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Meeting of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives Supervisory Board

February 9, 2023, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Supervisory Board of the autonomous non-profit organisation Agency for Strategic Initiatives to Promote New Projects (ASI).

The meeting was held to discuss ASI’s performance in 2022 and its plans for 2023, including the implementation of the National Social Initiative and a job-training programme to ensure technological sovereignty.

Reports were presented by Director General of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives to Promote New Projects Svetlana Chupsheva; Director of the Agency for the Development of Professional Skills (WorldSkills Russia) and Special Presidential Envoy on Digital and Technological Development Dmitry Peskov; Director of the Human Resources Division of the ASI Young Professionals Robert Urazov; Member of the ASI Supervisory Board and Chair of the VEB.RF State Development Corporation Igor Shuvalov; and Head of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov.

The guests invited to the meeting spoke about their work: Natalya Polyanskova, Regional Service Commissioner and Public Adviser to the Samara Region Governor on improving the quality of social services; Yelena Popova, President of the CSKA Disabled Supporters Association Moscow regional public organisation and Leading Specialist of the project office for sustainable development and social responsibility of the Russian Football Union; Director-General of Motorika Andrei Davidyuk, and Director-General of Transport of the Future Yury Kozarenko.

Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, First Deputy Chair of the State Duma Committee on Regional Policy and Local Government Sergei Morozov; and President of the Opora Russia Public Association of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Alexander Kalinin made comments at the meeting.

The Agency for Strategic Initiatives was established in 2011 to support projects aimed at system-wide changes to improve the quality of life, education and job training, regional and urban development, the environment, and the creation of new technologies.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,

We are holding a regular meeting of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives Supervisory Board. We are meeting in an unusual format. I have invited to the Kremlin the Agency’s project leaders, not all of them, of course, but some of those who are putting their ideas into practice.

I would like those who are attending this meeting to tell us about the work they are doing and how their experience can be applied across the country. I promise you that after that I will issue instructions to various departments, first of all, the Government of the Russian Federation, to translate your ideas into practice.

But first of all, I would like to thank the Agency’s entire team. Your programmes and ideas are gaining strength and are being implemented in large cities and small towns, and attracting more supporters, who are active, bold and goal-oriented people.

We will certainly build up and expand the Agency’s capabilities for promoting civil and business initiatives, using, in part, the mechanisms of the Strong Ideas for a New Time forum, which will now be held annually. As you probably know, I have signed Executive Order on this issue.

I would like to share some considerations and ideas on my part, notably, to award every year at the forum the companies that win a contest of the best new domestic brands. But this is just a small part of what is planned. The goal that I would like to set before the Agency is much bigger.

I will explain what I mean. We have many good, quality products, clothes and everyday goods that are produced by domestic companies. Until recently, they found it difficult to get access even to the local market, and to compete with global players, primarily Western companies.

Incidentally, at one time many of these companies gained traction owing to the support of their states. This is exactly what the situation was like in different industries despite all statements to the effect that the market decides everything. Anyway, without state support many global brands would not have been able to occupy such positions.

But, you know, now many of them are leaving our market under pressure from their governments – good luck! They are sustaining tremendous losses by quitting our market, but this is their choice, their decision. Many of them – I know this for sure because I know them personally – are doing this with no pleasure at all. Indeed, who wants to lose a well-established business in which they invested so much effort and money? In some cases, money is beside the point. Frankly, many of them invested their heart and soul in their business and did a good job. Now they have to leave under pressure from their governments, leaving behind a good legacy – the production infrastructure and well-trained personnel.

Perhaps some people thought that all this would collapse and fall apart in our hands. But nothing like this is happening – nothing has collapsed and nothing is falling apart. Our companies, our businesspeople are picking up these companies or even branches and continuing this work with success. It is important for us that our domestic producers have received unique opportunities for development. They should certainly take full advantage of them.

All those present and all those who work within the Agency’s framework, have experience in improving the business environment, including for entrepreneurs who are just starting their business. The Agency has done much for our business to develop.

Now I would like the Agency for Strategic Initiatives to create a system for selecting, and most importantly, promoting promising domestic brands. The goal is to help companies build up the production and marketing of their products and to more quickly take the road from a small, even local, but still successful company to business on a national scale.

I have no doubt that the regions of the Russian Federation will also quickly pick up this initiative. Together, we will be able to create the conditions for making Russian goods and services a source of national pride. We already have many products like this, but at a new stage, we can act faster to make these goods and services successful in both domestic and foreign markets.

Naturally, we should be striving for this because being limited to the domestic market is not the best scenario. This is just half the road but we should not stop halfway. We must compete in foreign markets because it will encourage every company to achieve a bigger, and eventually, the necessary result.

I am sure that we have enormous potential for developing domestic business. It requires support in all areas, including in innovation sectors.

I would like to note that the developments of the Agency and the participants in the National Technological Initiative have entered the recently signed list of instructions on developing a whole industry in Russia, namely – I will take this separate industry just as an example because it is indicative – unmanned aircraft systems or drones.

In the near future, the Government will draft a national project to create opportunities for the large-scale use of drones, and, most importantly, to localise production on a big scale. I recently saw on one of the platforms just how many interesting and new ideas we have, new even in this area, and how many of them have already been promoted.

Moreover, unmanned systems are a good catalyst for so-called end-to-end technologies in such areas as navigation, communications, energy storage systems, innovative materials, artificial intelligence, engine manufacturing, micro- and radio electronics.

I ask the Agency to provide the necessary expert support to Russian regions, both in terms of generating demand for drones and creating modern local infrastructure for their widespread use.

In spring, we will discuss the results of this huge joint effort at a special meeting; we will invite representatives of ministries, agencies and companies that work in this area. I very much hope that your colleagues, I mean our colleagues working within the Agency’s framework, will also take part in this meeting.

One more thing I would like to note. I would like ASI and the Professional Skills Development Agency to create a system of training personnel for developing unmanned aircraft, and in general, to consider creating international programmes to train specialists for high-tech industries, involving our EAEU partners as well as other interested states. There are many such states, and many want to cooperate with us. I would like to hear specific proposals on this matter, including, and above all, from members of the Supervisory Board, of course.

We must set ambitious goals – we never stopped talking about this since the day the Agency was established: strive to make Russia a source of technology and expertise, and of course, set an example in creating opportunities for each person's self-realisation – we must be adamant that each person's success will propel the whole country forward – to be able to offer the best standards for social development. We will also talk about this later.

In this regard, I will focus on the most important areas of the Agency's activities, namely, on spreading, replicating and exchanging best practices from Russian regions when it comes to organising the operation of schools and hospitals, improving cities and towns, and creating a comfortable living environment and the right conditions for launching entrepreneurial, creative projects. Ms Chupsheva has been working on this specifically for a long time.

By the way, best practices must certainly be used when drafting and implementing socioeconomic development programmes in the Lugansk and Donetsk people's republics, as well as the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. The new regions (we are using the term “new regions” tentatively, because we know well from history that these regions are Russian regions) must be brought up to national standards in terms of key indicators, and this should be done within the span of this decade. The sooner, the better, though. When I say a decade, this does not mean that we are going to expand this work to fill the next decade. Clearly, we need to move at a steady pace gradually according to the plan.

To reiterate, all our regions must make progress and offer a comfortable living environment for their residents for them to associate the future of their families with these regions and plan their future around them so that, as sociologists put it, people stay committed to their towns, villages, and localities where they were born and raised, in other words, to their lesser motherland, because the Motherland begins with one’s lesser motherland, obviously.

Today, we will review the 2022 results, name the winners and the regions with the best social development dynamics that have made significant progress.

We will definitely discuss the support our regions are providing to participants in the special military operation and their families, as well as people in need of special attention and care such as senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Again, we need to actively use the best practices and experiences gained by individual regions in order to change management approaches nationwide. I can see Mr Gref on the screen who has worked on this for a long time now since when he worked in the Government. Now that he is head of our largest financial institution, he is working on it from a new perspective.

Sber has a proven track record in this regard, without a doubt, and its successes can be replicated for every social safety net worker and every official to see the actual problems people and their families are facing behind the paperwork and instructions and help them overcome their hardships.

This is what the National Social Initiative, which you are implementing jointly with the State Council working group and the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, is all about. Please tell us more about the status of this project of national importance.

Svetlana Chupsheva knows about this more than anyone else, because, I think, this is what she was doing when she joined the Agency for Strategic Initiatives.

Please, Ms Chupsheva, the floor is yours.


Vladimir Putin: I would like to express my gratitude to the agency for the work it is doing. I agree with the assessments of the Supervisory Board members, with the assessments of the agency's activities. What needs to be done in the near future is clear and understandable; Svetlana Chupsheva spoke about this. Let us summarise what we talked about today, including our guests, summarise the proposals made by the participants in our meeting today, and move forward.

Thank you all very much. Good day.

February 9, 2023, The Kremlin, Moscow