Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev meets with the winners of the Second National Contest for the Title of Russia’s Best Social Worker


“I think we have made considerable progress in developing social services lately.”


Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, take your seats, please. The tea is on the table but nobody is drinking it. Bon appetite! I’ll say a few words while you are drinking your tea. Then I suggest we discuss our day-to-day problems. But first I’d like to say that I’m very pleased to be meeting with you on your professional holiday,  Social Workers’ Day. Please accept my sincere congratulations on winning the contest for Best Social Worker.

In October 2010, I met with participants in the third conference of social workers and social instructors. I’m sure some of you took part in it. It was then that I supported the idea of holding this contest. I don’t know how well it worked – it’s for you to judge, and I hope you will tell me something about this. I think the contest has been a good thing. At any rate, it helps increase the prestige of your profession, and this is essential because long-term government neglect and, frankly speaking, low wages were not encouraging many people to work in social services. This is why the personnel issue is so urgent. Women work in the social services for the most part. Apparently they consider their job a calling and this is very good, but everyone has to make a decent living, even those who follow their hearts.

I think we have made considerable progress in developing social services lately. As for the most important task – increasing salaries – you are aware of the decision to gradually raise them to the average regional level in the next few years. We have adopted decisions on this score. Although in many regions social workers receive bonuses, on the whole salaries in this field remain very low. I looked at the statistics today – these salaries amount to 35% of the national average. And this is on average! In a whole number of regions salaries are even below one third or 35%. Of course, they are higher in more prosperous regions. In any event, the task of raising salaries is one of the most pressing. The decisions have been adopted and now the main thing is to implement them in time.

Participants in the contest come from all parts of this country and represent different regions. Every region and every social institution has its own great ideas, problems and views. I’d like you to tell me about them.

I will see you at the gala reception in the Kremlin. I’ll come to the Kremlin to congratulate everyone who attends, a lot of people. And now let’s talk and have some tea now. Okay, I’ll stop talking and give the floor to those who would like… Please, go ahead but say your names because I don’t know all of you…

Bela Syrnikova (director of the state-funded Moscow Convalescent Centre for People with Disabilities): Bela Syrnikova, director of the Convalescent Centre for People with Disabilities in Moscow. I’d like to thank you for the honour accorded to me – it is such an accomplishment to receive this nomination. I think that credit for the results of this work should go not only to me but also to the people I worked with, to those who run Moscow in general.

Social protection has reached a new level. I am qualified to judge because I have worked in this system for more than 30 years. I came to work in it upon graduating from university. It was a far cry from what it is now. I cannot speak for all regions, but in Moscow any social institution can compete with its European counterpart in terms of equipment, methods and everything else.

This wasn’t the case before, and we were embarrassed to admit we work in social services. They were called “sobeses” – an abbreviation for social security departments. And now we widely celebrate Social Workers’ Day. Many speak on television on this occasion.  Contests for the Best Social Worker have been held for two years now.

Our centre in Moscow is unique. It is the only institution of its kind in the country. It differs from all other convalescent centres because rehabilitation is pursued in three main directions – social, medical and professional. We have primary and secondary vocational schools with eight departments and a strong, well-equipped medical base. 

I think social workers play the main role in helping people with disabilities to integrate into society. They help these people to see the rest of us as we are rather than get offended by society’s mistreatment. We teach them how to do this. People with disabilities from our centre do well in society – up to 80%-85% of them get adapted, form families and have children. This is a very good rate. We’d be happy to share our experience with any of our colleagues for free – I’ve already received permission from my superiors for this. We’ll help all regions that are interested.

I’d like to say a few words about salaries. We are used to complaining and suffering, as is usual in Russia. I cannot speak about other regions but in Moscow workers of all social security institutions have very decent salaries. This is what their employees think. They are grateful and all they want is to prevent any change for the worse. They are content with what they have now. Thank you for your attention.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you very much, Ms Syrnikova. As for the model of your centre and its methods, it’s good you can share your experience with others. It is probably natural that such institutions are based in Moscow because by tradition Moscow has more specialists and more money. However, I’m sure there are heads and workers of centres that are far away from Moscow but who also have their own methods and spectacular achievements. But thank you for your offer. I think we should consider using your experience.

As for such an urgent issue as salaries of social workers, the problem is that their level is very uneven. Salaries are traditionally higher in Moscow because the living standards and costs are the highest in the capital. I think it is very important to make sure that the federal decisions on increasing salaries be backed up by regional ones. Regions should use bonuses, premiums and compensations because ultimately salaries of social workers will depend on both federal and regional levels. Regional authorities show what is important to them. If social security is high on their list of priorities, social workers receive bigger salaries.

We should consistently work in this direction both at the federal and regional levels. The necessary decisions have been adopted and we’ll see what happens. Don’t worry, things won’t get worse. First, in some cases it just cannot be worse, frankly speaking, and fundamental changes are needed to redress this. Other regions are doing well in this regard, and not only Moscow. They have funds in their budgets for this. We appreciate their efforts and think this is the way to go. We’ll continue investing federal funds in social security.

Who else would like to speak? Please, do. 

Galina Tarasova (director of the Smolensk Regional State Budgetary Institution Vyazma Comprehensive Centre for Social Services, Smolensk Region): Mr Medvedev, I am the director of the Centre for Social Services in the town of Vyazma, Smolensk Region. My name is Galina Tarasova. Allow me to thank you for your attention to social workers. The services provided by our centre are in great demand especially with people residing in remote areas. Our services are focused on providing services to people who live far away from district centres; therefore, we are using mobile teams and locally based social workers to take care of them.

Mr Medvedev, I would like to invite you to come and see us in the Smolensk Region. We are now building a social town called Vishenki (Cherries).

Dmitry Medvedev: What is the name? Vishenki?

Galina Tarasova: Yes, Vishenki.

Dmitry Medvedev: That’s a beautiful name.

Galina Tarasova: It’s the only one in Russia. It provides services to socially disadvantaged people. We have a gerontology centre and a centre for children with disabilities in this town. We plan to build a medical rehab centre with 200 beds there in the near future. Plans are also in place to build a stadium with stands, a soccer field and athletic tracks for people with disabilities that would also be used as a venue for mass events. We also plan to build a properly equipped swimming pool, gyms and exercise rooms for people with disabilities. We believe this to be a very exciting project that will cater to multiple categories of users, including children and adults with disabilities and older people.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you very much for the invitation.

Please help yourself to the tea, don’t be shy.

Ms Tarasova, thank you for the invitation. Clearly, the general level of social services depends on the level of services provided in the regions. My numbers show that there are about 20 million recipients of social services in Russia. That’s a huge number. As a matter of fact, that’s the population of several average European countries combined. The social welfare system in Russia is comprised of 11,640 institutions. It’s good that you are building such an innovative centre to address goals pursued by the social welfare system.  Of course, current needs should be taken in consideration. Easy accessibility is very important for a country as vast as ours. It may take hours to get to a place, and sometimes people’s lives and health are at stake. In this regard, I believe you are doing the right thing by using mobile teams. It’s also great that you are in the process of building a well equipped centre. Who is paying for it? Who is doing the actual work? Is it regional authorities?

Galina Tarasova: Yes, that’s correct.

Dmitry Medvedev: All right. Thank you for the invitation. I will try to set aside some time and go see it. Please, anyone else? Please go ahead. I like your outfit…

Valentina Uronina (educator, the public social services institute Raduga Social Rehab Centre for Minors, Republic of Mordovia): Good afternoon, Mr Medvedev. I represent the Republic of Mordovia. Just like in the rest of Russia, social services are very popular in our republic. However, people often have to wait in line in order to get access to these services. There is not enough space in the institutions, and some of these buildings are in need of major overhaul or even reconstruction. They are financed from the Pension Fund. The funds are used to buy equipment and emergency vehicles that are used to provide targeted social assistance to people in difficult circumstances. Financial aid is provided at fixed-site institutions and children’s social service centres. I have a question for you in this regard, Mr Medvedev. Will this financing for the regions from the Pension Fund be continuously available in the future?  As I mentioned before, all regions are faced with this problem.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can see from the list that I have here that am speaking with Valentina Uronina, correct? I am asking because you haven’t introduced yourself.

Valentina Uronina: Yes, correct, excuse me.

Dmitry Medvedev: Yes, I had to identify you. Thank you for your questions. The Pension Fund has been sponsoring the development of the social network for about ten years now and I believe that this is the right thing to do. I believe that they have invested about 4 billion roubles in the last four years alone. Total investment in social service institutions stands at around 1.5 billion. This money helps address very important issues; therefore, I believe that we will continue doing so.

Clearly, we won’t be able to resolve all issues at the expense of the Pension Fund alone. However, it helps solve many issues; therefore, we should use a variety of sources of financing, including the Pension Fund and funds from federal and regional budgets.

Valentina Uronina: Thank you. That gives us hope that the funding will continue.

Dmitry Medvedev: Have you received any direct transfers to Mordovia from the Pension Fund?

Valentina Uronina: I think so, we must have received…

Dmitry Medvedev: Everything is quite well organised within this system.

Valentina Uronina: Yes.

Dmitry Medvedev: I have looked into the situation in Mordovia, and the level of salaries of social services employees is not very high, so the new republican leadership will have to attend to some issues.

Valentina Uronina: But I don’t think we will look too bad compared with the average Russian level.  

Dmitry Medvedev: Not too bad, right?

Valentina Uronina: Of course, our leadership looks after us, bless them.

Dmitry Medvedev: Well, I see you are great politicians, you don’t want to criticise your superiors. How much do social service employees earn?

Valentina Uronina: Quite enough.

Dmitry Medvedev: Quite enough? I think a job in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be more fitting for you, you have a diplomatic mindset, you don’t want to confess. But I repeat, the situation with wages is not uniform. And the problem is not Moscow, which has high wages for understandable reasons, but that salaries vary greatly depending on the average salary in a specific region. In some places it is practically at the average level or is close to the average level (it hasn’t reached the average level anywhere).

As I see it, say in St Petersburg, the ratio between the average salary in the region and the salary of social services employees is quite decent. According to my data, I don’t know whether it is correct, but it says it’s about 90%. If that’s so, that is very good. Perhaps this data is not entirely accurate. And some regions have bad numbers. For instance, in the Vologda Region and the Tula Region it is 16% and 19% of the average regional salary.  This is indeed a very low level, and regional heads should focus on this. I’m calling on them to focus on this matter, and of course we will have to take decisions in this area. 

Valentina Uronina: Thank you. 

Dmitry Medvedev: Good, thank you. Go ahead please.

Valentina Panina (head of the specialised department for social and medical services extended to aged people and people with disabilities at the public social services institution Kislovodsk Comprehensive Social Services Centre, Stavropol Territory): Stavropol Territory. I represent a small resort town of Kislovodsk.

Dmitry Medvedev: A small town, indeed, but well-known. Go ahead, please.

Valentina Panina: I’m not afraid to say what our social workers make, it is 6,784 roubles [per month] on average. This job involves a huge amount of work. I work for a social-medical department, where 70% of patients are bedridden, and so I’d like to attract young people to this profession. Have a look at all of us, we are all getting on in years, and we need fresh faces. But for this, salaries must go up. This work is physically demanding. All of us are talking and going back and forth, but what we want to hear is when raises can be expected. This is my first point. 

And I wish to see such social-medical departments develop. In Russia we are accustomed to have our relatives at home. They are more comfortable at home. But they are lonely and they need daily care. Every day! We are trying to develop this three-year programme, the Daily Care programme. We are servicing people seven days a week, twice a day, and so on. But we have such limited capacity for providing services.  We need extra funds and, of course, salaries. I like to see 25-year-old girls taking care of old people and giving them smiles. This is a gift that needs support. And, of course, a big request of you: please tell us directly when we can expect this raise? 

Dmitry Medvedev: I assumed, Ms Panina, that you knew about the decisions that had been taken. I’ll repeat them because I said in the beginning of my speech that this is an incremental decision, it has been adopted and you are familiar with it. Under the directive of May 7, the decision on an incremental pay raise up to the level of average regional salary. Naturally, these will be incremental decisions, but it will happen by 2018. It will happen a bit quicker in some places and a bit slower in others. Of course, I don’t mean to say that we have to wait until 2018, but rather that these efforts will be building up in order to get closer to the average regional salary.

Again, I think it very important for regional governors to pay attention to the wages of social workers because both the regions and the federal centre are responsible. You were right to say that unfortunately – and I said this in the beginning too – the issue of this work’s prestige is rather sensitive. Of course a person wishing to make a lot of money will not take the job of a social worker in any case. This job is a calling from the heart, but in any case an influx of young personnel is indispensible. You were right to say that older people are very happy when young, strong, energetic people with a positive mindset work in social services. This prolongs their lives and indeed creates a good state of mind. But young people think about their salaries all the same. I’m not talking about some fantastic sums but this money should be enough to live in the given place because this country is very diverse and salaries in the Far East will never be the same as in central Russia because of different living conditions. That said, we should guarantee the average regional salary and observe the deadline I’ve mentioned.

Valentina Panina: Thank you.

Dmitry Medvedev: Who’d like to continue? Go ahead, please.

Yelena Luchkova (comprehensive Social Centre in the Yuryev-Polsky District, Vladimir Region): Yelena Luchkova from the Vladimir Region. I’ve been a social worker since 1997. Recently, new demands have been made on social workers and this is justified because our clients are mastering new technology and visiting exhibitions and recreation facilities. We should not fall behind them. We attend training courses in the regions but this is not enough and we’d like to be able to exchange experience regularly and to receive additional education at one of the federal social centres. This would help us upgrade our skills.

Dmitry Medvedev: I’m all for that. What should I do?

Yelena Luchkova: Allocate the funds, probably.

Dmitry Medvedev: Allocate the funds again! It wouldn’t be possible without more funds? I fully agree with you on the need to upgrade qualifications. All people are changing – even the elderly and people with disabilities – their requirements are also growing. You are all seasoned workers and you remember what it was like 10 or 20 years ago and some even 30 years ago that the requirements were lower. This is true but this is a good thing! It would have been worse if our country had not developed and your clients’ requirements remained the same as in the 1950s or 1960s. It doesn’t happen like that. So it is essential that we meet the new requirements. Social workers must be competent and well educated because these requirements may be very different – starting from ordinary things and ending with computer skills. There are many people among your clients…

Yelena Luchkova: Yes, young people with disabilities.

Dmitry Medvedev: …exactly! They appreciate such communication and pay much attention to social networks and an opportunity to communicate with others online. This is why social workers must be able to work with computers as well. Therefore, we must invest in courses and we will certainly do this.

I think it is also important to do what some colleagues suggested here – create the right models and facilities where social workers could come and learn something new because conditions are different everywhere. They could study interesting methods and learn from the experience of others.

I’d like to emphasise that this should not be limited to Moscow. It is an important city, of course, and has a lot to offer but there are plenty of good things in the regions as well, and their main asset is people.

Yelena Luchkova: Thank you.

Dmitry Medvedev: That’s a deal. Please, who else would like to speak? Finally, men are taking the floor!

Vladimir Kravtsov (director of the Mayakinsky Psychoneurological Boarding Home, Rostov Region): I’m the director of the Mayakinsky Psychoneurological Boarding Home in the Rostov Region. I’ve occupied this position since 1987. I’m proud of our institution, our team and clients and grateful for the government’s appreciation of my efforts. Thank you very much.

I’m proud of our football club, which has made some major achievements. In 2008 our guys won the championship in the Southern Federal District and took part in the finals in Torun in Poland. In 2009 they came third in mini-football at the Paralympics in Lisbon, Portugal. A year ago, in 2011, we took part in the Paralympics in Athens, Greece. Our women’s team is made up of seven players, five of whom are our boarding home residents, came fourth out of 173 teams. We are developing other sports as well – track and field events, table tennis, bowling and bocce.

We are also engaged in farming. We have 150 hectares of arable land and a pig farm, the only one in the region. We are the only farm to have met all the requirements on preventing the African pig plague epidemic.

Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Kravtsov, who works in the fields and on the farm?

Vladimir Kravtsov: We employ machine operators. When they get very busy we let our patients work for two or three hours a day as a form of therapy. We want our residents to feel productive and useful for society. Every year we make a profit of two million roubles from our farm. We supply our boarding home with 40% of vegetables we need and 30% of pork. Now we’ve started breeding sheep and already have 40 heads. We are reducing the strain on the budget in this way, at least to some extent. Budget subsidies are reduced by the amount of our profits. Since 2010 we have been an autonomous institution, one of the first in our region.

Dmitry Medvedev: Are you happy to be an autonomous institution? There are two sides to the coin.

Vladimir Kravtsov: Well, I am an economist by education… I think this is the way to go – to reduce the burden on the budget and keep people busy with something useful.

Our region is paying much attention to increasing material and technological resources. A tender has already been conducted and now they will start building the second stage in our institution … This project will cost about 600 million roubles in three years. The governor has earmarked these funds for us from the regional budget. I’m ready to share this experience with my colleagues and I’d also like to invite you, Mr Medvedev, to visit Rostov Region, our hospitable Don land.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you, Mr Kravtsov. I’m happy to hear that you are receiving different awards. You have organised a very active lifestyle in your boarding home.

Vladimir Kravtsov: My girls have won the Presidential Cup for three years running.

Dmitry Medvedev: That’s great. You have a special atmosphere although your clients are people with difficult destinies. Let’s be straight about this. Yet you have found your own ways to get them involved in activities and help them fulfill their potential. I think you deserve every praise for this achievement.

You have mentioned autonomous institutions. If you succeed at it it, it’s a good sign for me because not all centres are moving in this direction. If you think this makes sense, the experience you have already amassed must be put to use with the understanding that it should be used very carefully and not at all institutions. Thank you once again for your invitation. Thank you.

Go ahead, please. 

Lyudmila Obutova (senior nurse of the Kapitonovsk Home for the Elderly and People with Disabilities in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia): Good afternoon, dear Mr Medvedev.

Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon.

Lyudmila Obutova: I represent the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Thank you very much for your high appraisal of our work. This is my first time in Moscow. I have worked almost all my life as a nurse in the boarding home – for 41 years all in all. But in a message of greetings, they only mentioned 38 years rather than 41.

Dmitry Medvedev: Yes, this is an offense.

Lyudmila Obutova: Indeed. I felt offended because I have worked hard. I do my best to create comfortable living conditions for the elderly and people with disabilities. For more information and professional knowledge we read interesting professional publications with articles on modern patient care products for seriously ill patients. As for caring for the aged and people with disabilities, I have learned that in Germany they constantly hold exhibitions of new patient care equipment and other products. Is it possible to hold such exhibitions in this country?

Dmitry Medvedev: Are you asking a question?

Lyudmila Obutova: Yes.

Dmitry Medvedev: Let’s start with this: I want to ask you myself: how do you like Moscow, are you seeing it for the first time?

Lyudmila Obutova: We are only here in passing, quickly.

Dmitry Medvedev: Quickly-quickly?

Lyudmila Obutova: We came here…

Dmitry Medvedev: You are here, and I hope you’ll look around a bit?

Lyudmila Obutova: Yes, yes.

Dmitry Medvedev: You will visit the Kremlin. In any case, it’s good, although they took away three years of your employment term, do I understand you?

Lyudmila Obutova: Yes, they took it away.

Dmitry Medvedev: That’s not good.

Lyudmila Obutova: Not good of course.

Dmitry Medvedev: Well, justice will be served. As for exhibitions of patient care equipment, Ms Obutova, this is an appropriate and noble theme and all countries should pay attention to it. Unfortunately, the quality of domestic patient care equipment has differed drastically from the quality of foreign equipment for a long time. Now our industry is beginning to catch up and hopefully this process will continue. And exhibitions are being held in this country regularly, once a year, as far as I remember, - these are relatively small exhibitions – in St Petersburg, but we will naturally expand this practice. And Moscow has just begun to hold such an exhibition, right? 

Remark: Annual exhibition.

Dmitry Medvedev: Annual, right? Very good. Every federal district should hold such an exhibition, so that it won’t be necessary to travel to Moscow or St Petersburg. Such an exhibition should be held indeed someplace in the Far East, or an exposition should be displayed. These exhibitions should display state-of-the-art technology, the latest equipment and patient care products including for elderly people, so we’ll hold them. And contracts for the purchase of these products should be signed at these exhibitions. 

Lyudmila Obutova: Thank you.

Dmitry Medvedev: Does anyone wish to say anything? Please go ahead.

Zagida Khazipova (social work specialist, Comprehensive Social Services Centre, Chkalovsky District, Yekaterinburg): Good afternoon, Mr Medvedev. I’m a social worker from Yekaterinburg; my name is Zagida Khazipova. I am glad to meet you all; I congratulate you all on the holiday; and I wish all of you good health and  happiness in your family. I’ve been working in this area since 1999. We live in the village of Sysert eight kilometres from the city. This village can boast of only one worker, me. Sysert has a population of 800 including 400 people with disabilities, war veterans and pensioners. I’m providing services to all of them alone…  

Dmitry Medvedev: Do I hear you right, Ms Khazipova, that a total population of 800 people includes 400 people with disabilities and pensioners, war veterans and people with disabilities?

Zagida Khazipova: There are 400 people with disabilities. Yes.

Dmitry Medvedev: That is a serious proportion.

Zagida Khazipova: Yes. That’s because we have neither a first aid station, nor a health clinic, nor a school, and we have to bring everything from the city. Years ago, when I began, it was very hard. I carried essential items for these people in two sacks; however it’s easier now because – I want to thank the Minister of Labour and Social Security – they provided a car, and I bring 30-40 kilograms of products to each of them, but wages are low, so nobody wants this job. My pay is 4,480 roubles, and also I get some money for my teacher’s diploma and a 15 year employment term, all of which totals between 7,000 and 8,000 roubles. Thank you for this bit. Thank you for your attention. I’m a bit nervous. 

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you, everything is O.K., on the contrary, I’m happy to listen to you. What can I say? First, of course, even our short talk shows that all of you work hard. And I wish to simply thank all of you for your work once again, all of you here and in the Kremlin Palace, because you help to improve the health and the lives of many people. In this country, 20 million people or one seventh of the total population depend on you, depend on whether you show up on time or fail to come for some reason, whether they can reach you by phone or can’t. Everything you do is a daily feat. I don’t really care for exaggerated expressions like that, but it is true in this case. The local authorities have done the right thing in offering you a car; that was good, however they must allocate more money because – I repeat – your work provides not for your own wellbeing but for many others. You have given us a a good example. This is Chkalovsky District, right?

Zagida Khazipova: Chkalovsky District, yes.

Dmitry Medvedev: There are 800 people in your village.

Zagida Khazipova: Yes, 800 people.

Dmitry Medvedev: Half of them are under your responsibility.

Zagida Khazipova: And everybody in the village comes to me. War veterans say: “Her visit is better than any counterfeit drug.” That’s what they say.

Dmitry Medvedev: Well, that’s nice. And this is very good for you, I think. Given that half the population depends on you, it is necessary to take every effort for your work to be effective. And where do you live yourself?

Zagida Khazipova: In the same village.

Dmitry Medvedev: Right in the village? Do you keep the car or some one picks you up?

Zagida Khazipova: Someone drives up from the social services centre.

Dmitry Medvedev: Do they drive you around?

Zagida Khazipova: Yes, within Yekaterinburg.

Dmitry Medvedev: So you travel to the city?

Zagida Khazipova: Because we belong to Yekaterinburg. The village is eight kilometres from the city. We even have city registration.

Dmitry Medvedev: I’m glad to learn that you are such cheerful people despite hard work and insufficient wages…

Zagida Khazipova: I got attached to these people, with my whole heart, as to my parents because I come from a family with many children: nine girls… I am the youngest, the ninth.

Dmitry Medvedev: The state ought to do everything that depends on it: it should raise wages in established terms up to the average level and pursue other issues, but all the same this is a personal decision to work in your area. Maybe the same is true for a doctor and a teacher; if someone has this in him, he works as a social worker, if he doesn’t have this in him, he won’t stay with the job; he’ll leave because this work is hard.

Zagida Khazipova: I also think that… I’m not getting any younger and someday I’ll be in need too.

Dmitry Medvedev: I see. But you are people with open hearts.

Once again, I’d like to use this opportunity to thank you with all my heart. This victory in the contest will hopefully help you feel some gratitude from our large nation.

I want to congratulate you on the Social Worker’s Day again. And since 6,000 people have gathered here at the Kremlin, I suggest that we move there gradually, not to keep them waiting, which would be unfair to them. I’ll go there now too, and naturally will congratulate everybody.  

I wish you health and stamina because your work is very important for this country and for many people.  

Thank you very much.

Remark: Mr Medvedev, could we be photographed with you?

Dmitry Medvedev: Yes. I’ll be glad to. Sure. Let’s do it.


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