Putin sent condolences to President of Egypt.

Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in connection with the tragic aftermath of a train crash outside Alexandria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin conveyed words of sympathy to the friends and families of the victims and wished speedy recovery to those injured in the crash.

Putin sent greetings on Sports and Fitness Day.

Vladimir Putin congratulated amateur athletes, sportspeople and all sports and fitness professionals on Sports and Fitness Day.


The message of the President reads, in part:

“I congratulate you on this holiday, one which unites all generations of Russian citizens, Sports and Fitness Day!

The promotion of high-achievement sport and the mass fitness movement are justly considered to be among the top priorities of state policy. The triumphs of our athletes at the world’s top tournaments give us the thrill of victory and serve as a solid foundation for the patriotic upbringing of young people, showing them the values of choosing a healthful lifestyle and beneficial and active leisure.


Significant efforts have been made in the past years to create a modern and accessible sports infrastructure in Russia – we continue to build new stadiums and ice palaces, new health and training compounds, and continually raise the level of professional sports-related education. This much-needed work will definitely continue, and I am confident that it will yield practical results.”

Meeting with Trans-Baikal Territory Governor Natalya Zhdanova.

Vladimir Putin met with Trans-Baikal Territory Governor Natalya Zhdanova to discuss requests from Trans-Baikal Territory citizens received during the Direct Line with Vladimir Putin. Natalya Zhdanova also briefed Russian President on the current socioeconomic situation in the region.

Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Trans-Baikal Territory Governor Natalya Zhdanova.
Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Trans-Baikal Territory Governor Natalya Zhdanova.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Ms. Zhdanova, we will of course review all matters related to the socioeconomic situation. However, I would like to start by forwarding to you a list of issues that were pointed out by people during the Direct Line. We will discuss this in more detail, since I would like to highlight some of the issues that cannot be left unnoticed.

We have done a great deal to ensure adequate capacity of kindergartens. In our public statements, we say that this issue has been resolved 90 percent, almost 100 percent. However, people complain that no new kindergartens are being built in Chita, and it is very hard to get a child admitted into a kindergarten. Does this issue still exist?

Governor of Trans-Baikal Territory Natalya Zhdanova.
Governor of Trans-Baikal Territory Natalya Zhdanova.
Trans-Baikal Territory Governor Natalya Zhdanova:

Mr. President, unfortunately this problem does exist. Unfortunately, the region failed to fulfil the Presidential Executive Order within the designated period, and was unable to resolve the issue with waiting lists for children between three and seven years old, even though 2.5 billion rubles were allocated to this effect, which is a substantial amount. That said, it has to be mentioned that admissions were increased by almost 8,000 as part of this program. However, this turned out to be insufficient. Some 1,700 people are still on the waiting lists.

Mr. President, I would like to report that during this period of eighteen months, we were able to increase kindergarten admissions by 1,500, including in Chita and other areas. About a dozen or even more areas within Trans-Baikal Territory still lack the needed kindergarten capacity.

We intend to continue working on this issue in 2017–2018 and further increase the kindergartens capacity by 1,200, which will resolve the issue of waiting lists for children from three to seven years old.

Vladimir Putin:

Do you have any agreements with the Government on this?


Natalya Zhdanova:

We have many kindergartens where construction is unfinished, but they are about to be completed. This problem is linked with loans among other things. Therefore, in this case we are building or completing the projects that we already have, and are launching new ones. We are taking some buildings back, converting them back to kindergartens.

Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Governor of Trans-Baikal Territory Natalya Zhdanova.
Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Governor of Trans-Baikal Territory Natalya Zhdanova.
Vladimir Putin:

Have you received the funds that were due to you from the Federation?

Natalya Zhdanova:

Yes, we have received the funds allocated to Trans-Baikal Territory under the federal program.

Vladimir Putin:

Does this mean that you have simply not fully paid your obligations, right?

Natalya Zhdanova:

Indeed, we have not fully paid our part. Today the underfunded sum is about 200 million.

Vladimir Putin:

Do you have the money?

Natalya Zhdanova:

Not quite.

Vladimir Putin:

Why not? Didn’t you make co-financing commitments?

Natalya Zhdanova:

We have not fulfilled them, Mr. President. These commitments have not been met.

Vladimir Putin:

Please write a separate letter to me on this, will you?

Natalya Zhdanova:

All right.

Vladimir Putin:

Now I would like to talk about some issues related to jobs. There are several appeals from Krasnokamensk. Is there a threat that the plant will be shut down?

Natalya Zhdanova:

The situation is as follows: there is indeed a need to open an additional, so-called sixth uranium mine because two new uranium deposits have been discovered. The plant is operating, but the uranium resources are being depleted and it is necessary to open a new mine to preserve the city of Krasnokamensk. This is the second largest city in Trans-Baikal Territory after Chita. I was going to talk about this in detail in my report. Now the mine has received investment project status, but it has not been funded for 2017.

Vladimir Putin:

You should work closely with Rosatom. You can describe the issue in detail if necessary.

Natalya Zhdanova:

Rosatom has already invested about one billion rubles in all kinds of survey work under this project. But now, Mr. President, we are working to have the Federal Government share of the co-financing confirmed as well.

Vladimir Putin:

Please also write a letter about this.

Natalya Zhdanova:

I will.

Vladimir Putin:

There are also other issues related to dilapidated housing and roads. This is a common set of problems. That said, it may be common statistically, but it is very important for the people. I am transferring all this to you. I will expect your report – information on what has been done. All right?

Natalya Zhdanova:

Yes, Mr. President.

Vladimir Putin:

Now please tell me about your issue.

Natalya Zhdanova:

Mr. President, this is about an issue that was raised during the Direct Line. Your instructions have been fulfilled. At the end of August this woman will move to a flat.

Vladimir Putin:

Fine.

Natalya Zhdanova:

Mr. President, please allow me to report on the current situation.

Vladimir Putin:

Yes, please.

Natalya Zhdanova:

Although the current situation in our territory remains rather complicated, it is still fairly resistant to external challenges and has relatively stable major macroeconomic indicators.

In industry, there has been small but real growth in the extraction of minerals. Today extraction is 2.4 percent higher than last year. This is due to an increase in the share of extraction of zinc concentrate and copper and the development of polymetallic deposits in the southeast of Trans-Baikal Territory.

A number of large investment projects, serious projects are nearing completion and some are ready to for commissioning. This year the Norilsky Nikel Bystrinsky Mining and Processing Plant is expected to be put into operation. This is a large project, a breakthrough for our territory. It will create 2,000 jobs in core professions and 1,200 additional jobs in related professions. About 75 billion rubles have already been spent on this project. This is a really serious project that we have high hopes and plans for in terms of the development of the Trans-Baikal Territory

In addition, there is a number of other projects in the mining and other industries. These are core projects of the plan that we are compiling on your instructions. In all, we have 29 projects in the territory with a total investment of about 800 billion rubles. Some 200 billion have already been spent.

Moreover, these are major economic and industrial projects with a very clear and direct social component. We have signed about 28 to 30 socioeconomic partnership agreements with directors of state corporations and other business representatives. Under these agreements, we are implementing various social measures that are vital for our people. For example, in cooperation with the railway we are planning to launch the construction of a kindergarten and a school for a hundred children.

Vladimir Putin:

Where?

Natalya Zhdanova:

Along the railway. This is for the town of Mogocha and the village of Mozgon. We have many other projects, for instance, “Successful School” and “Sports for Everyone”, to name a few.

<…>

Putin met with Accounts Chamber Chairperson.

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Chairperson of the Accounts Chamber Tatyana Golikova to discuss the results of the organization's work over the first half-year and the state of progress on instructions given following the Direct Line event.

Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Accounts Chamber Chairperson Tatyana Golikova.
Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Accounts Chamber Chairperson Tatyana Golikova.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Ms. Golikova, let’s start with the results for the first six months. I know that you are using new technology now. You can tell me about this too. On a separate matter, there is also the question of the Direct Line instructions. There were three things I wanted you to look into, monitor the situation and ensure that everything is moving in the right direction.

Accounts Chamber Chairperson Tatyana Golikova:

I want to share with you the results for the first half, not so much in terms of the quantity and amount of violations, though this is important too, above all for how federal budget money is being used.

I want to say first that in 2014, we began modernizing our information systems in order to reduce inspectors’ work when preparing their checks, cut down the time spent away conducting checks, and make it possible to obtain more information locally using the extensive information resources that the federal agencies already have at their disposal.

I think that we have achieved results here. In 2016, we launched the remote audit information system and have integrated into it the various federal agencies’ information systems. This means that we have online access to all the information and can use these information systems to track practically all violations without having to physically go to the site.

The benefit gained here is that we can carry out preliminary checks without letting the situation reach a point where actual violations take place. We can step in at an earlier point to speak with colleagues and warn them that we see signs of violations in their financial and economic activity.


We created and operate an information resource called The Internet Portal of Control and Accounting Bodies. Actually, of Fiscal Control and Auditing Bodies. It has 456 different agencies taking part, all of which are involved in one way or another in internal control.

This vast quantity of data enables us to use a risk-focused approach in our practical work. In other words, we see where the volumes are higher, where there are more violations, greater risks, and where we should go with inspections. Increasing transparency in this way has brought to light more violations, and so we have a much higher figure for the first half of this year.

Vladimir Putin with Accounts Chamber Chairperson Tatyana Golikova.
Vladimir Putin with Accounts Chamber Chairperson Tatyana Golikova.
Vladimir Putin:

A higher number of violations identified?

Tatyana Golikova:

Yes, that’s right. For 2016 as a whole, we had 3,845 violations totaling 965 billion rubles, but for the first half of 2017, we have 2,631 violations for a total 1.13 trillion rubles.

If we average out the quantity of violations identified for each inspection conducted, in 2016, on average, each inspection revealed 15 violations for around 3.7 billion rubles, while in the first half of 2017, each inspection revealed 18 violations for a total 6.9 billion rubles.

The most frequent violations are in budgets and accounting, and we are not talking about technical mistakes here. I spoke about this last time we met, but the problem has become even clearer now. There violations account for 62 percent of all violations and add up to 629 billion rubles of the 1.13-trillion total.

What do these violations involve? As a rule, it is a case of not reflecting aspects of economic activity in the accounts and reports. To give a simple example, the Leningrad Region and St Petersburg branch of the Federal Penitentiary Service signed a contract for construction of a prison facility. The contract was not performed according to deadline. A penalty of 767 million rubles was imposed, but this sum was not recorded in the accounts and therefore will not be paid in as budget revenue.
There are many such examples in practice. There are a great many incomplete construction projects that are not reflected in the accounts.

As for other violations, they include infringements of the budget law. This category comes to a total of around 168 billion rubles. This includes, for example, violations in provision of budget loans to the regions by the regions themselves. Such violations came to 15.5 billion rubles in the first half.

Violations in procurements came to 18.5 billion, and violations during computerization of federal agencies came to around 22 billion (these are violations that occurred in 2016 but only appeared in our report in 2017).

What does this involve? We have a rule that before creating any information systems or carrying out any work in this area, the federal authorities must first coordinate their plans with the Ministry of Communications.

This approval usually takes place with delays or is not carried out at all, and the Ministry of Communications gives it approval post-factum. We have briefed the Government on this matter and we hope that this situation will be rectified.

In this context, another point I want to bring to your attention is that we noted that the qualifications of those working not at ministerial level but further down the scale leave much to be desired in terms of respecting financial and budget discipline.

We decided to approach this situation from a fresh angle. The statistics might surprise you, and we will do a final review of results only in November, but we already have interim results that show what is happening in the system of state governance.

Beginning in 2012 and through to 2016, the number of civil servants increased, and then in 2016, it fell by 5.6 percent, with most of the cuts being made at the bottom levels.

We now have an increasing number of administrators. The number of deputy heads of federal authorities has increased by 18 percent, the number of department heads increased by 21 percent, and the number of directorate heads was up by 13 percent. I could continue.

In the regions, the number of civil servants overall is down by 11.9 percent, but the number of people at the managerial level is up by 8.4 percent.

There is a very worrying trend: The number of territorial bodies has decreased by 4.5 percent, but the number of subordinate agencies created by federal authorities to run their activities has increased by 25 percent.

This is not to perform actual functions in say, healthcare or education, but to support the federal authorities’ work. Twenty-five-percent growth here is a very high figure. This is all extra budget spending, transfer of functions, and in some cases, bypassing law No. 44, in order to be able to carry out procurements under more liberal regulations.

This, of course, is ultimately about the issue of effectiveness that we keep talking about. It seems to us that this system has grown out of proportion and we need to take serious steps to move forward now.

Vladimir Putin:

Reflect on it and put forward your proposals.

Tatyana Golikova:

We will complete our work here by autumn and will draft our proposals, because many of these organizations feeding out of the budget’s pocket could be let go without the slightest problem.

Vladimir Putin:

What about the instructions related to Direct Line?

Tatyana Golikova:

Mr. President, you gave the instructions to look into what happened in the Stravropol and Trans-Baikal territories.

Regarding the Trans-Baikal Territory, other control and law enforcement agencies were there before us. We did not go back over what had already been checked, but focused on ascertaining whether all commitments regarding provision of housing to those affected have been met.

We also examined what happened with funds allocated for agriculture and looked in general at whether the region makes preparations for the wild fire season.

Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, I don’t know, we spoke with the region’s new heads and, understandably, they cannot answer for their predecessors’ actions, but we nonetheless drew their attention to the problems I will tell you about and asked them to remedy these problems without delay.

Regarding the local residents, the set plans for housing provision were carried out, but the quality of housing provided is another matter. The subcontractor that built and repaired housing was, regrettably, not very conscientious, and so there are many complaints about the quality of the housing and of the repair work that was done.

Furthermore, they used technology that is not suitable for this region, for example, they used so-called stretch ceilings that are completely unsuitable for the region’s climate. Of course, all of this has developed problems and lays bare the existing problems.

But there is another problem too. You know well that the Trans-Baikal Territory has a large amount of dilapidated housing and housing unfit for habitation, but we are still a long way from completing the plans to relocate people from all housing recognized as dilapidated as of January 1, 2012.

This housing stock was in part to be repaired and rebuilt, but it is probably easier to relocate people into new housing than to get it into proper shape. The regional authorities are now making claims against the subcontractor organization and have filed in court. We await the results of this issue’s examination.

Furthermore, 31 million was allocated for agriculture. This sum was approved with the Agriculture Ministry, and overall, comparing it to the application the region made, the region’s agricultural producers should be receiving on average 81 percent for their activity.

But for some reason other decisions were made and the new authorities do not know why. In other words, the internal regulation in the Trans-Baikal Territory differs to the one adopted at the federal level and they were using a differentiated approach, with some businesses receiving 45 percent and others receiving 91 percent.

Now they are trying to sort out this situation. Obviously, it is not going to be possible to get the money back, even if it was not used for its designated purpose. We have identified particular violations and sent them to the regional authorities and asked them to eliminate these problems.
As for the emergency situations, it has to be said that the forest management plans that are currently in force in the Trans-Baikal Territory have long become obsolete. These plans date back to 2008, and do not comply with the forest management regulations. Unfortunately, I have to report that preventive efforts, including flying over territories and efforts to clear roads and forests, were inadequate.

However, there are also outstanding regulatory issues, as we have pointed out in our written report. The current laws and regulations fail to specify who should be in charge of putting out forest and steppe fires. As of today, no one bears responsibility for this activity, which, of course, affects the population.

The Accounts Chamber and the Federal Forestry Agency [Rosselkhoz] pointed this out to the Trans-Baikal Territory authorities. The Federal Forestry Agency was involved in examining this issue. We do hope, and at least they have assured us, that all these shortcomings will be addressed, and we will not fail to report it to you once it happens.

As for the Stavropol Territory, the situation there is quite different. I have to say that in accordance with the regulations (taking into consideration that the Government of the Russian Federation issued the relevant documents on time), the Stavropol Territory has started making payments from its own budget.

However, under the current laws, it is not yet clear how the region will receive compensation from the federal budget for these payments, if what happened there is recognized as a federal-level emergency situation.

Vladimir Putin:

Has the Government issued a resolution to this effect?

Tatyana Golikova:

No, it has not. There was no resolution on the compensation of expenses that were incurred beforehand.

Vladimir Putin:

What do you mean by beforehand? They had an account balance that they could use to make the payments.

Tatyana Golikova:

They did pay. But we have a classification of emergency situations: there are federal-level, regional and municipal emergencies, and specific regulations apply to each one of them. If an emergency is recognized as a federal-level event, the expenses are to be covered from the federal budget.

The Stavropol Territory started the payments. There were some delays in specific municipalities, which is attributable to the negligence of certain municipality heads. Today, all these payments are underway.

We referred all the shortcomings to the prosecutor’s office on the spot. These include various corrections made in the documents and making payments to those who were not entitled to them.
That said, if the emergency situation is recognized as a federal-level calamity, and if the region has already made the necessary payments, they cannot be compensated from the federal budget. They have made the payments and that’s that. This is what the current regulations tell us.

Vladimir Putin:

Was the money transferred?

Tatyana Golikova:

It was all transferred. On June 16, the money that came from the Finance Ministry began to be paid out on top of the money that the Stavropol Territory budget allocated.

Vladimir Putin:

They had two billion on their accounts, I think.

Tatyana Golikova:

Yes, they had money on their accounts and they made the payments. There was a situation there when people were asked to pay for getting the needed documents. This was the case with the expert organizations that delivered the document concluding that their housing was no longer fit for use and that were entitled to a state housing certificate. People were asked to pay 5,000–6,000 rubles for this.

Vladimir Putin:

This is absurd.

Tatyana Golikova:

The situation was rectified and people had their money returned. The only problem was that the banks then took a commission from people for the return of the payment.

Then there was a fee of around 1,800 rubles that Rosreestr [the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography] demanded to issue a certificate confirming that this was a person’s only home. The Stavropol Territory authorities say that this matter has been settled now and people had their money returned.

Vladimir Putin:


Check whether it was returned or not. That is the first thing. Second, rules must be set for once and for good to ensure that this kind of nonsense does not happen again. People lost everything they had and the state gave the money to support them, and then you have these various organizations each trying to take something from them, 1,000, 3,000, 5,000 rubles.

Tatyana Golikova:

There was another problem too there that you should be informed about. When the money came into the accounts of people affected by the disaster, if these people had debts, the Federal Penitentiary Service deducted this money from their accounts and no one informed them that these people were disaster victims. This matter also needs to be regulated because these people could not make use of the money they had been paid as disaster relief.

Vladimir Putin:

Ms. Golikova, please draft proposals for the needed legal amendments.

Tatyana Golikova:

Yes, Mr. President. I have one more point to make. I think this is also an important issue and the instruction can only come from you.

The Otkaznenskoye reservoir in the Stavropol Territory, the water management system that overflowed its banks, was built in 1965. The project documents for the facility show that it needed to be cleaned after 31 years. It is 62-percent silted up.

There was such heavy rainfall that the level rose too far. This reservoir is currently the federal budget’s responsibility. I think we have quite a number of such facilities.

This water management system is the responsibility of the Agriculture Ministry, not the Natural Resources Ministry.

Vladimir Putin:

Set this all out in writing, please.

Tatyana Golikova:

Yes, we have done so.

Vladimir Putin:

Ok.

<…>

Greetings to current and former construction sector workers.

Vladimir Putin sent his greetings to all taking part in events celebrating Construction Workers’ Day and congratulated all current and former workers in the sector.


Russian President said, in particular, in his message:

“I congratulate you on Construction Workers’ Day – the professional holiday of one of the most honored and creative professions in the world.

Russia’s construction sector has always been distinguished by its top-class specialists united in their common cause and solid traditions. You build residential districts and industrial facilities, social and transport infrastructure, and make people’s lives better. I think you can take fully deserved pride in your achievements.


Today, the construction sector faces new tasks and demands, chief of which are to modernize the sector and raise its quality, make wider use of advanced technology and engineering solutions, and improve professional training in the sector.”

Meeting with Governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko.

Mr. Poltavchenko briefed President Putin on the socioeconomic situation in St. Petersburg and the city’s development results for the first half of 2017.

Vladimir Putin at the meeting with Governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko.
Vladimir Putin at the meeting with Governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Poltavchenko, we meet regularly, but more often in passing, at events not directly related to St Petersburg’s life. We agreed today to meet, however, and take a closer look at the situation in the city.

Governor of St Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko:

I have come prepared, Mr. President.

Vladimir Putin:

Please, go ahead.

Georgy Poltavchenko:

Let me start with the results for the first six months. The measures that we took on your instruction to ensure St Petersburg’s stable economic development over the difficult period in 2014–2016 have produced results. In principle, the results of our efforts over these first six months give us reason to speak with absolute confidence. The industrial production figures continue to rise and the city’s businesses continue to see a growing turnover. Output volumes shipped from the city were up by 10 percent compared to the same period last year. Most important is that the city’s own revenue is growing too, above all through tax revenue, and was up by around 12 percent. We thus have the conditions to be able to meet in full our social commitments to the city residents.

Governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko.
Governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko.
I note too that much work is underway to attract investment. Last year, the city attracted around 582 billion rubles in investment, which comes to practically a second city budget. We are continuing this work this year.

Two-three years ago, we began work on these concrete investment projects and I would like now to invite you to attend the opening of one of them. This is a unique project, a strategic project. It is a public-private partnership, a project to build a proton beam radiation therapy center.

Vladimir Putin:

Where?

Vladimir Putin with Governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko.
Vladimir Putin with Governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko.
Georgy Poltavchenko:

In St. Petersburg, in the Primorsky District. This is a really unique center. The results gained from proton beam therapy are impressive. This method is 90 percent more effective than other forms of radiation therapy. Patient survival rate after treatment is 30 percent higher than using traditional radiation therapy methods. Most important – and I would like to discuss this separately with the center's management, when you visit it, – this treatment is very effective in children. There is a practically 100-percent cure rate for children with leukemia and so forth. We could consider making the center a specialized facility for children. We plan to open it in October.

Vladimir Putin:

In October? This is good.

Georgy Poltavchenko:

This project is important too because it is financed not by budget money but by private investment from investors working in the medical technology sector. This is why I wanted you to have the project description. I think this project is worth seeing.

Vladimir Putin:

Good.

As you see, I have prepared a list of the issues which people raised during Direct Line. Regarding Primorsky District, this year is the Year of the Environment, and this district has the same problem that a number of other localities also face, unfortunately. This is the problem of dumps. People say that there have long been plans to clean up the dump but that this has not been done yet.

Georgy Poltavchenko:

Mr. President, we already took a decision prior to this meeting. The dump will cease taking rubbish this year and re-cultivation work will begin. Little rubbish is taken there already now, mostly construction waste, soil and construction waste used to be used as bund. But this is a huge dump. You probably know this well, it is in Novoselky, the site of the Toyota and Kia car plants.

Vladimir Putin:

Yes.


Georgy Poltavchenko:

We plan to build a waste treatment plant there and re-cultivate the dump.

Working meeting with Governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko.
Working meeting with Governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko.
Vladimir Putin:

Good, thank you. It is good to hear this.

There are the city’s traditional problems too. I will not go into detail right now. You can look here. I have made particular note of some of these problems. I did not know that St Petersburg residents had a problem with new construction that increases building density in the city.

Georgy Poltavchenko:

There is very little of this in the city.

Vladimir Putin:

I know that this has been a real sore point for Moscow residents, but this is the first time that I have heard it raised as a problem in St. Petersburg.

Georgy Poltavchenko:

Mr. President, this problem is practically inexistent in the city. There are indeed some attempts to develop plots of land that were privatized in the 1990s and early 2000s. I, in any case, do not welcome this. What’s more, I can give you the example just recently when at a city government meeting I made the decision to ban this kind of…

Vladimir Putin:

It is good if you give this issue your attention. Look into it, because people are complaining about it.

Georgy Poltavchenko:

Yes, I will certainly do so.

Vladimir Putin:

This is closely related to other issues also traditional for St. Petersburg, namely, preserving the historical center (you see that there are concrete issues raised here), and social provisions for people with disabilities.

Georgy Poltavchenko:

To be honest, this is a revelation for me. I will definitely look into it.

Vladimir Putin:

The good thing about Direct Line is that it brings to light unexpected issues that are a revelation for many of us. But when people encounter problems, we must pay particular attention to this.

Georgy Poltavchenko:

Definitely.

Vladimir Putin:

I will pass everything on to you, and you take a look at it and then report back to me.

On August 10, the first mayor of St. Petersburg, Anatoly Sobchak, would have been 80. Do you have any plans to mark this occasion?

Georgy Poltavchenko:

We do have preparations underway. We are not planning any real pomp, all the more so as Anatoly Sobchak’s relatives did not want any big ceremonies, but of course the city remembers its first mayor and we will hold the corresponding events to mark the occasion. There will be a memorial ceremony at the Nikolskoye Cemetery, where Anatoly Sobchak was laid to rest, and I will take part in this. All city residents who wish to honor Anatoly Sobchak’s memory are also welcome to attend.

Vladimir Putin:

Good.

<…>

Vladimir Putin visited combat sambo tournament.

Vladimir Putin attended the Platform S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70.

Vladimir Putin at the Platform S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70. With President of Abkhazia Raul Khadjimba. The President presented the prize to Vyacheslav Vasilevsky, winner of the tournament in the weight class of up to 84 kg.
Vladimir Putin at the Platform S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70. With President of Abkhazia Raul Khadjimba. The President presented the prize to Vyacheslav Vasilevsky, winner of the tournament in the weight class of up to 84 kg.
Russian President was accompanied by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, President of Abkhazia Raul Khadjimba, as well as prominent Russian hockey players Alexander Ovechkin, Pavel Bure, Yevgeny Malkin among others.

The tournament featured ten bouts between top Russian and foreign sambo professionals. President Putin took part in the awards ceremony and presented the prize to Vyacheslav Vasilevsky, winner of the tournament in the weight class of up to 84 kg.

The competition was organized by Sambo-70, Russia’s largest sports and education center, and League S-70, under the aegis of the Ministry of Sport, the Krasnodar Territory Administration and the Sochi City Administration.

The event traditionally took place at the Platform Sports and Entertainment Centre.

* * *

Speech of Vladimir Putin at awards ceremony.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

We saw some very cool fighters today. They demonstrated everything that the martial arts are valued for – diverse technique, excellent ground fighting and brilliant throws. But most importantly, these fighters demonstrated their courage, stamina and audacity. I would like to thank them. Let’s give them another cheer!

Vladimir Putin attending the Platform S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70. With President of Abkhazia Raul Khadjimba.
Vladimir Putin attending the Platform S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70. With President of Abkhazia Raul Khadjimba.
I want to thank both our Russian fighters and our friends from all over the world. They came here from so far away, travelled thousands of kilometers to prove their excellence. We are one family, we love you all. We hope to see you again next time, but, of course, hope that the Russians win.


My special thanks go to the event’s organizers. Thank you for uniting sport and a love for our country, Russia.

Congratulations on these exciting fights. Congratulations to the winners and their opponents.

Thank you!

PHOTO:
Vladimir Putin before the beginning of the Plotforma S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70.
Vladimir Putin before the beginning of the Platform S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70.
Vladimir Putin with participants in the Plotforma S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70.
Vladimir Putin with participants in the Platform S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70.
Vladimir Putin attending the Plotforma S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70.
Vladimir Putin attending the Platform S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70.
Vladimir Putin during the Plotforma S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70. With President of Abkhazia Raul Khadjimba.
Vladimir Putin during the Platform S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70. With President of Abkhazia Raul Khadjimba.
President Putin attending the Plotforma S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70. With Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev (right) and President of Abkhazia Raul Khadjimba.
President Putin attending the Platform S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70. With Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev (right) and President of Abkhazia Raul Khadjimba.
Vyacheslav Vasilevsky, winner of the Platform S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70 in the weight class of up to 84 kg.
Vyacheslav Vasilevsky, winner of the Platform S-70 8th International Professional Combat Sambo Tournament of League S-70 in the weight class of up to 84 kg.

Putin had a meeting with Anastasia Votintseva

Vladimir Putin met with Anastasia Votintseva and her sister in the Bocharov Ruchei residence. During his working trip to Izhevsk in June, the President invited her to spend a vacation at Russia’s largest health resort as a birthday present.

Vladimir Putin with Anastasia Votintseva and her sister and children in the Bocharov Ruchei residence.
Vladimir Putin with Anastasia Votintseva and her sister and children in the Bocharov Ruchei residence.
During the conversation, Russian President asked about the accommodations for Anastasia, her son and her sister with two children.

Russian President also noted the range of treatments available at the health resort where Anastasia and her sister are staying. Both women thanked Vladimir Putin for the opportunity to improve the health of their children that are often sick because of poor living conditions.

In addition, Vladimir Putin inquired about the progress made on the family’s housing problem. During Direct Line with the President, Anastasia Votintseva explained that she had to live with her sister and children in a dilapidated building and that the authorities were planning to relocate its residents only in 2029.


In several days President Putin arrived on a working trip in Izhevsk and could see for himself that the building was unfit for living. The President instructed Acting Head of Udmurtia Alexander Brechalov to arrange for relocation before the end of the year.

PHOTO:
Anastasia Votintseva.
Anastasia Votintseva.
Vladimir Putin during the meeting with Anastasia Votintseva.
Vladimir Putin during the meeting with Anastasia Votintseva.

Putin met with Sberbank Russia CEO German Gref.

German Gref briefed Russian President on the bank’s work over the first half of 2017.

CEO of Sberbank German Gref.
CEO of Sberbank German Gref.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

How is our country’s biggest financial institution feeling these days?

CEO of Sberbank Russia German Gref:

Thank you. We have just reviewed the results for the first six months of the year. We have a net profit of 317 billion rubles.

Vladimir Putin:

That is close to or more than half of the combined profit of all of the other banks.

German Gref:

This year will be a better one for the banks than was last year, but I believe the figure will be around 40–50 percent. It is usually around this amount.


Our profit increased by 38 percent over the first six months year on year, though last year was a record one in the bank’s history. Of greatest importance this year is that a whole series of trends are showing a real change for the better. We see that lending to legal entities is up by 11 percent, for example, year on year, and lending to individuals is up by 20 percent. Overall, this year is the first time we have seen an increase in lending to legal entities. Growth over these six months has not been high, only one percentage point, but this is an increase all the same.

For now, our loans portfolio is down in only two segments, the municipal and sub-federal one, and lending to major companies. Lending growth is good as concerns small and medium businesses and individuals. The most important result is that lending to small businesses increased by around 6 percent over the first half of this year. This is the first time in the past three years that we have seen such a rapid recovery of our loans portfolio.

Vladimir Putin:

This could be because the big companies with state participation have begun to establish associated groups of small and medium enterprises around them. This is one of the areas the Government has been working on, as you may recall.

German Gref:

Yes.

Vladimir Putin:

Now that they are under instructions to place some of their orders with small and medium enterprises, this is a factor contributing to this growth.

Vladimir Putin with CEO of Sberbank German Gref.
Vladimir Putin with CEO of Sberbank German Gref.
German Gref:

Yes, I believe this is so, Mr. President. A number of factors are at work here, including the drop in interest rates, of course. We have lowered interest rates substantially. If you look at the rates at which we lend to small business now, they have come down by around 4–5 percentage points over this last year, and that is a lot.

We have also changed our operations with small businesses. Today, we provide automatically designed solutions for small businesses with regard to most products.

Vladimir Putin:

Yes, you told me about this. Do you think automation is also a factor here?

German Gref:

Yes. We have started using artificial intelligence solutions. In November last year, we launched a new product called Smart Credit. I was afraid to make any announcements in terms of quality, because when you automate a process, you inevitably worry how the mature portfolio will turn out.
Now, eight months since we launched this new technology, delayed payments are at a record low. It is hard to say what the situation will be like at the 2–3-year mark, but what we have now is a very good result. We have never had such a low volume of delayed payments. Delayed payments account for only 170 million rubles of our entire lending portfolio, and this is a record result.

The second very important trend I would like to mention, and one we are working on right now, is making the entire bank completely digital. Two-and-a-half years ago, we began work on creating a flexible new platform capable of radically changing the time it takes to bring new products onto the market. Today, it takes us one or two years to bring a new product onto the market. With the inflexible and cumbersome platform and the vast volumes we have, testing alone takes 4–6 months. And then if we change one part, it can turn out at any moment that problems crop up in a completely different place because the platform is designed according to principles that are outdated and completely uncompetitive today.

We therefore decided in 2014 to start creating our own new platform. There are only two banks of our size pursuing such projects in the world today – Spain’s BBVA and us. They started earlier than we did. Their project began in 2007 and they have gone further than we have, but we have travelled a long way over these past three years. The goal we have set is to have our own new banking platform ready and replace the old one by the end of 2018. It will take us another two-three years to change all of the platform’s applications, but the new ones will be our own products.

Today, we have around 14,000 people working on this platform. Our subsidiary, Sberbank Technology, employs 10,500 programmers today and is one of Russia’s biggest IT companies. We founded this company in 2011 and it has grown fast since then. We are shifting to the agile work-mode, where programmers and specialists in other areas sit together as small teams working on creating this innovative new platform.

If all goes well and we complete the work in 2018, I believe we will become one of the most competitive global digital companies in the world. Our platform’s flexibility will enable us to work in a large number of different areas and to get new products onto the market not within a year or two, but within weeks. This, of course, will have a tremendous impact on decision-making and working speed, and the platform itself will be built on completely different principles.

Vladimir Putin:

It will raise the quality of work.

German Gref:

Absolutely.

<…>

Instructions following meeting with members of Civic Chamber.

Vladimir Putin approved a list of instructions following a meeting with members of the Russian Federation Civic Chamber on June 20, 2017.


The Government and the Civic Chamber shall analyze the efficiency of legal mechanisms for the exercise and protection of public oversight subjects set by the Federal Law On the Basic Principles of Public Oversight in the Russian Federation and other legislative acts and, where necessary, propose amendments to enhance these mechanisms.

Russian Government has also been instructed to draft proposals for improving visa, customs, logistics and other procedures for Russian non-governmental and not-for-profit organizations engaged in humanitarian activity.


Joint instructions to the Presidential Executive Office, Ministry of Communications and Mass Media and the Civic Chamber deal with services to disseminate social advertising and improving access to these services for not-for-profit organizations with a social focus.

The Civic Chamber, along with the Presidential Human Rights Commissioner, have received recommendations to monitor legislation and the application of laws concerning children’s rights’ protection and strengthening traditional family values and to draft proposals for their improvement.

Working meeting with Acting Governor of Kirov Region Igor Vasilyev.

The Acting Governor of the Kirov Region briefed Russian President on the socioeconomic situation in the region.

Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Acting Governor of Kirov Region Igor Vasilyev.
Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Acting Governor of Kirov Region Igor Vasilyev.
The discussion also focused on appeals made to the head of state by Kirov Region residents during Direct Line with Vladimir Putin.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Vasilyev, you have been working for a year already, haven’t you?

Acting Governor of Kirov Region Igor Vasilyev:

It was a year last week, on July 29.

Vladimir Putin:

During this time, you could have familiarized yourself with the unresolved issues and with the potential of the Kirov Region. How do you assess the situation?

Igor Vasilyev:

Mr. President, if you allow me, I would like to briefly report on the state of affairs and the prospects that we have.


Let us start with the situation in various sectors.

Over the past year, the industrial production index grew three percent to 103.3 percent, which is a bit higher that the overall figure for Russia. Agriculture – 103.9 percent. Investment in wood processing grew substantially as well as in production of medicines and other remedies. Housing commissioning rates dropped a bit, there is an explanation for this, I will tell you everything today.

If you would allow me, briefly, specifically, by industry. The state debt structure here, unfortunately, is close to a hundred percent. We set the goal not to increase, but to gradually decrease state debt. We have a corresponding agreement with the Finance Ministry. We are working to swap commercial loans with budgetary. This year, I hope, we will manage to replace 1.5 billion, we have an appropriate agreement with the Finance Ministry. We are constantly working with commercial banks to decrease interest rates, only last year this effort allowed us to save 70 million rubles through the decrease of interest rates.

Vladimir Putin with Acting Governor of Kirov Region Igor Vasilyev.
Vladimir Putin with Acting Governor of Kirov Region Igor Vasilyev.
Of course, we are actively working on increasing our own budget inflows. This year we managed to achieve a growth of two billion mostly thanks to profit tax. This has been the result of work with specific taxpayers. This is, first and foremost, due to greater tax discipline.

There is a law on bankruptcy, less than one percent of enterprises finish bankruptcy procedures with a financial recovery and can return to operations in their previous area. And in the first half of 2017 we managed to commission two such enterprises.

In Chepetsk, which is a mono-city, production of chipboard, more than 250 jobs. This enterprise, which had been bankrupt for six years, is now solvent, actively operating, and pays its profit tax, among other things.

And the unique enterprise, Kirovsky Mashzavod l Maya, which produced cranes for railways – large-load, huge cranes. We managed to pull it out of bankruptcy and create more than 800 jobs.

In the timber industry, we started actively holding open auctions where a person, without any official involvement, can use our newly created and unique information system electronically, and, with a maximum of three clicks, register oneself both as a potential buyer, participate in bidding, and, without going anywhere, pay for the lumber, and formalize relations with the state.

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

This is what you told me: investment projects in this sphere dealing with the use of this system.

Igor Vasilyev:

Yes, you know, there used to be a practice, when priority investment projects were arranged according to this principle: first timber, then the jobs and establishment of new production…

Vladimir Putin:

In other words, forest rights were granted under the promise of further investments.

Igor Vasilyev:

Absolutely correct. And, as usual, there were individuals without scruples. Some time later, it turned out that there was no forest…

Vladimir Putin:

And no investments.

Igor Vasilyev:

Yes. This is why we are changing the situation: first production, timber and participation in open auctions. This yields results – investment in the forest industry has grown fourfold.

The industry. Work is underway under a diversification plan, in accordance with your instructions, to increase the share of industrial enterprises’ operations, apart from the state armament orders, to 50 percent. In Kirov Region, we created a council of chief engineers, an engineering center with the participation of our backbone, Vyatka State University. This has borne fruit. We have recently signed an agreement with the Bauman Moscow State Technical University.

There are problems. The Molot factory fell under the sanctions of the United States of America. The factory, incidentally, was selling shooting and hunting rifles to the United States. I think that now we will work together with our defense and law enforcement agencies in hope of adding to this plant’s load with orders from inside the country.

Acting Governor of Kirov Region Igor Vasilyev.
Acting Governor of Kirov Region Igor Vasilyev.
The industrial cluster. This year we will complete the formation of a biotechnological cluster in accordance with all the laws of the Russian Federation. There are several large enterprises that are involved in the production of vaccines and vitally important remedies. And this year we are launching production of disposable syringes in the settlement Vostochny. A big, serious enterprise will strengthen the import substitution drive.

Now over to agriculture. The number of cattle is growing; we rate first in the Volga Federal District in terms of milk yield per cow.

Vladimir Putin:

How much is this?

Igor Vasilyev:

This is almost seven thousand liters of milk.

Vladimir Putin:

You can still have it increased.

Igor Vasilyev:

Yes, we can. We have a goal of achieving one million tons per year. This will provide us with an opportunity to hold serious talks with the processer.

And the environment. This year is the Year of the Environment. We developed a system of environmental control, which enables each concerned citizen to see landfills, wildfires, or any unauthorized waste and inform both the municipal authorities and the Government about this. You know, this absolutely works. Enterprises are joining in as well. We have signed seven agreements on participation in the invigoration of the ecological situation.

In the construction industry, we have a major issue. Almost 40,000 square meters of housing have been found to be dilapidated and were not included in the program by 2012. I think here we need to find the reasons for this. We will reveal them, we will be working hard to do so.

Vladimir Putin:

Do you mean they were simply not taken into account?

Igor Vasilyev:

They were not. Some mistakes were made by officials, maybe with some direct intent.
.
Vladimir Putin:

In other words, they were to be included in line with the decisions taken, but they were not.

Igor Vasilyev:

Absolutely correct. We have discovered them now, as of 2017 we will be including them in the program Thank God, thanks to you as well, the program has been extended for one year. We are actively working with the housing and utilities fund and hope to reach a mutual understanding.

Only around twenty percent of the roads in Kirov Region correspond to acceptable standards. This year, thank you very much, Kirov managed to become one of the cities with a population of a million people, although there are only 500,000 people living in it. Under the Safe and High-Quality Roads program, we received an additional 1.2 billion of funding for our road fund and we can now do 100 kilometers of roads in Kirov. We are actively engaging in a program with the Transport Ministry, actively engaging in a program with the Federal Road Agency, and have a goal of increasing the share of roads that correspond to acceptable standards to 51 percent by 2018.

In housing and utilities rates, we introduced an information system, we had 500 different rates – 500, I am not joking. The difference in rates for a single type of fuel –1500%. We are systematizing it now.

Vladimir Putin:

For different districts?

Igor Vasilyev:

For each district of the region, and for different types of fuel. Of course, the fact that we have the lowest rate of gasification, only 40 percent, is the cause of this and we need to work on this.

However, I think that this year, with the use of these information systems, we will be able to decrease rates by 10 percent for the population.

As for demographics and healthcare, today we had a chance to talk at an outpatient clinic. We are actively engaging in a project aimed at creating ‘lean clinics’. More than ten were brought into absolute order. Each time, when heading out to the district – we now do this with almost all the members of government in attendance – we pay special attention to healthcare facilities.

As concerns education. We are bringing 29 schools to the regional level in order to grant them additional financing. This year, despite our clearly small budget, we found funds and, almost 300 percent more, roughly 60 million, were allocated toward the preparation of educational establishments.

(Then Igor Vasilyev briefly dwelled on the issue of kindergartens, which has yet to be resolved in Kirov Region.)

As for wages, we are on schedule. There are issues that we inherited.

Mr. President, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that on each page of the presentation, in the left-hand corner, there is an inscription “Kirov Region Information System”. We are arranging the management of the region using principles of project management. I believe that soon we will finish this work and will be able to work in the open space of digital data.

Vladimir Putin:

Fine.

You mentioned environmental issues. What I would like to draw your attention to, according to the data, which came from people during the Direct Line, in some places illegal pits are being dug, as people believe. There is a suspicion that these pits will be used as landfills for solid domestic waste, right in front of residential houses. All of it is here. I request you to pay attention to this.

Now, for those on the waiting list for housing – workers and pensioners of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This is something we need to examine.

Today, you and I were in a good medical center, but there are issues with the health industry. I will not go into detail; you can take a look later.

As for gasification, you have just mentioned. People rightfully ask: “We supply large volumes of gas, oil abroad, what about gasification right here?” You know that gasification is developing, but here is what I would like to draw your attention to. Gazprom finishes the pipe, but bringing it up to the consumer – this is the region’s job. This is why I ask you to look into this. Funds must be allocated in time to bring gas to the final consumer, to create a distribution network. What we have now is a situation where Gazprom has built the pipe, but the people still do not have any gas.

Igor Vasilyev:

We are adjusting the program. We are expecting a visit by Mr. Miller shortly and these questions will be at the top of our agenda.

Vladimir Putin:

Well, Mr. Miller will lay the pipe. You need to plan funds to get it to the final consumer.

Igor Vasilyev:

Yes, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin:

Over a year, of course, one cannot do very much. But overall, I believe, you are on the right track. I would like to wish you success.

Igor Vasilyev:

Thank you!

<…>