Meeting of Presidential Council for Culture and Art
Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art at the Kremlin.
December 21, 2017
The Kremlin, Moscow
Meeting of Presidential Council for Culture and Art.
The participants discussed the implementation of the Executive Order On Approving the Basis of State Cultural Policy, including the improvement of the state cultural policy, closer cooperation with cultural associations and organisations and representatives of performers, as well as legal regulation of cultural activities.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I would like to begin by saying that the meetings of this council are usually held in December, which is a good tradition and an opportunity to wish you a happy New Year.
We completed work on the Basis of State Cultural Policy three years ago. Much has been done in this sphere since then. In particular, we have completed a number of major cultural projects, and the system of state support for creative activities has become more flexible.
At the same time, certain problems rooted in our attitude to cultural development have come to light. It is vitally important to resolve these problems.
Cultural issues are not only multifaceted and complicated. They are also critical for all aspects of our life, including the economy, education, technological development and sovereignty. This sounds like a platitude, but I have to say this. Here is one thing: culture concerns our world outlook and is primarily a multipurpose instrument for the preservation and maintenance of traditional moral, spiritual and aesthetic values. It is also the basis of a harmonious and free society capable of maintaining its integrity while remaining open and appreciative of global development trends of our civilisation.
As you know, a month ago St Petersburg hosted a conference on supporting talented youth in the arts. Just as at other meetings with masters of the arts, those attending the meeting in St Petersburg pointed out that the current attitude to culture as a social sector that provides certain services must change. I would like to say that renouncing this narrow approach to culture is also stipulated in the Basis of State Cultural Policy.
It is now necessary to transfer this principle into legislation and managerial approaches and seriously upgrade the state’s humanitarian policy, where culture plays a key role.
In this context, it has been proposed that we develop a new law on culture. I suggest we talk about its content today. I would like to note at once that the draft law should undergo broad public discussion. This law should clearly reflect the needs of the culture sphere, its comprehensive nature and importance – as both a mission and a public good.
We realise and perceive this fairly well. I have the following proposal in this context: I believe it would be best if members of the council together with their colleagues and representatives of relevant departments draft a new law on culture themselves and establish a working group for this purpose.
Your involvement in drafting the law guarantees that it will be efficient and will work. I do realise that you are engaged in your own creative work. Each of you has a busy schedule and many plans. But what we are discussing today is of major importance for organising work in Russia in the area to which you have dedicated your lives.
There is still another area that in your own opinion requires additional adjustment. I am referring to the training of personnel for culture because the general standards established for the system of education do not take into account art schools’ specific requirements. I agree that this issue should by all means be resolved without upsetting the structure of the entire educational system. We talked about this in St Petersburg as well.
I suggest elaborating – with your participation – special norms for financing education in creative professions in the interdepartmental commission of the Culture Ministry and the Science and Education Ministry. Art schools should have an opportunity to shift to these norms via a lawful, understandable and transparent mechanism. Let me add thatsome of your initiatives made in St Petersburg have already been implemented or are being carried out.
First, it has already been decided that we will allocate, starting from 2018, one billion roubles each year to identify and support young talents.
Secondly, a decision has been approved on the Theatre for Children programme. We discussed this in St Petersburg. Next year and thereafter, its funding will increase more than threefold to 700 million roubles.
Of course, the new draft law we are discussing should maximally preserve and develop the existing successful forms of state support for culture, such as grants to pay salaries to members of leading creative teams. In 2018, their amount will increase by 2.3 billion roubles to over eight billion.
In addition, it is important to ensure the possibility of assisting creative non-profit organisations, including through the Foundation for Presidential Grants for the Development of Civil Society.
The work on the new culture draft law will, of course, take some time. Therefore, I am asking you to solve, at your earliest opportunity, the most painful and sensitive issue affecting creative teams and individuals. I am referring to amending the law on the contractual system. We have repeatedly discussed this.
Obviously, it does not always take into account the peculiarities of the cultural sphere and occasionally puts people employed there in an ambiguous position. All parties, both representatives of the cultural community and the state, have a stake in correcting it and in setting clear, logical and transparent financial rules for creative organisations.
In conclusion, I would like to mention one more point: Daniil Granin, a writer, thinker and a true hero, would have turned 100 years old in 2019. He once said these precious words: “Culture cannot be managed”, it “should be understood” and “borne within oneself.”
An Executive Order has been signed on celebrating Daniil Granin’s anniversary in 2019 and on perpetuating his memory. I believe it very important that this become a real event rallying our society. Our great compatriot’s heritage should serve for the benefit of Russian culture.
Thank you for your attention. Let us start our work.
Vladimir Putin: To conclude, I would like to thank you for today’s work and in general for your efforts, your creativity and your contribution.
It is thanks to you and others working across the country that our culture is advancing, despite all the challenges and problems we face. There are many people working in this area across the country. Some are well known within their regions, others are not.
Working in their specific positions, they all dedicate their efforts to the essential task of preserving our cultural code that is central to the Russian state and statehood.
Thank you very much and I wish you all a happy New Year. All the best!
Working meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The Prime Minister briefed the President on the Government’s work on a presidential executive order on major areas of Government policy to foster competition. The order is to provide additional regulatory authority in the sphere of competition.
December 21, 2017
The Kremlin, Moscow
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Medvedev, quite recently the head of the anti-monopoly service reported to me – and I know he met with you as well – and we agreed to draw up a presidential executive order that will enhance regulatory authority in the sphere of competition. This is a fundamental issue for economic development.
I know that the Government and you personally worked on this document, and now we have an opportunity to complete this work.
Dmitry Medvedev: Absolutely, Mr Putin.
In accordance with your instructions, the Government drafted an executive order on major areas of Government policy on promoting competition. As you rightly observed, this is a fundamental document, which is exactly why it should be issued in the form of a presidential executive order, although it largely deals with economic issues.
“Fundamental” because fostering competition remains a core element of state economic policy, which enables us to look to the future and harmoniously develop all sectors of the Russian economy.
Let me say straight away that apart from general provisions that are within the competence of the anti-monopoly service and the Government, the executive order provides for the endorsement of a separate anti-monopoly plan to promote competition from 2018 to 2020, which envisages support for small and medium-sized business, indispensable for improved competition, and additional anti-monopoly regulatory measures. This reflects our changing understanding of monopolies. Today it is not enough to say that some organisation is a monopoly. It is necessary to establish what elements are part of the infrastructure and are naturally a monopoly and what can be separated and transferred to the competitive market. This makes the operation of monopolies less expensive and reduces their costs, thereby changing the rates they set.
There is also a number of measures and presidential instructions designed to improve regulations. In particular, recently, in order to reduce competition at the regional or municipal and sometimes even federal level, decisions have been taken to create unitary enterprises in competitive sectors. Mind you, not in sectors where this can be accounted for by security or some other special reasons, but precisely in the competitive sector. They create a unitary enterprise, and then everything has to go through it. Of course, these measures essentially hold back the competitiveness of our economy.
This executive order either outlaws such decisions or, if necessary, they should be taken only based on special acts issued by the President or the Government.
This executive order also contains a number of other measures to improve legislation nationwide, which the Government would like you to sign.
Vladimir Putin: With regard to unitary enterprises, you and I are aware that, unfortunately, even some of the functions of the ministries and departments are transferred to unitary enterprises after such enterprises have been created. So we are delegating the functions of federal governance bodies to them as well.
We need to carefully consider this, including during the privatisation process, when the Government will be forming a privatisation plan. This segment needs to be carefully looked at.
Dmitry Medvedev: Will do.
Vladimir Putin: As for the executive order itself, of course, I will sign it right away. I want to thank you for completing such an extensive amount of work. Now, we will need to follow closely the law enforcement practice to see if it works in real life.
Dmitry Medvedev: The Government will take care of it, Mr Putin.
Meeting with representatives of major Russian businesses
Vladimir Putin met in the Kremlin with representatives of Russian business circles and associations. The participants discussed issues of concern to the business community.
December 21, 2017
The Kremlin, Moscow
Over 60 business people, heads of public and private companies, banks and public organisations took part in the meeting.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,
First of all, I would like to wish you a happy New Year. I want to wish success to you and your loved ones in your undertakings, not just business, but everything that you may be doing. I wish you success and prosperity.
We meet not just to wish each other a happy holiday, of course, but also to sum up the results of the outgoing year, and to discuss matters that are important for both the state and business.
A few words about the situation in our economy. The recession is clearly over, and you and I can see it. According to the Ministry of Economic Development, GDP grew by 1.4 percent in January-November.
Although the 4th quarter showed some slowdown in growth, the trend is clearly up. You and I know that this slight decrease is due to a decline in industrial output.
However, in general, the trend is encouraging, and it relies on a number of factors. I recently spoke about it, and you yourselves know everything about it. However, I will still go over certain things. This includes the growth of trade and consumer demand, which, starting September, has been growing by about three percent compared to 2016.
This also includes steady increases in rail freight, which has recently amounted to about 6 percent, as well as an increase in demand for labour and a reduction in unemployment. All of this clearly indicates that the economy has overcome the recession. With regard to unemployment, it was back to 5.1 percent as of November 2017.
As I have already mentioned, in order to ensure sustainable growth, we need to increase productivity and engage structural factors. This is the most important task for the medium term. Of course, it is important to continue the systematic work to improve the business and investment climate, and to promote competition.
I would like to inform you that – as a matter of fact, you may know it already from television – I have signed the Executive Order On Basic State Policy Guidelines to Promote Competition. It focuses on major reductions in the state-owned portion of the domestic economy across all competitive spheres, and the creation of a level playing field and freedom of economic activity throughout Russia.
This refers to restricting the creation of unitary enterprises and increasing the share of high-quality Russian products in the domestic market, including such sectors as information technology and agriculture.
We intend to severely curb violations of antimonopoly legislation and improve the mechanisms of tariff regulation. By 2020, we plan to double the share of purchases of small and medium-sized businesses and NGOs in the state and municipal order.
In this regard, I would like to note that starting in 2019, state and municipal authorities and institutions will be obligated to conduct their procurements in electronic form only. At the same time, suppliers can submit applications remotely.
This will shorten the time it takes to execute contracts and will expand the opportunities of domestic companies from Russian regions. And of course, such a mechanism will reduce corruption risks, and, I hope, increase competition.
I would like to address one more topic, directly related to the development of competition and the purchase of more goods and services from small and medium-sized businesses.
As a result of the interaction between the Government, the Corporation for Small and Medium Business Development and state-owned companies, the volume of purchases from small and medium-sized enterprises in 2017 grew by one-third , or by half a trillion rubles, and amounted to two trillion rubles. There is every reason to bring this figure to three trillion rubles in 2018. This was largely due to the increase in the share and expansion of the range of high-tech products.
The main thing is that experience shows that cooperation between state-owned companies and small and medium-sized businesses is profitable and effective, as it also increases the competitiveness of large businesses. I expect that not only state-owned companies but also large private businesses will benefit from such opportunities and advantages of working with small enterprises.
Friends, let me tell you about a number of other resolutions designed to make Russian jurisdiction and the domestic market more competitive.
First, we intend to expand the array of financial tools for long-term major investments in the domestic economy. A law on syndicated loans will take effect as of next February. Its mechanisms make it possible to significantly increase lending volumes and improve the access of the real sector of the economy to resources, while considerably reducing risks for lenders.
We also need to introduce amendments to the laws that enable banks and other professional market participants to issue structured bonds. We have repeatedly talked about that. This is a new type of debt security with partial coverage of their nominal value. In other words, these are bonds with higher risks, but also higher yield, compared to traditional bonds. Incidentally, a corresponding draft law is currently being prepared for its second reading in the State Duma and will be passed early next year.
During our previous meeting, you asked that suitable mechanisms be created for the return of capital to Russian jurisdiction. You suggested using external government bonds denominated in foreign currency as a tool.
The Government and the Central Bank have thought out this matter. I instructed them to determine the necessary conditions and parameters for issuing these bonds to Russian investors and to get them into circulation already next year.
In September, we discussed this matter at the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE). Actually, it was your proposal. It was considered by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Bank of Russia –the proposal raised no objections.
We also agreed to improve the legal status of controlled foreign companies, given the existing practice of how this institution functions and in keeping with your proposals. Corresponding amendments have been prepared.
This is what I wanted to start with. I think we will exchange some ideas along the way.
Telephone conversation with acting Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel
Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with acting Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel at the initiative of the German side.
December 21, 2017
While discussing the crisis situation in southeastern Ukraine, Angela Merkel was interested to know the reasons for the withdrawal of Russian army officers from the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination of the Ceasefire and Stabilisation of the Line of the Contact between the Sides (JCCC).
Vladimir Putin noted in particular that for a long time the Ukrainian authorities have been purposely complicating the presence of Russian officers and the performance of their duties through various restrictions and provocations. There has been no response to Russia’s repeated proposals to deal with the unacceptable situation that has evolved.
The Russian and German leaders agreed to continue the discussion of outstanding issues that must be resolved in order for the JCCC to resume full-fledged operation. They agreed that their aides would continue to work on conditions that would make it possible for Russian officers to return to the centre.
In addition, Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel spoke in favour of implementing the initiative to exchange persons held by the parties to the domestic Ukrainian conflict as soon as possible, and supported the Christmas armistice declared by the Contact Group.