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Meeting with Government members

July 4, 2023, The Kremlin, Moscow

The President held a videoconference meeting with members of the Government.

Taking part in the meeting were Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, deputy prime ministers Viktoria Abramchenko, Tatyana Golikova, Alexander Novak, Marat Khusnullin and Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister – Chief of the Government Staff Dmitry Grigorenko, Deputy Prime Minister – Presidential Plenipotentiary Representative to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Labour and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov, Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov, Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev, Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities Irek Fayzullin, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media Maksut Shadayev, Minister of Energy Nikolai Shulginov, Governor of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, heads of several Russian regions and First Deputy Prosecutor General Anatoly Razinkin were also invited to attend the meeting.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.

As usual, we will start with immediate matters. The first issue is the situation at the approach to the Crimean Bridge. I would like to hear from Vitaly Savelyev.

Mr Savelyev, I know that you have been preparing for the summer season and planning to increase the number of security checkpoints but, apparently, the traffic is enormous. What is happening there now and what can be done to improve the situation?


Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev: Mr President,

After the terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge on October 8, 2022, a third security level was introduced that requires 100 percent inspection of all vehicles using the bridge. This security level remains active to prevent terrorist attacks and the smuggling of illegal cargo.

I would like to point out that this represents the consolidated position of all parties involved in providing security and logistics for the Crimean Bridge. This approach is supported by the Federal Security Service of Russia, the Russian Interior Ministry, the Krasnodar Territory Governor [Veniamin Kondratyev] and the Head of the Republic of Crimea [Sergei Aksyonov].

During the autumn-winter period, the traffic was up to 5,000 vehicles per day in both directions. Inspections on the previous infrastructure were made using two stationary inspection stations.

Based on previous Government resolutions, the Transport Ministry, in conjunction with the Federal Security Service and related agencies, implemented several projects to expand the inspection infrastructure on the Krasnodar Territory side and on the Crimea side by the time the holiday season opened.

In general, 11 modular buildings were put in place and outfitted with 18 inspection lanes with corresponding technical equipment including introscopes, frames and metal detectors, which make it possible to inspect up to 440 vehicles per hour from Taman and up to 400 vehicles per hour from Kerch.

(Next, the Minister spoke in detail about the inspection service organisation, the number of employees, the work schedule and awareness campaigns among drivers and passengers, as well as about providing the necessary workplace amenities).

We interact with the people on a daily basis, both in person and via social media. Most drivers and passengers are understanding of the measures we have taken to ensure their safety. I would like to thank the Krasnodar Territory Governor, the Head of the Republic of Crimea, the Federal Security Service, the Interior Ministry and the Emergencies Ministry for the swift cooperation. I am in contact with them all. I think their assessment of the situation is more or less the same.

Notably, after the repair works were completed on July 2, traffic was opened on the Kherson Bridge on the border with the Republic of Crimea and the Kherson Region, which makes it possible for drivers to take an alternative route bypassing the Crimean Bridge. Our statistics show that yesterday more than 1,200 vehicles drove across the new territories without using the Crimean Bridge.

As a reminder, only passenger cars and tourist buses are allowed on the bridge, with trucks using the ferry crossing. The passenger-vehicle ferry Kerchensky-2 will start operating around the clock from July 7. It will make up to five round trips a day carrying up to 200 vehicles in both directions.

I would like to say that this morning I spoke with Mr Sergei Shoigu, and, if necessary, he will give us two large landing ships, each capable of carrying 40 cars. If they make five trips a day in normal weather, each will be able to carry 200 cars. Thus, we will be able to transport up to a thousand cars a day at this crossing, bypassing the Crimean Bridge.

In conclusion, I would like to ask all drivers and passengers bound for the Crimean Peninsula, to be understanding about the situation. It is necessary for safety and security reasons, and this is, of course, our top priority.

Thank you for your attention. My report is over.

Vladimir Putin: I was just going to ask you to use this ferry crossing to the maximum extent possible. I understand from what you said that this is being done and will be done, in part, with assistance from the Defence Ministry. But are these civilian ferries all we have?

Vitaly Savelyev: Mr President, today, we are using six ferries at the Crimean crossing, including train ferries and auto ferries – four of them. One ferry is currently under repair. But this is all we have now. We are using all our resources.

Vladimir Putin: But where is the ferry that is not being used now?

Vitaly Savelyev: It is now in the dock. But this ferry is a small one, holds just 21 cars. There are two of them: the Kerchensky-2 ferry will go into service on July 7, that is, before the end of this week, and its sister ferry, for another 21 cars, will follow. We will determine by July 5 when it can be restored.

Mr President, we believe the situation will reach its peak around July 16–17. I spoke with Mr Sergei Aksyonov today – he agrees. The tourist flow will first increase and then subside. We will see how it goes. If necessary, we will also use two landing ships we are discussing now. This is our decision.

Vladimir Putin: All right.

(Further, Head of the Republic of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov replied to the President’s questions on vehicle traffic on the Crimean Bridge. Krasnodar Territory Governor Veniamin Kondratyev provided additional information on this issue. In particular, he suggested implementing the decisions made after the attempted attack on the Crimean Bridge. At that time, the operational headquarters decided to redirect all transport traffic, heavy trucks, bypassing the Krasnodar Territory via the new territories of Russia. So large trucks began to move to Crimea via Mariupol, Berdyansk and Melitopol. This decision made it possible to redistribute transport traffic and is still reducing the burden of freight volume bound to Crimea. The Governor proposed using this transport corridor for tourists that are driving as well. The President emphasised the need to observe safety measures and precautions for vacationers. It is necessary to assess this situation from all angles but of course, use all available opportunities. Vladimir Putin also promised additional help and asked the Transport Minister to be in constant communication.)

Vladimir Putin: Next topic. I would like Mr Anton Kotyakov to say a few words. We have the lowest unemployment rate and this is great – 73.4 million people in the country are working, and 2.4 million are listed as jobless. This is only 3.2 percent, a historical low.

Mr Kotyakov, what do you think about the prospects for the labour market?

Minister of Labour and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov: Mr President,

Indeed, the labour market has undergone major changes in the past few years. Many experts predicted growth in unemployment due to the sanctions and the withdrawal of foreign companies, but this did not happen. Our unemployment level today is 3,2 percent, or 2.4 million. This is a historical low in Russia over several decades.

Overall, the number of employed people increased by 1.5 million – today the figure is 73.4 million, as you said, Mr President.

Unemployment has decreased in all age groups. It is particularly important that it has gone down among young people. For the most part, young people under 25 find it hard to get a job because they have to combine it with their studies, or when they get their first job at the start of their so-called professional career.

Mr President, when the long-term programme for promoting youth employment was adopted in 2021 with your support, the unemployment rate among young people aged 20–25 exceeded 17 percent whereas now it’s at 11.5 percent.

Part-time employment is also dropping. According to operational monitoring, over the year, the number of workers that are idle or work part-time, decreased by more than three times. The number of applications at employment centres is also on the decline. So far, we have recorded 510,000 unemployed, which is 25 percent less than last year.

But today, the situation is quite different from one region to another. In 34 regions, unemployment is below 3 percent. In some regions, such as St Petersburg or the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area, it is only 1.6 percent. However, there are also regions where unemployment is over 10 percent. I will name four of them – Daghestan, Ingushetia, North Ossetia-Alania and the Chechen Republic.

This means we are witnessing the continued noticeable differences in unemployment levels between the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. We continue implementing regional programmes to mitigate labour market strains in those regions where unemployment remains high.

Regarding labour demand, as of today, the number of jobs posted on the Work in Russia website exceeds 1,860,000, and we see that a third of the vacancies are in industries.

(The Minister went on to speak about upgrading employment services as part of the Demography national project. At present, all submitted vacancies and CVs have been digitised as were the internal process of employment offices. Employment centres’ tools are being improved. At the moment, over 9,000 retraining programmes are available to meet local labour market demand. In view of current shortages in the labour market, the emphasis is on blue-collar jobs. Programmes to increase labour mobility have also been enacted. The Minister covered employment in the new regions as well. As of today, there are already 78 employment centres operating in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. From the beginning of the year, over 51,000 people applied to them, and 42,000 citizens found employment.)

Today, we have an established labour market looking for personnel. We clearly see that currently the demand for personnel exceeds the number of job seekers, and we are not expecting any changes in the labour market in terms of unemployment spikes. On the contrary, unemployment will stay at these low levels and will slowly go down while we are going to focus our efforts on meeting the industrial enterprises’ demand for selecting qualified personnel.

Vladimir Putin: All right. Thank you very much.

There is no need to say how important labour market conditions are both for the economy and the social sphere, and so I have to really press you to continue work in all those directions you have mentioned.

The Farewell Bell has rung, school leavers completed their studies. For the most part, students went on summer school holidays, teachers are taking their vacations. This is probably not happening everywhere or with everyone but we still understand that the bulk of repair works takes place during summer although this work goes on all year round. The federal budget allocates a handsome amount for this purpose under a co-financing programme. I think it amounts to 67 billion rubles.

Mr Kravtsov, how is this work organised today?

Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov: Mr President,

Following your instructions, we continue implementing a large-scale and very important programme for major school repairs in cooperation with the Ministry of Construction and the United Russia party. In addition to repairs, we are also equipping schools with modern learning tools and conducting what actually amounts to a comprehensive modernisation of the school education system. This is exactly how we called this programme.

On top of all that, the regions assume additional reciprocal commitments: to provide counterterrorist protection of the repaired facilities, renew textbooks and organise training courses for the staff. In the process, school students, their parents and teachers take a direct part in accepting the works carried out. Their voice is decisive. It is up to them what their schools should look like.

This programme allows us to have more and more deeply upgraded, modernised schools with a new quality of education space, which is comfortable for children and the teaching staff.

Mr President, as you have said, provisions necessary to implement this programme have been made. Since 2022, the federal budget has been allocating 67 billion rubles every year for this purpose. Last year, 1,298 schools in the regions were repaired using the federal budget funds. This is 100 percent of the plan – so, it has been fulfilled in its entirety.

In addition, during the past year, 365 school buildings have been repaired under the programme using the regional budgets’ funds, and many facilities had been put into service ahead of schedule. Overall, 1,663 buildings were repaired under the programme in 2022.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Kravtsov, how many buildings should we repair by the end of this year?

Sergei Kravtsov: Mr President, we must repair 1,760 buildings, including 230 at the expense of regional budgets. So this is a rather large programme, and this year everything is under special control. We will do everything in our power for all schools to open by September 1.

As for its geographic coverage, the programme is enormous and covers the whole country. Just one example. Out of all schools that have been modernised, the southernmost school is located in the Akhtyn Region of the Republic of Daghestan on the border with Azerbaijan and the northernmost school is in Zaozersk in the Murmansk Region, off the coast of the Barents Sea. The westernmost school is in Slavyanskoye in the Kaliningrad Region and the easternmost school is in Vilyuchinsk in the Kamchatka Territory.

Some more statistics: the biggest modernised school for 2,640 students is located in Pskov and the smallest schools with only 10–15 children are located in the Tula and Kostroma regions and in the Republic of Daghestan. To sum up, the programme covers both big and small schools.

Vladimir Putin: I see, Mr Kravtsov. Will we complete the tasks you talked about by the end of the year? You mentioned 1,760 schools.

Sergei Kravtsov: Yes, Mr President, no sanctions or restrictions will prevent us from doing so – we are working according to plan and will fulfil all the tasks and instructions on time.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you. Enough said.

Sergei Kravtsov: Yes, we will do everything.

Vladimir Putin: The main thing is to do what you have planned.

Sergei Kravtsov: We will.

Vladimir Putin: As you have probably noted, a meeting with heads of state from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member countries has just taken place. The agenda included a number of humanitarian issues, including cooperation in sports.

Mr Chernyshenko, I know you have mapped out a big programme, in part with our colleagues from the CIS, the SCO and BRICS.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko: Absolutely right. We had your instructions.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Chernyshenko, what do you plan for the near future?

Dmitry Chernyshenko: You instructed us to preserve competition practice for high-performance sports. In this context, the Ministry of Sport is certainly looking for new markets and new cooperation opportunities in order to overcome the blockade imposed on us by traditional international federations. The BRICS and SCO countries as well as the Asian region are meeting us halfway. We are staging international competitions with them.

I would like to say that this is an anniversary year – a centenary of sports management bodies. Mass sports events timed to this date are now held all around the country. The regions are honouring their outstanding athletes.

Of course, this focus of attention on sports is bound to promote it and help us reach the goal you mentioned – to involve 70 percent of all people in regular fitness and sports activities by 2030. I would like to report that everything goes as planned. Today, about 53 percent of all people are already involved in sports – this is about 70 million. Our best regions in this respect are the Vologda, Belgorod and Voronezh regions, the Republic of Karelia and the Primorye Territory.

Mr President, do you remember how Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and I reported to you at the Government Coordination Centre, when we showed you data-based information systems of government management? I showed you what components make up the number of people that do sports on a regular basis. They included children, students, as well as employees of different companies, departments and other categories of people.

In some categories, we are very close to maximum numbers. For example, almost 89 percent, or 38 million, children and young people do sports regularly. We see the biggest potential for achieving the figure of 70 percent with those people who practice sports independently, including in fitness clubs. We engage a variety of tools such as promotion, creating infrastructure and conditions for developing businesses related to recreation and health services.

Last year, about 391,000 mass events were organised for the public – and this year, we expect to see as many. More than 20 million people signed up for the GTO (Ready for Labour and Defence) programme created as per your instruction. Almost 8 million hit qualifying standards and received distinction badges. The dynamic is very positive: while in 2020, 900,000 people joined the GTO programme, in 2022 the figure reached 1.7 million.

Vladimir Putin: I know that you planned to hold competitions among BRICS countries, as well as in the SCO and the CIS. Is that correct?

Dmitry Chernyshenko: Yes, that is correct.

The primary goal was to compensate for other competitions that were unfairly taken away from us. One example is, of course, the Universiade that was supposed to be held in Yekaterinburg.

Almost 70 university teams from the BRICS, SCO and CIS countries will arrive this August to compete in student sports at a similar level as the Universiade. We are expecting almost 3,000 athletes and, of course, there is interest in this sort of competition.

Also in this context, I would like to mention another instruction of yours concerning preparations for the first in history and in the world multi-sport tournament, Games of the Future, which will take place in Kazan in 2024.

Athletes from 15 countries have already participated in trial competitions. To date, regional phygital sports federations have been established in 35 Russian regions. This industry is growing very well as more than 10 million people in our country practice cybersports, and our job is to help them get away from their computers and become equally experienced in sports. Far more than 100 countries are expected to attend this major event that will promote physical fitness and motivate people to train.

Vladimir Putin: Good, thank you very much.


July 4, 2023, The Kremlin, Moscow