Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with members of the presidium of the Transport Workers Union
8 june 2011
Vladimir Putin's opening address:
First of all, I'd like to thank you for being one of the first to join the Popular Front. I'd like to mention once again why it was proposed – to expand the social basis for the most important decision-making at the level of municipalities, regions and the federal government. I'm primarily referring to the State Duma. The subsequent formation of the government is also directly linked with this.
I would like competent professionals that are respected in their fields to come to these levels of government through the instruments of United Russia. No doubt, the transport industry is a major national area of activity because the transport industry, similar to the energy industry, has a direct effect on the viability and vitality of the state and all sectors of the economy.
But this issue is not all about the economy. When we speak about transport we also mean the social sphere because all citizens of the country, from babies to adults, use different modes of transport. The social well-being of millions of our people depends on the organisation of transport.
We adopted the Strategy for the Development of Transport until 2030, but we did this in the middle of 2008 when the world financial and economic crisis was gaining momentum. We openly said even then that this strategy was a living organism that we would adjust to the changing conditions of the time.
We have passed through the crisis. At any rate, we are overcoming it now. It goes without saying that we must react to events that have taken place in the world and domestic economy, and make the proper adjustments. This is what the Transport Ministry is doing now.
Since the Transport Workers Union includes different associations (of water, road, air and river transport) your experienced professional opinion on adjusting strategy will be much in demand.
As you know, apart from this strategy we have recently adopted a whole package of documents at the levels of legislation, regulations and government resolutions that regulate this sphere of activity. It would be very interesting to hear your opinion on this score, and I hope that we won't simply listen to it but make it one of decisive contributions to the drafting of bills that have already been submitted to parliament. The Transport Ministry will consider your opinion in drafting other legislative acts that still remain only at the level of the ministry.
All this is very important. I proceed from the premise that we did this in the past, but now it is of particular importance because the decisions that will be turned into laws will directly influence our ability to compete. In the meantime, competition is growing, especially with the formation of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. I'm sure you have already noticed this change yourselves.
We are promoting integration with the European Union. In particular, we are discussing the possibility of establishing a free trade zone in the future. This will also influence the competitiveness of our transport industry. Russia will soon enter the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and this is also a very important and sensitive issue for our aviators and sailors, marine and automobile transport workers. We must examine every position in this respect.
If, God forbid, we miss something or make unjustified concessions, this will immediately be clear in your revenues and losses. This is why it is so important to improve our channels of communication. We are ready for this. And let me repeat what I said in the beginning – the Popular Front is being created, among other things, for improving communication with professional communities. I'm very grateful to Mr Yefimov (the president of the Transport Workers Union). He has joined the Coordination Council and I hope that he will duly represent your interests in it, and not some specific branch but all of them, because it is important to take into account every part of the transport industry. This is what I wanted to say in the beginning. I think that our meeting should be as informal as possible. I'd like you to express your opinion on the issues that you consider most important and relevant, and that require coordinated decisions. Please, go ahead.
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Final words by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin:
Vladimir Putin: My point is that the front (the Russian Popular Front) that we are discussing today, including with regard to work-related and political issues, was established exactly for these purposes. Certainly, being a member of parliament means work in any country. It’s a profession in and of itself. Being a transport worker is a profession, and being a member of parliament is a profession. You don’t become an expert overnight; you need to study, gain experience, etc. Thus, we need to retain the core of the State Duma represented by professionals trained in various fields, who can take appropriate decisions. However, it is also clear that we need to bring fresh people into legislative bodies at all levels from municipal to federal government. The idea behind the Russian Popular Front was to use United Russia as a means of bringing such people to the Duma – people with fresh outlooks and with professional expertise in various aspects of the country’s life. We will adopt balanced decisions in order to maintain the core of the Duma represented by seasoned professionals as well as bring new people aboard who have proposals and plans for improving various industries and the economy as a whole.
Certainly, transport is an essential area of the economy. This is not an exception, and, conversely, it will become the rule for other areas of government work. I would like to thank you for today’s meeting and ask Mr Ivanov and Mr Levitin to incorporate all that was said today into concrete proposals and plans for their implementation. Some of these proposals can be executed through my instructions to the corresponding ministries and departments; others should be included in the draft laws and regulations. Thank you very much.