Friday, December 09, 2016

Accreditation for journalists to cover Putin's conference.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin will hold an annual year-end news conference on December 22, 2016, at 12:00 pm. The Presidential Press and Information Office’s Department of Accreditation and Briefings would like to announce that accreditation requests from journalists are no longer accepted.
Information on the venue, entry and work procedures for accredited media representatives will be published in advance at and президент.рф websites.

Contact telephone numbers:

+7–495–606–38–59; +7–495–606–30–63; +7–495–606–20–35.

Meeting with members of WorldSkills Russia national team.

Vladimir Putin met with members of the WorldSkills Russia national team, which took first place in the overall team count at the fifth EuroSkills 2016 championship.

Forty-three young specialists from 18 Russian regions took part in the competitions. Aside from winning the overall team count, the Russian team won, for the first time, 5 medals in basic skills categories: Gold medals in Electronics and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning; silver medals in the Graphic Designer category and in Mobile Robotics; and a bronze medal in the ICT Specialists category.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
I would like to welcome and congratulate all of you, participants and winners of the European competition and your coaches and mentors.
I know that the Agency for Strategic Initiatives took an active part in your training, namely your coaches, and Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets was in charge.
I do not know whether you yourselves expected this result, but at any rate, you prepared and worked to attain it. We discussed this yesterday: I think your rivals hardly expected to come across such strong competition.
Your first place in the overall team count is certainly very good and useful. Not only useful for you as a good start in your future jobs and professions, but also a good signal that will undoubtedly raise the prestige of vocational jobs, which is very important today.

Related photos:

Meeting with members of WorldSkills-Russia national team.

Meeting with members of WorldSkills-Russia national team.

Reception celebrating Heroes of the Fatherland Day.

Vladimir Putin attended the traditional annual reception for Heroes of the Fatherland Day.

Over 300 military personnel and civilians who have shown exceptional courage and heroism were invited to the reception. Among the attendees were Heroes of the Soviet Union, Heroes of the Russian Federation, full cavaliers of the Order of Glory, and cavaliers of the Order of Saint George. The tradition of honouring Heroes of the Fatherland was resumed following a presidential instruction in 2013.

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President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
Veterans, friends, 

Today Russia is celebrating the Day of Heroes of the Fatherland, those who are honoured by the highest national awards, including the Golden Stars of Hero of Russia and Hero of the Soviet Union, the Order of Glory and the Order of Saint George. Their heroic deeds symbolise selflessness, courage and loyalty to the Fatherland. 

Russia is proud of its heroes from all eras and generations. We are proud of everyone who has gathered here today at the historical St George Hall in the Kremlin. The history of the bravery and sacrifice of our ancestors is depicted on these walls. Valour and ability to selflessly sacrifice oneself remain among the most important qualities of the Russian national character. 

Heroic deeds are not accomplished for medals and orders. People risk their lives to save others. They carry out their military and civic duty to the end. They demonstrate true nobility, strong will and rigour. This country’s heroes have always had and always will have a special status and our highest regard. 

Years go by, even centuries, but their courage stays in people’s memory, and the historical memory of our nation. We have equal respect for the defenders of ancient Russia, the Russian Empire, the heroes of 1812 and the Great Patriotic War. 

We will never forget how 75 years ago, as the enemy approached Moscow, Soviet soldiers threw themselves under tanks to protect the capital. We will not forget how today Russian officers surrounded by terrorists draw fire upon themselves; how a Russian police officer, almost in front of our eyes, looking at his murderers, said the famous words, “Keep working, brothers.” We will not forget how our defenders fearlessly risk their lives to fulfill their military duty in Syria. 

These great examples fuel our pride for our people and our country. They strengthen our faith in the future and our love for our country. They instill in young people the aspiration to become better, braver and, if necessary, bolder, and carry out an extraordinary act of courage for the Fatherland. 

I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all those here and to our heroes, all of whom this hall would be too small to hold. I wish you good health and peace. Each of you has written your own brilliant chapter in Russian history. 

My sincere gratitude for everything you have done. I would like to propose a toast. Here is to the Heroes of the Fatherland! Here is to Russia! 

Related photos:

Gala reception marking Heroes of the Fatherland Day.


ASI Supervisory Board meeting.

Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) Supervisory Board dedicated to promoting new projects.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues,
We met in July at the Strategic Initiatives Forum and discussed results and new projects. I remember how the discussion proceeded at the time: We addressed areas of further activity. On this point, I would like to note that it is of paramount importance to achieve concrete, tangible results next year, primarily in the fields that we discussed: the business climate in the regions, the development of vocational education programmes and, of course, support for initiatives in the social sphere. 

In my Address to the Federal Assembly, which I hope you saw, I asked you, together with the Civic Chamber, to support the development of volunteerism, socially oriented non-profit organisations. It is important to remove impediments to the development of the volunteer movement and define the format for cooperation between volunteers, non-profits and the state. It is certainly necessary to help those who want to undertake projects in the social sphere and promote important environmental protection initiatives, especially considering that, as you know, we have declared next year the Year of the Environment.
And another thing. At the July forum, several interesting projects for people with disabilities were presented. Today, naturally, I would like to hear how this work is moving along, what problems you are encountering and what plans there are in this area.
Within the framework of the National Technology Initiative, you are already working on developing what is known as end-to-end technology that will shape all spheres of life in the near future. This includes robotics, new energy sources, and so on. You know all about it. 

The Address also mentioned the launch of a programme to develop a digital economy. I would like to ask the Agency to act as a platform for organising collaboration between Russian companies and research, education and engineering organisations and centres.
I would like to note that we have an increasing number of young specialists and highly qualified workers who are able to handle tasks at a new technological level. This was clearly demonstrated by the young people who won the EuroSkills competition in Sweden.
Such competitions are certainly not only prestigious tournaments (and we understand this very well). They set the pace as well as a reference point for the development of the national education system based on the world’s best practices and help fine-tune educational programmes and professional standards to meet current demand, the needs of the economy. 

As such, I would like to ask the Government and the Education and Science Ministry to ensure the unconditional fulfilment of all directives related to the development of the WorldSkills movement in Russia, including organising a WorldSkills competition in blue-collar trades that will take place in Kazan in 2019. 

You are actively involved in promoting this movement. In our country, it is known as Young Professionals and today it brings together over 20,000 participants. Of course, it would be interesting to hear, to know your plans for next year. 

Before we get down to business, I would like to revisit the issue of improving the investment climate. 

Together, we have formulated the task of ensuring a high-quality business environment in all constituent entities. This means that in each region, entrepreneurs should receive comprehensive services, comprehensive assistance and support. Timeframes for connection to infrastructure, the issuance of various documents and other services vital for business should be brought in line with the requirements of federal law. 

I very much hope that business associations, the Leaders Club, will also continue to oversee the implementation of decisions that were made, including the introduction of best practices at the regional and municipal level. 

I hope that all participants in the Antarctic expedition have returned home safely. Mr Andrei Belousov [Presidential Aide] did not get to join you this year, either, but he will do so in the near future. Every year he tells me that he is starting to prepare for the undertaking but then I see him here in the Kremlin offices. He has settled down here and it seems to me that he is no longer keen to go to the Antarctic.
Now let us get down to business.


Related photos:



Meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights.

Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights at the Kremlin.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues.
It is a pleasure to greet you all here at this meeting, which, by tradition, takes place on the eve of Human Rights Day.
As you know, two new national awards were just presented. I want to express once more my gratitude to the winners, and I want to thank everyone who gives their strength and energy to charity, volunteer and human rights work.
We spoke at past meetings about the need for additional measures to support NGOs with a social focus. The Council’s representatives played a very active part in drafting proposals in this area. The authorities have now approved the needed decisions. I remind you that, starting on January 1, 2017, NGOs providing services of social use will gain access to budget-funded service provision in the social sector for a period of at least two years. This will give such NGOs guarantees for stable activity and, I believe, will have a positive impact on the quality of social sector services around the country in general. Of course, we will need to monitor closely the way these new rules are implemented in practice. I hope the Council will give this matter its particular attention.
Overall, the Council’s work concerns a very broad range of areas in public life, from issues concerning migrants to the environment, protecting people’s rights in labour disputes, and concrete urban development policy issues. There cannot and should not be restrictions of any sort here. People must be able to continue raising the issues of greatest concern to them. We must respond rapidly and sensitively to situations in which people encounter injustice, indifference, formalism, or infringements of their rights in all different areas.
The state authorities and civil society are natural allies in achieving these common goals, the most important of which is our people’s prosperity. A constructive, substantive and respectful dialogue between the authorities at the various levels and civil society representatives is always needed and is without question very useful.
The regional dimension of the Council’s work is particularly important. It is essential to know the real human rights situation in the regions, where problems crop up most frequently in this area. I know that in some cases, the Council acts as an arbitrator in conflict situations, when disputes and differences arise, and in this way helps to restore social justice.
I note too the extensive work of the Council and its monitoring groups during the recent election campaign. Your work together with the Central Election Commission was most certainly very important indeed. There is no doubt that any violations during elections or any attempts to distort the results of voting must be prevented.
Public oversight has a tremendous role to play here. It raises elections’ legitimacy and bolsters public trust in their results. It also helps to identify aspects that require additional legal regulation.
I hope that you will continue your work to protect people’s electoral rights and your cooperation with the Central Election Commission during the election campaigns ahead, including in the regions.
I must mention another aspect of the Council’s work – your efforts to immortalise the memory of victims of political repression. We must learn to accept our country’s past as it is, remember the glorious pages, and not forget the tragic pages in our history. You might have noticed that I spoke about this in my Address [to the Federal Assembly], and I repeat it now: history’s lessons should not divide us, but should unite us and help us to preserve civil peace and harmony.
I hope very much that today, as in the past, we will hold a substantive discussion of the matters that require additional attention from the state authorities and require measures. As always, I am sure that you have your own initiatives and proposals on these many issues.
Thank you very much for your attention.

Related photos:



Thursday, December 08, 2016

Meeting with President of the EEC Board Tigran Sargsyan.

Vladimir Putin met with President of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board Tigran Sargsyan to discuss current issues on the Eurasian integration development agenda and preparations for the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council’s meeting in St Petersburg on December 26.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
Good afternoon, Mr. Sargsyan. I am very pleased to see you again. 

You have been in this post for nearly a year now. I know that you are working actively and have many interesting ideas. This morning, I spoke with [Presidential Aide] Mr. Belousov about the priorities you are advancing within the Eurasian Economic Union’s work. 
I think these are very interesting and promising ideas. What has already been accomplished is only the base. Free movement of capital, goods and people – this is just the base for moving forward with promising ideas that will produce the best results in terms of raising the overall competitiveness of all countries in our union. 

We look forward to seeing you on December 26 in St. Petersburg. We have the new Customs Code to approve, and I see this as an important milestone in developing our common economic space. 

I am very pleased to see you and I am sure we have plenty to discuss.

President of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board Tigran Sargsyan:
Thank you very much, Mr. President. 

First of all, let me thank you for the attention that you give to our integration association and to the efforts to develop our integration further. I want to present several issues of principle today, the resolution of which, in my view, will encourage deeper integration. I think that all member countries will gain from this. 

As you noted, we have around 25 items on our agenda for the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council’s meeting, and I think they all have great potential, including in terms of stimulating economic growth in our countries. 

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:
Excellent, thank you.

Related photos:

Vladimir Putin, Tigran Sargsyan.
Vladimir Putin, Tigran Sargsyan.
Russian President Putin and Tigran Sargsyan in Kremlin.

National awards for outstanding achievements.

The National Award for Outstanding Achievements in Human Rights Activity was conferred on Yelizaveta Glinka, executive director of the Spravedlivaya Pomoshch [Fair Aid] International Public Organisation, and the National Award for Outstanding Achievements in Charity Work was conferred on Alexander Tkachenko, general director of ANO Children’s Hospice.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
Good afternoon, friends,
Today is the first time that we are presenting two new national awards: for outstanding achievements in human rights and charity work.
These awards have a very special nature. They recognise people who have dedicated their lives to helping others and never sought awards or honours for their work, but act simply at their heart’s prompting. This is the essence of charity and human rights work. The establishment of awards for outstanding services in these areas is a mark of the state and society’s respect for these people and for their selfless labour.
We see what people can achieve when they answer their heart’s call, and we see the significance for every one of us of examples that have tremendous moral force for millions of people.
Today, the values of humanism, compassion, and mercy garner ever more response from and unite our people. This is a further sign of our society’s positive and constructive development and civic maturity.
I note that the Commission that selected the candidacies for these national awards – it is the norm in such cases to have a selection commission doing this work – examined a long list of candidates nominated by various public organisations. I not only think but know for sure that the commission members had a difficult time in choosing the worthiest among the worthy.
Let me say a few words about our winners today.
The National Award for Outstanding Achievements in Human Rights Activity is conferred on Yelizaveta Glinka, or, as the public and the media often call her, Doctor Liza.
Yelizaveta Glinka is a familiar figure to hospital patients, people facing disaster, children in Donbass and in Syria. I would like to express once more my support for Ms Glinka’s position: medicines and medical equipment should never be subject to limits or restrictions of any sort because as a result, people end without even the most basic medical assistance, including during military conflicts, when the civilian population, and often children, to our great sorrow, suffer most of all. I believe strongly that we should put a stop to this situation and that we should reach a decision to this effect at the international level.
The National Award for Outstanding Achievements in Charity Work is conferred on Father Alexander, Alexander Tkachenko by his lay name.
Father Alexander oversees children’s hospices and puts his strength, life and faith into this labour of helping seriously ill children. I hope that the state authorities, civil society groups, and religious representatives throughout the country will lend their support to his initiatives.
Today marks the birth of another great tradition that raises citizens’ missions of service to the summit of public and state recognition.
Let me stress that these awards for human rights and charity work have the same status as the national awards for achievements in science and culture that are presented on Russia’s Independence Day.
I want to express once more my sincere gratitude to the winners for their selfless service to people, their tireless labour and their generosity of spirit. I congratulate you. Thank you very much.


Condolences to the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain and to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif following the loss of passengers and crew in the crash of a Pakistan International Airlines plane near Havelian.

Crash of a Pakistan International Airlines plane.
Crash of a Pakistan International Airlines plane near Havelian.

The President passed on words of sympathy and support to all who lost family members and loved ones in this plane crash.


Executive Order presenting national awards in human rights and charity work.

Vladimir Putin signed Executive Order on Presenting the 2016 Russian Federation National Award for Outstanding Achievements in Human Rights Activity, and the Russian Federation National Award for Outstanding Achievements in Charity Work.

After examining the proposals made by the Presidential Public Commission for selecting candidacies for the national awards for outstanding achievements in human rights and charity work, the President made the decision to:

  1. Confer the 2016 National Award for Outstanding Achievements in Human Rights Activity and honorary title of the winner of the National Award for Outstanding Achievements in Human Rights Activity on Yelizaveta Glinka, executive director of the Spravedlivaya Pomoshch [Fair Aid] International Public Organisation.
  2. Confer the 2016 National Award for Outstanding Achievements in Charity Work and honorary title of the winner of the National Award for Outstanding Achievements in Charity Work on Alexander Tkachenko, general director of ANO Children’s Hospice.


Greetings to the UNESCAP Ministerial Conference on Transport.

Vladimir Putin sent greetings to participants in the Ministerial Conference on Transport of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

The message reads, in part:
“Cooperation with our Asia-Pacific partners is a priority of Russia’s transport strategy. The unique size of the Asia-Pacific region and its huge demographic, economic and transit potential precondition the development of an effective integrated transportation system in this part of the world.
Your meeting’s agenda includes a long list of current issues pertaining to improving the legal framework for international road transport, the use of new materials and technologies, the expansion of transportation networks and improving their connectivity with other regions. In this context, we appreciate the ESCAP initiative on creating a cooperation council on Euro-Asian transport links to coordinate efforts in this sphere with various international agencies dealing with transport issues in Asia and Europe.
I am confident that your joint work will help strengthen mutually beneficial international cooperation and boost socioeconomic development in Eurasia and beyond.”
United Nations ESCAP logo.
United Nations Logo.

Meeting with Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin.

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Rosneft President and Chairman of the Management Board Igor Sechin to discuss the results of a deal to sell a stake in the Russian oil company Rosneft.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
Mr. Sechin, I would like to congratulate you on the conclusion of a privatisation deal to sell a large stake in our leading oil and gas company Rosneft: 19.5 percent. The deal was made on an upward trend in the price of oil and it therefore reflects on the value of the company itself. 

In this respect, the timing is very good and the overall value of the deal is significant: 10.5 billion euros. Together with the Bashneft company that you acquired recently, this amounts to $17.5 billion. Even the first by itself is the largest privatisation deal, the largest sell-off and acquisition in the oil and gas sector in the world in the outgoing year 2016. 

I very much hope that new investors – a consortium of the Qatar state fund and Glencore, a major international trading company – I hope that their participation in managing bodies will improve corporate procedure and the company’s transparency and will ultimately increase its capitalisation. Meanwhile, the company’s controlling stake will remain in the hands of the Russian state: over 50 percent. 

Overall, this is a very good result. I would like to congratulate all of you, your colleagues who have worked on it. And naturally, the question arises: when will the money come to the Russian budget?

Rosneft President and CEO Igor Sechin:
Mr. President, allow me to update you on the results of the work to fulfil your assignment to sell a 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft oil company. 

As part of our effort to enlist potential investors and conclude this sale, we have conducted commercial talks with over 30 companies, foundations, professional investors, sovereign funds and financial institutions in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific region. 

Today, I am reporting to you the conclusion of these talks, the completion of the consideration of proposals submitted, and the signing of the comprehensive privatisation deal, including Bashneft, as you rightly said. This amounts to over 1 trillion rubles, which will come to the budget, including 10.5 billion euros for Rosneft’s 19.5 percent stake. 

The consortium that will become Rosneft’s shareholder was established by the Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund and Glencore trading company, which is our long-standing partner. The consortium participants hold equal stakes: 50 percent each. 
Payment to the state budget will be made both with our own resources and with a loan organised by one of Europe’s largest banks. 

Therefore, it was a market transaction based on Rosneft’s stock exchange quotations. We believe that we got the highest possible price with the minimum discount of 5 percent to the exchange quotations as of December 6. 

This transaction is not a simple portfolio investment but a strategic deal with additional elements, such as the signing of a long-term offtake agreement with Glencore, the coordination of our market positions and the creation of a joint venture, which will work both in Russia and under international projects. 

As you said correctly, this transaction is the largest privatisation deal in Russia. Overall, the privatisation of 49 percent of Rosneft in a series of transactions has earned us $30 billion, no, nearly $34 billion, which is four times more than returns from all other privatisation transactions in Russia’s oil and gas sector. 

This transaction is also important for the global oil sector and, as you have said correctly, is the largest asset sales transaction in the global sector in 2016. 

I am sure that the high standards of our investors and Rosneft’s transition to a new dividend payment system, which the Government has approved at 35 percent, will definitely improve the company’s capitalisation, including the state-owned stake. We estimate the state-owned stake after the transaction at approximately 80 billion rubles. 
Mr. President, considering the foreign economic challenges, I can tell you that we have signed this transaction so quickly exclusively thanks to your personal contribution and support. Also, I would like to say that we received the necessary amount of assistance from the Government while preparing the deal. 

I am honoured to convey our sincere gratitude to you on behalf of the company and all those who were involved in this transaction.
Vladimir Putin:
Thank you. 

A large amount of foreign currency will be supplied to the financial market, but the budget must receive the full sum in the ruble equivalent, in rubles. Therefore, we must devise a method that would preclude a negative impact on the market and prevent any hikes on the exchange market. 

We know that Rosneftegaz, which will ultimately transfer the money to the budget, has considerable ruble resources. First, we should use these funds, and second, we should work jointly with the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank to plan a system of measures for currency conversion that would prevent market hikes. I ask you to coordinate these issues with the Government, including top Government executives, as well as the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank.
Igor Sechin:
Certainly, Mr. President, we will do as you say. 

We will receive the first money transfers from our foreign investors in the next few days. We also maintain contact with the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry. We will certainly report to the Prime Minister and will devise a system under which the impact on the market will be the smallest possible.
Vladimir Putin:
Please invite our investors and new Rosneft shareholders to Russia. We will organise a government reception for them.
Vladimir Putin, Igor Sechin.
Vladimir Putin and Igor Sechin, Rosneft CEO.
Putin, Sechin, Kremlin.
Russian President Putin with CEO of Rosneft Igor Sechin.


Putin will hold a meeting of the Council for Civil Society Development.

The Council members will brief the President on their work over the last year, outline future directions for work, and discuss a number of key issues, including humanising migration policy, preventing juvenile delinquency, and protecting citizens’ environmental rights.
The President will also award the State prizes for outstanding achievements in charity and human rights work.
These prizes were established in 2016 and this is the first time they are being awarded. The winner of the State Prize for human rights activity is Yelizaveta Glinka, executive director of the Spravedlivaya Pomoshch [Fair Aid] International Public Organisation.
The winner of the State Prize for charity work is Alexander Tkachenko, general director of ANO Children’s Hospice.
The same day, Mr Putin will meet with President of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board Tigran Sargsyan to exchange views on current matters on the Eurasian integration agenda and to discuss the agenda for the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council’s meeting to be held in St. Petersburg on December 26.


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Security Council meeting, Economic Security Strategy.

Vladimir Putin held a Security Council meeting to discuss the draft Economic Security Strategy.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
Good afternoon, colleagues,
Today, we will discuss the draft of Russia’s Economic Security Strategy. This document outlines the most important areas of work to ensure our country’s economic, technological and financial sovereignty.
Only recently, it seemed that there was no need for such documents, but judging by what is happening today, we do need to reflect on the various challenges we will discuss at this meeting.
We are witnessing profound and large-scale processes underway in the world. New centres of global economic growth are emerging. Every year brings more competition for markets, technology and capital. Economic restrictions, pressure, and sanctions are being used more often in political aims, and under the guise of pursuing political objectives are being used quite simply as a means in the competitive fight.
We must take these trends into account and pre-empt these risks and threats. Our fundamental, principle response here is to develop our own economic potential. This does not mean that we will shut ourselves from the global economy, but that we will bolster our own effectiveness. This will give us the resources we need to resolve social tasks and will enable us to provide reliable guarantees of our national interests and security.
We must achieve growth rates higher than the global rates. Yes, only a short time ago, we were talking of higher growth rates, but we are conscious of the situation in the global economy and in our economy and we must adjust our plans accordingly. We must, however, reach growth rates higher than the global rates by 2019–2020. To achieve this goal, the Annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly contains an instruction issued to the Government of the Russian Federation to draft a concrete action plan.