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Meeting with Government members

December 11, 2019, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members at the Kremlin.

The participants focused on expanding regional air transport services.

They also discussed creating electronic employment records, promoting employment for people with disabilities and expanding international cultural cooperation.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.

Before we begin, I have several points to make. Mr Medvedev and I discussed them just now. A number of laws on creating digital employment records will enter into force on January 1, 2020. This change will affect approximately 60 million employees. This is a major project, and I will ask Mr Topilin to comment on it. Please, go ahead.

Minister of Labour and Social Protection Maxim Topilin: Mr President, Mr Prime Minister, colleagues,

Indeed, we will start working on this on January 1. On December 3, the State Duma adopted two laws in the third reading, specifically, amendments to the Labour Code and amendments to the Law on Personal Accounting.

The Federation Council approved these laws just an hour ago, and a smooth transition period will begin on January 1 to convert from paper-based records, which has been the tradition in Russia for 100 years, to keeping these data in the Pension Fund’s electronic database.

(The Minister went on to describe in detail how the transition to digital employment records will be carried out, importantly, on a voluntary basis. Employees will decide on the form of employment records themselves.)

We continue working to this end. Yet another draft law was approved at the most recent Government meeting. It provides for conducting an experiment next year related to corporate in-house staff-related paperwork. A number of large companies, such as Russian Railways, Mechel and VimpelCom, to name a few, have agreed to be part of a pilot programme. This project calls for a careful approach to ensure the information is intact and records are kept properly. We decided to first run this as a pilot programme to be able to amend the law later. This will be done on a voluntary basis and be free of charge for the employees, as there is a need to purchase various services and keys. All of that will be done at the employer’s expense. We will work on this and report back to you on the progress.

Vladimir Putin: Now over to another matter. We have 12 million people in the country (right, Ms Golikova?) with health issues. And one of the key problems in this regard and in this area is the employment of people with health limitations and disabilities. One way or another, we are approaching this issue from different angles, and are constantly working on this. Yet, in my opinion, one of the best strategies is career counselling for young people with disabilities. There is the Abilympics International Championship, which Russia will host in 2021. This is a professional skills contest for people with disabilities.

Ms Golikova, where are we now with regard to preparations for this event? I know that we have been holding national events, nationwide competitions.

Go ahead, please.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova: Mr President, Mr Prime Minister,

In 2021, Russia, Moscow, will host the 10th Abilympics International Professional Skills Championship. But it will be preceded by national championships.

In November 2019, a national championship was held in Moscow at VDNKh and attended by 1,800 participants from 84 regions who competed in 62 core competencies and 31 for presentation. <…> As many as 10,000 spectators attended the event. Along with the actual contestants, this 5th national championship, which was held in Moscow, also attracted a rather large pool of volunteers – 520 people from around Russia, from 44 regions. The winners were awarded 540 medals including 181 gold, 181 silver and 178 bronze medals. Representatives of 68 regions of the Russian Federation received awards.

As you correctly noted, this is definitely a high-profile event that always attracts a large number of participants and those who are interested in watching the competition. But the main goal is finding employment for people who have the appropriate competencies.

It is important that 72 employers in Russia have joined this effort. The pool of employers expanded in 2018 with Sberbank, VTB Bank, and a number of hotel chains, where people with disabilities can work effectively.

This national championship, in fact, kicked off preparations for the 10th Abilympics International Championship. The Abilympics International Federation was very appreciative of Russia’s readiness to host it.

The event is tentatively scheduled for the end of May 2021. It will include 55 competencies, of which ten will be for presentation. We expect 1,000 participants, 500 accompanying persons, 1,500 participants in the business programme and more than 10,000 spectators.

(Tatyana Golikova further discussed the details of preparations for the 10th International Championship.)

Although this is quite a challenge for our community of 12 million people with disabilities, on the other hand, it is a very important event. We strongly hope that the Abilympics in 2021 will make as big a contribution to their development, as the WorldSkills Championship held in Kazan did for people without disabilities.

Therefore, I hope that we will complete all the preparatory events at a high level and that our team will certainly perform at a high level, and we wish good luck and all the best to our participants.

Vladimir Putin: Ms Golodets, two days ago, at the meeting with the Federal Chancellor of Germany, we recalled the cultural events, the Russian Seasons that are now about to end in Germany. What can you say about these events and what is our next step?

Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets: Mr President, Mr Prime Minister,

True, the Russian Seasons project, which was a great success in Germany, concluded in Hamburg on December 7. The closing ceremony was attended by Mr Schroeder, German officials and over 2,000 spectators.

The Moscow Soloists [Chamber Orchestra] led by Yury Bashmet performed. It was an outstanding and memorable performance, and both the German audience and German officials warmly thanked Russia for holding the Russian Seasons in Germany.

Let me briefly describe the history of the Russian Seasons.

Under your personal instructions, we renewed them in 2016, while their history goes back to Sergei Diaghilev’s 1908 projects. This is an old tradition, to show the best pieces of classic and modern Russian art to foreign audiences. This tradition has not simply been renewed, but it has gained a lot of popularity.

The first year, 2017, was successfully held in Japan, followed by 2018 in Italy. The total number of audience members in the two countries reached about 9 million.

Russian Seasons events in Germany were held in 85 cities. There was a festival of Tchaikovsky music, concerts dedicated to World War II, a performance by the Turetsky Choir, and the Tchaikovsky Orchestra in Bonn, the Carmen ice musical in Düsseldorf as well as many other notable cultural events.

It is very important for us that Russian Seasons do not end the year they are held, but that serious cooperation between specialists and nations continue with other projects. For example, the Trans-Siberian Festival has become a tradition after the Seasons in Japan, and now is held both in Russia and in Japan.

Following the Year of Germany, we have already agreed to organise a large exhibition that will be held at the Tretyakov Gallery as a response and include German museums and German curators.

We are ready to hold the next Russian Seasons. As you have said, they will take place in France. On January 16, they will begin with Uncle Vanya at the Odeon Theatre. Our French colleagues’ proposal was unexpected. They asked us to open the grand programme of the Russian Seasons with Russian classics, a work by Anton Chekhov, to be more specific.

A tour of the Bolshoi Theatre and several exhibits are scheduled. There will be many new colourful pieces that French audiences have not seen yet. It is especially good that for the first time the Russian Seasons in France will include the National Youth Orchestra. This is also a premiere of sorts. It will take place on November 30 at the Paris Philharmonic Hall.

Vladimir Putin: Very well. I hope the preparations for this event will go as planned, and the quality of the works we present and the performances we stage will be at the highest level, just as it always is.

Let us now turn to the main item on today’s agenda. We will discuss the development of regional and local air route networks.

Unfortunately, as we know all too well, quite often in order to get from one destination to another within a single region people have to make a connection in Moscow. This is not the way it should be. We have said many times that something has to be done about this. In this context, it is clear that we will have to ensure that efforts to develop air route networks in the Russian regions are aligned with the overall plan to modernise and expand key infrastructure in general, including developing airports, passenger terminals, building new runways, etc. Of course, this primarily relates to Russia’s Far East, the extreme north, and eastern Siberia, without forgetting European Russia.

We need to make these routes economically attractive for the airlines. This could include introducing various kinds of protective tariffs, working with the price of jet fuel, and other measures. It is important that airfares remain at a level that people can afford. This is the only way regional and local air service can operate and develop effectively.

That said, there is no getting away from personnel training, primarily pilot training. Every element of this matters, including the pay level, because these factors definitely affect the labour market. One decision instantly leads to another, and so on.

Finally, we need to understand whether manufacturers are ready to produce the aircraft that will be needed, and whether they can be competitive on the global market in terms of price, quality and safety requirements.

I suggest we get down to work.


December 11, 2019, The Kremlin, Moscow