Sunday, June 25, 2017

Greetings to Russian Muslims on Eid ul-Fitr.

Vladimir Putin congratulated Russian Muslims on the arrival of Eid ul-Fitr.

The message reads, in part:

“Eid ul-Fitr is one of the major religious holidays that followers of Islam have been observing for centuries. By closing the holy month of Ramadan, it carries a deep moral meaning, encapsulates the joy of renewal, commitment to self-improvement, readiness to do good and help the needy.

It is encouraging that Russian Muslims cherish the rich spiritual and historical heritage of their ancestors, follow the testaments and rites of their fathers and forefathers, and preach them to the younger generation. The active participation of Muslim organizations in the nation’s public and cultural life, in implementing needed charitable, educational and patriotic initiatives arouses sincere respect. I should also note their role in sustaining civic peace and concord, and enhancing friendship and mutual understanding among people.”

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Meeting with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Vladimir Putin met with heads of leading universities, Russian Academy of Sciences institutes, and officials from the Education and Science Ministry.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon colleagues.

We met not so long ago, but perhaps not in such a broad format; on May 30, I believe it was, to speak about what we need to do to more efficiently organize our science sector.

Everyone present at that meeting said that we do need to take such steps. The question is how to organize this, how to carry it out. This includes the procedures for electing the president of the Academy of Sciences.

I believe this is not a procedural question but a serious matter, a matter of substance that to a large extent should set the priorities and determine interaction with state agencies and the regional and federal authorities.

Today, June 22, marks the start of the Great Patriotic War, the day when the enemy treacherously attacked our homeland. On this occasion, I must recall here the tremendous contribution that Soviet and Russian science made to vanquishing the enemy. We all know the T-34 – experts admit it was the best tank in World War II – Katyusha rocket launchers, the forerunners of the multiple rocket launchers we use today; our attack planes that are among the best in the world, and so on. Soviet science did much indeed to defeat the cunning adversary.

Today, we must ensure our economy’s development, and we must do this in such a way as to make our country not just a part of the technological revolution that is underway, but one of the leaders of this revolution. Russia must be a leader in the new technology landscape taking shape. We have every chance we need to achieve this, despite the setbacks that Russian science suffered in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The colossal potential that you and your predecessors have built up remains in place, fortunately. There are significant new achievements too, achievements on a world scale.

We need to move forward. We have said this before. I say it again now and I hope for a frank and constructive discussion today that will produce decisions to enable us to take final decisions at the legislative level. You know that a draft law is ready now and I would like to hear your views on this matter.

Thank you very much. Let us begin.

<…>

Link:  Блог Президента России

PHOTO:
Vice Rector of Lomonosov Moscow State University Alexei Khokhlov and Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences United Institute of High Temperatures Vladimir Fortov at a meeting with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Vice Rector of Lomonosov Moscow State University Alexei Khokhlov and Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences United Institute of High Temperatures Vladimir Fortov at a meeting with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Meeting with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Meeting with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Sociology Mikhail Gorshkov at a meeting with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Sociology Mikhail Gorshkov at a meeting with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Director of the Far East Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences Research Centre for Marine Biology Andrei Adrianov at a meeting with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Director of the Far East Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences Research Centre for Marine Biology Andrei Adrianov at a meeting with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Vice President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Gennady Romanenko at a meeting with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Vice President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Gennady Romanenko at a meeting with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Rector of Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichy at a meeting with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Rector of Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichy at a meeting with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Meeting with Government members.

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 realize 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 Defense, 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 centers working on the ground, providing the necessary help and support to people. These centers also offer legal services with specialists from the relevant organizations helping people to get the documentation ready and assisting them with court rulings to get people recognized 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 finalized. 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.

Vladimir Putin:

Now, on the subject of dumps and putting order into the situation with solid household waste landfills. You saw them too, not that seeing them matters. You know quite well how serious this matter is. I just want to understand who exactly gave permission for construction there, at a site in Moscow Region, for example? Mr. Donskoy, do you have information on this? You cannot say that people simply occupied the land of their own accord and built something there in violation of the laws. We are talking about entire apartment blocks, multi-storied blocks.

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Sergei Donskoy:

Yes, Mr. President. Let me clarify. Our ministry is not responsible for this, but we raised these issues and clarified the following information. The safety zone set by the sanitary and epidemic officials around this dump is 500 meters and it was set in 2003. The buildings concerned were built outside this zone and did not violate any regulations. We have spoken with the head of Rospotrebnadzor [national consumer protection agency] about clarifying and assessing the risks this dump poses. They say that the construction of these buildings, which was approved several years ago, did not violate any regulations. This is the legal situation as it stands today.

Vladimir Putin
:

No laws were violated, but it is impossible to live there.

Sergei Donskoy:

Yes, we are acting on this and have agreed on the following steps. We have reached agreement with the governor on closing this dump in 2019, with the construction of new facilities. Given the amount of waste transported from Moscow to Moscow Region, we will need to build new landfills. However, before the dump in question is closed, they have already received instructions to build the necessary infrastructure to reduce or even eliminate emissions of biogas and filtrate. In other words, they will need to take the steps necessary to reduce the environmental impact.

Overall, this issue is quite serious. Around the country as a whole, we have more than 4000 authorized landfills. Over the last four years, we have identified more than 200,000 illegal dumps. Of these, 70 percent have been liquidated and 57,000 remain at present. We realize that this matter needs a systemic solution. We passed a law in 2014 that puts in place conditions for developing a new waste treatment system.

Vladimir Putin:

Law 458?

Sergei Donskoy:

Yes.

The key issues that need to be resolved in the nearest future are drawing up and approving the territorial plans, appointing regional operators, setting the relevant price rates, and having the regions adopt investment programs. To date, 83 regions have approved territorial plans, and 7 regions have already chosen regional operators. Operation is due to begin on January 1, 2019, when all regions are supposed to make the transition to the new system, but 27 regions have confirmed that they are ready to start work under the new system this year. They will choose regional operators in the second half of this year and on this basis will establish investment programs that will take into account measures for liquidating the dumps and building a new infrastructure.

The law’s second innovation is to oblige producers and importers to either treat goods themselves once they are no longer fit for use, or pay the state an environmental tax. Let me stress that this environmental tax is not so much a tax instrument as an incentive for companies to treat waste. This provision has come into effect now and companies began paying this tax in the first quarter. We have collected 1.5 billion rubles, which will be used as subsidies for the pioneer regions.

However, the regions still note an investment deficit. We think it necessary to change the approach to calculating this environmental tax. This is primarily because a decision was taken in 2015 to set a minimum level for waste treatment of goods. This was economically acceptable at the time, but today, with the need to invest in building infrastructure and to liquidate the landfills themselves, we propose having the Government come back to the matter of expanding the list of goods that could come under waste treatment schemes and increase the level of waste treatment from a minimum level to a level that would be acceptable now. This would, in principle, make it possible to collect up to 30 billion rubles to allocate to the regions to fund the necessary work.

The Government has also approved the Clean Country priority project, which also involves work to close dumps. This program will see the closure of 15 dumps in 11 regions. More than 5 billion rubles will be spent on this before 2019.

I would like to point out another important aspect. We realize that reclamation of landfills is a fairly complicated issue. Occasionally, it is impossible to track down their owners, and this becomes the responsibility of the state. We propose drafting an economic mechanism that would guarantee the liquidation of landfills once they have run their course. In other words, there must be an anchor, so to speak, to keep everyone in place, to stave off bankruptcies and, accordingly, liquidate all landfills. There is an international practice of creating liquidation funds for such sites. Accordingly, if possible, please instruct the Government to work through such a scenario as well.

There is another issue that I would like to bring up, which is Class I and Class II waste, which, we believe, also needs to be handled more efficiently, as these are the most dangerous waste classes. According to international practice, dedicated state-run entities deal with Class I and Class II waste. We propose working through this issue in conjunction with Rosatom, which, as a state organization, deals with hazardous radioactive waste. We have held talks with the factories, which used to engage in liquidation of chemical weapons. We could involve them in this work. There is a lot to do, so we can upgrade these plants and use them to handle Class I and Class II waste.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you for sharing this with us. It is interesting and important, without a doubt. This is quite a job, and this matter has been swelling for decades, dating back to Soviet times. The issue is clear and requires vast systemic efforts.

You said it is impossible to identify the owners. Well, this is our fault. What kind of operation is it if we cannot even tell who the owners are? I still have questions after what you told us, just like the people you represent who asked me questions about how one can live in such conditions. Tell me, as a representative of the people who live near this dump, when will this dump, which makes life so difficult for them and their children, be closed? When will it be closed and how do you plan to go about it? In specific terms.

Sergei Donskoy:

The Governor promised to close this landfill in 2019. Before this is done, in 2017 they will start designing systems for reclaiming it and will begin preparations for their installation in 2018. Modern reclamation technology requires systems for biogas diversion and filtration. They are planning to install them this year.

Vladimir Putin:

Wait. Please tell me what exactly must be done with this landfill. Will it be eliminated? What will happen to it? I simply want to understand it myself.

Sergei Donskoy:

Its license will be withdrawn by 2019.

Vladimir Putin:

We will discuss the deadlines shortly. What exactly should be done?

Sergei Donskoy:

First, it is necessary to make all preliminary estimates for the condition of this landfill, and this is being done now. Plus, by 2019…

Vladimir Putin:

No, you are again talking about 2019. I do not want to hear any deadlines. I want to understand what has been done. “It is necessary to make all preliminary estimates…” Estimates of what?

Sergei Donskoy:

First, the condition of the landfill’s geology plus the structure of the waste. It will be necessary for the design work.

Vladimir Putin:

All right. That is clear. What next?

Sergei Donskoy:

Next comes the reclamation project. This, in turn, will be subjected to environmental expert evaluation. Once this is done, the Governor must request that the Government include this landfill in the register of sites slated for elimination of past damage. Then the elimination will begin, starting in 2019.

Vladimir Putin:

Elimination?

Sergei Donskoy:

The landfill’s elimination.

Vladimir Putin:

So, will everyone continue bringing waste there until 2019?

Sergei Donskoy:

Mr. President, this landfill was not included in the list of sites slated for elimination.

Vladimir Putin:

It does not matter whether it was included or not. My question is different: will rubbish be dumped there until that time?

Sergei Donskoy:

No decision has been made to close it once and for all as of today. It was necessary to carry out all the preliminary work.

Vladimir Putin:

Now listen to me, and I want Vorobyev [Moscow Region Governor] to hear me as well. Close this landfill within one month. The documents that must be prepared (I do not want to give you impossible tasks) should be ready in the shortest possible time. I am referring to this expert evaluation: geological surveys, the structure of the waste and the like. I do not know how quickly this can be done but in a month I will ask you and Vorobyev what has been done.

Thirdly. You said that he has to write a request for the required funding. Consider this done. The request will come in by the end of the day for sure. We have 5.4 billion rubles of federal budget funds allocated for this purpose and another 1.5 billion collected through the environmental tax. This makes close to 7 billion rubles. So, use this money. If needed, we will ask the Finance Ministry and we could even allocate some money from the Government reserve fund and my reserve fund – we have money there – for financing this work. The question of where the waste will be taken must be settled as rapidly as possible, to some other location, far from places where people reside permanently.

I want the Presidential Executive Office to write this down as an instruction. Mr. Medvedev, I ask you to take this under your control and see it through. Do you remember what I said?

Sergei Donskoy:

Yes, Mr. President.

Vladimir Putin:

Good.

Now, regarding the reconstruction of the regional road network. I have discussed on past occasions with the Finance Ministry the matter of allocating part of the revenue collected from excise duties, which were raised a while ago.

Mr. Sokolov will begin and Mr. Siluanov will then comment.

Mr. Sokolov, you have the floor.

Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov:

Thank you.

Mr. President,

Today, according to the National Statistics Agency, the national road network comes to around 1.5 million kilometers. Of these, around 500,000 kilometers are regional roads and around 930,000 kilometers are local and municipal roads. According to the Statistics Agency, only 41.5 percent of the roads meet the quality norms for roads, and less than 40 percent meet the standards for regional, local and municipal roads. This is due to many reasons, particularly because the regional road funds receive insufficient funding to be able to ensure that roads are kept up to standard. The regional road funds are financed at only around 15–16 percent of their stipulated levels (which vary from region to region but for a large part conform to federal standards). This money is then spent on road maintenance, capital repair and bringing roads up to regulation standard.

Moreover, decisions were made in previous years to increase the amount of excise taxes, but the bulk of these additional taxes has never made it to the regional road funds. Earlier, the ratio between the federal budget and the regional road funds was 88 to 12 (12 went to the federal budget), but, in accordance with the amendments introduced to the Budget Code, only 61 percent of collected excise taxes go to regional road funds. Even less, 57.5 percent is planned for 2018, and about 60 percent in 2019.

Of course, we are convinced that all excise taxes should be sent to the regional road funds and be used to fundamentally improve the situation with maintaining regional and municipal roads. This year, this could amount to about 110 billion, and in 2018, if we bring it up to the previous standard, it could total 160 billion. If we go all the way and make 100 percent of all collected excise taxes available to the regional road funds, it would give them an additional 225 billion, that is, almost one third of the existing amount. These funds would be used to repair, rebuild and renovate roads and, of course, this would help improve the situation with the regional road funds.

However, it should be noted that the regional authorities themselves do not send the collected excise taxes to their respective road funds. According to the Treasury, Saratov Region regularly withdraws about 6 billion rubles from its regional road fund, which is more than half. Kalmykia uses federal transfers to almost completely substitute for the collected excise taxes, as do Tver Region, Krasnodar Territory, and Stavropol Territory. Of course, regional authorities would also benefit from stricter discipline. The legislation was amended accordingly last year, and the Government closely monitors to ensure the full compliance by regional authorities with their obligations related to replenishing the road funds.

These are the main causes and our proposals that could improve regulations regarding the upkeep of regional and local municipal roads over the next few years.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:

Do you check the costs involved in maintaining one kilometer of road?

Maxim Sokolov:

Yes, the federal Government adopted the federal road maintenance standards. Most recently, we have amended our key resolutions accordingly and cut the amounts. We believe the regions should be guided by this federal approach. Some of them have already brought their regulatory documents in line with federal requirements, others not. Of course, initially the regions would be advised, based on the funds available in the budget, to adopt such documents. We believe this can be done this year or the next. In the future, 100 percent of the regional road funds should be used to repair and maintain regional and local roads the way it is done at the federal level with regard to federal motorways.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Siluanov, please.

Anton Siluanov:

Mr. President, in recent years, especially when federal budget revenues declined, we decided to raise excise taxes which were directed to the federal budget and used for federal needs. By the way, we use these excise taxes to help the regions to partially carry out such federal road projects. Indeed, this amounts to about 200 billion rubles. Therefore, simply transferring this source of revenue from the federal budget to the regions could cause issues with us meeting our obligations. We have some ideas.

We are now preparing proposals for changes in the taxation system. I think we could use these proposals to improve the taxation system and to address this issue as well, and ultimately transfer the excise taxes in full to the regional budgets without detriment to the federal budget. In addition to federal roads, we have other major challenges. We spend less on federal roads than the regions. We spend about 660 billion rubles from the federal budget for the purposes of the Federal Road Fund, whereas the regions spend about 740 billion.

Of course, we would also like to make sure that all excise taxes on petroleum products are transferred to the regional road funds. However, we need to take into account the interests of the budget. We have come up with appropriate proposals as part of our proposals regarding changes to the taxation system.

Vladimir Putin:

When we resolved on these excises, we believed they would mostly go to the regions, as far as I remember. How was the question raised initially, Mr. Sokolov?

Maxim Sokolov: Yes, this is how it was raised initially. When this decision was made, there was a certain ratio in the distribution between the federal budget (not even the Federal Road Fund but the federal budget) and the regional road funds. This ratio was observed: 88 percent from the collected funds went into the regional budget and 12 percent into the federal budget. However, two years ago and last year decisions were made to increase excises. In all, excises on different classes of petrol and diesel were increased by four rubles but from these four rubles roughly only one ruble went to the regional road funds. This is why this ratio was changed and today we have reached the figures I mentioned – roughly 60 to 40.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Siluanov, we made a decision on distributing revenues from excises two years ago in fairly complicated economic conditions. Now the situation is changing. GDP forecasts are changing for the better and the federal budget fill rate is on the up. By how much have budget revenues increased over the past year? 26 percent?

Anton Siluanov:

Yes.

Vladimir Putin:

By 26 percent.

Now about federal, local and regional roads. About 77 percent of the federal roads have been put into shape, right? For regional roads, the figure is about 46–52 percent. The difference is huge. What about regional roads?

Maxim Sokolov:

For regional roads, the figure is even smaller. It will reach about 42 percent by the end of this year.

Vladimir Putin:

Yes, 34–42. Therefore, we should keep the current pace on federal roads but should not ignore regional roads to such an extent. Therefore, what you said is probably right. Strictly speaking, ‘probably’ is the wrong word. This is exactly right, not probably. But again, redistribution within the tax system should not be like this – you compel them to pay excises and then pinch off so much that again they have no money for roads.

When were you going to formulate this proposal?

Anton Siluanov
:

Mr. President, under the plans for upgrading the tax system we must prepare our proposals this year, adopt tax legislation next year and implement in 2019.

Vladimir Putin:

So, 2019 again. Very good.

Mr. Medvedev, I would like to ask you to work with your colleagues on this issue separately. I will not decide now how much, but it is absolutely clear that part of the funds we took from these excises should be redistributed to the regions. At least one ruble must be added to them.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev:

We will get to the bottom of the matter and come up with proposals on how to increase the regional component.

Vladimir Putin:

50 kopecks, one ruble, I do not know. Think about this, all right?

Dmitry Medvedev:

All right.

Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Siluanov, I would like you to study the problem in the same vein or else we will go beyond 2019, followed by 2020 and 2025 and we will ride there in carts because it will be impossible to move at all. The road network is degrading. It is vital to pay attention to this. Now let us turn to the issues that I described as the main ones: oil pipelines and residential buildings that are located along them.

<…>

Link:  Блог Владимира Путина.

PHOTO:
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Putin at the meeting with Government members.
Vladimir Putin at the meeting with Government members.

Meeting with Government members in the Kremlin.

Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov at the meeting with Government members.
Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov at the meeting with Government members.

Minister of Construction and Housing and Utilities Mikhail Men at the meeting with Government members.
Minister of Construction and Housing and Utilities Mikhail Men at the meeting with Government members.

The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.

Vladimir Putin laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the Day of Memory and Sorrow.

President Vladimir Putin. Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.
President Vladimir Putin. Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.

Taking part in the ceremony to pay tribute to the memory of those who fell defending their homeland against the Nazi invaders were:
  • Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev,
  • Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko,
  • Speaker of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin,
  • Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino,
  • Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu,
  • President of the Supreme Court Vyacheslav Lebedev,
  • Government members, State Duma deputies, members of the Federal Assembly, and representatives of veterans’ organizations.

The ceremony ended with a march-past by troops of the Moscow garrison representing the three branches of the armed forces: the Army, the Aerospace Forces, and the Navy.

The President also laid flowers at the obelisks to the hero cities in Alexandrovsky Garden.


Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54849

PHOTO:
The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.
Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.

Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.
Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.

Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.
Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.

Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.
Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.

Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.
Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.

Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.
Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.

Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.
Wreath-laying ceremony at Tomb of Unknown Soldier.

Meeting with Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden.

Vladimir Putin met with CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden to discuss, in particular, the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project.

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Royal Dutch Shell is one of the world leaders in the energy and petrochemicals sectors, operating in more than 70 countries, and has a close partnership with Russia.

* * *

Beginning of the meeting with CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr. van Beurden, colleagues,

Allow me to cordially welcome you to Moscow and congratulate you on the 125th anniversary of your company's operations in Russia.

The company started out with kerosene exports from the Russian Empire, namely Baku, to third countries. Now, the company is widely represented in Russia, and we have very good prospects and big plans. I will be pleased to discuss them with you today.

CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden:

Thank you very much, Mr. President. As always, it is a pleasure to meet, and it is an honor to be back in Moscow again. You are right, 2017 is a very special year for us because it is, as you said, 125 years since we started working in and with Russia.

You have been well briefed, Mr. President. It started, indeed, with the first ever bulk kerosene transport from Baku to Singapore in the Shell Murex. It was a huge success, and one could argue it was the beginning of the modern oil transportation era, and definitely the foundation of the success of our company.
But this success would not have been possible without the strong partnership from our Russian friends in those days. And that partnership, of course, has strengthened and flourished for many years since then. I am very happy and very proud of what we have done in Russia, the contribution that we have made in establishing new energy systems like LNG, and contributing to new field development.
So this time I come to Moscow specially to say “spasibo” to you, Mr. President, to Russia, for the trust, for the confidence, and for the welcome that we have enjoyed for 125 years.

But I also come to say that I am optimistic about our business and the future of our business in Russia. There have been some very important developments. Recently we agreed and executed the loan agreements on Nordstream-2. And I believe Nordstream-2 is a very good project, a project that will enhance energy supply security in Europe, and a project that both Europe and Russia will benefit from.

But also, in Moscow today, I detect another sense of optimism – optimism about the match that is going to be played tonight. It is a very important match, Mr. President, and I hope that, despite your very busy schedule, you will find some time to enjoy aspects of it.

Vladimir Putin: I am not sure about football, but with regard to our plans, including the Nord Stream-2 project, which you mentioned, it has every chance to be successful.

I always emphasize the fact that this is a purely commercial project and, of course, it is tied to the prospective increase in gas consumption in Europe to 510 billion cubic meters per year at a time when domestic production in European countries, including northern Europe, will be declining.

I think all we need to do is to calmly explain to all our partners, all stakeholder countries and legal entities that this project is not directed against anyone, but, on the contrary, is designed to promote the development of energy markets.

Of course, energy can be obtained from other sources. It is all about competitiveness, logistics and the cost of these components. I believe that we need to maintain a patient and friendly dialogue with all our partners.

<…>


PHOTO:
Meeting with Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden.
Meeting with Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden.
Vladimir Putin during a meeting with CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden.
Vladimir Putin during a meeting with CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden.
CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden (center).
CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden (center).

Meeting with graduating class teachers.

The meeting on the eve of Graduate Day was attended by homeroom teachers whose students scored high during the final performance review and distinguished themselves in the preparation and holding of extracurricular events.

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.

At the meeting with the head of state, teachers spoke about the peculiarities of the educational process in secondary schools and about fostering good values in teenagers, and also discussed opportunities of general educational institutions to provide career guidance.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, friends. I meet school teachers more or less regularly – not as often as I would like to but still regularly – during meetings with winners of various contests, on celebratory occasions or in connection with student results.

However, I have never met with instructors or homeroom teachers, especially on the eve of graduation day. Therefore, at the outset of our conversation I would like to extend my very best wishes to you, your students and their families on this holiday.

The holiday is truly unique. Every person, almost every person remembers it as a good and vivid event in our lives and destinies. Of course, they and you had to work hard to make it happen.

Today we are witnessing the development of many new, interesting, and effective methods and new ways of teaching. New technology is being introduced. Everything meets the requirements of today – at any rate we are striving for this. This leaves an imprint on your current activities and results.

I know that you are all from successful schools and you are all accomplished and successful teachers. You have medalists and winners of academic contests but naturally, apart from the strictly professional success achieved by you and your students, you also have to deal with a different component of your work – upbringing.

I suggest discussing all components, your thoughts about the results of this year. Maybe you have suggestions on what else the relevant ministry should be doing and in general, how we should adjust the school system to make it even more effective than it is today.

Needless to say, I hope very much and we all hope that on entering their new, adult life and acquiring new qualities, your students will make the most of the knowledge and skills they received at school. I am referring not simply to knowledge but also – and this is no less important – to the fundamental principles of a person’s attitude to life that you certainly tried to develop in them.

Acquiring knowledge is not easy, especially given the extent of it today, but this task is still secondary compared to the upbringing of young people, which develops in them the right attitude to themselves, their friends, families and the Motherland. These are absolutely fundamental things.

Only if this is achieved it is possible to hope that young people will be well-rounded and content with life while being easy to deal with.

This is what you have been doing not only as experts in different disciplines but also as educators, as homeroom teachers.

We do not have a strict agenda. Mr. Fursenko [Presidential Aide], Ms. Vasilieva [Minister of Education and Science] and I are all at your disposal.

<…>

Link:  http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54846

PHOTO:
Meeting with graduating class teachers.
Meeting with graduating class teachers.
Vladimir Putin at the meeting with graduating class teachers.
Vladimir Putin at the meeting with graduating class teachers.
Russian President at the meeting with graduating class teachers in the Kremlin.
Russian President at the meeting with graduating class teachers in the Kremlin.

Russian-Brazilian talks.

Vladimir Putin met at the Kremlin with President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Michel Temer, who is in Russia on an official visit.

Vladimir Putin and Michel Temer in Moscow.
Vladimir Putin and Michel Temer in Moscow.

The two presidents discussed the full range of Russian-Brazilian relations. They gave particular attention to developing and diversifying trade and economic ties, and strengthening cultural and humanitarian cooperation. They also exchanged views on key regional and international issues.
A number of bilateral documents were signed following the talks.

The documents signed include memorandums of understanding in economic and investment cooperation and on organizing information exchange on goods and vehicles moving between Russia and Brazil.

Also signed were a plan of political consultations between the two countries’ foreign ministers for 2018–2021, and a protocol on cooperation, information exchange and mutual assistance within the Eurasian Economic Union’s Common Tariff Preference System.

The Joint Statement between the Russian Federation and the Federative Republic of Brazil on Strategic Foreign Policy Dialogue was also signed.

Mr. Putin and Mr. Temer made statements for the press.

Beginning of meeting with President of Brazil Michel Temer.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr. President, colleagues, friends, allow me to greet you once again.

I think we had a very good evening together yesterday. Today, you have a busy program. You just had a meeting with the Russian Federation Prime Minister, and you have meetings ahead with the speakers of the two houses of Russia’s parliament, which will give you the opportunity to discuss all areas of our cooperation.

Our relations have deep roots: next year, we will mark 190 years since our two countries established diplomatic relations.

Brazil is undoubtedly one of our priority, most important partners in Latin America. We work together at all international organizations and, of course, this is particularly true of our collaboration within the BRICS group.

Unfortunately, our bilateral trade underwent a decrease last year, but it has already posted an increase of more than 30 percent over the first four months of this year.

We will have the opportunity to discuss all of these different areas.

It is a great pleasure to see you. Welcome!

President of Brazil Michel Temer (retranslated):

Mr. President, it is a great pleasure to see you again. If I recall correctly, we last met in India at the BRICS summit. We had a very good discussion that we continued during the dinner, where we were seated next to each other.

This is now my fourth official visit to Russia. I had the pleasure of visiting Russia as co-chair of the high-level commission on cooperation and we had a number of effective meetings in Brazil and in Russia. These meetings produced concrete results that were translated into practical action.

Russia and Brazil have many things in common. Our countries both have vast territories and large populations, and our economies have many similarities as well. During that dinner at the BRICS summit, we discussed these common features of our economies.

One of these common features is that we are conducting a successful fight against inflation. When I became President of Brazil last year, we had an inflation rate of around 10 percent. Now, we have brought it down to 3.6 percent. This, as you would agree, is an impressive reduction.

Another indicator important for both economies is interest rates. When I became President, the interest rate was 14.25, and it is now down to 10.25 percent. We expect that we will be able to bring the interest rate down even further very soon.

Mr. President, you have always said that our countries pursue a very frank and open dialogue. We conduct this dialogue within the BRICS group, the G20, and at the United Nations, where we have similar positions on a great many issues.

<…>

Press statements following Russian-Brazilian talks.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen,

I have just had very productive talks with President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Michel Temer. On both sides, we reaffirmed our commitment to developing mutually advantageous bilateral cooperation.

I would like to emphasize that Brazil is one of Russia’s key partners. Our bilateral cooperation is based on many years of friendship and mutual respect.

Our two countries established diplomatic relations nearly 190 years ago. Brazil was the first Latin American country with which Russia established official inter-state ties.

Mr. Temer and I made a detailed examination of all cooperation areas today, with particular focus on economic matters.

We noted that although we saw a decrease of 11 percent in our bilateral trade last year, this year, not only has our trade recovered, but it is now growing at quite a confident pace.

We supported the ambitious program for developing reciprocal trade flows and diversifying our import-export operations structure approved during the intergovernmental commission meeting in May.

Russian business is quite actively investing in Brazil. Total Russian investment now exceeds $1.5 billion.

Regarding the energy sector, I would like to note projects successfully underway in Brazil. Our biggest energy companies Rosneft and Gazprom are working in Brazil. Our company Siloviye Mashiny has built five new hydropower stations in Brazil and will localize production of hydro turbine equipment in Brazil.

Russian transport companies are ready to take part in carrying out Brazil’s new program for modernizing the national infrastructure. Talks are already underway on obtaining concessions for building and operating a north-south railway line.

There are promising projects in nuclear energy. The Russian company Rosatom won a tender at the start of this year to supply uranium to Brazilian nuclear power plants. The company is ready and would also like to win the contract for building a storage facility for spent nuclear fuel at the Angra nuclear power plant site in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

We have close cooperation in peaceful space exploration. An electro-optic facility to detect space junk has opened in Brazil. Four ground stations that are part of the Russian GLONASS global satellite navigation system are operating on Brazilian soil. We are studying possibilities for joint launches from a Brazilian space launch center and the production of light and medium-class space launch vehicles.

There are ideas for developing cooperation in earth monitoring from space. We see good prospects for supporting existing technology alliances and establishing new ones. One such alliance has been formed by the Skolkovo Fund and the Brazilian Techno park innovative center.

We see good prospects for expanding cultural and humanitarian cooperation. I am referring here to educational, tourist and youth contacts. A Brazilian information and cultural center will open soon in Moscow and a Russian culture and science center will open in Sao Paulo.

Our countries have established a productive exchange of experience in organizing major sports events.

Of course, we also discussed the international agenda. Russia and Brazil work actively together in foreign policy. We have largely similar positions regarding the formation of a just and democratic system of international relations based on respect for the principles of rule of law and equal and indivisible security for all.

Our countries work together constructively at the UN, the G20, the World Trade Organization, and, of course, we cooperate particularly closely within the BRICS group.

The President and I have just signed a joint statement on strategic foreign policy dialogue. This document pursues a higher level of coordination of our countries’ efforts in fighting new challenges and threats such as terrorism, in supporting peace and stability, and in non-proliferation and arms control.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Mr. Temer and our Brazilian colleagues for the substantive and useful talks. I am certain that they will contribute towards further developing our bilateral partnership.

Thank you for your attention.

President of Brazil Michel Temer (retranslated):

Mr. President, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to say how happy I am to visit the Russian Federation once again at President Putin’s invitation. Yesterday, I had the opportunity of meeting with the Speakers of the State Duma and the Federation Council, and today, I met with the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.
Just a few minutes ago, we concluded very substantive talks with President Putin, during which we reiterated our commitment to supporting and developing the strategic partnership our countries have.
Brazil and Russia are aware of the role they play on the international arena, in particular within the G20 and the BRICS group. Our countries can be justifiably proud of their rich history and Brazilians honor the memory of the Soviet and Russian soldiers who gave up their lives and secured victory over Nazism in World War II.

We also have very strong cultural ties. In general, Russian culture has a very noticeable presence in Brazil. Only yesterday evening, President Putin and I went to the Bolshoi Theatre and watched a ballet performance. The names of Dostoyevsky and Tchaikovsky are an integral part of our cultural scene.

During my talks with President Putin, I told him about the efforts our country is making to modernize its economy. I reiterated my commitment to the policy of reform. Like Russia, Brazil is firmly following the path of economic growth.

Like Brazil, Russia managed to bring inflation processes under control, and we will continue to follow this path.

In fact, this sums up the agreements that we have just signed. In other words, these agreements are designed to expand mutual trade, increase investment, and deepen political dialogue.

President Putin and I have agreed that we still have untapped potential in terms of bilateral trade. Suffice it to say that bilateral trade increased by 40 percent over the first five months of this year compared to the same period last year.

However, we still have an untilled field to work on. As I told Russian entrepreneurs yesterday speaking at a business forum, the opportunities for Russian investors in Brazil are vast.

During talks with Mr. Putin, I assured my colleague that during the next six months, when Brazil will temporarily preside over MERCOSUR, it would do its best to advance the preparation of an agreement on cooperation with the EAEU.

We also discussed issues on the international agenda and agreed that international institutions should be more representative and effective. We also exchanged views on critical issues on the international agenda, including peace and international security.

We exchanged views on cooperation in key areas of mutual interest. We agreed that we must put our strategic partnership to work in achieving progress in our relations. We gave a positive assessment to our experience in establishing Russian GLONASS stations in Brazil. We expressed our interest in expanding the network of these stations.

I took the opportunity to wish Mr. Putin success in holding the 2018 Football World Cup. I have no doubt that Russia will have everything ready on time. I am also certain that the Football World Cup in Russia will be just as successful as it was in Brazil.

Our national team has qualified for the World Cup and will be coming to Russia in 2018. I believe this will be a big celebration for the Brazilians and the Russians. Who knows, perhaps our teams will meet in the final.

I know well the subject of Brazilian-Russian relations, as I was a co-chair of the high-level intergovernmental commission on cooperation for a number of years. I am therefore aware of what we can do to better serve our peoples’ interests. Mr. Putin, I am convinced that today we took a very big step towards this future.

Once again, I thank you for the hospitality my delegation and I have found here. We will return to Brazil with even greater confidence in the future.

Link:  http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54836

PHOTO:

Russian President and Michel Temer in the Kremlin.
Russian President and Michel Temer in the Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin and President of Brazil in Moscow.
Vladimir Putin and President of Brazil in Moscow.
Press statements following Russian-Brazilian talks.
Press statements following Russian-Brazilian talks.
Vladimir Putin and Michel Temer signing bilateral documents following Russian-Brazilian talks.
Vladimir Putin and Michel Temer signing bilateral documents following Russian-Brazilian talks.
A number of bilateral documents were signed following Russian-Brazilian talks.
A number of bilateral documents were signed following Russian-Brazilian talks.
Vladimir Putin and Michel Temer. Press statements following Russian-Brazilian talks.
Vladimir Putin and Michel Temer. Press statements following Russian-Brazilian talks.
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
President of Brazil Michel Temer in the Kremlin.
President of Brazil Michel Temer in the Kremlin.
Michel Temer and Vladimir Putin signed documents in Moscow.
Michel Temer and Vladimir Putin signed documents in Moscow.
President of Brazil Michel Temer.
President of Brazil Michel Temer.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.