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Meeting with Government members

May 13, 2021, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The President held a meeting with Government members via videoconference.

The meeting began with a discussion of issues related to the tragedy in Kazan. Health Minister Mikhail Murashko reported on measures to treat and rehabilitate the schoolchildren and the teachers who were victimised. Director of the Federal Service of National Guard Troops and Commander of the National Guard Troops Viktor Zolotov proposed implementing the President’s instructions to develop new regulations for weapons that can be in civilian circulation or purchased by the public, as well as requirements for weapon owners. Head of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov spoke about measures to support the victims and increasing the level of security and antiterrorist protection at education facilities.

After that, Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko reported on implementing the Complex Development of Agricultural Areas state programme, Minister of Justice Konstantin Chuichenko spoke of the free legal assistance that about 30 million people have a right to, and Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov and Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov spoke of preparations for school exams and university admissions, including for foreign citizens.

Minister of Labour and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov delivered a report on the main topic of the meeting, developments in the labour market.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, deputy prime ministers Viktoria Abramchenko, Yury Borisov, Tatyana Golikova, Alexander Novak, Alexei Overchuk, Marat Khusnullin, Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister – Chief of the Government Staff Dmitry Grigorenko, Deputy Prime Minister – Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Minister of Justice Konstantin Chuichenko, Minister of Labour and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov, Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov, Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko, Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov, Chairman of the Accounts Chamber Alexei Kudrin, Director of the Federal Service of National Guard Troops and Commander of the National Guard Troops Viktor Zolotov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, Novgorod Region Governor Andrei Nikitin and Chelyabinsk Region Governor Alexei Teksler.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.

We will start with the recent tragedy in Kazan. As you know, a horrible incident occurred two days ago. Children and teachers of School No. 175 fell victim to a barbaric crime. I propose that we begin by honouring the memory of the victims.

(A minute of silence.)

Colleagues, the tragedy was a great shock to everybody. The entire country is grieving with the people of Kazan and Tatarstan during these hard days. Russians from every region have been reaching out with their sincere words of support and compassion, taking the pain of the people of Kazan as their own.

Once again, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the families of those killed, the families that lost their most precious, their children and grandchildren, the people they loved the most.

As you know, the Government of the Russian Federation, heads of the Ministry of Healthcare, the Ministry of Education, and the Emergencies Ministry, as well as law enforcement agencies, received instructions following reports of the tragedy. Notably, the officials concerned were instructed to leave promptly for Kazan where the tragedy struck.

All these days, we have been in constant contact with Mr Minnikhanov, the leader of Tatarstan. I would like to note once again that Tatarstan and everyone who has faced this misfortune, including the families affected, will certainly receive the necessary support and assistance.

The effort to save the lives of those injured is the most urgent, high-priority task. I know that some children have sustained extremely severe wounds. I would like to wish a speedy recovery to all the wounded and to convey words of support to their families.

I would like to note that we will obviously utilise the entire potential of our healthcare system, including leading federal clinics. We have already involved the best surgeons, other medical specialists, and we are using modern equipment and medications.

Mr Murashko is reporting to me as the developments unfold. Today, I am expecting a detailed update from him about what additional measures are needed to provide the most effective treatment and subsequent rehabilitation to restore the health of those injured.

It is our duty to support the families of the victims of this terrible crime. According to reports, they have already started making regional budget payments for these purposes. I am also asking the Government of the Russian Federation to join in and, if necessary, to provide additional assistance to those affected.

It goes without saying that all the pupils and employees of the school where the misfortune occurred experienced a real shock. And, of course, the children who suffered most of all are in need of special rehabilitation.

I would like to underscore the fact that the school teachers and all other employees acted bravely and heroically in this critical situation. They displayed extreme professionalism and saved children as if they were their own, shielding them. This is what Elvira Ignatyeva, a very young English language teacher did: she sacrificed her life for her pupils.

I know that during those terrible moments of the attack when shots rang out in the building, many teachers stood at the doors to their classrooms and were ready to fight to protect their pupils. Later they helped them get out of the school and hide in a safe place. None of the teachers left their places; all of them fulfilled their duty as professionals and human beings.

I would like to ask you to submit a proposal on conferring state awards on the teachers and other school employees.

The tragedy in Kazan has shown that there are still problems in such a vital issue for all regions as the need to ensure security at educational institutions.

A relevant instruction on this matter was already issued in 2018. It was followed by a Government resolution. However, not everything that we discussed has been fully accomplished or done at a proper level.

I am instructing the Government to introduce, as soon as possible, a unified approach to ensuring security and anti-terrorist protection at educational institutions. This is very important. In general, we have built such a system but left much up to the local authorities and schools themselves. However, there must be a consistent approach throughout the country. Then, it will be necessary to continuously monitor compliance with it in cooperation with the regions.

Of course, the Investigative Committee will conduct a thorough investigation and reveal all the circumstances of this tragedy. Nevertheless, I believe that to prevent such crimes it is essential to seriously raise requirements to the owners of civilian weapons and toughen control over their turnover. Of course, these decisions must be justified and certainly tough.

It is also necessary to establish equally tough personal liability for all those who issue permits for weapons and issue the approrpiate documents. Strict order is required in this respect. Cases when, for example, it is possible to buy a medical certificate for money, sometimes even without a medical appointment, must be completely ruled out.

We have already discussed this problem. I would like to ask Mr Zolotov to report on the specific measures that are proposed in this regard.

Let us start our discussion. We have a big, important issue on our agenda today. Let us begin with the problems I have outlined now and then go over to issues of employment and support for the labour market programme. But I would still like Mr Murashko and Mr Zolotov to be the first to speak.

Go ahead, please.

Health Minister Mikhail Murashko: Good afternoon, Mr President, colleagues.

Allow me to join the condolences just voiced. I would also like to say that we have received condolences from WHO Europe; our colleagues are joining us.

Primarily I would like to thank my Kazan colleagues for their well-coordinated and prompt efforts to provide assistance to the victims. The first ambulances arrived on the scene within just seven minutes. Then there were as many as 36 vehicles, and aid was administered in full on the spot. Eighteen children and three adults were taken to hospital straight away. Later, my colleagues and I visited all the children, who were already at home, and their parents. Psychological support was also extended, with a hotline established. There were almost 120 telephone calls over two days. Somewhat later, we also took two children to hospital, who were placed under care in Kazan.

On your instructions, we flew jointly with the Emergencies Ministry and Health Ministry specialists to the city of Kazan. A total of 26 doctors and medical staff – anesthesiologists, resuscitators, surgeons and brain surgeons – were brought in. Following rounds of the wards and consultations, it was decided to evacuate the most serious cases. These were five children and three adults, as well as a girl victim’s mother. They were taken by an Emergencies Ministry aircraft to six clinics around Moscow.

As of today, three children who were in a serious condition had surgery last night and once again in Moscow today. We will continue with surgery, as required by the situation. The other children are receiving elective therapy at their clinics, and their state today is not a reason for concern. The 15 children in Kazan are undergoing therapy and one child has been discharged from hospital in a satisfactory condition. All youngsters at the children’s hospital are now in a stable condition. One child was transferred to a general ward this morning. We see positive changes in the state of their health.

Rehabilitation started as early as the first day, with psychiatrists, psychologists and rehabilitation therapists called in. We are planning to continue rehabilitation of each patient in keeping with his or her diagnosis after the worst is over.

I would also like to note that jointly with the Education Ministry we are planning to send the children for R&R, with their parents’ consent, to federal facilities. We will do what is required in full. Medicine, medical equipment, blood products in sufficient quantities… I would also like to note that our people have displayed responsibility and civic duty: on the very first day, more than one thousand people came to donor centres and gave blood – of their own free will and without remuneration. I would like to thank every one of you who did this.

Thank you. That was my report.

Vladimir Putin: How many people are still in serious condition?

Mikhail Murashko: There are currently three people in serious condition. They are in surgery, that is, they underwent surgical treatment yesterday and are still in surgery today.

Vladimir Putin: What are the dynamics?

Mikhail Murashko: Two children still require thorough medical attention. Their condition remains very serious. A third child has survived surgery reasonably well, and his condition is less worrisome. Further procedures are planned in the next few days and, therefore, we are keeping them under close watch and round-the-clock monitoring. We are using leading specialists who have a lot of experience in helping such patients – trauma, vascular and brain surgeons.

Vladimir Putin: I am sure that everything is being done to save the lives of these children. We shall think about them and pray for their recovery.

Mr Zolotov, you have already reported to me on your ideas on what must be done to improve the handling of issues linked with arms sales. I have asked you to think about this and generalise your proposals.

Go ahead, please.

Director of the Federal National Guard Service and Commander of the National Guard Troops Viktor Zolotov: Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Mr Prime Minister, colleagues,

Allow me to convey my sincere condolences and heart-felt support to the families and friends of the deceased children and all those who are affected by this tragedy. I would like to say the following about the measures we are taking.

We need to establish that semi-automatic, smoothbore guns, say, Hatsan, Hunter, Saiga and, especially, Lancaster may be released to people only after they have used regular smoothbore guns for five years. The reason is that semi-automatic guns, especially the Lancaster, are close to rifled-barrel guns in their lethal power.

As for the Russian National Guards, we must expedite, in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources, the adoption of legislative regulations on e-communications regarding the issue of medical certificates. In the past, we have been told that they were confidential, medically, and we could not get these certificates. I believe that such medical certificates need to be issued not by private clinics but by government agencies, public medical organisations, because they are issued by private clinics today.

Furthermore, we also need to conduct psychological testing in cooperation with the Health Ministry. This is essential. I realise that this is very expensive and time-consuming but it is necessary to do this in the context of what is happening now.

Of course, we also need to toughen the requirements for hunting permits. Just as in the military, a training course should be required. Those who purchase smoothbore guns for the first time must take a course, perhaps through public hunting organisations. They can teach them to handle these guns correctly, teach them about hunting rules and so on. This is necessary.

At the same time, we must return to an age limit – 21, as we discussed before. Now young people will serve in the army for maybe just a year and will only fire the gun assigned to them maybe three times at best. But in addition, they have several “nannies” around them, who control the guns, distributing them and collecting them, and they administer tests at a shooting range. So, they are not really properly trained to handle guns beyond that. As for the minimum age, 21 years old, at this age, they no longer have a jumble in their heads; they can more or less learn to use weapons and are psychologically stable. So, this needs to be done.

As for schools and the requirements for private security companies that protect them, currently, the average price of their services is about 134,000 rubles per month for one control post. Of course, it is necessary to use them because these companies and the technical and physical protection they provide are the only way to make schools safe. We cannot send in Russian Guard Troops or some extra-departmental security service; to do this we would need several additional armies. Their strength and funding would be much higher than those of private security companies. If we compare all these details, we will understand that they must be introduced into law.

In cooperation with the Federal Security Service, the Russian National Guard has drafted a package of measures to establish additional requirements to owners of weapons, as well as administrative violations. These bills were submitted to the State Duma and are now being reviewed. Two of them are about to be endorsed and a third one is being delayed a bit. However, we were told the final reading would be completed in three months. I believe it is necessary to implement these measures.

For our part, we are toughening the control over the requirements for the technical equipment at schools, as such. What is usually done? In late August, people from an extra-departmental security service arrive at the schools and meet with the directors. They inspect the technical equipment and physical protection of these schools and then make recommendations.

Therefore, we are doing all we can to provide technical and physical protection for the schools directly.

Vladimir Putin: Fine. Submit your proposals to me in writing so the instructions can be prepared for the Government. These issues must be reviewed at the departmental and expert levels as soon as possible.

Viktor Zolotov: I will.

Head of Tatarstan Republic Rustam Minnikhanov: May I report, Mr President?

Vladimir Putin: Yes, Mr Minnikhanov, please.

Rustam Minnikhanov: Mr President, first of all I would like to thank you for the prompt assistance. Our colleagues from Moscow arrived at once, and first aid was provided. We were able to transfer eight of the most seriously affected victims, and they are receiving aid in Moscow.

As the minister has said, there is no threat to the other 14, and work is underway.

In addition, our medical and social services visited the homes of all the children who were in school at that point in time and carried out medical examinations. There were 714 of them. The necessary aid was provided to everyone in need: 145 children and 89 parents received psychological support, and this work is continuing. It involves 145 psychologists from the republic and our colleagues from Moscow are helping.

Another task for today is to stabilise the current state of the teaching staff. The teachers did everything possible to save children’s lives, and I am very grateful that you have raised this issue. And, of course, we will do everything to support them.

In order to help the victims, it was decided to make payments from the republic’s budget: one million rubles to the families of the victims, 400,000 rubles to those who sustained serious or moderate damage to their health, and 200,000 rubles to those with minor injuries. Six families out of nine have already received payments. Moreover, one-time payments were made to the six victims who suffered serious injuries. The rest of the payments will be made after medical assessments have been carried out to establish the severity of their condition. Of course, in the summer, it is planned to organise recreation for both children and teachers.

Funerals in accordance with all the rites and parents’ wishes have been organised for those who were killed. We took an active part in resolving all these issues.

I would also like to thank the Red Cross and Sberbank for their initiative to open an account for donations. More than 20 million rubles have already been donated.

I would also like to thank all our colleagues, companies and regions who are ready to provide support, above all in the area of resort rehabilitation for the victims.

The minister has already noted that voluntary blood donations by city residents are continuing.

Naturally, we have decided to rebuild part of the school after the investigation is over. We want to bring it up to standards. It was not bad, but we will make it better.

On May 11, I held an emergency meeting of the republic’s anti-terrorist commission. During this meeting, I instructed my subordinates to raise the level of security and anti-terrorist protection at all educational facilities and also to check all firearms owners.

Mr President, your instruction to toughen regulations for civilian arms transactions enjoys broad support in the republic. We would like to ask you to bring this issue to its logical completion.

In addition, we would like to ask you to issue similar instructions on toughening the role and liability of psychiatric services. We will send you our ideas on this matter, with your permission.

Mr President, in conclusion, I would like to thank you once again for your assistance, and to thank the team of the Government of the Russian Federation for the effective implementation of your instructions and, of course, to convey gratitude to the entire law-enforcement system for its prompt response.

My report is finished.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Minnikhanov, thank you for your prompt decision to support the families of the victims, particularly those who lost their children because of this heinous crime. You have allocated the money, and you are doing it promptly. This is the way to go.

I have a request. Please take a broader look at these issues. I am referring to support for the affected families. They may have housing issues or other outstanding social problems. Some families need to provide recreation for their children. Just take a broader look at these things. You are very experienced and always very attentive to such issues, and you understand what I am talking about. Work with every family and then please report to me on additional proposals for the affected families.

Rustam Minnikhanov: Mr President, this work is underway. Meetings will be held every day. I plan to meet with the affected families. The banks have approached me to ask about loans, if restructuring is appropriate. We will resolve these things with dignity.

Vladimir Putin: Well done. Thank you.

Rustam Minnikhanov: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Let us continue.


May 13, 2021, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region