Putin met with Federation Council and State Duma leadership

Vladimir Putin met with the leadership of the Federation Council, the State Duma, and relevant committees of both chambers to discuss the performance of the parliament, development priorities and legislative improvements to be introduced the next year.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues, Ms. Matviyenko, Mr. Volodin. Welcome everyone.

The new parliament, its lower chamber, has finished its work for the autumn session. Soon, the Federation Council will finish its work as well. Of course, the outgoing year’s most important event was the election to the State Duma, which resulted in a significant rotation of the deputies. Significant changes have taken place in the leadership of the chamber as well, but that did not stop the deputies from immediately engaging in active legislative work.

I would like to specially thank you for the decisions that have been taken over a relatively short time and, above all, for your active work and adoption of the main financial document of our country – the budget, which is extremely important for our economy to be able to grow steadily, and the budgetary process to exert a positive impact on our economy in general.

At the same time – I believe you will agree with me – it is essential to exercise extreme caution with regard to innovations and take great care when it comes to amendments to existing laws. For example, the Criminal Code has been amended more than 10 times; tax laws, over 30 times; and the Code of Administrative Offences, more than 40 times.

No doubt, if that is really necessary, all these steps should be brought in line with the existing norms while the new norms that are adopted in particular areas, branches of law, should be in harmony with one another.

Regional policy undoubtedly remains the most important area both for the executive branch of government and for the deputies of the Federal Assembly.

Of course, this is primarily the concern of the upper house, which represents the interests of the regions, as well as of deputies of the State Duma, also considering the fact that our electoral system has changed and a certain number of deputies come directly from Russian regions and are, essentially, in direct contact with the voters.

However, our colleagues who have got into parliament on party lists should also be in direct, immediate contact with their voters. This practice was well established in previous years. I hope it will remain.

And naturally, I would like to wish you all the very best ahead of the upcoming holidays, and I hope that we will work next year as constructively as we have in the outgoing year.

I am pleased to give the floor to Ms. Matviyenko.

Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko:

Mr. President,

First of all, I would like to thank you for your constant and unflagging attention to the activity of the Federal Assembly, to the activity of the Council of Lawmakers, to our initiatives. I would particularly like to note the respect you show to the country’s parliament, which should serve a model for the leaders of other levels of government and other leaders. The country’s parliament is one of the most important democratic institutions.

The end of December is a time for summing up results. The year has not been easy, but it has been constructive. We all have worked as one team, which came through especially during the preparation and adoption of the federal budget for the next three years. There are still plenty of difficulties, both internal and external, but we have not only endured this year, but have also become stronger, more cohesive and impervious to outside challenges, while patriotism has become our spiritual dominant. On the whole, this year, the situation has visibly changed for the better, among other things, because the authorities have not been overtaken by events, have not panicked, but have dealt with the problems that came up calmly and effectively.

The Federation Council has fully exercised its constitutional powers, has actively participated in lawmaking activity; as a house of regions, it has actively protected and upheld the rights of the regions, and we have given special priority to strengthening federalism.

On the Federation Council’s initiative, a Security Council meeting was held on ways to improve state regional policy, which you supported. The Security Council defined key directions in this area. We hope that your instructions on approving new principles of state regional policy, which we have actively helped to draft, will be carried out in the near future. As you have just noted, the Federation Council will work consistently to implement these policy documents.

This year we tried to promptly respond to the issues that particularly worried our citizens and were raised by senators from different regions of Russia. A number of major draft laws were initiated. In all, this year Federation Council members initiated over 80 draft laws, including a package of laws on the activities of collectors, and amendments to the law on attracting investment to the fishing industry. The Federation Council promptly reacted to the tragedy on Lake Syamozero. We prepared a draft law that is focused on establishing clear-cut and strict procedures on ensuring security in children’s recreation areas. The next summer recreation campaign will be organized in line with the new rules.

We also prepared an address to you, Mr. President, on restoring Yevpatoria as a national children’s health resort and would like to ask you to support it. I would like to hand this address to you in the presence of all participants so as not to leave behind any unfinished business in the outgoing year. We do not have too many children’s health resorts, and the number of specialized resorts for children with disabilities is even smaller. The first resolution of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Russian Federative Socialist Republic on establishing a children’s resort in Anapa was adopted in January 1936, which was not the easiest time, as we realize. I think that now we can solve this problem with your support.

Based on the proposals of some regions, we introduced amendments to the law on the Far Eastern hectare program and specified the points they were worried about.

Today I would like to thank the State Duma deputies of all parliamentary parties for their constructive and productive cooperation. Owing to our joint well-orchestrated work, the important laws I mentioned were adopted and the mechanisms of cooperation between the lower and upper chambers were put right from the first reading.

Today, a very important law introduced by the Federation Council was adopted. It concerns social allowances for children whose parents are unknown. There are only 900 of them in the entire country, but they did not receive any allowances. I would like to thank the deputies for supporting this law. We always find a common language, realizing that we bear common responsibility.
In addition, the Federation Council has drafted and submitted to the State Duma a draft law on volunteering. Taking into account the tasks that you set in your Address to the Federal Assembly in this area, we will finalize it with the deputies so it can be adopted during the spring session.

Next year, the National Children's Interests Action Strategy 2012–2017 that you approved will expire. Its implementation has objectively made it possible to pool the efforts of all branches of government and civil society institutions, address the most acute problems and prioritize children’s interests. Of course, there should be no pause, no stopping here.

I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for supporting our decision to declare a “decade of childhood” in Russia and to instruct the Government and the Executive Office to consider the possibility of issuing a corresponding executive order. This will make it possible to define the main directions in supporting childhood in 2018–2027 to provide comprehensive support for the well-being and prosperity of an entire generation entering adulthood and to ensure a qualitatively new stage in your long-term nation-building policy.

The outgoing year will, without a doubt, be remembered also for the productive work in the sphere of parliamentary diplomacy. In the context of the present-day difficult international relations, inter-parliamentary cooperation, inter-parliamentary dialogue is needed like never before. We are using any international platform, any opportunity to bring home to our partners Russia’s position, our approaches toward dealing with pressing international problems. Our arguments are meeting with growing understanding and support. This is evidenced, among other things, by the decision to hold the 137th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which brings together the parliaments of 171 countries, in Russia next year.

Further evidence that our arguments are meeting with understanding are the resolutions adopted by the lower and upper houses of the French parliament on lifting sanctions against MPs and restoring dialogue with Russia. Similar resolutions were adopted by a number of regional parliaments in Italy. Also, there have been visits by members of European parliaments to Crimea, allowing for objective assessments of the situation in Crimea and Sevastopol, which are completely at odds with the current Russo phobic rhetoric and propaganda.

By agreement with France’s Senate we are drafting a joint report on Russian-French relations and their prospects. The number of invitations from parliaments of many countries to visit them and the number of those who wish to come to Russia have increased many-fold. Considering this, how can anyone speak of Russia’s isolation?

A year ago the Federation Council supported your request for the Aerospace Forces to participate in a military operation in Syria. Experience has shown that this decision was timely and correct. Russia’s participation in the anti-terrorist struggle drastically changed the situation in Syria. Its territorial integrity and sovereignty were preserved; a large part of its territory was cleared of terrorists; owing to the Defense Ministry’s Reconciliation Centre over a thousand towns have already joined the truce process and columns of humanitarian relief are being continuously sent to Syrian citizens. We know that destroying the terrorists in their den will prevent this scum from coming to our homes and will ensure our national security.

The main priorities of the Federation Council for 2017 have been determined in the plan of measures on fulfilling your Address to the Federal Assembly, which we will approve at the final meeting of the Federation Council on Friday.

In conclusion, Mr. President, allow me to say happy New Year and Christmas and wish you patience, strength and good luck. And please take care of yourself.

To quote the words of Alexander Blok, written in a year of great trials: “All will be well. Russia will be great.” I personally believe this.

Colleagues, I wish an early happy New Year to you all.

Vladimir Putin

Thank you very much.

Mr. Volodin, please.

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin:

Mr. President,

The first and shortest session of the new State Duma has ended. The State Duma has worked for only 77 days. There were 17 plenary sessions. The State Duma has adopted 142 laws, with 2,020 draft laws rolled over into the agenda of the seventh convocation of the State Duma. Some have been submitted since as far back as the mid-1990s. To consider the backlogged bills we are already planning our work for 2017. We have made a consolidated decision to increase the duration of plenary sessions and to reduce breaks, and we have also altered house rules for the spring session, extending it until July. This decision will make it possible to consider draft laws more efficiently.

The decision to move Election Day has for the first time enabled the State Duma to begin its work with the main financial document: the Federal Budget Law. The draft budget was widely discussed at parliamentary hearings with the participation of the expert and research community, as well as with representatives of political parties that did not get into the State Duma as a result of elections.

Mr. President,

State Duma deputies have from day one defined their priority as enhancing the quality of law-making activity. To that end, all party factions have made a number of systemic decisions through consensus. These include the broad public discussion of legislative initiatives and the expert appraisal of draft laws. In addition, a decision was made to tighten oversight of the implementation of the laws and decisions that are made.

Today, after a preliminary joint hearing with the Government of the Russian Federation, the State Duma made the decision to amend the State Duma’s procedural regulations and rules, which will enable us to set higher standards on the quality of drafting and implementing laws. This refers primarily to the preparation of essential regulatory acts, considering that what often happens is that a law is adopted but does not go into effect for one, two or three years due to the lack of regulatory acts. It was important for us to get these things off the ground.

Considering that we have agreed with the Government that exactly the same provision will appear in the Government’s regulations, we believe that this will allow us, by the third reading, to see how the preparation of regulatory documents is proceeding. And only after receiving notification from the Government – and the Government has agreed with that – will we proceed with the third reading so as to ensure the more effective implementation of draft laws. Because sometimes it so happens that a minister reports to the President that a law has been adopted and a problem has been solved, but then nothing is done to solve that problem for a year due to the lack of regulatory acts, which affects people, as well as efficiency.

Furthermore, we have to pass amendments to laws to delay their enforcement. We came up against this during the short period in which we worked on a number of laws: on household waste disposal and on housing maintenance and utilities. All of that prompted us to work in this direction. If we manage to improve the work by introducing these regulations into our procedural rules, then we may subsequently talk about amendments to laws. Right now it would probably be premature to talk about amendments, given that this should be done in a synchronized way, as a lot here depends on the Government.

A part of the autumn session agenda was devoted to national security issues and protecting our country’s interests in the international arena. All party factions were unanimous on these issues. As a general rule, we have a consolidated position here.

Our priorities for 2017 are, above all, the initiatives and proposals that you, Mr. President, formulated in your Address to the Federal Assembly. As we make plans for next year, we are putting these priorities on the State Duma’s agenda. The analysis of the Address that was made by a working group formed by the State Duma has shown that we need to amend about 95 laws, as well as legislative acts, to fulfil the tasks that the President set in his Address to the Federal Assembly.

It will be our priority agenda for next year, considering that we have already resolved some of the issues. Still, a great deal also depends on how well organized the work with the Government will be so that we can proceed from their legislative initiatives, while in situations where we believe decisions can be made through deputies’ initiatives, of course, they should be upheld to ensure that things run smoothly.

Improving the quality of law-making, working with voters, implementing election programs, invigorating parliamentary oversight institutions and the deputies’ self-organization – all of this meets society’s needs and responds to the tasks set by the President in his Address and in the election program.

Mr. President, you have supported requests from party faction leaders, who are present here, regarding a number of questions, as well as the need to increase the number of [their] aides in the regions. These matters are especially relevant now, given that deputies were also elected in single-seat constituencies, and there are many territories where not all parties are represented. It can be said even now that these and other matters – considering that they were wide-ranging – have been resolved completely, 100 percent. On behalf of my colleagues, I would like to express our gratitude to you for resolving all these matters, which were brought up literally in the beginning of October.

Mr. President, on behalf of my colleagues I wish you a happy New Year, good health, happiness and good luck in everything you do!
Vladimir Putin

Thank you very much.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53566

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State Duma leadership. Zuganov and Mironov.
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Vladimir Putin met Federation Council and State Duma leadership.
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Putin's meeting with Federation Council and State Duma leadership.
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Russian President. Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Federation Council.
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Meeting with Federation Council and State Duma leadership.
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At a meeting with Federation Council and State Duma leadership.
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Federation Council and State Duma leadership meeting with the President.
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Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino.
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Vladimir Zhirinovksij and Gennadiy Zuganov at meeting with the President.

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Putin gave instructions on regulation of alcohol-containing products

Vladimir Putin approved a list of instructions on state regulation of production and sale of alcohol-containing products.

In order to improve state regulation of production and sale of alcohol-containing products, and to reduce public misuse of such products, the Government has been instructed to draft and make amendments to Russian Federation legislation contemplating:

  • tougher regulations governing production and sale of alimentary alcohol-containing products, perfumes and cosmetics, household chemicals and personal-care products containing more than 25 percent of ethanol, and introduction of licenses for these types of activity;
  • tougher regulations governing retail trade of medicines containing ethanol for medical or veterinary use;
  • introduction of compulsory marking of alcohol-containing products produced and sold in the Russian Federation;
  • tougher penalties for legal violations and crimes related to production and sale of alcohol-containing products.
Russian Government has also been instructed to draft and present proposals on amendments to the law on taxes and duties in order to change current excise rates on alcohol and alcohol-containing products in order to reduce demand for surrogate alcohol.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53560

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Photo of bottles of the Russian Vodka Putinka.
Russian Vodka. Putinka.

Putin had a telephone conversation with President of Iran

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani.

The two presidents discussed in detail the Syrian crisis, particularly the situation around Aleppo. They stressed the need for joint efforts to facilitate the launch of a real political process to bring about a swift resolution of the conflict in Syria. In this context, the organization in Astana of talks between Syrian government representatives and members of the moderate opposition could be a major step forward.

Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani also discussed current matters concerning bilateral relations in light of the positive results of the Russian-Iranian Permanent Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation held in Tehran on December 11–13.
The two leaders agreed on upcoming contacts at various levels.


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Flag. Islamic Republic of Iran.

Putin met with Chairperson of the Central Election Commission

Vladimir Putin had a meeting with Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Ms. Pamfilova, I know that you have worked hard, analysing all events during the State Duma elections, how everything was organised, working with complaints and claims from participants in the process. Let’s start with this, shall we?

Chairperson of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova:

Yes, Mr. President. Exactly three months have passed since then and we have been very busy over this time. We made a thorough analysis of the mistakes, concentrating not on what went well, but on where there are still problems, working with a view to the next big election cycle, including the presidential election in March 2018. 
Next year will also see a big election campaign period involving perhaps 40 million voters, as 15 regions will elect their regional heads and six regions will hold legislative elections. In total, big election campaigns will take place in some 30 regions. In this respect, it is very important to not just maintain, but also develop and consolidate the very clear policy you have set of holding transparent, open, competitive and free elections. 
In this respect, there are three points I want to make. 
Regarding the State Duma election campaign, what is very important here is that no violator should escape punishment, in order to clear the road for the next election.
We tried to identify practically every violation that took place, and most important, ensure that punishment would inevitably follow. We really did a very thorough job in our analysis. Of the 85 regions, there were practically no violations in 62 regions. In these regions, the campaigns were conducted in proper fashion, there were no complaints, and neither the observers nor the experts found any problems. 
Violations of one kind or another took place in the remaining 23 regions, and in some regions, they were very serious indeed. I would lay the blame here above all with the regional authorities, who, regrettably, abused the administrative resources at their disposal. I have prepared reports and will give them to you later. It is up to you to decide.
As for what lies within our powers, we have done all we could in the regions where violations occurred and handed out penalties to our colleagues. In some cases, we expressed our lack of confidence and proposed that they resign. 
Thirty-two heads of territorial electoral commissions have been dismissed from their posts for violations, and a further 4,398 people – heads of local commissions and commission members – have also been dismissed. Some commissions were dismissed entirely. I said to them, “You can get whoever you like calling you, but you will have to answer.” Well, they have answered in full measure with the rules, and I think we will continue this line. 
We have set a course of renewal and carried out a rotation of personnel, so that now, new people account for at least 30 percent of commission heads and more than half of their deputies. Furthermore, the average age of commission members has come down by 6–9 years. People from the administration now make up a smaller contingent, down by 8.5 percent. In other words, we have fewer representatives from official quarters and more representatives from the political parties. 
Party representation has increased greatly since 2011. The representatives of 28 different parties now take part in the commissions at all levels. This is unprecedented. That is my first point. 
The second very important point I wanted to bring to your attention is technical re-equipment. I want to thank you for your support here, because only thanks to you, the Government and the Prime Minister were we able to organise video monitoring at nearly a third of polling stations in such a short time, and this played a big part in guaranteeing open and free elections. 
I drafted a proposal and I hope that you will support continued efforts to develop the video monitoring system for the upcoming presidential election. 
As far as the technical re-equipment goes, I wanted to show you what we have planned. (Viewing of presentation). We have 52 regions that now operate on digital channels. We have done this using our own resources. We do not need anything here and plan to have all regions go digital this year. This will make it possible to speed up our work, which will improve the entire electoral system’s performance. 
The second important issue on which we will need your help concerns the vote processing systems. They have proven their worth and the regions are asking for them, especially the regions that want to ensure honest elections. But we have few of these apparatuses to cover the entire country’s needs. The Central Election Commission, which saved around 500 million roubles during the last campaign by optimising internal resources, therefore asks that the Finance Ministry not simply takes this money back from us, but lets us use it instead to buy vote processing systems. Our policy is to have every polling station using modern vote counting systems. But we will need your help here. You know this yourself. 
Next, using our own resources, we will introduce a QR code for instant reading of the protocols. This will enable us to eliminate the biggest complaints and minimise falsification attempts during the process of drawing up the protocol. We will sort this all out ourselves, but I simply wanted to brief you on our plans. 
Another very important aspect is that we have analysed all of the electoral legislation, organised a scientific-practical conference, collected all proposals from the independent expert community, observers, parties, the Presidential Human Rights Council, and the human rights commissioners. We worked together with everyone concerned and summarised the material that I will present to you. I ask you to issue the directive to establish a working group under the Presidential Executive Office’s aegis, with representatives from the Federal Assembly, the Government and the Central Election Commission taking part, so as to transform all of this into concrete amendments and get this important work moving. 
Finally, an issue that would seem to be of a more particular nature but is actually very important is that of voting possibilities for people with disabilities and people with limited mobility. 
We have a good programme – Road to the Polling Station – which fits in with the objectives of the Accessible Environment federal programme. Implementing this programme in full would make it possible to increase dramatically the voting activeness of people with disabilities, and this is an important part of integration into society in general. 
In principle, we have already made plans and accomplished what we can using the real possibilities at our disposal. But there is one problem. Unfortunately, we do not have a unified base with all the needed information on these people (who want to vote too) depending on their type of disability: blind, visually impaired, deaf, hearing impaired, or with skeletal and muscle problems. We only get statistics from the Pension Fund, giving the numbers of people with different types of disability, but this does not help us to properly organise the polling stations.
Starting on January 1, the Government is opening access to the information system Federal Register of People with Disabilities. I ask for your support to have us included in this programme too. This will help us to organise a better quality of work in more targeted fashion. After all, no matter how you look at it, this group accounts for around 12 million voters. In this respect, I would be very grateful if the Presidential Commission for the Rights of People with Disabilities, together with the Central Election Commission, the Justice Ministry, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, could examine measures to ensure disabled people’s electoral rights. If you have no objections, we will work on this issue over the next year, with your help.

Vladimir Putin:

Thank you. 
Ms. Pamfilova, 
You know my position. The cleaner and more transparent are elections, the greater the legitimacy of the state bodies elected with their help. We will thus continue working. Of course, you will need to calculate the needed financing and approve it with the Government and the Finance Ministry. But we will certainly work on carrying out your proposals.

Ella Pamfilova:

Thank you very much.
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Vladimir Putin and Ella Pamfilova. Moscow, Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin and Ella Pamfilova.
Ella Pamfilova meet the President of Russia.
Mr. Putin with Ella Pamfilova.
Ella Pamfilova at Kremlin.
Ella Pamfilova meet the President of Russia.

Gala evening marking Security Agency Worker’s Day.

Vladimir Putin attended a gala evening marking Security Agency Workers’ Day.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
Comrade officers, veterans, 
First of all, I would like to cordially congratulate you and all security services’ officers on your professional holiday. It has always been a symbol of deep respect for the people who do a very difficult and important job for our society, those who stand on guard for Russia’s sovereignty and national interests, those who protect our security and the constitutional rights of our citizens and are ready to skilfully carry out their mission regardless of risks. 

Russian security agencies have a rich history. I am pleased to see that our distinguished veterans are in the most prestigious seats in this hall. You have always conscientiously and honestly served our Fatherland, set examples of true patriotism and faithful execution of one’s duty, answered the call of your heart and always remembered that we have only one Russia and that it should be taken care of and protected regardless of changing political eras and pages of history. 

Today your cause is in strong and reliable hands. The current generation of security agency officers – your students and successors – honourably carry on your traditions of loyal and impeccable service to the people.
Comrade officers, 

Security agencies play an extremely important role in protecting the interests of the state and enhancing the stability of our society. Our citizens expect you to work effectively to neutralise external and internal threats. Terrorism is the most dangerous threat. You know how complex and dangerous this threat is. 

Yesterday Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was brutally murdered. All circumstances of this crime are currently being thoroughly investigated. 

Needless to say, this causes in us particular pain, but we know what is happening in other countries. It seems that another crime of this kind was committed in Europe. Many people were killed in Berlin. We express our condolences and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.

We want to reiterate once again what we have already proposed many times and continue to propose – we must join forces in the fight against international terrorism. This is the only way to win. 

I would like the special services to take additional measures to ensure security inside and outside Russia, to reinforce the security of Russia’s foreign-based institutions and their employees. Please use your partner channels to step up work with the special services of other countries. 

It is important to stay as composed and alert as possible going forward. This applies to the FSB and other special services and departments. Of course, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee should retain its coordinating role as the highest authority.
We must continue to act with skill and precision in all areas of our anti-terrorist activities, including neutralising the militants and their leaders, preventing terrorist crimes and cutting off terrorism financing channels. 

We should also focus on fighting extremism. We must act decisively to eradicate propaganda promoting xenophobia and nationalism, including in social media, and prevent young people from being lured into joining radical groups. Such attempts are a real threat to the stability of our multiethnic society. 

The timely detection of all types of enemy plots against Russia, no matter where they come from, is critical. 

It is also necessary to build on progress made over the past years in countering foreign intelligence services. Let's not forget about this. I’m referring to the services that continue their attempts to gain access to political, military, economic, and scientific information. 

You should always stay on top of areas such as combating corruption, fighting economic crime, providing reliable protection of state borders, and ensuring the uninterrupted operation of systems of public administration and communications.
To reiterate, you will need to break new ground and achieve significant results in the areas I just mentioned, and many others. 

Friends, today Russia’s security agencies possess the latest operational and technical capabilities, highly skilled staff and, most importantly, they work as a single well-coordinated team, guaranteeing the security of Russia and the safety of our citizens.
I want to thank the Russian special services for their high professional skills, competence, and personal courage. 

I am aware of your losses. We shall never forget our comrades who gave their lives for the safety of millions of our fellow citizens. 

I wish you and your colleagues every success, happiness and good health. That goes for all of you, your families and friends. 

Of course, I also wish you a Happy New Year. Have a good evening. 
Happy holiday!

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53558

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Vladimir Putin. Meeting with Government members.

Vladimir Putin held his final regular meeting with Government members for 2016 and congratulated them on the upcoming New Year holiday.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues. 
Keeping with tradition, I want to congratulate you on the upcoming New Year holiday and say a few words about our work over this past year. 
I won’t be saying anything sensational if I say that despite the various difficulties, I think the Government has worked with maximum effect. 
Yes, we are still seeing a slowdown to some extent, but the situation is day and night compared to the drop in GDP we experienced last year. We have every reason to believe now that we can get back on a growth track. It’s important only to ensure that this growth is steady and increases from one year to the next. 
Some of our macroeconomic results already signal changes for the better. It looks very likely that our inflation rate will be at its lowest in the last 25 years. In 2011, inflation stood at 6.1 percent. This year, it will be less than 6 percent. We can say confidently that the figure will probably be 5.8 percent. 
There have been some positive developments in the real sector of the economy too, in sectors such as machine building and agriculture. This lays good foundations for resolving the tasks that we will have before us next year, in 2017. One of these tasks is most certainly to raise labour productivity, an essential basic condition for obtaining the GDP growth we need. We also need to continue structural transformation in the economy and make all possible efforts to implement the May 2012 executive orders, especially in the social sector. 
The Government’s most important achievement this year was to strike an optimum balance between addressing economic tasks and pursuing social development. This has not been easy, but overall, you have succeeded in finding this balance.
In 2017, we must continue implementing the executive orders, particularly those concerning wage rises for public sector employees. We must continue improving the business climate, and continue our efforts to reach our demographic and healthcare objectives. 
This, of course, will require effective cooperation with our colleagues in the regions, as well as ongoing dialogue with the State Duma and the Federation Council deputies so as to combine our efforts and ensure a common understanding of shared goals. I want you to focus on precisely this kind of work together. 
Let me conclude by giving you my best wishes for the upcoming New Year and thanking you for your work in 2017. 
Thank you.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev:

Mr. President, colleagues, first of all, I want to thank the President for his words just now and his review of the Government’s work over this last year. He gave an assessment of what we have accomplished and the tasks ahead, particularly over the upcoming period. 
Our priorities, as the President just said, remain unchanged. The President sets these priorities, in particular, in the Address to the Federal Assembly. They are based on the documents that form the foundations for our country’s development, including the presidential executive orders of May 7, 2012. 
These executive orders do indeed set a high yardstick for the state authorities’ responsibility in the social sector. Despite the difficulties our economy faces, we must do our best to ensure that Government meets all of its commitments and that these executive orders’ main goals are reached within the set timeframe. 
The President just reminded us of these main objectives. They concern the entire system of social relations, including wages and other social sector indicators in areas such as healthcare and education. In short, they cover all of the most basic and essential areas for everyone in the country and all of the executive authorities’ most important areas of work. 
This year was not the easiest, but nonetheless, we see that the economy has more or less recovered and we have every reason to expect growth next year. This will give us better conditions for meeting the social commitments the Government and the authorities in general have before the people. 
I support what the President said just now about the need for full-fledged dialogue with all political forces in the State Duma and the Federation Council, and for active cooperation with the regions, where the most important social tasks are being resolved.
The Government’s task is to ensure the necessary coordination of work with all regions, so that people throughout the entire country know that their problems are at the centre of the executive authorities’ attention. 
The New Year holidays are ahead, but the Government does not have holidays and we will all be working during the upcoming break. 
On behalf of the Government, I want to wish you success, Mr. President, all the very best, and, of course, good health in 2017. 
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Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.
Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.
Vladimir Putin meeting with Government.
Vladimir Putin meeting with Government.
Vladimir Putin. The President of the Russian Federation.
Vladimir Putin. The President of the Russian Federation.

Accreditation for journalists. CSTO Collective Security Council.

The Presidential Press and Information Office’s Department of Accreditations and Briefings is now taking accreditation requests to cover the meetings of the CSTO Collective Security Council and the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council scheduled to take place on December 26, 2016 in Saint Petersburg.


Accreditation requests can be submitted in electronic form only via
www.kremlin.ru (http://en.kremlin.ru/press/accreditation/request/31)
until 5 pm Moscow time on December 21, 2016.

Foreign media representatives must have accreditation from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Contact telephone numbers:
+7–495–606–40–27;
+7–495–606–20–35.

Putin will attend the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council

On December 26, the President of Russia will take part in the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council and a session of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in St. Petersburg.

During the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council leaders of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia will review the first two years since the launch of the Eurasian Economic Union, and will outline further development goals for this integration project. The signing of a Treaty on the EAEU Customs Code will be the highlight of the summit. A number of other important multilateral documents are expected to be adopted, including to promote the establishment of a single Eurasian market in goods and services. The heads of state will also approve the main directions of the Union’s international activity in 2017, and review various aspects of cooperation with the key trade and economic partners of the Eurasian Economic Union.
During the meeting of the CSTO Collective Security Council, leaders of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan will discuss topical issues regarding cooperation among allies within CSTO, and its day-to-day operations. The participants will exchange views on key issues on the global and regional agendas, including efforts to counter terrorist and extremist threats and to fight drug and arms trafficking.

On the eve of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting and the Collective Security Council session, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev will be on a working visit to St. Petersburg. The leaders of Russia and Kazakhstan will meet to discuss urgent matters on the bilateral and international agendas.

Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53492

Putin.BLOG – PHOTO:

Flags. Eurasian Economic Union.
Flags. Eurasian Economic Union.