Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin
Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:
Vladimir Putin: Mr Rogozin, you are completing your assignment as the Russian ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. You come from a military family and you are well versed in social issues and, owing to your last assignment, issues of national security. In this regard, I would like to say the following. A decision has been taken that as a member of the Russian government you will be in charge of the defence industry. That’s the first point.
Second, we must make sure that the state defence order is fulfilled by all means. You will also be in charge of the aerospace sphere and the nuclear industry. These are key areas of activity, and the defensive capabilities and security of our state depend on their efficiency.
As regards the defence industry, naturally it is impossible to modernise the Army and the Navy and provide them with advanced weapons systems without first modernising the defence industry itself. We allocate vast amounts of money for these purposes, huge resources totalling three trillion roubles. That money must be spent in the most effective way possible so that the desired result is achieved. Many issues still need to be resolved with respect to the principle by which this money is spent and the areas on which it is to be spent. You will have to complete that work. And, of course, it is necessary to ensure smooth cooperation between the Defence Ministry and defence industry enterprises so that, on the one hand, they don’t jack up prices for the things the Defence Ministry needs and, on the other hand, the Defence Ministry does not make excessive demands of the defence industry and set impossible tasks. We should be realistic. We should not behave today as we behaved back in the 1980s.
As you know, some negatives have accumulated in the aerospace sphere – the latest accident and the whole series of accidents speak for themselves. It is necessary to take a close look at these problems, sort them out and formulate the necessary proposals. Some things, of course, are obvious. After we ended military acceptance in the aerospace sphere because it was separated from military matters, many things have changed for the worse. This is not to say that we should revert to the old instruments of regulation, but obviously the existing ones are not sufficient.
Finally, the nuclear sphere. It is a very important area of activity because it has to do with defence matters and with the peaceful use of nuclear energy. We have big plans for developing nuclear power on a modern foundation – a foundation that few places in the world possess, and in some areas they do not have one at all. This is above all about ensuring the safety of nuclear facilities, their functioning. Today nuclear plants generate only 16% of all power in our power industry. No matter how proud we may be of our nuclear power industry, even in Germany, which is renouncing nuclear power, it accounts for 34% of all energy generation, while in France it accounts for 80%. Our tasks are modest: we want 25% of our total energy to come from nuclear power, but even that is a challenge. It means that in the coming years we must build as many nuclear reactors as were built during the whole history of the nuclear industry in the Soviet Union. That will be sufficient and necessary to ensure a balanced structure for the Russian power industry. Practically all the projects have been launched, everything is in the works, and here it is also necessary to monitor prices, quality and the deadlines for completing this work. You are an energetic person, and I hope that you will get down to business at once.
Dmitry Rogozin: Thank you very much, I would like to say that I see this decision as a sign of great trust in me personally and in the body of people who are ready to do their utmost to rapidly solve the problems that have accumulated in this sphere. I would like to tell you that I have already started work, I spent my weekend talking to all the important people with whom I will work in the line of duty and I have sketched out a plan of my trips to the regions and major facilities. I will soon be ready to submit proposals on reviving the defence industry, which should be the engine driving the growth of the entire Russian economy and industry. And the other matter, of course, is the human factor. It is necessary to provide moral and material incentives to attract young people and highly skilled personnel to the defence industry. We will do this. I promise.
Vladimir Putin: I would like to repeat that this is the key component of the work that lies ahead. Just think: three trillion roubles earmarked for the modernisation of defence industry enterprises, which means the purchase of new equipment and the latest technologies, and bringing in fresh blood, promising personnel capable of using that equipment to strengthen our country’s defensive capabilities.
Dmitry Rogozin: We will accomplish all of it.
Vladimir Putin: Very good.