January 11, 2023

Putin addresses his government: ‘We must integrate the four newly annexed regions (of Ukraine) into our national economic planning’

We are holding the first meeting with Government members in 2023. I would like to congratulate you again on this event and wish you success.

Quite recently – a couple of days ago or so – we met with the Prime Minister and some colleagues from the Government to discuss the results and our plans for the new year. Mr Mishustin explained how the Government organises its work in major areas technology-wise, including the implementation of national projects.

What would I like to say? We spoke about this during a restricted format meeting – but I would like to note this again. First, I would like to thank you for your work in 2022. Nothing that our opponent had predicted for us came true. This was done, of course, primarily by the citizens of Russia, their focus, our entire focus, our readiness to face challenges and work in difficult conditions. Much credit for this also goes to the Government. Mr Mishustin managed to put together an effective, modern team of interested people – people that are interested in the results of their work. He also organised the technology aspects of all these activities, which is certainly producing the expected results.

We know (I just discussed this with our colleagues from the Executive Office this morning) that we have additional budget revenues, and they are not oil or gas revenues, but they are from non-commodity sectors: a preliminary 200 billion in additional revenues. This gives us the opportunity to meet every development objective we have and solve current tasks that are serious and important. I am referring to the tasks at the federal level and the regional dimension as well.

Of course, we absolutely need to find a solution as soon as possible for ensuring sovereign development, that is, independent development despite any external pressure or threats.

I would like to emphasise that we can reliably guarantee the country’s security and interests; we will increase our defence capability and will certainly resolve all the issues related to supporting the Armed Forces, every unit involved in the special military operation.

At the same time, we will continue to implement large socioeconomic programmes and plans aimed at improving people’s well-being, unlocking Russia’s enormous potential, and expanding our international ties. We certainly have all the resources we need for this.

We have outlined the six key priorities for this year, and I would just like to reiterate a few points we discussed earlier.

The first point is the expansion of Russia’s foreign economic relations and the development of new logistics corridors. As a matter of fact, we are working intensively towards this – we need to continue in the same vein.

Next, we need to achieve noticeable positive results in improving roads, other infrastructure, housing and utilities, although 2022 was a successful and good year in this respect. Well, what else can I say? Deputy Prime Minister [Marat] Khusnullin and I just discussed the construction sector’s results the other day – good performance, one of the best in our history. As for housing construction, it is probably the best. We have taken the first steps and need to maintain this pace.

Thirdly, we need to drastically enhance the technological capabilities of the Russian economy, to stimulate the creation of new facilities and jobs. Everybody is doing it, absolutely. First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov is working in the most promising areas, and I very much hope that together with the companies that have been designated as leading companies, we will continue the work that was started last year.

The fourth point. Strengthening the financial sovereignty of our country is a systemic issue. This is vital for boosting investment in high-tech companies, industry, agriculture and many other sectors. I am very much counting on the effective work of the Central Bank and the Government here, primarily, the economic bloc and the Finance Ministry, as was the case in 2022.

Fifth. It is necessary to develop economic policy measures in such a way that will lead to the growth of real wages and incomes, and, coupled with social support measures, primarily for families with children, will ensure the continued reduction of poverty and inequality.

The sixth priority. Special attention must be paid to addressing acute demographic problems – much has been said about this, so I will not go into detail at this point. We understand what the main problems are in this area and how to resolve them. Of course, I am referring, in part, to addressing these issues by making modern, high-quality healthcare more accessible.

I would like to emphasise that the work in this area must embrace all regions of the country, including Russia’s new regions. This is exactly why the task was set to ensure a systemic, comprehensive approach to integrating the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions into Russia’s common socioeconomic space.

Let me recall that the Government has been instructed to draft a special development programme for the new regions before the end of the current quarter. By 2030, they should reach the national average in terms of infrastructure, social services and many other parameters of living standards. I would like to ask the Government, federal agencies and colleagues in the regions to work out, clearly and consistently, all the details of this programme.

Of course, it is necessary to promptly address the most urgent, vital issues now. In fact, this is what we are doing. I understand that the situation in the new regions is complicated – hostilities continue in some areas, peaceful life has not been restored and security is not ensured in many of these regions.

Naturally, it is necessary to consider all these factors, but this is not a reason to take a break and postpone the resolution of the most urgent issues. It is necessary to set specific goals now and work to achieve them gradually. This is exactly what people are waiting for – people that are really going through hard times and want to see changes for the better.

It is essential to set clear and understandable development benchmarks for Russia’s new regions, so that people know what will be built in their cities and towns, which facilities will be renovated and when, how family incomes will grow, what kind of assistance they will receive from the state, how kindergartens, schools, universities, hospitals and clinics will operate, when enterprises will reopen, what kind of support small businesses and entrepreneurs will receive, and how infrastructure and transport will develop.

Here I would like to emphasise the need to support local entrepreneurs. Of course, if we need investment from major Russian sources, from our large companies – private or state-owned – we need to facilitate that as well. But it is of the essence to support local businesses wherever possible.

Key performance indicators for the development of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, LPR and DPR must be established for this year, 2023. I am referring to uniform and transparent criteria for assessing not only regional and municipal, but also federal authorities, so that our colleagues at the local level join the federal Government, ministries and agencies, and direct their forces and resources towards priority areas that require attention in the first place.

In addition – we have already talked about this, and I want to stress once again that – it is necessary to involve the new regions in the implementation of our national projects, and this, among other things, means that funding needs to be provided to back the activities under national projects in the territories of the DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.

We have discussed this many times, and I know that the Government is working hard on drafting key performance indicators for the development of the new regions and involving them in the national projects, but I would like to point this out again: this work is far from completed, and we need to resolve the outstanding issues as soon as possible.

As for today’s agenda, we agreed to focus on social support measures in the new regions – arranging the payment of all social benefits to the local population. Ms Golikova will report on this today.

But before we begin, I would like to ask Mr Manturov to tell us how the instructions are being carried out to implement long-term programmes to upgrade the aircraft fleet and the water transport fleet. We worked on this a lot last year, and we all realise how critical these issues are, especially with regard to air transport. We discussed this just a month ago at the meeting of the Council for Strategic Development.

Let’s get to work

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