. The events we organised were a great success, including the Summer Universiade, the Confederations Cup and, most importantly, the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
During these years, our Doing Business rating has grown faster than that of other countries. Young people from Russia joined the WorldSkills competitions quite recently and have already won first place. Our school and university students lead in many disciplines in world academic competitions.
The Arctic has been explored. And, of course, Crimea and Sevastopol have come back home during these six years. There is absolutely no doubt that this event has changed our country and the world, opening a new chapter in the history of modern Russia. This chapter began with the restoration of justice and with great and strenuous work. Our country has been writing this chapter with much pride and dignity. In the course of only one year, Crimea became a Russian region not only on the political map but also within our country’s economic, infrastructural and social system.
These six years were a period of major construction projects. Never before did we build so much housing, so many kindergartens and schools. Courtyards and parks are being overhauled in cities. The Olympic Sochi has been practically rebuilt. World Cup host cities are being put in order. Vladivostok and Russky Island have been given a new look. The first stage of Vostochny Space Centre has been completed. Our newly-designed MS-21 aircraft has performed its first test flight. The Kerch Bridge has been almost built. The Baikal-Amur Railway and the Trans-Siberian Railway are being modernised. The Central Ring Road is in the process of construction. The Western Speed Diameter in St Petersburg and the Moscow Central Circle have been launched. Seaports and airports are being modernised all over the country.
During these six years, we have covered as much ground as many other countries do only in decades, and under conditions where no one pressurises them, where they are in a free and calm state, and where nobody attempts to slow down their development. All of this was not easy. We have coped. No one among us doubted that we would. It is in this mood that our country is entering a new period in its development. As the elections to the State Duma in 2016 and particularly the presidential election in 2018 have shown, people support this course, the course for Russia’s development, which all of us have implemented during these six years.
Many indicators describe the pace of national development and the current economic status. But here is the most important, synthetic, indicator describing the entire situation in our country, including medical treatment, people’s diet, living conditions, the air people breathe and their salaries. This indicator is called the average life expectancy that has soared by 2.5 years over the past six years. The nationwide average life expectancy now stands at 73 years, an all-time high, throughout the entire recorded history.
We have jumped the 70-year barrier which, as demographers believe, separates developing countries from more developed ones. This quantum leap has allowed the President to set a new goal: Average life expectancy should exceed 80 years by the end of the next decade….
Russia is no longer suffering from brain drain. In 2014, the total number of researchers increased for the first time, reversing a downward trend. More talented young people are choosing a career in research. The Government always seeks to allocate additional funds to civilian research, within the limits of the budget constraints we are facing. In 2017, this segment received 336 billion roubles, up 20 percent compared to 2016. It is very important that over the period of these six years businesses started to believe in new technology. We now have a class of vibrant private companies that make proactive use of innovative approaches and are showing above-market growth rates….
We understand that many regions are having a hard time. They are faced with the need to raise salaries and pensions, and to create jobs. In a significant number of the regions, these problems have been resolved, but the reverse side of it is that regional budgets have been imbalanced in the process. So, our goal is to maintain the regional budgets’ stability and to increase self-sufficiency of the regions….
A month ago we celebrated four years since Crimea’s reunification with Russia. All of us were responsible for normalising the situation on the peninsula, which was far below the accepted Russian standards. Of course, we have not yet resolved all the problems. Crimea faced an economic blockade and supply chain and transportation disruptions. Hospitals and schools were left without electricity and heat.
We launched major structural repairs on the peninsula. An energy bridge from mainland Russia was completed very quickly. Major renovations were done on airports and sea ports, and roads are being improved. Dozens of engineering facilities and a new gas supply network have been built. The Kerch Bridge will open to traffic in the next few months. The motorway from Kerch to Sevastopol will be completed by the end of the year. Over the past four years, federal allocations to Crimea within the framework of inter-budget transfers reached almost 415 billion roubles, including over 360 billion allocated under the federal targeted programme.
Never before in modern Russian history have we paid so much attention to Eastern Siberia and the Far East. Last year, investment in fixed assets there grew almost four times faster than across Russia, for the first time in four years. About 25 percent of foreign direct investment is channelled into the Far East. Industry, agriculture and construction indexes in the Far East are higher than the average across the country. This is the effect of the priority development areas, the Vladivostok Free Port, the Far Eastern Hectare programme and cuts in the cost of electricity for companies in the Far East.
The new Government will carry on the large-scale projects we have been working on for the past six years. Our key priority is simple: to ensure high living standards for each and every citizen of Russia and the country as a whole.
Poet Konstantin Simonov wrote that Russians are a stubborn people. If they hit upon a good idea, they will implement it eventually and on a scale that is only associated with Russians. And this is exactly what we will do.
[featured image is file photo from another occasion]