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Vladimir Putin addressed Russian Popular Front Action Forum

December 19, 2017, Moscow

The President took part in a plenary session of the Russian Popular Front (ONF) Action Forum.

The President was also updated on several ONF projects, listened to a report on the operations of the forum’s themed platforms and talked with presentation participants.

Vladimir Putin was updated on the ONF Cleaning Project launched to get rid of illegal landfills. The main element of the presentation was an interactive map of landfills. The President asked about the number of such landfills. Project coordinator Dmitry Mironov said there are over 15,000 of them.

The ONF representatives also told the President they had reviewed the results of this project and used them to select the best and the worst regions in terms of effectiveness of removing the illegal landfills. They also said that the interactive map of the landfills would be forwarded to the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment.

After that, Vladimir Putin was told about the ONF Youth project. Project coordinator Sergei Boyarsky pointed out that several independent projects have been launched within ONF Youth over the past four months and that some of them have already produced results. For example, the President learnt that over 10,000 people took part in the Russia’s Future Image project and provided statistical data on the interests of Russia’s young people.

This year’s forum is the largest in the ONF history. It is being attended by over 4,000 delegates from across Russia, including active ONF members and representatives from public and volunteer organisations and from federal and regional authorities.

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Transcript of address to participants of the Russian Popular Front Action Forum

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,

I am very glad to be with you today at the Russian Popular Front’s forum. First of all, I would like to thank you for your active and fruitful work.

I have just held a meeting with your colleagues to discuss some of the projects you are implementing. It is for this joint work in the interests of Russia and Russian citizens that we have created the Popular Front.

Your actions are designed to consolidate the principles of honesty and openness and to combat all forms of bureaucracy, indifference, wastefulness and corruption. Your actions force the authorities to more actively satisfy the needs and requirements of our people.

The essence and the main mission of the Popular Front are to help people, to uphold the truth and justice and to protect our people. It is not surprising, as I have said, that the idea of the Popular Front was proposed in Volgograd, a city that fought to the bitter end during the Great Patriotic War, when our soldiers died for their families and for our future. Of course, we are living in peaceful times now, but you have identified correct and useful areas for protecting people’s interests.

These concern your famous projects, such as public control in the fields of state procurement, healthcare and education, environmental protection and town planning, as well as roads, that is, infrastructure development.

The main thing is that these and your other initiatives have produced concrete results for our people. It is very important that these results have been achieved thanks to thousands of caring and active people in all Russian regions. You are doing very well. My congratulations. Good work. Thank you.

I am very happy to note, as I said earlier, that the very idea to establish the Russian Popular Front has not deteriorated into some nonsense, if you don’t mind me saying so. It has turned into a broad nationwide project, which is alive and responds to the most pressing challenges and issues the country has to face. The aspiration to work for the common good and to care for the country’s destiny and future is the most reliable foundation for successfully solving the tasks we have now.

Of course, there are still many of them, many unresolved issues, both routine and more long-term, strategic. We are moving forward and trying to be modern, successful and strong. I am sure we will succeed.

We have already proven that we can make our dreams and most ambitious plans come true and overcome the most difficult obstacles despite the situation. We heard all kinds of prophesies at the beginning of the 2000s: they said the country would break apart, the state would collapse, the nation would die off, that we would fail to tackle the challenges facing us as we fought international terrorism and that we will never be able to resolve many of our social and economic problems.

And it is true, the situation was very difficult, and even critical sometimes. But we not only managed to preserve Russia’s unity and sovereignty and to travel the complex path of revival, but to achieve true breakthroughs in the most important development areas.

We have made a giant step forward: in the economy, the social sphere and the country’s security. We have created a powerful foundation with reserves and up-to-date potential needed to continue our steady progress.

We have managed it ourselves, through the efforts and will of our workers, engineers, farmers, researchers, businesspeople, teachers and military personnel, through our faith in ourselves and in our country, in Russia.

Remember that after the dissolution of the Soviet Union we heard a lot of magnanimous and sympathetic words, but in reality, nobody did anything to help us. And we did not expect them to. We do not need help. We were building a new country and reviving an independent Russia. We have learnt to defend our interests, we realised our strength and the continuity of our common history, the value of our achievements and the reliability of cohesion.

I will repeat: there is still much that needs to be done. Above all, for the sake of people's wellbeing and in order to overcome poverty and inequality. So far, the level of these problems remains, unfortunately, too high. We must properly face these crucial, historic challenges. What are these challenges?

Preserving and enlarging our nation, building a new economy, developing the Arctic, the Far East, Siberia and, in fact, all regions of our enormous country.

Finally, there is a challenge of the future – a real breakthrough in medical technologies, in technology in general, in a broad sense. In education. Shutting ourselves off from these global trends or just trying to follow in someone's stead is certainly not our choice. This cannot be our choice.

We have every opportunity to restore the competencies in which we were always undisputed leaders, and we have succeeded much already. We will, by all means, break through to new competencies that we need for our development. There is no doubt about that.

We must be leaders in knowledge, intellect and social and cultural development, while at the same time preserving, of course, our identity and relying on our best traditions.

Those are our tasks for years ahead. We must not stumble, must not turn off the chosen course, otherwise we will have to start everything virtually from zero.

There are so many young people here in this hall today. But all of us, young and old, as the saying goes, we must all remember that Russia, our people, and, in fact, all our families, lived through a very complicated and extremely hard period in their history in the past century: through revolutions, wars, cardinal overhauls of their lifestyle.

Today, it is our obligation to safeguard our statehood and freedom, stability and social harmony, safeguard everything, even the modest successes we have achieved so far, so that our achievements and real improvements become irreversible and our strength benefit the wellbeing and development our Fatherland.

In this I see our common task, my personal duty and my civil and human responsibility, both as the active head of state and a candidate for President of the Russian Federation. We all need a strong and future-oriented Russia and everything depends only on us!

Thank you very much for your support. Good luck!

December 19, 2017, Moscow