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Meeting with residents of Anadyr

January 10, 2024, Anadyr

Vladimir Putin met with residents of Anadyr as part of his working trip to the Chukotka Autonomous Area.

The meeting was attended by representatives of large families, participants in the special military operation, teachers, doctors, businesspeople and members of public organisations. They discussed a broad range of issues on various areas of life.

* * *

Excerpts from the transcript of the meeting with the residents of Anadyr

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends.

We have long been planning to hold this meeting, including the regional leaders and the ministry concerned, and to see on the spot how the Chukotka Autonomous Area is faring.

Chukotka is a name familiar to everyone in Russia – not only because it is the country’s easternmost region, but also because the area abounds in minerals and is, in many ways, crucial to ensuring national security and the development of logistics corridors that are extremely important not only for Russia, but for the whole world. I am primarily referring to the Northern Sea Route. In general, there are many issues here that are of great interest to the Russian Federation as a nation.

Recently in Arkhangelsk, we discussed the development of the regions in Russia’s Far East and agreed that certain communities in Chukotka are very important in this regard. These include Pevek and Anadyr, where we are now, and some of them are encompassed by a number of development programmes for the Arctic and the Far East.

But seeing is believing: many things become clear once you are here. On paper, everything seems to be clear, but when you see things with your own eyes, they look different. For example, you arrive at the airport and then drive to the city – using a seasonal winter road as we did – you begin to understand what it is like and how people live here.

Of course, there are a lot of questions. I know that we have people of various backgrounds in this room – heads of large families, small businesses, and various occupations.

Please, let's just talk now – I will speak with the governor separately to discuss figures and all aspects of the region’s life, so I would like to have an open and free conversation with you on issues that are of real concern to you.

Go ahead, please.


Irina Borunova: I am Irina Borunova. I am the mother of six children, and a primary school teacher.

Mr President, we have really wonderful support measures for motherhood, childhood, large and low-income families, and families with children. I think one of the best decisions was made recently when the Parent Glory medals and orders began to be awarded to both parents – mothers and fathers. This is really great.

That said, mothers with many children also receive social guarantees; for instance, they can take their pension earlier than the state-established pension age. And this is right because we are giving our health to our children. But fathers with many children also have jobs, as you understand. In the families I know, fathers have two or three jobs and often work without days off. Very often they also send their families on vacation but stay at home because they want their families to be well off, to be no different than families with one or two children.

At the beginning of our conversation, you said that according to polls, 70 percent of women and 60 percent of men (10 percent less) would like to have two or more children. I think if men had similar social guarantees or maybe a separate public benefit to enhance the status of fatherhood and make the title of father with many children more prestigious… I believe some measures could be taken… What do you think?

Vladimir Putin: But you just said that both mothers and fathers currently receive the relevant…

Irina Borunova: Awards. And what about something else? And, maybe not for everyone. We have different kinds of fathers indeed – some are fulfilling their duties in good faith and some are not so good at this.

Vladimir Putin: But fathers in large families are all strong. They are the true heads of these families.

Irina Borunova: More often than not, they don’t have a choice in large families. Maybe it is possible to consider some measures for fathers at the government level?

Vladimir Putin: We will certainly look at this.

However, women still carry the brunt of this job above all, giving birth and raising children. Anything can happen in life, but overall the prestige of mothers is very high in our society, and rightly so.

But I certainly agree with you that the influence and role of men in families is extremely important. I said this already but I will repeat it; when I meet with large families, I am always impressed by the men who head them. They are usually big-hearted people, good workers, active and very modest at the same time. This is amazing! They are so tender with their kids – an ideal model of a real man – confident, calm, hardworking and loving. Of course, such men, such fathers deserve more attention from the state.

Overall, the attitude of the state towards large families is expressed with many benefits, mortgage support, tax breaks and so on. All of them help families and thus, the heads of these families. However, you are right in saying that the state should pay more attention to the men who head such families. We will work on this.

Irina Borunova: Thank you.

Alexander Borunov: Good evening, Mr President.

I am Irina Borunova’s more low-key husband. (Laughter)

Here is what I would like to ask you about. In fact, you and I met about 20 years ago at a Christmas church service in Suzdal, a memorable encounter. Many years have passed since then. We did not even think back then that some day we would end up here in Chukotka. And now…

Vladimir Putin: What made you move to Chukotka?

Alexander Borunov: It is fate. We have been working and living here for many years now, and we have had six children since then.

Here is my question. I know what it is like to be a father of a large family. However, you are in charge of a large country with millions of people, and it needs to be looked after, protected, and provided for. It is a major responsibility. How do you cope with it? Maybe there is a secret?

That is my question. Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Since we are looking at these important matters from a family point of view, you know what I have caught myself thinking of on several occasions? I have some years on me, but I have the strength and energy to work and to address the issues facing the country. Again, speaking of a large family, when I see our young, beautiful, energetic, and talented people achieve results in science, culture, education, healthcare, or sports, I often have a sense that they are my children, our family, you know? I am so happy for them and their success, their prosperity and capabilities. They represent Russia. When we work together to address specific issues, as we are doing now, and we do it in an orderly, businesslike, kindly and systematic manner, success is guaranteed.

Alexander Borunov: Thank you very much.

Gayane Prytkova: Good evening, Mr President.

Gayane Prytkova, business owner.

But I will not be talking about finance. I work in food retail. We provide food to our beloved residents of Chukotka. I also study, practice and teach yoga in Anadyr.

So, my question is about sports. We know that you trained seriously in judo, sambo, and karate. Question: do you manage to fit exercise into your busy schedule?

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course. I exercise every day for at least two hours.

Gayane Prytkova: That is quite a lot.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, well, roughly two hours, a little more sometimes. That includes a gym workout, swimming, and a shower, two and a half hours in all.

All you need to do is make exercise part of your life. It does not have to be two hours, but at least an hour or even half an hour. Everyone should know they need to make time for it.

We have certain benchmarks regarding the number of active people in our country, which is one of the crucial social measures of development.

Gayane Prytkova: Lots of people stay active in Anadyr, Chukotka.

Vladimir Putin: That is good to know. The number of people who exercise on a regular basis is growing, but we have not yet reached the figures we want. We will strive to get there thanks to people like you.

Gayane Prytkova: We will, too.

Vladimir Putin: Indeed, it is crucially important from an economic point of view: the more active people are, the fewer pills they need. The idea behind it is to say thank you to exercise, not thank you to pills.

Gayane Prytkova: The pharmaceutical industry people will be unhappy.

Vladimir Putin: They will be all right. The pharmaceutical industry has profit margins comparable to drug dealers. So, this will not make them poor, and things will be just fine for them. They have plenty to keep them busy.

Yegor Vereshchagin: Mr President, the issue of preserving the native tongues of the Chukotka indigenous people has been raised here. We have a proposal that could be resolved at the federal level. I will read it because I am afraid to miss a word.

Vladimir Putin: Go ahead, please.

Yegor Vereshchagin: We believe it is necessary to simplify the procedure for including manuals on the native tongues of the northern minorities on the teaching list recommended by the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation. The problem is that it takes years to compile these manuals and federal education standards can change during this time, so we have to start this work all over again. This is the first point.

And the second point. We have a budget institution at the federal level – the Federal Institute of the Native Tongues of the Peoples of the Russian Federation. We would like to involve the institute in the effort to preserve the native tongues of Chukotka. We really need guidance and academic assistance in the bid to preserve our native tongues.

Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: All right, thank you. This is a specific proposal, and we will of course study it. I will certainly talk with Sergei Kravtsov [Minister of Education]. I believe these technical issues are quite resolvable.


Roman Salashny: Good afternoon, Mr President.

I am Roman Salashny, and I am a physical fitness teacher at a school.

I have the following question: you said recently that as a 4th category carpenter, you know how to make windows. I wonder what other professions you have mastered.

Vladimir Putin: Look, I received this 4th category on a student construction team, when I worked in the Komi Republic. Everything was very simple there. To pay us a certain amount of money, and we made about a thousand rubles – a decent sum at that time, they had to do our payroll. We had to have a category for this procedure. This is why they assigned these categories to us. I cannot say that I was highly qualified then, but technically, I held this category.

As for my life, everything is simple, and my biography is well-known – school, university, jurisprudence, Leningrad State University, which is now called St Petersburg State University. Then I went to the USSR KGB school, took special studies in illegal intelligence and went on to the special legal intelligence school. Now it is called the University or Academy of Intelligence. I defended a thesis on economics after I received a civilian job and received a degree in economics. That’s all.

Roman Salashny: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: You are welcome.

Denis Kloss: Denis Kloss, head of the trauma unit at the district hospital.

Mr President, a job can drain a person emotionally. Honestly and without sarcasm, I cannot even imagine the kind of responsibility and workload you occasionally have to handle.

I cannot even imagine, to quote you, taking off just a few days a year. Fully recharging during just a few days… I am aware that unlike the rest of us you do not take full vacations. However, you look great, you are full of energy and your thinking is absolutely straight and clear.

What do you do to recharge? Do you follow a personal routine? I understand that an active lifestyle helps, and the people of our country inspire you, but I think there is a personal secret to it.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: You know there is a popular joke that goes like this: “How do you unwind?” – “I don’t wind up in the first place.” (Laughter.)

Well, that is not entirely true, because circumstances mean I have to exert myself. You know, rarely, but I do get together with my school and university classmates, and they often look at me and say, “I cannot believe it, is it really you?” You know why? A person does not always realise how they will behave when they find themselves in a position of trust.

You just spoke, and we have never met before. How would you behave if you were, say, the CEO of a major company, the head of a region, or a plenipotentiary envoy? Of course, much depends on the environment in which a person grows up, primarily, the family. You have people with six children sitting next to you. In what environment are these children raised? What ideas do they instill in their children? This is something that happens from generation to generation.

I will not go into details now, but I remember my mother’s stories about her mother, my grandmother, reacting to some of her actions when she was a young girl of seven. When she chased away a vagrant, my grandmother said: “What are you doing? Bring him back and feed him.” They put him to bed, gave his some food in the morning and sent him on his way. You see? It goes from generation to generation, and it is part of the genetic code of our multiethnic nation that took many years to form.

Or, I once read my grandfather’s letters, which I mentioned before. He wrote a letter to his son in the army. A simple Russian man, a peasant, he made mistakes writing the letter, but he addresses his son using the formal you. You see the level of inner culture? In this letter, he recounts the circumstances of his wife’s (my grandmother’s) death, a bullet hit her, and how she died in his arms and instructs his son to kill the Nazis. It is just a family letter. Reading it, I realised that it is impossible to defeat our people. It is an everyday occurrence. And this goes from generation to generation, from generation to generation.

Of course, each person has their own psychological and health traits and so on. But in general, when a person assumes an office of a certain level of responsibility, he or she either copes with their duties or not, but in general, when a person gets to this level, certain capabilities, which no one could see before, open up for them. I am sure you have them, and everyone here has them as well. The vast majority of people have them, unless they have certain disabilities, but even people with disabilities may have an enormous inner creative capacity.

You have to love what you do. I do.

Denis Kloss: Thank you.

Svetlana Kutegina: I am Svetlana Kutegina. Chukotka Heritage Museum Centre.

Please, tell us, when did you last visit a museum?

Vladimir Putin: Not too long ago.

Svetlana Kutegina: Which one?

Vladimir Putin: I’ll tell you.

Svetlana Kutegina: And what is your favourite Russian museum?

Vladimir Putin: My hometown museums – the Hermitage and the Russian Museum. After all, I was born and grew up there and spent a lot of time in them. Soviet schools had an advantage – they gave many children the opportunity to see the artwork in our collections.

The last time was when I visited the museums in Pavlovsk, Pushkin (I am referring to Tsarskoye Selo), and Petrodvorets (Peterhof) with my CIS colleagues – it was quite recently, on New Year’s eve.

Svetlana Kutegina: Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: Is that all? Shall we call it a day? Yes, go ahead, please.

Georgy Kosov: Good afternoon once again! I have already spoken.

Today, there are many volunteer groups and volunteers in Russia, and in Chukotka. We weave nets, raise funds and make different things on 3D printers for the front. Can you please tell us if it is possible to support volunteers on a national scale because they are really doing many important things?

Vladimir Putin: We are doing this. Do you think this is not enough? Let’s do more. Volunteers are carrying out a very important assignment. Their work has a very important material aspect – they weave nets, knit socks and so on. I recently met with some of the family members of our fighters who unfortunately perished while fulfilling their combat duty. I met with them on Christmas – with their children and wives – with their widows.

What do those involved in this process say? “We have many women of pension age that take care of children, knit nets and do other things.” They asked me: “Do you know what’s interesting about this? These grandmothers are saying – of course, the hostilities should end with our victory, but it is important to preserve this community, when we feel we are in demand, when we work with children and know they need us and look at us, we are giving them knowledge and not only knowledge but also our life experience.”

You see this is the depth of Russia. It is so stirred up, and it is producing results, and not least owing to the efforts of volunteers. We will do all we can to support them.

Georgy Kosov: My colleagues from the group, Craftsmen to the Front, also asked me to say that sometimes some group administrators receive threats. Volunteers would also like industrial companies to help them from time to time.

Vladimir Putin: All right. I will look at how to help you from this side. I hear you. All right.

Georgy Kosov: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: As for threats, those sitting abroad are working on a broad scale, often sending all kinds of stuff via automatic systems. We are not afraid of this. Let them think about themselves – what will they eat and wear tomorrow, what will they drive? All of them have terrible problems, and their problems are incomparable even with ours. Even the leading European economies are not doing well. Our economy is growing and their economies are in decline. We will not discuss this at this point. These are details. We are not rejoicing or gloating, but a fact is a fact. It turns out that they depend on us more than we depend on them.

The main thing that we have shown ourselves and the whole world, which is also important, that Russia is a self-sufficient country in all respects, that it is a strong country moving forward and confidently looking ahead. This is the most important result of the past year.

Go ahead. Shall we call it a day?

Alexander Borunov: I have one more question.

Vladimir Putin: Please, go ahead.

Alexander Borunov: Thank you.

The question came to my mind suddenly, but I have been pondering this matter for quite a while now. The fact is that we are now making lots of good films in Russia, which can probably be attributed to the government’s efforts to guide the younger generations. In addition to films, since I have many children, there are lots of good animated films as well.

Here is my question. I think everyone in this audience was born in the Soviet Union, and there are many excellent Soviet cartoons and films that we watch every year in the run-up to the New Year and that move us to tears. It would be nice to have these films and cartoons freely available. It is not always possible to find Soviet films or cartoons that are good quality. That is, they are not restored, and only the most popular ones are available in HD, whereas there are lots of other good films and cartoons.

Vladimir Putin: The Ministry of Culture is in charge of this. I will definitely have a word with Minister Olga Lyubimova.

We pay attention to this, and we support the Soyuzmultfilm Studios and animation in general. I met with the people from this industry several times several years ago. Of course, we must support it, and we will.

However, you caught me off guard with regard to the availability of Soviet cartoons. I thought there is no problem with that at all, now that everything is available online. I think all you need to do is press a button and get anything you need. I am not even sure what the problem is. Nevertheless, since you brought this up, it means that it exists.

Alexander Borunov: There is a problem with the quality of freely available cartoons. Today, children love colourful and beautiful visuals. Foreign blockbusters and foreign cartoons are quite eye-catching, and they grab children’s attention.

Vladimir Putin: I see.

Alexander Borunov: It is possible to restore old Soviet cartoons, and they will look better.

Vladimir Putin: Good. They are superior anyway. Indeed, modern Western cartoons are all about shooting, jumping, and running, and your head explodes half an hour into watching them. How do children watch it?

The Soviet cartoons are of a completely different quality and have a completely different emotional and aesthetic impact on a young person, you are absolutely right. I will look into it and discuss it with Ms Lyubimova.

That is all for today. Thank you. I wish you all the best. Happy New Year.

Everything we discussed will be addressed. I will have a separate discussion with the head of the region, and we will look at everything in a more general manner.

Thank you. All the best.

January 10, 2024, Anadyr