President Vladimir Putin addressed the 20th congress of the United Russia political party

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Vladimir Putin addressed the 20th congress of the United Russia political party
Vladimir Putin addressed the 20th congress of the United Russia political party
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United Russia party congress

Vladimir Putin addressed the 20th congress of the United Russia political party.

Moscow, 20 June 2021

Vladimir Putin addressed the 20th congress of the United Russia political party.

Vladimir Putin addressed the 20th congress of the United Russia political party.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends,

It is a pleasure to greet you here at the congress of the United Russia party, the leading political force in our country.

In December, the party will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Over the years, it has successfully established itself and gained numerous supporters. Of course, being the biggest political force in such a large country for so many years entails a huge burden of responsibility, which means that you, colleagues, the people who work in the field, bear this responsibility to the people. Together with the country you celebrate its achievements, and you share the blame for what did not work out, you bear responsibility for that. This is a heavy burden. Our work and our daily life do not consist of daily celebrations, and all this is the responsibility of the people who have taken on the challenges that the country faces.

Nevertheless, the party withstood competition with dignity at all levels of elections and displayed an ability to renew itself and constantly develop. In routine work and in making decisions that are paramount for our Fatherland, the party has shown responsibility and patriotic commitment. Friends, I want to thank you for this.

Today United Russia confidently occupies a leading position, with a majority in almost all legislative and representative municipal bodies. Most importantly, I want to remind you that in every region, city and town, you need to rely on like-minded people, on people who strive to create and to benefit the nation.

This is undoubtedly a very powerful resource, and it is crucial that it serves practical purposes, the interests of our country’s citizens and of our state, and ensures the stability and sustainability of our political system. This is vitally important for present-day society and the country, and for solving the large-scale tasks we are facing today. They are, first of all, related to the preservation of our nation, improving people’s well-being and quality of life in all regions of the Russian Federation.

As you know, strategic goals and plans were outlined in executive orders and specified in the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly. I would like to note that all parliamentary parties take part in their implementation – I must highlight this – all parliamentary parties, public organisations and civil society structures. Such a consolidation around the national agenda is our most important asset.

But, of course, it is the United Russia as the majority party that plays a key role here. To take responsibility, to lead, to be in the forefront means to work harder and better than others, to act much more energetically and persistently, and to do that, both in the legislative sphere and in everyday work you need to quickly and clearly resolve issues of concern to our citizens, to achieve substantive results, value people’s trust, preserve and constantly strengthen it.

The United Russia is primarily a socially oriented party. This is evidenced by the draft laws that you submit, support at the federal and regional levels, as well as by the initiatives of citizens and volunteer, environmental, human rights and other associations that receive assistance from the United Russia party.

I would like to note that United Russia has always tried to build its work based on feedback mechanisms, which is a key component of any political work. This is why I am certain that the proposals and suggestions voiced during regular meetings with the public, as part of the primaries, as well as the large-scale social online forum that was held last December, will certainly be reflected in your election programme. They will become the basis for it and, most importantly, will be implemented in practice, with your direct involvement.

Colleagues, this was the introductory part of what I wanted to say today. Now I will talk about the main thing – about what is part of life of almost every individual. This may seem routine to some, but it is at the core of the life of the country and our citizens. I will talk about the areas where special attention of the party and all its regional branches is required.

One of the top priorities – and you know this well since we have been dealing with this all the previous years – is to support families with children. We are consistently building a whole line of targeted measures here.

Thus, as of July 1, as you know, payments will begin for children aged 8 to 16, who grow up in single-parent families. Whatever happens in life, but there is a young person, there is a child, and we must give them our support. Assistance is also provided for expectant mothers who are in a difficult financial situation. Also, there will be an increase in the amount paid for parental sick leave to care for a child under eight years of age.

I said in this year’s Address that the situation in the demographic sphere is complicated. There was a moment when we overcame a situation similar to the one taking shape now; we resolved a number of issues, but for a number of objective reasons, and you are well aware of this, due to two historical failures, we are now facing a demographic trough. The situation is difficult, we all know that, but in order to reverse negative trends, we need to focus all our efforts on this goal as we develop the economy and the regions, the social sphere, healthcare and education, strengthen traditional values, realising that a prosperous, strong family with children is Russia’s future.

We will regularly supplement, customise and expand the decisions we have already made. But what I would like to stress is that we must use this basis to establish a comprehensive and effective system of support for low-income families with children. This task has been assigned to the Government. I know that United Russia also has its own proposals in this regard. All the previous decisions were made by us jointly, but I know that in the course of working with the people directly you come up with ideas, formalised in proposals, as draft laws, and in the form of proposals for management solutions to the Government.

We must join our efforts and organise work in such a way as to significantly reduce the risk of falling into poverty for families with children by the end of 2026. In general, our task is to substantially increase the prosperity of Russian families, the incomes of our citizens.

Everything matters for the quality of life today, for people’s confidence in their future: effective social support and a comfortable environment in cities and towns, availability of kindergartens and nurseries, and, of course, new jobs everywhere, in all regions of the country.

We must particularly focus on the youth. We know the situation on the labour market, and you understand why I am talking about this now. It is young people and conditions for the fulfilment of their abilities and ideas that require special attention. And here the party needs to establish more active cooperation with regional teams, with our local colleagues.

A permanent youth employment support programme will be launched shortly. We must help young people find jobs, find their place in life. I ask you to get involved in its implementation immediately, at its launch, to take into account the specifics of the regions and the fact that the needs of young people may also vary, so keep this in mind. The main thing is to understand them, to listen, heed, support their initiatives and provide, as I said, a reliable shoulder, to direct their activities where the country needs and wants them.

I would like to emphasise that in today’s world with its rapid social, public and technological changes, the leadership of a political force largely depends on how attractive, interesting and useful its programme, the party’s programme, and its efforts are for young people, how in tune it is with their aspirations. But, of course, it is also necessary to shape their interests and their way of thinking – this also determines how the country will be built further. And in this, too, a great role is played by such a large political association as United Russia.

One more thing I would like to add here is something we often talk about, but I want to take this opportunity to remind you of this once again. It is inevitable that the party of power attracts all kinds of people who are not remotely interested in working for the benefit of the people; they end up in your ranks by chance and are often corrupt. They want to jump on the bandwagon and seek to benefit themselves. It is obvious that there is always a high a risk for the ruling party in any country of becoming ossified and freezing in its development. But I want to remind you: you need to remember and understand this. The previously deserved reputation, whatever it may be, will not work by itself. To turn into a bronze statue means to stop, and to stop is to lose. You should never forget that.

United Russia sees these problems and is not afraid to talk about them honestly, because people immediately feel any falsehood. This is all clear to you in the course of live communication with your constituents. Importantly, the party strives for renewal and expands its ranks not in line with a preapproved plan or surveys, but relying on those who prove their worth in action, in real work, including during the epidemic, those who take on responsibility, go where his or her participation, help, knowledge and desire to serve society are needed the most.

I know that you, many of you – in the regions, on the ground – have also joined the volunteer movement and, regardless of your position, were simply engaged in seemingly mundane work: delivering food, helping the elderly, and working in the red zones. These real support headquarters continue to operate, which is crucial now, as is the fact that you attract like-minded, caring people to the party. They join the party organically, and become its candidates in elections at various levels. I am sure that you will continue to pursue this line, which means that the party will strengthen its authority, people’s trust, gain new supporters, and work to meet the demands and challenges of the time.

One of the party’s key priorities should be promoting young people who have proven their independence, responsibility in volunteer and social activities, in public administration and business, in the social sphere and science to the most responsible areas of work. Because we are talking about the future of Russia, about continuity in its development.

We all see how in the toughest conditions, in the most difficult period of the epidemic, young people show what they are capable of in all areas: at work, as part of teams, in the volunteer movement. Doctors and nurses who just recently graduated, young people, medical students from universities and colleges work as independently and selflessly as their older colleagues. Friends, tomorrow is Medical Worker’s Day, and I ask the United Russia party congress to thank our medics with applause.

(Applause).

The technological modernisation of the healthcare system, strengthening its human resources and making the work of all clinics and hospitals patient-oriented – these are our top priorities.

As you know, regional modernisation programmes for primary healthcare have been launched this year. This is not the first time we have taken this up, not the first time we get down to this task. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we had to push the schedule back a little, because some of the resources earmarked for this were channeled into solving urgent problems that arose unexpectedly. But nevertheless, this work has already begun and we will continue it.

We will allocate a total of 550 billion rubles for the purposes related to regional programmes for the modernisation of primary healthcare, just as we said earlier.

There are many issues that need to be addressed and that people are concerned about. Therefore, the Government, the Ministry of Health, the heads of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation should work tirelessly on this. I ask United Russia to join in, especially on the ground, in municipalities, where these programmes are mostly being implemented. A radical change in the operation of primary healthcare largely depends on your involvement, including strict public and parliamentary control. After all, we know that the level of accessibility and the quality of medical care in different regions, sometimes even in neighbouring regions, varies significantly. And we need truly high common standards in all medical organisations and throughout the entire country.

The most important task of healthcare today is not only to defeat a disease, but also to do everything so that a patient can return to an active and full life. Let us face it, the system of medical rehabilitation after surgery, injuries, cardiovascular and oncological diseases has to be improved. Today, this task is especially relevant, given that many of our citizens have faced serious complications after going down with COVID-19.

I am in constant contact with specialists. Just recently, during an award ceremony in the Kremlin, I spoke with them again. The consequences of the disease caused by the coronavirus are still being studied. This is not only damage to the lungs, but also vascular lesions, and specialists still have to figure out what this ultimately will lead to. Let me remind you once again that it is better to get vaccinated that to get sick. This is the opinion of the leading specialists in our country and in the world.

I agree with United Russia’s position and ask you and the Government to launch this year a special programme of medical rehabilitation up to 2026 and to allocate at least 100 billion rubles to this end. I am talking about this here at the congress because it is impossible to resolve a budget issue without parliament. The parameters of budget expenditures are ultimately determined by you.

I know for certain that there are never any opponents to allocating money to such needs. Nevertheless, priorities must be set, and I am trying to do that, albeit as a rough outline. But I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the bulk of the money – 60 billion, should be allocated for the period of up to 2024 so as to promptly start the work across the board.

The next key area of our joint efforts is establishing an advanced up-to-date educational space at universities and colleges in our regions and, of course, in Russia’s schools.

As you are aware, at least 1,300 new schools will be built by the end of 2024 using federal funds with financial resources from the VEB Bank of Development. Over one million children will attend these schools.

Meanwhile, we have a lot of currently working schools with wonderful teaching staff and good traditions. Oftentimes, today’s schoolchildren’s parents and grandparents studied at the same schools. Clearly, we must not neglect those buildings. As a rule, they need modernisation, renovation and establishing a teaching base, workshops, school stadium, and other infrastructure, reliable security and anti-terrorist protection because our children’s lives are at stake.

For reference, 72 percent of school buildings need routine repairs and 10 percent are in need of major repairs. A small number – yes, we do have such buildings – are in a decrepit state, which is completely unacceptable.

I know that both heads of regions and the United Russia party raise these issues as they follow up on people’s inquiries. I will certainly support any initiatives in this area. I ask the Government, together with the regions and with United Russia’s participation, to draft a special programme for school repairs with an emphasis – please, take note – on rural schools. And I ask the party’s regional branches to monitor the programme’s implementation and resolutely engage, and sound the alarm if there are any problems.

In addition, I suggest and ask you to consider allocating additional resources, at least 30 billion rubles until 2024, for the development of secondary vocational education, which is currently available at colleges and universities. These funds will be invested in upgrading facilities and equipment and retraining teachers and job training instructors. I would like to note that it is a crucial task, because skilled vocational workers constitute the basis of modern industry, agriculture, transportation, all sectors of the economy, and it is these professionals that we are short of.

The academic year and examinations at our schools, colleges and universities are almost over. I would like to wish every success to all graduates who are choosing their paths in life. Friends, our big country needs your energy and knowledge. We will do everything in our power to give you an opportunity to show your talents, fulfil your potential and apply them in your regions, cities and towns.

This is why during the past few years we have not just been actively helping the regions but have also launched new instruments of regional support and regional development. I spoke in detail about this in this year’s Address to the Federal Assembly. I would like to express gratitude to the State Duma and, of course, to the United Russia faction for supporting these initiatives. Their implementation will be expensive, but we need to do this.

In particular, a draft law on reducing the debts of regional budgets has been adopted in the third reading. The idea is to replace expensive and short-term loans from commercial creditors with long-term budgetary loans at a symbolic interest rate of 0.1 percent. Every region that had large commercial debts will be able to reduce this burden, to reduce the share of commercial loans to 25 percent of the overall debts.

I would like our colleagues in the regions to note that this limit will have to be maintained afterwards and that they must pursue a responsible and careful financial and debt policy. The relevant federal authorities – I will not enumerate them now – must supervise the situation so that they do not have to face the situation where a certain region has too many debts and needs assistance. And why did you sit on your hands? I know that you have functions that are set out in a law, but your inaction ultimately takes the problem to the federal level, and we have to start anew, to address this problem from the very beginning again. The Finance Ministry is actually providing financial assistance to nearly all regions on a permanent basis, and it should be coordinated with what is taking place in the financial sphere at the regional level.

We have also created a legal framework for restructuring the budgetary loans that were issued to the regions in December 2020 for combating the pandemic. I would like to remind you that these loans were to be repaid by July 1, 2021. But the deadline has been put off until 2029. As a result, the regions will be able to invest considerable funds into settling economic and social problems, as well as into infrastructure development, which is no small matter. I would like to say a few words about this sphere of our activities.

It is yet another ambitious task for the entire country. We must build roads, communications, engineering infrastructure and other facilities everywhere. This large-scale modernisation is needed above all for our people, our citizens, and it will also open up new vistas for our cities and towns and for the further development of our economy.

Already this year we will launch a programme of infrastructure budgetary loans. A relevant draft law has already been adopted by the State Duma. We are grateful for this. So-called long money, that is, long-term loans, can be taken out for this purpose for at least 15 years at a low interest rate of under 3 percent.

The Government is coordinating the criteria and procedure for the issuance of such loans. We must adjust all the details as soon as possible, especially since the first pilot projects are ready to be launched and are only waiting for the funding. I would like to ask United Russia to help the regions implement these infrastructure projects, to see to it that they are implemented on time and with good quality.

At the same time, I would like you to take note of the problems that usually arise with the allocation of large federal funds, so as to prevent a hike in tariffs and prices. I am asking you to closely monitor this in all Russian regions.

I would also like to warn our colleagues in the regions, federal agencies and large companies against trying to set deadlines that are convenient and comfortable for them, somewhere beyond the horizon, with a large time margin. The people need to see the results without delay. The new pilot infrastructure projects must be implemented and must create conditions for the development of our territories already in 2023–2024.

I would like to add the following. We planned to give the regions at least 500 billion rubles in infrastructure budgetary loans in the next two and a half years. But it turned out that the regions’ potential demand for this development tool is much greater. There are many in-demand projects spearheaded into the future in the regions. We must support them, help them take off, as they say.

I would like to repeat what I have mentioned several times before – everything must be thoroughly considered in an expert and professional manner. If a region lacks the capability for this, the federal agencies must not brush them off, promising jam tomorrow. Please, discuss the problem with them and help them adjust their plans.

In this connection, I suggest, first of all, that the programme of infrastructure loans should be extended to 2026. And secondly, we will increase allocations for these purposes when we see the regions suggest new but thoroughly considered projects.

I would like to remind everyone that the point at issue concerns the areas that must help improve the quality of life for our citizens. This includes improving our cities and towns, creating platforms for new facilities, industrial and tourism clusters, other business projects, and developing modern communications and municipal transport.

When it comes to transport, apart from infrastructure projects, we will allocate an additional 50 billion rubles to the regions for transportation development and modernisation. This way we will also support their industries.

Next, during the past few years we greatly increased the volume of construction and modernisation of federal and regional roads. Roads mean development and new opportunities for people; in fact, life is impossible without them. We must accelerate the confident speed we have gathered in this area. All of you know that when there are no roads life comes to a standstill, like in the taiga. But roads mean that areas come to life and give rise to small and medium-sized businesses or even large enterprises. Infrastructure is life.

I suggest that in addition to the approved funding we allocate another 30 billion rubles to the regions for road repairs. I would like the Government to take note that these funds must be transferred to the regions within the next few days. Yes, in the next few days, so that our colleagues in the regions will be able to make use of them during the summer and autumn months, which is the best period for making high quality road repairs.

And one more thing: to put it bluntly, many of our regions have a great number of problems in the housing and utilities sector. All of us are aware of this. Our utilities networks are decrepit and obsolete, and in some places there are no normal purification facilities, water discharge and sewage facilities at all. We know that the regions continue working to resolve this problem. It is not surprising, because this is one of their main tasks, obviously so. But they usually do not have enough funds to do this properly, to change the situation dramatically for the better.

To be continued.

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