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Meeting with Government members

October 28, 2020, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Vladimir Putin held a regular meeting with Government members, via videoconference.

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, 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 Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko, Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov and Chairman of the Accounts Chamber Alexei Kudrin.

During the meeting dedicated to forming a financing mechanism for treating children with severe, including orphan diseases, a number of other important issues were discussed as well.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin presented information on the Plan for Achieving the National Development Goals of the Russian Federation until 2024 and the planning period until 2030.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova reported on the epidemiological trends in the regions and measures to support the regions as they continue to fight COVID-19.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov spoke about introducing online technologies in the financial sector, and Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov spoke about creating world-class research and education centres.

* * *

Excerpts from transcript of meeting with Government members

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.

Today we are holding a regular working meeting on current issues and the ones we have planned. Prime Minister Mishustin and I agreed that he would start by speaking about the Plan for Achieving the National Development Goals until 2024 and the planning period until 2030.

Let us begin with this extensive, important and fundamental matter and then go on to discuss the current topics.

Mr Mishustin, please, over to you.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you.

Mr President, colleagues,

First of all, today the State Duma has passed the law on the federal budget for the next three years, in its first reading. Yesterday we met with leaders of parliamentary factions and heads of competent committees to discuss the bill in detail. Among other things, we spoke about the Plan for Achieving the National Development Goals that was developed upon your instruction, Mr President. We have worked on it and now it has been finalised.

The plan outlines our strategic priorities for the next decade and specific steps for achieving the goals set in your Executive Order. More than anything else, the aim of the plan is to improve people’s lives and its main objective is to make sure that every resident of our country can feel the positive effect of this plan.

The plan’s structure is based on five national goals and 25 performance indicators. We determined targets for each of these indicators for the next five years and the final targets for 2030.

At the same time, all target indicators have been broken down for each ministry, agency, federal executive body, region and development institution.

We have fine-tuned national and federal projects, so that they would more confidently guide us towards national development goals, with due consideration for the complicated new conditions that have arisen due to the spread of the new coronavirus, among other things.

We have determined the results directly influencing the improvement of people’s life, the preservation of employment and incomes, more affordable and better education, the creation of favourable conditions for entrepreneurial activity and support for key economic sectors. We have updated the list of measures for achieving these results, and we have augmented this list whenever necessary.

The budgetary policy will tally with the national goals. We suggest reorienting the budgetary system towards achieving national development goals, and funding will be rigidly linked with the results. The annual joint plan implementation expenditures will exceed 12 trillion rubles or over 50 percent of the planned 2021 budget.

Over a period of the next ten years, the world and Russia will inevitably face a number of serious challenges. Mr President, you have repeatedly noted this, including at a recent meeting of the Valdai Club. This concerns economic development and demography. The technological challenge is another serious challenge to subsequent development. It is highly important that we actively introduce digital technologies and support science, enable each person to develop his or her talents, improve the infrastructure for families with children, develop healthcare, promote interest in a healthy lifestyle and involve senior citizens in active life and mainstream activities.

We tried to stipulate all these measures as answers to the challenges in our joint plan; and, as per your instruction, we have charted specific steps needed to address nationwide tasks for the upcoming decade, so that economic growth would yield tangible results for everyone. We need more targeted state support, including through digitalisation and a purposeful policy to improve the well-being of people who are still in the low-income category. We were guided by precisely this logic while drafting the joint plan.

Implementation of national development goals requires the formation of a modern, flexible and effective management system. As I have already mentioned, its main principle will be orientation on the end result for the people. We plan to create an effective communications system within this framework in order to receive feedback from the people, and, hence, promptly react to their proposals and problems.

Personal responsibility for achieving national goals will be borne by all Government members within the areas of their authority: deputy prime ministers, ministers, as well as heads of the federal executive bodies and development institutions. Importantly, control over their activities will be conducted not only at the federal level: we will monitor the movement of funds all the way to the municipalities. The governor of a specific region of the Russian Federation will be personally responsible for reaching national goals.

The integrated plan is a guide, the main document for compiling detailed schedules for implementing national development goals, including the fulfilment of state programmes and national projects.

Mr President,

The joint plan has been drafted in accordance with your instruction. All the necessary consultations with the heads of the State Council’s working groups, MPs, public organisations, business representatives and experts have been conducted. The plan will be sent to you in line with the established procedure. We are ready to present it at a meeting of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and National Projects in line with your instruction.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Mishustin, I would like to thank all the colleagues who took part in this huge job: you, Government members, State Duma deputies and experts. This is a major landmark in our collective efforts because it is hardly possible to rely on the efficient work of the entire state apparatus without a clear understanding and definition of the goals and the instruments for reaching them and for resolving our tasks.

However, for now there is only one thing that is lacking as people say – it is necessary to carry out this plan. We are working on this, we are moving forward across a broad front quite efficiently. Now that this document has come into being, our guidelines are becoming even more understandable and more obvious. I do hope that all of us will do everything we possibly can to implement it properly.

Thank you very much.

Now I would like to ask Ms Golikova to tell us how we are countering the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, of course, we are monitoring everything and closely following the developments, work is carried out professionally. Yet, there remain quite a few questions as well. We are not speaking here about the second wave of the pandemic but as we discussed quite recently, just this morning, experts believe that the first wave is just reaching a number of regions. We must keep our finger on the pulse and respond effectively and timely to the current developments.

Mr Golikova, what do you think about the situation in general?

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova: Mr President, colleagues, good afternoon.

I would like to give a brief account of the current situation and tell you what measures the Government is taking to overcome the negative trends that are taking shape in some regions of our country.

To begin with, I would like to say that the situation continues getting complicated. The average daily infection rate growth is 1 percent, but given the figures that we have, this is enough.

The situation is different in different regions. At the end of last week, 38 regions recorded a steady trend towards the growth of the infection rate; in 18 regions the situation remains unstable; and in 29 regions the situation is relatively stable but in 19 of these regions it has stabilised at high recorded infection rates.

You are aware that a resolution of the Chief Sanitary Doctor has come into force today. It requires the mandatory wearing of masks in public places, public transport and other crowded places. Proceeding from the epidemiological situation, the regions have been recommended to ban mass public events from 11 pm to 6 am, and to toughen sanitary and epidemiological measures as regards people aged over 65 and those with chronic diseases.

(Further Ms Golikova told the audience that 223,100 COVID beds are available in the country. Out of this number, 123,000 beds are equipped with oxygen devices and 28,400 beds have ventilators. As of yesterday morning, 19.1 percent of the beds remained vacant. She said up to 70 percent of coronavirus patients could receive outpatient treatment. The official also spoke about organising the work of ambulances.)

The heads of regions were instructed to submit to the Ministry of Healthcare and the Government updated information on the availability of medicine, as well as on available stock, by October 30. The Ministry must forward this updated information to the Ministry of Industry and Trade by November 3, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, accordingly, must make arrangements with manufacturers and supervise the launch of production lines based on the market needs.

At present, almost 82,000 doctors, 128,000 medical workers and 58,000 junior medical staff provide assistance to Covid patients. More than 24,000 students of medical universities and colleges, more than 11,000 medical residents and 500 medical teachers have joined the effort. I would like to express my gratitude to all the medical professionals and students for their dedicated involvement during this difficult period.

It has been recommended that the Ministry of Healthcare continue this work, and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, together with the regions, is to ensure the involvement of senior students and faculty members from medical departments and universities not only in helping Covid patients, but in working in the primary healthcare setting.

In addition, regional leaders have been instructed to arrange, together with Rospotrebnadzor, for regular testing of medical workers for novel coronavirus infection.

To provide assistance to Russian regions, special crews have been formed at the federal level comprising specialists from federal facilities, including service members and medical personnel from the Ministry of Defence. Such crews currently operate in Amur Region, the Republic of Altai, the Republic of Abkhazia, Altai Territory, the Republic of Crimea, Sevastopol, and Irkutsk and Kurgan regions; specialists have also been sent to Omsk Region.

A few words about the seasonal flu vaccination. To date, 43.8 million Russians have been vaccinated, which accounts for 30 percent of the population. However, several regions have a different situation, vaccination there is at an insufficient level. We have brought this to the attention of the regional authorities in order to achieve the target vaccination level that you have indicated, and to prevent an outbreak of influenza and combined forms of diseases.

Mr President, as I said at the beginning, the situation is difficult, but, together with the regions, we will make every effort to handle it.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

This is what I would like to draw your attention to. Ms Golikova has just mentioned that some 90 some-odd percent, or up to 95 percent of beds are already occupied. We have discussed this, it has to do not only with COVID-19, but also with the current situation with the flu and ARVI cases. They are overlapping.

First, I would like to address the governors of the Russian Federation regions. As Ms Golikova said, we are following the developments in each territory. We are helping and will continue to support them. However, please do not forget about your responsibility and what needs to be done very soon.

As I have said, experts believe that just the first wave of the pandemic rather than a second one is coming to some territories. Therefore, we must be very serious about what needs to be done right now. If it is necessary to deploy additional beds, this must be done. If some places have to be repurposed – this is undesirable because it is necessary to conduct other work there – but if there is a need for this, consult the experts from the Health Ministry and your own specialists; work more closely with them in this period and make the relevant decisions.

I have already mentioned that the Government has drafted proposals on medications as well, because some people who were infected with mild forms of the disease will be ready to receive outpatient treatment but these medications must be affordable. This is the first problem. The Government has already discussed this and has now decided to supply these people with free medications. This would allow them to receive outpatient treatment. They discussed the figure of about 5 billion. I would like to ask you not to delay this decision. Let us agree on this. I know that the approvals procedure has been generally completed. Let us consider this decision adopted. Please allocate these funds immediately.

In terms of supporting the regions, I know that funding in the amount of 10 billion rubles is finally about to be approved. This needs to be done immediately. The money must be allocated to the regions to fund transportation for those who need it, for personal protection equipment, and for the improvement of technical resources and testing. These funds must be used for combating COVID-19 rather than any other purposes.

There have been requests, including some addressed to me from certain areas, for commissions to review what is happening in the healthcare system in certain regions.

Ms Golikova, this needs to be done. Commissions must be sent out to confirm what is actually happening.

I am certain that, without a doubt, we will deal with any current difficulties. However, I would like to address the Government and all of our colleagues in charge, as well as the heads of regions. The current situation requires greater attention to the problem on our part.

Ms Golikova, we will not name any specific territories right now, but we know where the situation is causing concern. So please deal with them specifically.

Tatyana Golikova: Yes, Mr President.

Regarding the 5 and 10 billion, we will finalise this decision immediately. We are currently in the process of finalising the approvals, and we already have an allocation plan for the respective regions, so financial support will be provided soon.

As for the teams we are sending to the regions, I have listed the areas where we have been working lately. Literally yesterday and today, we worked in Kurgan and Omsk regions. We identified the problems there with providing medical care and disruptions in the system, so our work continues. Today we reached an agreement with Sechenov University to hold medical consultations every other day for medical staff on treatment strategies, on a permanent basis.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: There are more regions than the two you just mentioned. You yourself gave a larger number, including Kursk and other regions. Therefore, you need to work through all the issues with all of our colleagues, including the use of the additional funds that will be allocated soon to support the regions.

Mr Siluanov, I am aware that you were about to talk about implementing online technology in the financial sector, which is a critically important matter. But before you do so, please update us on additional funding, assistance to the regions and the money (over 5 billion rubles) for purchasing free medications that are used in treating coronavirus patients.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov: Mr President, colleagues,

Indeed, Ms Golikova, Mr Mishustin and I discussed financial support for the areas of focus that you have just outlined. We will find the money for this in the Reserve Fund and the funds that we have for supporting the regions in the form of subsidies to balance them. We believe that these areas are our top priority, and helping the regions achieve these goals is our highest priority now. The resources are there, and the task will be completed.

Vladimir Putin: When?

Anton Siluanov: Mr Mishustin said we would adopt this at the next Government meeting on Thursday, tomorrow.

Vladimir Putin: Good.

Mr Mishustin, do you have anything to add to that?

Mikhail Mishustin: I wanted to say that we will adopt this decision tomorrow, and everything is ready for us to do so.

Vladimir Putin: Good. Thank you very much.

Mr Siluanov, please, tell us about the financial sector.

Anton Siluanov: Thank you.

I would like to report on how digitalisation is being introduced in the financial sector.

Indeed, the Government of the Russian Federation has adopted the appropriate action plan for the introduction of online technologies in the financial sector. Why are we doing this? To enable clients to use financial services online, which is quicker, simpler, and more transparent. Online services save users the need to collect an assortment of certificates because most documents can be generated without leaving home.

What are the main objectives of this plan the Government has approved on your instructions?

The first is to expand remote identification functionality. This will enable opening bank accounts remotely, applying for loans and even purchasing housing – users will be able to accomplish all this online without having to visit bank offices or financial institutions, or wait in lines.

Secondly, the process of applying for a mortgage will become completely digital. A buyer can purchase a flat from a developer, get a mortgage loan from a bank and register all the necessary documents online. Some banks have already started pilot projects to register digital mortgages during the pandemic. We are now systematising this process and putting it on a systemwide scale.

Next, the work of financial institutions will also be simplified. They, too, will be able to get all the client details they need from government information systems online. This will reduce their costs and, accordingly, reduce the cost of those services for their clients, and it will definitely improve the quality of their services.

The next part of our plan is to expedite the development of digital platforms. Such platforms should help users open bank accounts or individual investment accounts on favourable terms, and purchase their car insurance policies. Moreover, customers will have no need to compare the various offers – the platform will select the best deals available on the market today automatically.

Implementation of the planned measures has started this year, and we plan to complete it in the middle of next year.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much. I think that if this works out – as I am sure it will – it will certainly be of great help to the national economy and to the people. Thank you.

The national programme Science provides for creating research and education centres, which, we hope, will be world-class. Five such centres have been built in five regions.

Mr Falkov, how is this work going? Ms Golikova and I once decided that there would be five of them in the first stage, and 15 in total. How is this going?

Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov:

Mr President,

Indeed, five pilot research and education centres were identified as part of this national programme in 2019 in Belgorod, Nizhny Novgorod and Kemerovo regions, Perm Territory and one interregional centre in Tyumen Region in conjunction with the Khanty-Mansiysk and Yamalo-Nenets autonomous districts.

The research and education centre is a special kind of partnership designed to integrate all levels of training, the capabilities of universities, research organisations and businesses in order to move technological development forward.

Currently, competitive bidding is underway to identify five more research and education centres. The results will be reviewed and the winners identified in early December. In addition to the research and innovation potential of the participants, the selection criteria will also include the regions’ geostrategic location. This will allow us to keep the Arctic, Crimea, the Far East and Kaliningrad in mind when making decisions. Notably, the regions are very interested in this competition. We are expecting to receive about 30 applications. Eight of them will be formed as part of the interregional format.

In the course of the first year of operation of these five pilot centres, we have gained experience in implementing cooperation projects and achieved some positive results.

First, the regions have become actively involved in developing the research and education sector and offered their own tools to support research and education centres. For example, a competition was announced in the West Siberian Interregional Research and Education Centre this year for providing regional mega-grants to support research headed by leading scientists. In total, they plan to provide five grants of 150 million rubles each for a period of five years.

Secondly, not all at once, but businesses became interested in suggesting requirements for changing the education and research curricula at universities and research institutes. Interaction with research and academic organisations is gradually expanding, and the outlines of actual technological projects have become available. The extra-budgetary funds involved in projects amounted to 5 billion 536 million last year, and this year we plan to reach 7.4 billion rubles.

Thirdly, the actual prioritisation of the research agendas at these research and education centres and bringing them in line with the strategy of the country's research and technological level of development are underway regardless of the departmental affiliation of the research and education organisation.

Truly interesting and notable research groups have been created that are designed to achieve groundbreaking but, at the same time, very practical goals. For example, a project is being implemented in Belgorod, within the framework of which a group of researchers using machine vision technology is working to boost the output of Agro-Belogorye, a major holding company.

To analyse the first accomplishments and finalise the research and education centre models, we planned a series of meetings with the pilot research and education centres. One such event with the participation of three governors, heads of universities, research organisations and major industrial companies, was chaired by Ms Golikova in Tyumen on October 9.

During the year, these models have also been discussed at other important venues, such as the working group of the State Council for Education and Science and with the governors who are willing to participate in this programme, as well as the expert community. As a result, we found out what needs to be adjusted.

Firstly, it is necessary to make the administrative framework of the research and education centres more rigid, primarily by strengthening the governors’ role in these centres. A region must come up with new support tools and target the existing ones on promoting the research and education centres’ projects. While doing so, it is important to achieve an effective harmonisation of the activities provided for by different national programmes, not just the Science programme. The federal centre should use the budget-to-budget transfer mechanism to support the governors.

Secondly, the research and education centres’ programmes should focus on several key technological projects aimed at transforming the region’s economy, which should ultimately lead to a change in GRP structure, an increase in the number of people employed in new growing sectors, and in the market share of products and services. For example, the number of people employed in Nizhny Novgorod Region’s fast-growing IT sector is already comparable to the number of people employed in the automotive industry. The growth of this sector certainly changes the environment and the economy of the region and, most importantly, is a magnet for talented youth who would want to come to Nizhny Novgorod and Nizhny Novgorod region.

Thirdly, even closer integration of research and educational organisations, regardless of their departmental affiliation, is needed to resolve groundbreaking research and technological problems that are common for the regions, to expand and deepen the research and education centres’ technological agendas at colleges and universities.

Mr President,

Establishing research and education centres to world standards means a lot of work for us in the next ten years and later. The experience we have gained in the first year shows that the work of the centres’ participants will have a cumulative effect, which will help boost the potential for faster technological change and the development of human resources in the regions and, consequently, will shape a viable framework for spatial connectivity in our country.

Thank you for your attention.


Vladimir Putin: Let us go back to the main issue, I mean organising support for children with serious – so-called orphan diseases.

Last June we took a principled decision to secure a permanent source of funding to finance the treatment of children with serious conditions. For this purpose, the rate of income tax charged on annual income over 5 million rubles has been increased from 13 percent to 15 percent. We have kept the income tax rate at 13 percent for quite a long time and I believe with good reason. I believe we did the right thing in this situation, as far as this is concerned.

I want to repeat this to avoid ambiguity or misunderstanding: this higher tax rate will be paid only on the part of an individual’s income in excess of 5 million rubles. I mean that the higher rate will not apply to an income up to 5 million rubles but the part of the income that exceeds 5 million. So, even in this case, an additional 60 billion rubles or so a year will be channeled into the budget and these funds have already been built into the country’s draft budget; they will be ring-fenced and targeted – I want to emphasise this again – only for children with rare and serious conditions, to treat them, buy the required medicines, equipment, including for rehabilitation purposes and to perform high-technology operations.

I want to note that all previously approved national and regional programmes to treat children must be carried out in full.

Of course, as we agreed, in each case the decision to use these targeted funds to help a child must be as transparent as possible while doctors, public figures and people who have devoted their lives to supporting sick children must have the final say here. Those who have an unquestioned reputation and enjoy authority in the eyes of people must have the final say.

I want to emphasise that this new additional mechanism for supporting children with rare and serious conditions must take effect on January 1 next year. What does this mean in practice? I want all my colleagues to understand me: this means that not only organisational, financial and technical issues must be resolved and completely fine-tuned, which, of course, matters a lot, but the most important thing is that beginning in January next year, children with rare and serious conditions can take advantage of this new mechanism to receive the support they need for treatment.

So, today during the discussion we must take decisions on all issues and parameters of the work ahead of us. Let us talk about this.


October 28, 2020, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region