TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] First Russian Internet Economy Forum

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(Kremlin.ru – December 22, 2015)

Vladimir Putin attended the First Russian Internet Economy Forum.

The First Russian Internet Economy Forum is taking place in Moscow on December 21-22. The plenary session, attended by representatives of the national IT industry and relevant ministries and agencies, is dedicated to initiatives for the long-term development programme of the Russian Internet segment and branches of the economy using internet technologies.

Prior to the plenary session, the President attended an exhibition of innovative projects, where was shown, in particular, developments in bank technologies, cyber- protection for industrial facilities and those directed at enhancing the accessibility of public services for the public.

Vladimir Putin also had a conversation with Forum participants.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends.

Together with your board, we have just had a detailed discussion of the issues you considered yesterday regarding specific branches of the economy. I found it interesting. I hope we have managed to agree on certain matters. I can see my aide Igor Shchegolev here, the former Minister and now my Presidential Aide. We agreed that if our colleagues decide to do so, then we will be happy to hand over the responsibility for everything you agreed on and proposed as necessary for joint efforts to promote your initiatives to one of your colleagues, whom I invited to work at the Presidential Executive Office with Mr Shchegolev. This will allow us to promote your ideas within the Presidential Executive Office as well, and also within the executive bodies in the Government and the regions of the Russian Federation, which is no less important.

Generally, in the past years the Internet has certainly become part of our daily lives. Moreover, it has become a separate industry practically all over the world, and you spoke about this yesterday. Russia is keeping abreast of things, of course. I may be saying very general things not intended for this audience, maybe for those who are standing there with the cameras, so that people in this country will find out more about this: Russia has the largest number of Internet users – in excess of 80 million people, with 62 million of them going online on a daily basis. As one of the board members said, people look at their phones about 300 times a day to see what is going on in the world, or in everyday life, things that interest people who use the Internet.

The number of commercial Internet users is also growing rapidly. The Internet market accounts for 16 percent of the GDP. Remote access technologies are extensively used to provide public and municipal services, which I am very happy to say, because just recently we were only beginning here. Generally, there has been good progress. In the previous year, more than a third of all public and municipal services became available online.

The significance and influence of the Internet are constantly growing. We need to use the Internet as a driver of modernisation for the entire country (this is an undisputed fact and nobody has any doubt about it, and we are ready to help and support you in your endeavours) to raise the quality of life, to create a new technological basis for the national economy and, of course, for the social spheres – education and healthcare.

The Internet Initiatives Development Fund has become one of the instruments available for resolving these tasks. We set it up two years ago and it seems to be doing well. It already has 6 billion rubles at its disposal. Over the 2.5 years of its work, the Fund has added over 170 projects to its portfolio designed to resolve specific issues facing both individuals and businesses.

We definitely need to develop a strategy for the long-term development of the Russian Internet, taking into consideration the overall development tendencies of the world wide web. I fully agree with you that, bearing in mind the overall tendencies and with great respect for our partners and competition, we must create common living and working conditions for all on this market. Nobody, primarily our national participants, should be put in a situation that would make you less competitive. I fully agree with those who referred to the decisions we are making in the real economy, in industry and agriculture, saying: we do offer certain benefits to Russian market players, to national producers, so why not do the same here. I agree: we are ready to consider this and do something, provided, of course, that it does not violate our WTO commitments. I am certain we can find appropriate solutions.

I would like to wish you success. Thank you very much.