View settings

Font size:
Site colours:


Official website of the President of Russia

Transcripts   /

Speech at a Meeting to Mark the 80th Anniversary of the GOELRO Plan

December 22, 2000, Moscow

Vladimir Putin: Friends,

Power Engineer’s Day coincides with a momentous date, the 80th anniversary of the adoption of the State Plan for the Electrification of Russia, the GOELRO Plan.

The GOELRO Plan is a symbol of an entire era, an era of hopes and unheard of enthusiasm. It marked the starting point for creating the power system in the country. No less importantly, it was the first scientifically grounded long-term programme of the country’s economic development. In fact, the emergence of our country as an industrial power began with the GOELRO Plan.

So today is not only a red-letter day for people in the energy sphere. It is a historic milestone in the life of our people and the peoples of the former Soviet Union.

The electrification plan was launched in a difficult period of the Civil War and economic dislocation. Skeptics described the GOELRO Plan as a fiction and a utopia.

They were mistaken.

First, it was a thoroughly considered project that took a long time to develop. It began to be developed before the First World War.

And secondly, as time has shown, the GOELRO Plan was not only fulfilled but considerably over-fulfilled. The Russian power industry quickly gained momentum, and within 15 years we ranked second in Europe and third in the world in terms of the amount of electricity generated.

The creation of the Single Power Grid in the mid-1950s was a natural continuation of the GOELRO Plan. It increased the country’s industrial potential many times over and became a powerful factor of economic integration that linked all the country’s industrial regions.

The cementing and uniting impact of that factor increased the country’s potential over time. That is something well worth remembering now that the country is on the rise again.

The success of the GOELRO Plan is not only the result of a massive labour effort. It is also a tribute to precise calculations and excellent organisation, the ability and painstaking work of economists and energy experts, those who calculated and checked out all the details of that incredibly bold project.

Today, when arguments about the future of the power sector in the country are reminiscent of the 1920s, we again must meet the challenge of the times. We must again approach the massive task of supplying the country with energy in a thoughtful and precise way. Our actions in the power sector determine the future of Russia, its resurgence, wellbeing and political stability, and the social welfare of all our citizens.

Today is a big red-letter day, but a true holiday is preceded by prolonged and strenuous day-to-day work. So I cannot sidestep the problems of the power sector.

At the top of the list of problems are those that have to do with people. Above all, the uninterrupted supply of heating and electricity in some regions.

There are, of course, strategic issues connected with the development of the sector as a whole, which are the subject of heated arguments. I think the decisions must be well calculated and well balanced, and they must come from energy specialists and economists. I repeat, we are talking about a long-term programme, large-scale and serious work to modernise the sector and optimise management.

In order to successfully solve these tasks, we must have a clear-cut and well-grounded strategy for the reform and development of the Russian energy sector, closely linked with the national economic strategy. As we develop it, it is our duty to draw on the historical experience, including GOELRO. But at the same time, we should use modern market methods drawing on our own and foreign experience.

Electrification is a key sector of the economy in any country. But for Russia (especially its northern part) power means much more: it is life in the direct sense of the word. So we must be aware of the importance of the tasks facing us.

We must carefully weigh and calculate the consequences of the decisions we take. These are not problems that concern individual agencies. The interests of the whole country are at stake, and indeed, the interests of all Russian citizens. I think that the workers in your sector are well aware of that.

You know that the first unit of the North-Western Thermal Power Plant which uses unique technologies, will be launched today. It is important to make sure that the event itself does not remain unique.

The energy sector has at all times employed excellent specialists, true professionals. You take the credit for keeping the Russian power system stable. It could only have been accomplished by people that are truly dedicated to their job.

And now I pass on to the ceremonial part. It is my honour to give state decorations to the foremost workers in the energy sector.

December 22, 2000, Moscow