View settings

Font size:
Site colours:


Official website of the President of Russia

Документ   /

Meeting with students and workers of industrial enterprises in the Chelyabinsk Region

February 16, 2024, Chelyabinsk

Vladimir Putin held a meeting with students and workers of industrial enterprises in the Chelyabinsk Region at the Stankomash Industrial Park.

Prior to the meeting, the President toured the joint industrial site of the Konar Industrial Group, Transneft Oil Pumps JSC, and Russian Electric Motors JSC. Company Director General Valery Bondarenko explained the processes.

Konar is a group of industrial enterprises that develop and design integrated engineering support equipment and processes for the gas, oil and petrochemical industries. The Stankomash Industrial Park has created a full production cycle to produce parts and equipment for mechanical engineering and other industries, from steel billet to testing the finished product.

* * *

Meetings with students and workers of industrial enterprises in the Chelyabinsk Region

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.

I have seen your manufacturing. It is impressive.

I just told the director that, were it not for the sanctions our quasi partners introduced against Russia and Russian industry, there would not be so many orders. He immediately agreed: it is true. He says that we would not have acquired even the competencies that we have and quite effectively applied and scaled them in various areas, with the support of a large and growing number of customers. This is great. The quality of the work and the technology used are impressive.

And of course, personnel training is a key issue that we have discussed a lot in recent years. It is almost impossible to implement high-tech programmes without a well-trained, professional staff.

The company is progressing here, too. An entire faculty has been established at Ural University. I just told the company’s key shareholder, your leader: you will train first-class specialists for yourself. He says, “No, not just for ourselves. We will train them for all of Russian industry, according to the relevant activity profiles.” Which is great, really great. This is a combination of the work of universities, industry and the relevant federal departments in charge of personnel training.

This is why there are many areas of work, the scope of work is great. I believe everything will be accomplished. Anyway, I congratulate you on what has already been done and want to wish you success.

Please, let’s begin.

Remark: Good afternoon, Mr President.

First, I would like to say that we are very happy to see you. We were looking forward to meeting you, and finally we have met. Welcome to the southern Urals.

I must say that it is so cold this year that I wonder myself from time to time whether our region is really in the south. That said, our meeting today is taking place in a very warm atmosphere. I am excited, of course. I am very excited.

I would like to thank you for the feedback. I work for Konar Industrial Group and your words, of course, warm the soul so much. We are developing an overwhelming feeling of pride for our industry and our company.

You know, I would also like to say something else. The organisers of this event allowed me to ask you any question about what worries me, without any restrictions. I was thinking and thinking about this, and I have to tell you that I have no questions for you.

Vladimir Putin: Go forward! Good luck! To new frontiers!

Remark: You explain positions on Russia’s course so clearly in your statements that I personally don’t have any questions about this. I am just grateful and proud of having such a great President.

You know, I may have no questions but I know that students and representatives of other plants have prepared questions that are of interest to them and their companies. So they are waiting for the time to ask them.

Vladimir Putin: All right, go ahead please.

Frankly, I thought we were leaving, but when I saw this group, all ready to pounce, I was happy. Here is an opportunity to talk.

Go ahead, please.

Nikolai Yakovlev: Good afternoon, Mr President.

I am Nikolai Yakovlev. I represent the personnel department at the Chelyabinsk tractor plant – URALTRAK. We are part of the Uralvagonzavod concern, and we build special purpose diesel engines that are important for the country.

I will, probably, continue the theme you raised at the beginning of our meeting. Many young people have been coming to the plants, especially in the past few years. So, we are working hard on company, corporate training and mentorship. At the same time, we are interested in developing an educational system that would be oriented to the needs of companies.

I have a proposal that will promote national development and enhance defence capability. I propose drafting professional standards on key specialties for the most important industries, maybe even holdings and corporations. With this foundation, we could adjust educational standards and bring them as close to each other as possible, and receive professional, skilled graduates as a result.

We believe it would be best to do this work with holdings, like Uralvagonzavod, that we are part of. We could take part in drafting and implementing educational programmes in cooperation with universities. We know that a number of universities in our country already have this experience. It is successful, and we believe this proposal is realistic. We would like to know what you think about two issues. Is it possible to scale this process in principle? If so, can we speed it up in some way?

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: We were at Uralvagonzavod yesterday, and we also spoke to the company's managers there, and they are doing the same thing that is happening here. I just mentioned that this company has created an entire faculty at Ural University, and a good job! And your group of companies is doing the same thing, we have already launched a programme called Professionalism, and by 2028, I think, a million people, a million specialists should be trained in new, the newest, or traditional areas of activity, which are also acquiring a new quality and require special employee education. I am not revealing any secret, especially for those who work at this enterprise. After all, today people with working professions must receive a very high level of training. We will certainly continue this work in all areas. As for the convergence of the needs of industry and the work carried out by secondary and even higher vocational training institutions, this is certainly the key to success, so that universities, secondary schools, technical colleges, and lyceums work in close contact with industry. But we have been doing this with our leading companies for a long time, for several years. They respond because it is in their interests, the interests of their companies.

Before coming here, I was at another enterprise. The head is sitting here somewhere, Andrei Gartung. It's the same there: they have recruited 1,500 employees, right? How many?

Director of the Chelyabinsk Forging and Pressing Plant Andrei Gartung: 14,000.

Vladimir Putin: They recruited 14,000. They trained them right on the spot. And of course, they are interested in making sure that the people who come into the industry again (and as he said, these are former waiters, also a necessary profession, former managers, even former managers who were doing something else in the service sector) have good training. How many former prisoners are there? 400?

Andrei Gartung: 280.

Vladimir Putin: 280, close to 300 people. Even from prison, people are working – there is a shortage of labour. And we need to train them too, and this is also the future for them, because after this page in their lives is turned, they get a good profession and have prospects for development, including professional and personal development.

That is why we will work very closely to build this cooperation between schools (career guidance should start at school), between secondary vocational schools, as I said, technical schools and lyceums, and, of course, universities, and we will continue this work at universities.

I mentioned one of the programmes – Professionalism. A million people are to be trained by 2028, but this is not the only programme, there is a whole set of them, and we will continue to improve this interaction with the real sector of the economy. So there is no doubt here.

N. Yakovlev: Thank you very much.

Pavel Baglai: Good afternoon, Mr President,

My name is Pavel Baglai and I am the head of the Industrial Process Automation Department at a robotics factory. Actually, my question dovetails with my colleague’s but in the context of robots.

Due to the new wave of innovation in robotics in industry, there is a need for new personnel, as the principles of operation are becoming more complicated and, as a result, qualification requirements are increasing. Could you tell me if there are any plans to upgrade the existing educational institutions and open new ones specifically in the context of robotics? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: The Governor and I have discussed this, we drove over in the car together and talked about this. He is absolutely right, this is a well-known issue and here, I am afraid, we have something to work on. The world leader, or number one, is South Korea today. They have 1,000 robots per 10,000 employees and we have 10 robots per 1,000 employees. There is definitely room for improvement.

Now we also saw a new factory built to produce Russian robots, it is not far from you, literally a 10-minute drive away. How many are you planning to produce in the near future? To produce annually?

Remark: 450 this year.

Vladimir Putin: Four hundred and fifty this year, and they are going to continuously increase this number. And this is not the only site in Russia where this work is underway. Of course, we will do it.

You ask by means of what, and if we have any special programmes. Yes, we have a programme called Manufacturing the Means of Production.

This is something that we should have addressed a long time ago but we believed that by selling oil and gas, coal and metal materials, would receive all high-tech products with this money from somewhere abroad. But when the need arose, it turned out that it was possible to produce everything ourselves. Well, not everything but what we need, to develop our own technological keys. This is what we are going to do.

So these programmes exist, I named one of them and it is not the only one. We will definitely keep working. And specific examples are available right here, a 10-minute drive away.

Pavel Baglai: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: You’re welcome.

Alexei Vertyankin: Greetings, Mr President!

I am Alexei Vertyankin, chief designed at this plant. First of all, on behalf of our staff, I would like to welcome you to the Transneft Oil Pump facility. I would like to take this opportunity to ask you the following question:

Schoolchildren in the USSR used to be actively engaged in the so called vocational training centres where they could get to know various professions, choose something to their liking, try it, and later determine their development direction: what they wanted to do, select a respective college, and move on. Wouldn’t it be appropriate to resume such classes at the vocational training centres the way Industrial Arts and Drawing lessons have been reintroduced at schools? It could engage and interest young people in working in industry and thus avoid a shortage of highly qualified specialists in future.

Vladimir Putin: I have already said that we need early career guidance. What you have described is indeed a positive experience dating back to the Soviet Union. However, I think we have working at a programme called A Window to the Future since 2018.

This year, we are stepping up this work at all schools – there are 38,000 of them in our country, I think – early career guidance is launched for 6th – 11th form students. The objective is to provide preliminary career guidance for up to 50 percent, 47–48 percent of those children.

I really expect that they will be coming to the plants, get to know these plants including yours and others, so that children can see and choose their future profession because this is one of the key issues in a person’s life. One must find themselves in their profession to be a successful and happy person.

So we are doing it – I have mentioned what we have done and what we are going to do – and let me repeat, it must cover all 38,000 schools in the Russian Federation, and we are going to gradually step it up because it is probably hard to do it all at once, to engage all the schools and all the students at the snap of a finger. But in the near future at least up to 50 percent, 47 percent of schoolchildren will be involved, which is over 8 million students. This is the scale of the work we will be doing.

Alexei Vertyankin: Thank you.

Ivan Baryshev: Good afternoon, Mr President.

My name is Ivan Baryshev. I am a fourth-year student, Faculty of Energy, South Urals State University.

Vladimir Putin: Excuse me, please.

You know, I was at an enterprise not far from here in Nizhny Tagil yesterday, and a girl there told me that they had a decent corporate museum outside the perimeter, and even schoolchildren come to visit it.

Early career guidance can take diverse forms. All you need to do is be creative and use all these areas. Museums and other similar venues in which labour collectives take pride are also a form of early career guidance. They should be widely used for early career guidance, and there is much that can be done. Most importantly, those who want to overcome this challenge should be the ones thinking about it in the first place.

I am sorry.

Ivan Baryshev: That is okay.

My name is Ivan Baryshev, I am a fourth-year student of the Faculty of Energy, South Urals State University.

I would like to say thank you for the government project to create advanced engineering schools. We have one in Chelyabinsk as well, and it is called “The Heart of the Urals.” Our school focuses on building engines for special equipment which is a critically important industry for our region, because the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant makes power units for military-grade armoured vehicles. I myself am a member of the Tankograd youth design bureau, which is also part of our advanced engineering school.

I know that the advanced engineering school project will be supported through 2026. I have a request rather than a question: can you consider government support for advanced engineering schools to 2030? Of course, if it is feasible.

Vladimir Putin: It is feasible and it must be done. It is an excellent project. At first, I think 30 schools were created, and then 20 more were added, making it 50 promising advanced engineering schools.

About 160 major innovation-driven enterprises are now involved in this work. We plan to have at least 250 of our large, capable and hi-tech enterprises take part in this work in 2024, 2025, and 2026. It has been decided to extend it through 2026. Co-financing will amount to about 60 billion rubles, which is a decent amount of money for the schools I mentioned.

You are absolutely right, the demand for them is high. As a matter of fact, this is what we started with – the realisation that we need highly qualified human capital. The head of a company hires 14,000 employees and instantly realises that they need training. Thankfully, they have a system. However, there is no doubt whatsoever that we must approach this work in a broad and specific manner, and have a clear idea of what is in demand today and what will be in demand tomorrow.

By the way, we have decided to make forecasts for the labour market for the next five years at least, and to adjust our work accordingly. This is crucially important. The point is to establish a connection with the production sites and have a clear understanding of what the labour market will look like in the near future, and use this knowledge to navigate this vitally important area rather than have higher education or vocational training institutions churn out certified personnel, who are unable to get a job after graduation.

I said that 250 enterprises will be involved, and co-financing will amount to 60 billion. Importantly, all of that should be oriented towards the end result which is greater productivity and meeting the labour market demand. As you said, student engineering schools are also a form of work in this area. We will by all means support and extend this programme.

Ivan Baryshev: Thank you.

Amina Akhmadulina: Good afternoon, Mr President,

My name is Amina Akhmadulina, I am a fourth-year student at the Law Institute at South Ural State University.

I am involved in a sport called chessboxing.

Vladimir Putin: Chessboxing?

Amina Akhmadulina: Yes, that's right. It is a hybrid sport in which opponents compete in alternating rounds of chess and boxing.

Vladimir Putin: So, you also box?

Amina Akhmadulina: Yes, of course.

I am the first world champion in chess boxing from Russia. That is, this sport requires a high level of development of both intellectual and physical skills. Last year, the world's first student chessboxing centre called ”Check and Round“ was established at South Ural State University with support from Konar. At the opening of the centre, Mr Bondarenko [CEO of Konar Industrial Group] told us that as a student he used to box and it helped him become a good engineer and plant director.

I believe that if the factories in the country were involved in creating new spaces for the development of student sports, it would have a positive impact, first, on the health of our country, and second, on raising new champions. I ask you to draw corporate attention to the development of university sports when you meet with businesses.

Vladimir Putin: Indeed, these skills and the psychological distinctions that emerge during the martial arts, and in life, probably, also help to achieve particular successes, because fighting qualities are necessary to move forward.

Chessboxing, huh? Curious. When we see a person playing chess, and suddenly, excuse me, something – bang! – twists, goes into the ring – boom! – and everything falls into place. Or vice versa: when something goes off somewhere in the ring, then he sits down to play chess – everything is lined up as it should be in his head. But in any case, it's interesting.

We are currently holding a comprehensive large sporting event in Kazan just for sports that young people are actively interested in. These sports are developing all over the world; they combine both traditional sports and innovative tech. And here we have chess and boxing – both are traditional sports, but, of course, the combination is interesting.

One of the areas that the state is developing here is the construction of campuses to create the conditions allowing young people, students to engage in creative endeavours in science and technology, to study in their chosen specialties, to go in for sports and take up arts. This could be done more broadly.

I said many times and maybe you heard about the plan to build 25 modern campuses throughout the Russian Federation. We have already picked 17 projects and will soon continue this work. Everything should be combined, harmonised and offered to young people who should use all these things.

But these campuses are not just for universities. Their planning and design are supposed to benefit also people living close to them. Of course, they should observe all security requirements and it is possible to do it with modern equipment. These people should also be able to benefit the advantages that are bound to appear in campuses.

There are also other ways for supporting innovative sports or unusual sports you mentioned and sports in general. Now we have a whole programme for supporting student sports. We will continue providing this support, of course. As for your wish to encourage our companies that are interested in receiving skilled specialists, it is certainly easier to fulfil than paying money from the budget. And so we will definitely encourage them.

This is especially so since – I think you are seeing this as well and I began my remarks with this – our companies are interested in this. Having faced certain problems, restrictions and sanctions, they got a market for selling their products inside the country. This market has become free of many Western brands and these companies are certainly interested in conducting this work in all areas, including the personnel, in the best possible way – this is actually the only topics we are now discussing. Our companies are not conserving money. Our companies are investing in this work. But we will talk to them about this issue to encourage them to invest more not only in education but also in leisure time, in sports. I am sure this will be the case.

Amina Akhmadulina: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, you are welcome.

Maxim Kasyanov: Good afternoon, Mr President.

My name is Maxim Kasyanov. I work at the Chelyabinsk forge-and-press plant and I am also a student at South Ural State University.

Vladimir Putin: Are you enrolled in an extramural programme?

Maxim Kasyanov: Yes, so that I can combine work with my studies.

Here is my question. Companies are now hiring people, including those who obtained citizenship under the compatriots’ relocation programme. How will their pension be calculated considering their employment history outside the Russian Federation?

Vladimir Putin: How old are you?

Maxim Kasyanov: I am 21.

Vladimir Putin: Great, you are a promising worker because you are thinking at least 30 years ahead.

Maxim, we had an agreement in effect with CIS countries, which Russia renounced later due to significant changes since 1991.

We have settled relations with all our main partners and signed bilateral agreements, except, I believe, for three countries: Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Turkmenistan. But even for citizens of these countries there are unified rules. If they permanently reside in the Russian Federation, have acquired Russian citizenship or a residence permit, then the same general rules apply as for citizens of the Russian Federation. They must have an employment record of 15 years, be a certain age, or have a disability or loss of the breadwinner to be eligible for a pension.

However, there are no signed and detailed intergovernmental agreements yet with the countries I mentioned but the same rules as I outlined for Russian citizens apply. With other states, we have everything regulated.

From which country did you move here?

Maxim Kasyanov: I am a local.

Vladimir Putin: I see, a local. I see no reason for concern then, unless your girlfriend relocated and you are already worried about her pension?

Maxim Kasyanov: No. The question was collectively prepared at the enterprise.

Vladimir Putin: Anyway, this is how it is. I think I have pretty much covered everything.

There is another crucial aspect for us, both socially and politically, concerning the residents of the Lugansk People's Republic, the Donetsk People's Republic, and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. Everything that relates to their pension rights needs to be regulated, and the State Duma is currently working on this issue. I expect that it will be completed in the shortest possible time. These decisions will require effort, but we have previous experience in Crimea. It will involve calculating the service length of individuals who worked in these territories when they were part of Ukraine. But this is a special issue, and I foresee no major difficulties in settling it.

Maxim Kasyanov: Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: You are welcome.

Andrei Lupu: Good afternoon, Mr President,

My name is Andrei Lupu, and I am a student at South Ural State University, Higher School of Electronics and Computer Science. At present I am enrolled in a Master’s degree programme in Instrumentation Science and I am planning to pursue a doctorate after that.

When I speak to students, a common question that arises is whether to pursue postgraduate studies or join the workforce.

Back in the Soviet Union, there used to be research institutes with low volume production, that is, they conducted work from design to certification and small-batch production that was subsequently integrated into the industry.

I propose exploring the idea of establishing research and industrial associations that would focus on targeted areas to enhance future potential.

Vladimir Putin: I think this is what we are trying to do. We have discussed advanced engineering schools; in principle, this is what is happening there. We will expand this practice, as I have mentioned before.

But how can this be combined with postgraduate studies? I am not sure; we need to think about it. Postgraduate studies are primarily designed to attract people who lean towards research and science. It may be possible, perhaps, to combine it with production, especially since, as a rule, applied science is designed for use in production.

This aspect should be examined, calculated, and possibly adjustments should be made to the future activities of postgraduate students. When discussing fundamental science, it is one thing, but applied science is different. There the connection with production must be ensured. That is what we will work on.

Andrei Lupu: Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: No problem.

Denis Vildanov: Good afternoon, Mr President.

My name is Denis Vildanov, I am a fourth-year student at Miass Engineering College and I also work as an assembly metal worker at the Ural automotive plant. Miass is my hometown. It is not a big city but it has a well-developed industry.

Vladimir Putin: How far is it from here?

Denis Vildanov: One hundred kilometres. By the way, it looks like Nizhny Tagil, which you have visited recently. We have two major enterprises – the Ural automotive plant and the Makeyev State Rocket Centre.

The issue is that Miass is seriously lagging behind in terms of infrastructure compared to Chelyabinsk and other big cities. I would like to draw your attention to the need for smaller industrial cities like Miass, Nizhny Tagil and others to really grow and develop.

I would like to ask if any support could be allocated to the development of such high-potential cities.

Thank you, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin: What is the population of Miass?

Denis Vildanov: 160,000 people.

Vladimir Putin: I believe Nizhny Tagil has 300,000 residents, twice as many. In 2013, a programme was launched, and a few years later, another programme was initiated to prepare for the city’s 300th anniversary. I met with factory workers yesterday at the enterprise, and they told me that they see real changes taking place in their city. This is good, although I think it is not enough. The people are quite modest there – they did not ask big questions during our conversation, but I am aware that greater efforts are needed for the development of the city.

Miass deserves as much attention, not only because it is home to such large enterprises crucial for the country's economy, as you mentioned, but also because it is home to 160,000 people. We have a programme for the development of small and medium-sized cities, as I mentioned earlier. We will definitely replicate this programme, and Miass should be included in it.

We were talking earlier about making work more attractive, say, for medical workers in small and medium-sized towns and in rural areas. But here we have a big city with 150,000 residents, and an industrial city at that. I will discuss this with the governor.

There is a programme currently in effect that is aimed at improving the territories. And people are actively involved, by the way, in implementing these programmes, which are progressing very well across the country. We are talking about small towns and historic cities. Miass, I think, is also a recipient of these funds. Approximately 500 million has been allocated over the past five years, is that correct?

Chelyabinsk Region Governor Alexei Teksler: Yes, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin: Starting in 2019, I believe, half a billion was given out throughout 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Alexei Teksler: Yes, that is correct. Miass won last year’s competition for small cities’ development projects with a very interesting project for waterfront development. The region will contribute a substantial sum of up to half a billion rubles to the project. The waterfront is a large cultural space with sports facilities nearby. We have a comprehensive programme, and they elected a new mayor recently, just last year. Accordingly, we drafted a programme with him and we will continue to develop the city.

Vladimir Putin: Funding of around 230–240 million rubles will be available, as we discussed.

Denis Vildanov: Thank you very much, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin: You are welcome.

Valeria Bobrovskaya: Good afternoon, Mr President.

My name is Valeria Bobrovskaya and I am a design engineer at this industrial site. I have the following question.

Vladimir Putin: So you designed it?

Valeria Bobrovskaya: No.

When I was a child, my parents encouraged me to become an engineer when I grow up. And that’s what happened. Now I have a five-year-old daughter growing up, and I would like to know where to guide my child in terms of career opportunities. What professions or specialties will be relevant in 10–20 years? Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Look, I was just saying 15–20 minutes ago that we are setting ourselves the task of constantly updating the labour market for the next three to five years. It's constantly changing. We were just talking about robotics. Everyone is hearing about artificial intelligence, big data, genetics, and many other areas.

You know, you are a young mother, you have a small child. In my opinion, it is necessary to help the child to get orientated in a huge space and in a huge flow of information. There are modern methods that allow adults, parents to identify children's abilities, to identify their aptitudes for a certain type of activity, and then help the child to navigate this endless space and endless flow of information. This is not an easy job, it is no less difficult than industrial design.

I wish you success, but I don't even want to try to give you any advice, you should do it yourself together with your family: grandparents, husband. You just need to encourage the multifaceted, multidimensional development of a little person, make them a full-fledged personality and help them make this choice themselves.

Valeria Bobrovskaya: We will do our best. Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: There are methods for identifying talents in young children. These methods are developing quite vigorously abroad, and they are becoming more and more popular in our country. This includes the Sirius platform, which is already well-known in the country where they work with gifted children from all over the country, and they have a separate task – to identify a child's cognitive abilities. Look at the methods, they will guide you.

Yevgeny Klyuchnikov: Hello, Mr President.

My name is Yevgeny Klyuchnikov. I represent the Chelyabinsk Plant of Urban Electric Transport, head of the workshop. We at Sinara – Urban Machines manufacture trolleybuses.

Vladimir Putin: I saw them yesterday. Super, such beautiful machinery. It is simply amazing. I congratulate you, it is great.

Yevgeny Klyuchnikov: We would like to take this opportunity and invite you to visit our site, to see the production processes from the ground up (metal in – trolleybus out), to have a look at the entire business.

Vladimir Putin: I saw the end result, it's already great. How it all happens in the process, from ground up to this product, so beautiful and needed. Well, I will try. Thank you very much.

Yevgeny Klyuchnikov: And yesterday I had a question for you: ”Have you ever driven a trolleybus?“ But the question came to me yesterday, and today I had to tweak it a little bit. What do you think about the relevance of industrial tourism?

Vladimir Putin: Yes, it is very interesting.

Yevgeny Klyuchnikov: In our country, and maybe…

Vladimir Putin: Yes, yes, yes. It is very interesting and useful, industrial tourism, it is very interesting, especially for young people, as we said at the beginning of the conversation, to help them gain an understanding – in time – of what their future professional will be. It's very interesting.

You know, when you look – today, we saw Russian-made robots – you see how production has developed here, Valery just showed us, from scratch, just sites that had been destroyed, ruined, and then the pictures of today. This is impressive.

For any person, if he or she is engaged in some creative work, it seems to me that it is the greatest satisfaction in life to see the results of one's work and efforts. You have it, your company has it, the people who work there too.

I saw this beautiful trolleybus yesterday. But it does not mean that we should stop here, not at all. Why? Because we have something to work on. It looks good, and the driver’s seat is well made, and it is comfortable for passengers. Moreover, not only can it move by drawing power from the overhead wires, it can also use batteries when necessary, to go from one section of the road to another. But the batteries need more work.

Yevgeny Klyuchnikov: Agreed.

Vladimir Putin: The batteries need more work. There are things to improve.

Yevgeny Klyuchnikov: Pilot production is now being organised at our site; we will produce electric buses.

Thanks to our wonderful governor, exactly one year ago we opened, started it all from scratch and now we have launched serial production.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, yes, it is great. I was told yesterday. This is great.

Yevgeny Klyuchnikov: Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: Gifted hands. Those who left our market lost this market. Just nonsensical.

But this is a chance for people like you. A challenge for those who work with you. And when a Russian is challenged, or a person of any ethnic group, of any nationality, it seems to me that we have this in common. We have a lot of common features, regardless of what is written in our passport, or what is not written in our passport now, but regardless of what nationality we consider ourselves to be, we have common features. Why? Because we have been living in the same cultural space for a thousand years, there is an exchange of not only genetic properties, but also intellectual and cultural ones.

What am I talking about? When our people are faced with some challenges or difficulties, mechanisms immediately come into play that, perhaps, are dormant in a normal, calm life, and a desire arises to overcome these difficulties.

What has happened? Some brands have left. Many thanks to them: they have created teams, worked appropriately on the production culture, and so on, and so on. But our people pick it up instantly and move on.

The head of the enterprise where we are now was showing the products. I asked: “Are these the same as theirs?” He says: “No, they don’t have anything like that.” We have also made progress in terms of quality of products, for quite a lot of components. And it is the same in many areas.

And you can do it, but you need to work on the batteries.

To be continued.

February 16, 2024, Chelyabinsk