President Dmitry Medvedev meets with the Russian government at the White House to sum up the socio-economic development results in Russia in 2011
27 december 2011
Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, colleagues. First of all, let me wish you a happy New Year. As in previous years, 2011 was not an easy year for our country, but we have nevertheless achieved rather good results. I wanted to say this here in the presence of the prime minister and the government, because the government is responsible for the socio-economic development of our nation. The results are as follows: unlike many developed economies, our economic figures have grown significantly this year. The GDP growth numbers are less than ideal, but our rate of almost 4% is significantly higher than the corresponding figures in Europe or the United States.
Inflation is another important economic indicator. I would like to congratulate you and our entire nation on the achievement of a low inflation rate that is unprecedented in the entire history of Russia at slightly over 6%, a figure that we thought was beyond reach just a few short years ago. The inflation rate has to do with prices and an outlook on life, especially amid global financial instability. I believe that the government did excellent work from the perspective of this macroeconomic indicator.
Finally, there is one more indicator of social welfare, perhaps, the most important one. I’m referring to unemployment. Our low unemployment rates are unprecedented, especially if we compare them to other economies. This is also due to coordinated activities at all levels of authority, the executive authority and the government in particular, which is at the top of the system of executive power in our country. Therefore, I believe that we are approaching the end of 2011 with good results, judging by these three key indicators alone.
I would like to thank all members of the Russian government for all the work that you’ve done under very difficult conditions – instability on the global financial markets and numerous domestic problems, which we will need to address in the near future. The future government will have to hone in on these problems as well, as I said in my address to the Federal Assembly.
The environment in which we will be conducting our future work will be different. Russia has completed its accession to the World Trade Organisation. I would also like to thank all members of the Russian government who were instrumental in promoting this process. Our WTO membership is not just about benefiting our country and economy. It will also be a test, because WTO membership ultimately creates a whole new environment for improving the competitiveness of our economy. Russian companies will join the race against foreign competitors, and we expect to see a substantial improvement in the economic results.
The launching of the Customs Union is also on the list of this year’s achievements. The Eurasian economic space will become operational on January 1, 2012. By 2015, we expect to have established the Eurasian Economic Union. This means we will be operating under new economic conditions, which will expand our market, create new jobs and promote trade relations. We saw all of the above taking place already under the Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan. Ultimately, these arrangements improve the general economic conditions in our respective countries.
We are facing many problems as well. First, the investment climate needs to be dramatically improved. So far, our attempts at improvement were not successful, so we’ll have to return to this in the future. There are some bureaucratic hurdles as well. Corruption remains one of the central issues confronting government service, and it must be dealt with mercilessly. All of this will certainly be part of our future work. I hope that the government will continue working in the same coordinated and thorough manner as it has done in previous years, because our political schedule will be very busy with the presidential elections coming in a few months.
I would like to thank all members of the government who are present here for their cooperation, since we have been working together for almost four years. These have been difficult years for our country, but I'll be completely straightforward: I believe that the government weathered this period quite well. Our coordinated efforts made it possible for us to overcome the shock of the global financial crisis that erupted in 2008. As I have already mentioned, there are major adversities that lie ahead for us. I am confident that we have all it takes to cope with them effectively. Once again, I would like to offer everyone my heartfelt thanks for their work, and to wish good health to you and your families in the new year and successful work for ourselves. We will need success, because our country demands a lot of attention. Happy New Year!
Vladimir Putin: Mr Medvedev, colleagues,
We traditionally meet with the president at the end of the year and summarise our results. I will have more opportunity to discuss the results out of session and in more detail after this meeting has concluded. Mr Medvedev, I have just exchanged views about the outgoing year with our colleagues, including the finance minister and the minister of economic development. We discussed the newly updated figures and crunched some numbers. I must say that we have done a lot this year to strengthen the fundamentals of the Russian economy, which is an excellent result.
It goes without saying, and Mr Medvedev has already mentioned this, that higher executive authorities, including the Russian government, are primarily responsible for the socio-economic development of our country. This is part of our work, and it would not have been as effective without the support of the president and our close collaboration with the Central Bank and other colleagues from the Academy of Sciences, public organisations, business associations and trade unions.
The decisions that we made took into account the interests of all groups, and it took us time to develop them properly. Frankly, we had a hard time pulling ourselves out of the hole in which we found ourselves as a result of the crisis. However, we managed to overcome it, which is a good result.
There are issues that demand our attention. There are issues that we will address regardless of the domestic political schedule. They include social issues and the individual incomes of our citizens. We will certainly address them during today’s government meeting. However, today I would like to thank you, Mr Medvedev, and our colleagues for their support, and express my gratitude to all members of the Russian government. Thank you very much. Happy New Year!