TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Government members

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(Kremlin.ru – June 22, 2017)

Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members on measures to protect the rights of people involved in shared-equity construction projects and on defining the legal status of self-employed individuals.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues.

Today, we are here to discuss several issues. I would like to start with several matters that came up during the Direct Line. These include allocated the required funds to affected regions, hit by spring floods or fires, and, above all, making sure that they reach their recipients, the ordinary citizens. You heard the complaints that came in from citizens, and these are justified complaints. The money has not always reached its recipients. This issue demands our attention. I ask the Emergency Situations Minister to brief us on the current situation on the ground.

We will then discuss proposals on possibilities for continued use of residential buildings and capital infrastructure installations located in the protected area around oil and gas pipelines. I realise that this is a sensitive issue for both network operators and our citizens. We need to find a solution.

Next, we will look at protecting the rights of people involved in shared-equity construction projects, and defining the legal status of self-employed people. Finally, we will look at giving Russian ships a priority right to transport and store hydrocarbon fuel extracted on Russia’s continental shelf and in its exclusive economic zone.

Let us begin with the first question I outlined, namely, making sure that state funds allocated for helping those affected by disasters reach the people they are intended for.

Let me add here that the federal and regional authorities must monitor this constantly and strictly. We are talking here about both financial compensation for full or partial loss of property and rebuilding housing.

Mr Puchkov, you have the floor.

Civil Defence, Emergency Situations and Disaster Relief Minister Vladimir Puchkov: Mr President, colleagues,

Acting on your instructions, the Emergency Situations Ministry continues to bolster its disaster relief capabilities and enhancing the efforts of personnel and management on the ground.

There are, however, a number of problems with submitting the documentation needed for obtaining material assistance. Just two or three years ago, it took 3-6 months to receive this assistance, but the Emergency Situations Ministry and Finance Ministry have worked since then on speeding up allocation of funds from the Government Reserve Fund, and today, it takes ten days for a Government resolution on aid. We continue work on improving these procedures.

Acting on your instructions, in Stavropol Territory we have taken additional efforts. All federal agencies’ operations groups and the relevant Sberbank offices are working 24/7 to complete the work. Of the 17,000 people affected, 12,000 have already received financial aid from the federal budget and Stavropol Territory’s budget. We still have 24 aid centres working on the ground, providing the necessary help and support to people. These centres also offer legal services with specialists from the relevant organisations helping people to get the documentation ready and assisting them with court rulings to get people recognised as eligible for assistance. We are also building up the federal authorities’ and regional agencies’ efforts to further improve work in this area.

At the same time, taking into account our experience, Mr President, I propose giving the Emergency Situations Ministry the added function of tightening oversight over local government and regional executive bodies’ work to prepare the necessary documents, update the lists of disaster victims, get the appropriate aid to all, provide housing, restore social infrastructure, and resolve other tasks.

This ends my report. Thank you for your attention.

Vladimir Putin: I am not against the idea, but we would need to work with the lawyers and look at the issue. I think though, that within the scope of your powers with regard to disaster relief, this is probably something that could be done. In any event, we need greater discipline in this area.

Regarding particular regions, I know that money reached people on the day of the Direct Line, but the money was there in the accounts. In Stavropol Territory, for example, they had up to 6 billion rubles, I believe, on the accounts. Knowing that the money had been transferred in full, they could have been quicker to begin this work. Of course, the Emergency Situations Ministry should monitor closely what is happening. However, your ministry should be quick in its work to assess the extent of the damage. We know that without relevant conclusions from the commissions doing this work, decisions cannot be taken. Therefore, you need to work faster and avoid delays. All right?

Vladimir Puchkov: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Siluanov, do you have any comments on this matter?

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov: Mr President, the Finance Ministry and Federal Treasury are directly responsible for transferring and monitoring funds for people affected by disasters. The treasury has received the necessary instructions to ensure that decisions are implemented and money for compensation is transferred without delay, the moment the decisions have been made and the lists of people in need of aid are finalised. The Finance Ministry keeps this matter under particularly close watch and money is transferred without delay the moment the necessary decisions have been made.

Vladimir Putin: But this is not happening without delay. How can we say ‘without delay’ if the money is transferred only on the day of the Direct Line? This is not ‘without delay’. I ask you to pay greater attention to this matter.

Anton Siluanov: I see.

To be continued.