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Meeting with Council of Legislators

April 24, 2019, St Petersburg

In the run-up to the Day of Russian Parliamentarism, Vladimir Putin met with members of the Council of Legislators. As is customary, the meeting took place at the Tavrichesky (Tauride) Palace in St Petersburg.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,

As is customary, we are holding this meeting at the Tavrichesky Palace, where Russia’s first State Duma convened. To begin with, I would like to congratulate you and your colleagues from the federal, regional and local legislatures on the occasion of the upcoming commemorative and festive date, the Day of Russian Parliamentarism. As most of you are well aware, the first State Duma convened on April 27 (or May 10), 1906.

I am aware that yesterday and today the Council of Legislators did some meaningful work, holding a substantive discussion on the goals set in the May Executive Order and in the Address to the Federal Assembly. I believe such approaches and work are critically important and effective. Essentially, this is a matter of regularly reviewing the legislative agenda to see how it stacks up with Russia’s socioeconomic development priorities, including specific national programmes, with the involvement of the Government, the Accounts Chamber, the regions and the development institutions.

I expect the Council of Legislators to build its future work in the same way – professionally and with a focus on the specific issues which concern our citizens and are important for the development of the country and, of course, to fully take into account the position and initiatives of the regions and local authorities.

The regions will do the bulk of the work to implement national projects and many other programmes (I have already mentioned this many times, and you know all about it). National goals are achieved here, on the ground. The overall picture of changes by which the people judge the effectiveness of the government and the adopted laws is formed here as well.

So forget the assessments. The result is what matters for us: what can be done, what we should strive for and what we must achieve. We now have good chances to accomplish that. We have never had so many resources to achieve the goals that will allow our country to thrive.

The Council of Legislators, as you yourselves are aware, makes it possible to see any problem from a regional perspective, forecast the effect, the pros and cons of a particular legislative act for various territories of the country, to promptly adjust a particular legal regulation, and to use the best practices of regional governance and rulemaking.

In this regard, I hope that the Council of Legislators will build up its authority and professional clout, relying on its extensive seven years’ experience, and play an increasingly prominent role in the qualitative overhaul of the legal framework underlying Russia’s development. In this way it will help realise the constitutional provisions on federalism and our democratic and law-governed state.

Colleagues, generally speaking, I expect our legislators to do not only systematic and thoughtful, but also more energetic work, and to actively participate in the practical implementation of each national project, as well as to focus on the outcome in the interest of your voters and all our citizens.

Parliamentarians at all levels should strengthen feedback channels with civil society. I am aware that you are doing this already. Nevertheless, while implementing large-scale projects, we need to establish a clear understanding of how this affects practical life, and make some timely adjustments to practical work.

This is extremely important if we want to achieve a positive outcome. It is imperative to be a representative government in the full sense of the word and maintain dialogue with the people. Please be proactive in revising and modernising your ongoing legislative practice and keep up with the times.

Of course, routine procedures and the requirements of legal drafting should be strictly followed. However, this does not hinder but rather requires greater openness and transparency of the legislative process. In this regard, it is imperative to quickly introduce new digital and interactive technology and to keep the information resources of legislative bodies at all levels up to date. This will allow you to make better use of the constructive proposals by our citizens, and the people will be better positioned to more objectively evaluate our work.

When considering in legislatures particularly difficult and complex issues involving more than one sector, it makes sense to involve the expert, scientific and business communities.

For example, you cannot do without it when you are radically reforming oversight activities. I will discuss separately this extremely important, acute and delicate issue. You are aware that beginning January 1, 2021, former, generally outdated, redundant and archaic regulations in this area will become null and void. However, such a large-scale “nullification” should in no case lead to a legal void, legal vacuum or “manholes,” and thus disrupt the work of both oversight bodies and economic agents. Ultimately, this “nullification” should in no case affect the interests of our citizens.

You know how it can be in our country. On the one hand, oversight gets so tough that life becomes unbearable and businesses are stifled by the oversight. On the other hand, as soon as things loosen up, businesses, and we have seen them do so, start doing things that cause damage to consumers. Neither can be allowed. In this regard, the work of representatives is very important, very.

You need to have a good sense of what is happening in real life. You need to talk with people directly, which is more difficult for the executive authorities for a number of reasons. Once a decision is adopted, its implementation starts. Things that are happening on the ground are rather difficult to sense sometimes. However, you can do so by directly communicating with people.

I want to let the parliamentarians and ministers know, and I also want our business associations to get involved in this work. There is not much time left for “taking an inventory,” or auditing the existing regulatory acts governing this sphere. The legislative activities should be properly planned with clearly identified priorities and deadlines.

In addition, please make wider use of parliamentary oversight. I am counting on all the parties and their representatives in legislative assemblies without exception.

By the way, it would be proper to involve in this common work the non-parliamentary parties that are ready for constructive interaction in the interest of developing the country and the regions. The ability to reach agreement and compromise, to arrive at a common decision without fear of discussion or argument is the most important and integral element of parliamentary culture.

Colleagues, in closing I want to thank you and your colleagues for the good and productive work and the high-quality legislative support for the projects implemented in the interests of the citizens of our country, and the ability to make decisions that are sometimes difficult but necessary for the country.

True, and I want to say it again to the Government, the Presidential Executive Office and to you – yes, sometimes you need to make decisions that at first glance seem difficult and are unpopular. But when we explain to the people why we are making a particular decision, what we are striving to achieve, what goals we are trying to achieve when making a particular decision – and all decisions must be made in the interests of citizens in the medium term or more distant future – when we explain this to the people, the sentiment in society completely changes.

When people realise that the government does not exist by itself somewhere up in the sky, but understands what is happening and sees prospects for economic and social advancement and acts towards this end and in the interest of the people, then the voters will think differently about the decisions that you make.

Of course, I want to once again congratulate you and your colleagues, families and friends on the occasion of the upcoming Victory Day. Our duty is to properly prepare for the upcoming 75th anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War next year. We can discuss this issue separately. First and foremost, of course, it is about what needs to be done additionally to support our veterans and to preserve the memory of the Great Patriotic War.

Thank you.


April 24, 2019, St Petersburg