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Meeting with participants in Time of Heroes programme

June 14, 2024, Solnechnogorsk, Moscow Region

President visited the Senezh Public Management Workshop in Solnechnogorsk, Moscow Region, where he met with the participants in the Time of Heroes educational programme.

The programme is being implemented by the Higher School of Public Administration under the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration at the Senezh Public Management Workshop at the instruction of the President. The programme’s goal is to train veterans of the special military operation and its participants to become highly-qualified management professionals who will subsequently be assigned to positions in state and municipal administrations. The first group includes 83 individuals who have been selected for training.

Before the meeting, RANEPA’s rector, general director of the Russia – the Land of Opportunity autonomous non-profit organisation Alexei Komissarov and Andrei Betin, rector of the Senezh Public Management Workshop, briefed Vladimir Putin on the development of the centre’s infrastructure and presented several educational programmes that are implemented there.

The Senezh Public Management Workshop is a year-round educational centre operated by the autonomous non-profit organisation Russia – the Land of Opportunity.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, comrades.

Let us begin with something pleasant: today is Stepan Belov’s 28th birthday. Mr Belov, we extend our congratulations to you. On such occasions, as tradition dictates, the officer’s gift will be presented by the team.

I am delighted to be here with all of you. I have been looking forward to this meeting to discuss the progress of the programme, hear your feedback on its implementation, and gather your ideas on how we can organise and improve things moving forward.

As you may already know, the inspiration for organising this training programme for participants in the special military operation came to me during a meeting with university students from St Petersburg who had been involved in the operation. As I sat across from them, I listened attentively to their thoughts and experiences. Moreover, among them were guys with serious wounds, yet all possessed a remarkably positive attitude and inner enthusiasm, in the best sense of the word, coupled with good education. As I sat there observing them, I pondered on one of today’s critical issues – indeed, a perpetual one – which is particularly pressing now due to numerous changes unfolding in our country, from technology and lifestyle to management standards. One of the foremost challenges ahead is ensuring we have the right personnel.

As I looked at your fellow soldiers, conversed with them, a straightforward realisation struck me: if we cannot depend on individuals like them, then who can we rely on? Our country is vast, with a multitude of people, many of whom are talented. Yet among these talented individuals, there are those who spare no effort, risk their lives and health, and serve the Motherland in the most perilous circumstances.

Recently, we celebrated Russia Day. Russia has rarely experienced easy times; our country has always grown stronger by enduring various trials and challenges. And there have always been people who, without hesitation, chose to serve and protect our Fatherland, contributing to its growth. Both you and those I met in St Petersburg exemplify this dedication. Russia has always been renowned for such individuals who form the bedrock of our nation across various fields, including the military.

Once again, I want to emphasise that this does not imply that everyone defending Russia on the battlefield needs to dedicate themselves exclusively to military endeavours, although it is quite possible. The name of this programme was coined by my colleagues from the Presidential Executive Office, not by me. The Time of Heroes might sound a bit pretentious, but it genuinely captures the essence of our current times. Many true Heroes of the Russian Federation are present here, having earned this esteemed title not by chance but by performing literal acts of heroism. And today’s honouree is no exception.

So, I reiterate – this is how the idea came about, and today, I would like to discuss your assessment of the current developments. Additionally, I want to hear your thoughts on the future work within the proposed programme. When planning this initiative, the Presidential Executive Office drew on recent experience from the Russia – Land of Opportunity platform and various personnel training programmes, such as Leaders of Russia, the School of Governors, and programmes for mayors, among others. Many participants in these training programmes have since taken on significant and respected roles in various management structures, regional and federal government agencies, and large state-owned companies.

I would like to hear: a) your assessment of the current situation, and b) your vision on how this work could be effectively continued.

I would like to express my gratitude to the board of trustees and the public organisation that selected you for this training. This is not the Presidential Executive Office or the Government; they are people who have demonstrated their high qualifications and expertise in their respective fields through their life’s work. These highly qualified and impartial specialists conducted the selection, and as a result, we are meeting here today.

Let us begin. I encourage you to speak freely: please provide your assessment of the current situation, how the work is organised, and your vision for what needs to be done to ensure the continuation of this training programme.


Vladimir Putin: It is truly impressive to see a country like ours for the first time. As you know, we all live in our hometown and, to be honest, we do not fully grasp the scale, diversity and power of our country, and the immense prospects it holds.

Of course, the foundation lies in the people and their state of mind. The period we are currently living in is both difficult and trying, somewhat tragic, but also incredibly important because it has brought our society closer together. When a society is so united and powerful, the energy for development gains such strong momentum that we achieve results beyond our expectations.

Just look at what is happening in the economy. The World Bank, which is far from sympathetic towards us, has ranked Russia as the fourth largest economy in the world. We have surpassed Japan. Who would have thought? (Applause.)

This does not mean that we can rest on our laurels. Everything is developing rapidly, and Japan can also begin to rise. They have high-tech economies, are modern and possess tremendous advantages, including over us. We have much to learn from them; for example, their level of robotisation is much higher than ours. However, in terms of economic size, we have not only surpassed Germany, which was the first in Europe, and now we are the first in Europe, but now we have also surpassed Japan. This means that only China, the United States, and India are ahead of us, and we rank fourth. But I repeat: the most important thing is to keep this pace. Otherwise, if we become complacent, everything will begin to change.

I say this because the internal state of Russian society is one of the drivers of movement and progress. And people like you charge everyone else with your energy.

In this regard, I have a question. The organisers of the Time of Heroes platform, the Higher School of Public Administration, were also guided by the work of the General Staff when creating it. The Staff works like this: six weeks of training, then everyone goes back to their respective troops, and six months later, another six weeks of training. Who among you will be returning to the army after these iterations? There are those who study and work in some capacity after being wounded. But there are also those who, as I have been told, are planning to return to the troops. Are there such individuals among you? I see that the majority do.

Here's what I have been thinking. This is the first experience, and the selection process was quite extensive: I believe that 80 people were chosen out of over 20,000.

Now, you will be leaving, and this is an unusual situation, not like in peacetime. You joined the army, continued your training remotely, then returned, and now you are leaving again. Now, another stage should begin: an internship, work, and gaining some theoretical knowledge.

This is why I believe that you should continue your studies here. You will have time to return to the army. You are military personnel, and you will tell your comrades that this is an order from the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. You must continue your studies here. Then, we will decide who will remain in military service and return to the troops. Those who do not wish to do so will move on to other types of activities. But you must complete this training, go through it all, and not stop halfway because this is only half of the journey. You need to complete it, and then, after consulting with both the teaching staff and the organisers, you can choose the most suitable development path for the future.

I would like to thank each and every one of you for your dedication to the Fatherland. I wish you success in completing your studies and future professional growth for the benefit of Russia.

Thank you very much, and all the best. Goodbye.

June 14, 2024, Solnechnogorsk, Moscow Region