5 june 2008

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the Government

Among the main topics addressed by Vladimir Putin at today’s meeting of the Government was the forthcoming centenary of the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, the Olympic construction programme, the development of the transport system and the situation with the unbalanced spending of budgetary money.

Vladimir Putin's opening remarks:

Good afternoon,

Today we will consider a package of documents connected with the implementation of the budget this year, as well as the Government's law-making activities and the development of international cooperation.

A few more words about the agenda. We are discussing large-scale, socially significant projects. I would like to dwell on the theme that is particularly relevant for our culture, the preservation of Russia's historical heritage.

In 2012 we will mark the centenary of the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum. It was opened on June 13, 1912 in time for the celebration of victory in the 1812 war. Let me remind you that the founder and first curator of the Museum was Ivan Tsvetayev.

The Museum is rightly regarded as one of the most important Russian museums. It houses a great collection of world and Russian masterpieces. It conducts extensive research and educational work.

Unfortunately, we know it has serious problems. The Pushkin Museum is choking because of lack of space and modern technical facilities. It hasn't undergone a genuine overhaul practically since 1912. Never once in a hundred years.

Last year the museum's Board of Trustees, chaired by Dmitry Medvedev, was formed. Measures to develop the museum have been prepared.

Several buildings have been handed over to the museum, additional storage space has been built and exhibition halls have been refurbished. As a result it should become a modern research, cultural and educational centre.

And of course we must prepare well for the centenary celebrations. We are to adopt a government resolution on that today.

An additional 4.5 billion roubles are to be allocated for the museum needs in the period before 2012.

I am aware that the Culture Ministry is discussing further steps, until 2015. Still more massive financing is envisaged. I am not going to speak about it yet and to name the figures because we should first examine them more closely. But on the whole I agree with the proposal of the Culture Ministry that further steps must be taken.

We expect that the Russian business and charity groups will take part in this cultural and educational project.

The next topic is the Olympics. The Government will continue to hold under special review the issues connected with the preparation for the Olympic Games in Sochi.

The Olympic construction programme was approved in December 2007. Two hundred sporting and transport, energy and tourist facilities are to be built. And serious design, organisational and environmental measures are to be taken.

These programmes should be elaborated further.

First, as we had expected, Russian business has displayed considerable interest in the Olympic project. That is good news. Investors in 59 infrastructure and tourist facilities have been identified. It means that the load on the state budget will be diminished. The organisational and technological resources of Russian companies will be actively used.

Second, the list of organisational and programme measures has been adjusted. We have determined who builds what facilities, the responsibilities of the Olympstroi Corporation, the federal, regional and local authorities. There is full clarity on the issue.

Third. As we have agreed, the comprehensive development of the infrastructure of Sochi, of "Greater Sochi" should be an inseparable part of the programme. That effort must be intensified.

The city will receive additional financial assistance to modernise housing, transport, social and utilities facilities. It will amount to 12 billion roubles.

Let me repeat, very large-scale work lies ahead. It is necessary to proceed according to the schedule of work and construction at all the stages in order to fulfill all the commitments to the preparation of the Olympiad.

We have approved the federal programme of transport development. The next topic we will discuss today is one of its largest projects, the building of the central beltway in the Moscow Region.

Private investors will be brought in. The mechanisms of concession should start working in practice. Considerable resources will come from the Investment Fund.

Just for your information. The new road will be 522 km long and will have 31 interchanges. The total cost is high, 520 billion roubles, of which 65% will be put up by the Investment Fund, 10% by the Moscow Region and 25% by the investor.

The road will greatly relieve the load on the Moscow Ring Road and exits from Moscow, improve the environment in the region and bring in the transit potential. Additional opportunities will open up for the development of adjacent territories, increase of housing construction, the creation of modern logistical centres and new production facilities, and office space. We are talking about millions of square meters. About 200,000 new jobs will be created in this zone. As early as 2009 the necessary design work will be completed. Almost 9 billion roubles have been earmarked for these purposes. The deadline for finishing construction is 2015.

We will begin the government meeting agenda with the report of the Finance Ministry on the fulfillment of the federal budget in the first quarter of 2008.

Let me remind you that the budget was adopted in July of last year. The government agencies had enough time to prepare and issue all the executive documents. But, from the information provided by the Finance Ministry, the situation is not entirely happy. The old problem of erratic implementation of the budget does not go away. In the first quarter only a little over 18% of the total annual allocations has been spent. We again may face a feverish rush to "use up" the budget resources at the end of the year. Such massive injection of money into the economy may aggravate negative processes in the economy.

And of course haste undermines the quality of work.

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