4 october 2012

Government meeting


Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen, today we have an extensive agenda, as usual. I’ll start with a report on the results of our efforts to establish crisis control centres. This is an important subject. It concerns our ability to protect our people and territories in the event of natural or man-made disasters. The events that took place in the Krasnodar Territory this summer demonstrated how much depends on having a timely early warning system and organising work with the people under such circumstances.

I’ve just been to the national crisis control centre. The formation of the integrated daily control system will be useful. It operates at the federal, interregional and regional levels. Apart from the national centre in Moscow, there are eight centres in Moscow's administrative areas, and 80 situation centres in the regions. They continuously receive real time information and I hope that this information is fully authentic and objective. These control centres extinguish up to 400 fires every day and neutralise several dozen emergencies. I emphasise that they do this every day. Regrettably, the most varied emergencies take place in this large country. Thus, several days ago there was a fire in the Saratov Youth Theatre. This is, of course, a sad event, but what matters most is that during the performance 450 spectators, including children and people with disabilities were quickly evacuated, from the theatre. None of the spectators were hurt, although the fire was very dangerous and threatened to spread to nearby districts. However, tragic consequences were avoided thanks to the professional work of fire fighters. This is an example of how to work in such situations. We must continue working on speeding up the response of control centres, using the latest communication equipment. People should know about how they may receive a signal, how they will be warned about impending danger and must be able to act in emergencies without panic.

Forecasting is vital for warning about emergencies. We will introduce space monitoring and modern network technology. It goes without saying that technical equipment is important, but it is not a cure-all. It is very important to employ professionals, high class specialists that are ready to be responsible for their work. But the general readiness of people to counter emergencies is also crucial. This is the goal of the civil defence system, which is marking its 80th anniversary today.

Another item on our agenda is migration legislation, an extremely resonant issue.

I’d like to say right away that the relevant proposal suggests toughening criminal responsibility for the violation of migration legislation, and introducing corresponding amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The issue is that the number of cases is growing. In 2006, for example, 230 criminal cases were launched at the initiative of the Federal Migration Service, as compared to about 400 last year. That said, all those who were taken to court had to pay a relatively small sum of five thousand roubles and were set free. Therefore, it is essential to both increase fines and toughen real punishment for offences. The fines should be raised to the top level of 300,000 roubles, and the longest prison sentence to a term of up to five years. If an offence was committed by an organised group, the punishment should be tougher – up to seven years in prison.

We continue implementing measures to meet our obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Today, two draft federal laws have been submitted to this effect. They concern amendments to specific laws and to certain provisions of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. They are all aimed at protecting children when their rights are violated or they find themselves in a difficult situation.

I’d also like to say a few words on another important subject. It concerns support of our agro-industrial complex in the context of Russia’s WTO entry, specifically government support for agricultural producers who are working in unfavourable conditions. This is a normal thing to do. Such support fully conforms to our WTO agreement, and does not fall under any mandatory restrictions. Amendments to the law on the development of agriculture have been drafted. They suggest identifying as unfavourable the conditions of those regions where the profit level of agricultural production is lower than the national average due to the social environment, nature and climate, or other factors. We, the Government of the Russian Federation, will decide the order and criteria by which certain territories will be qualified as regions with unfavourable conditions. I hope that this mechanism will allow us to better protect the interests of our agricultural producers.

In addition, I’d like to tell you that I’ve made a decision on the start of grain interventions with a view to regulating the general balance on the grain market. I’m instructing the Minister of Agriculture to prepare proposals on the scale of interventions, on the regions where they should be made and on all other important issues. Mr Dvorkovich, please report on the final proposals to me as soon as possible.

The first item is on setting up crisis control centres. Mr Puchkov, please go ahead on this subject, which we’ve just discussed in our crisis centre of the Emergencies Ministry.

Vladimir Puchkov (Minister of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief): Mr Medvedev and colleagues, several crisis management centres that are part of the Unified State Emergencies Prevention and Relief Centre have been put in place. Necessary arrangements have been made in accordance with the executive orders of the President and in pursuance of the decisions of the Government. First, we built the National Crisis Management Centre which is used for providing day-to-day management of the functional and territorial emergency and relief subsystems and coordinating activities at the federal level. That’s shown on slides three, four and five. The National Centre includes the Crisis Management Centre for Regional Emergencies Centres and the Crisis Management Centre for Main Directorates in Russian Regions. The federal situation centre, Russian regions and unified dispatch services work together with the latter. The actions of task forces and other groups are controlled in real time during emergencies and fires.  

Second, eight regional crisis management centres have been established. They coordinate relief work in federal districts and operate as day-to-day emergency relief agencies at the interregional level.

Third, we have established and properly equipped crisis management centres in the Russian regions, and they are providing day-to-day management in the regions. Crisis management centres are also an important part of national civil defence. Their tasks include managing civil defence forces during emergency relief, hazardous situations, hostilities or large-scale natural or man-made emergencies. They make preparations for and engage in evacuating people from disaster areas, organise life support in safe areas and deal with other civil defence tasks. For the first time in many years, a civil defence exercise is being held today under the Prime Minister’s command. The results of the exercise will be used to draft proposals designed to improve the work of all government civil defence agencies, including crisis management centres at all levels.

Slide Five. Measures to create crisis management centres shall be conducted based on applicable regulations with the use of innovative automated information and control systems. They provide effective information support for operational services and emergency management departments.

Information exchange is based on 29 agreements signed with federal executive authorities, 28 regulations signed with day-to-day federal monitoring authorities, as well as agreements with all 83 Russian constituencies.

These centres coordinate activities of the federal centre and the regions on a daily basis and eliminate the need to establish other redundant management structures. This improves the efficiency of daily activities of operational services and disaster relief teams. It has also improved the efficiency of management, reduced the number of managers and strengthened the numbers of response units. Over 150 major events with the participation of public authorities are held annually with the support of the National Crisis Management Centre.

Today, the National Crisis Management Centre provides day-to-day management for 45 functional emergency relief subsystems and groups of forces in 83 Russian regions. They coordinate the activities of emergency management and disaster relief forces with more than 1 million employees and operational forces of the Russian Emergencies Ministry where 51,000 people are on duty on a daily basis with a response time of 45 to 60 seconds. This includes flight crews, rescue teams, fire-fighting units and medical and psychological support units, to name a few. Special heavy-duty response INSARAG (International Search and Rescue Advisory Group) units that are certified by the United Nations are ready to respond in any part of the world within three hours.

Crisis management centres led the efforts to provide relief to major emergencies and fires across Russia. Furthermore, the crisis management centres coordinate international humanitarian operations and evacuate Russian citizens from international locations in emergency situations. Today, October 4, our forces are performing missions in Korea, Tuvalu, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Thailand and Tanzania. Over 40 international humanitarian operations and about 20 evacuations have taken place since early 2012. In general, we can conclude that we have effectively created a crisis management system in Russia. All directives issued by the  President and the  Government have been fulfilled. Nevertheless, we need to further develop the crisis management centre system to achieve our goals given the current socio-economic situation in Russia and presidential executive orders and be able to effectively counter dangers and risks associated with natural and man-made disasters.

Therefore, the Emergencies Ministry along with federal agencies and Russian regions need to take additional measures. I will identify the main ones. First, we propose completing the establishment of crisis management centres in Russian regions in order to deal effectively with the challenges and goals set by the Government. This work is being done in conjunction with the regions and builds on the interests and specifics of the territories in question in accordance with the signed agreements. The local centres should perform civil defence tasks, protect people and provide solutions to various problems in the regions. Day-to-day work of these centres will coordinate the activities of the federal centre and the regions and eliminate the need for other local administrative entities.

To provide information support to operational services, emergency relief bodies should update safety data sheets for different areas and facilities. Today, there are over 190,000 of them, covering about 90% of the need. These data sheets are the basis for developing investment projects and implementing regional social and economic development plans.

It is also planned to introduce qualitatively new approaches to prevent major emergencies and fires. It is important that control centres start working on a wide range of tasks to improve management and address everyday tasks in the regions.

Second, we suggest that the Emergencies Ministry, the Defence Ministry and the Interior Ministry share information in accordance with Russian law when they respond to emergencies. This requirement appeared for the first time in the federal law On Protecting People and Territories ... and entered into force on April 1, 2012. Coordinated activities of management bodies with a particular level of response when, upon a presidential decision, army or law enforcement agencies are involved in disaster relief, will improve relief activities, levels of interaction and the proper use of forces. Given the established level of response in emergencies, integrated risk assessment and a comprehensive integrated response system will be provided.

Slide ten please. Third, we propose completing the establishment of day-to-day federal management bodies in 2013 and completing this work in the organisations authorised to operate functional emergency relief subsystems based on the new Government structure. We believe that it is necessary to introduce modern information technology systems, integrate and interface information resources and control systems in order to create a reliable system of interagency cooperation to solve all kinds of issues. The system-wide introduction of new management techniques based on unified rescue chains that include monitoring, assessment, response, cooperation and effective assistance should be a priority in this work.

In accordance with the decisions of the President and the Government, we are implementing priority measures to create the System 112 phone service to call in case of emergencies. All necessary preliminary decisions to address the problem have been taken. Now, it’s time to proceed with the practical implementation of all planned activities and do so with high quality and efficiency.

Fourth. We propose introducing a nationwide system of space monitoring using Russian satellite systems, a modern network and information technology into everyday activities of local crisis management centres. Mr Medvedev, we conducted an experiment this year where we supplied space monitoring data about wildfires directly to municipalities. This proved to be very effective, and we were able to start fighting fires almost on the day they broke out. We are extending this practice to other areas of responsibility of municipalities. This allows us to track and monitor natural hazards, major accidents, fires, the situation in oceans, radiation, the movement of Russian sea and river vessels, as well as other natural phenomena. We use GLONASS extensively to perform these tasks. We also need to integrate information technology infrastructures, draft and implement common technical requirements, standard software solutions and information security and otherwise coordinate the activities of day-to-day management bodies.

Fifth, we propose building a global cooperation network for crisis management centres and single out certain zones, such as EU, CIS, SCO and APEC (Slide 14). We plan to organise joint activities with relevant services and organisations between crisis management structures and coordination centres of the relevant international organisations. We are also taking measures on international operational and technological cooperation and exchange of operational information between the Russian Emergencies Ministry and emergency services of other countries. Today, we have established stable working relationships with almost all European countries. Through Venezuela, we are working with all of South America and we have a very close cooperation with the countries of North America. With regard to the Asia-Pacific economic Cooperation , we plan to discuss prospects for establishing crisis management centres in this region during  the meeting of heads of emergency services in Vladivostok on October 8-10.

Finally, the work of the Russian regions to address key disaster prevention and relief issues and civil defence tasks is very important. Therefore, regional executive authorities should, within the limits of their authority, create and improve the work of emergencies authorities in the regions, municipalities and at facilities to meet modern management standards and approaches. Decisions designed to further develop crisis management centres will help bring management of the emergency relief forces to a whole new level. This will significantly increase the role played by the space and the integrated monitoring in preventing emergency situations. This will help go from the operational emergency response to risk management and minimisation of losses. The results of this work will significantly reduce the number of major emergencies and other disasters and mitigate their fallout. Secondly, it will reduce the number of casualties and help solve other problems.

The main actions for further development of the crisis management centres are set forth in the draft minutes of the Government meeting that have been agreed in due course. Please support it. That concludes my report.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you, Mr Puchkov.

The report was about the establishment of crisis management centres. I have been to our main nationwide centre lately. It is clear that it received proper funding, has adequate personnel and is using the latest monitoring system, but I would like to reiterate what we started today's meeting with: much depends on the level of training and the professionalism of employees and their ability to act in crisis situstions. This was demonstrated by this summer’s events and in general it can be seen during any crisis or disaster. The Emergencies Ministry, the federal and the regional authorities should focus on these issues. Are there any questions to the speaker? Agreed, then.

As I said at the last meeting, get your proposals for the departmental programme ready.

Vladimir Puchkov: We/ve got them, Mr Medvedev. We will submit them in accordance with the established procedure.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you. Good. Let’s continue our work.


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Members of the Government heard a report by the Minister for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief and instructed the Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief, the Defence Ministry and the Interior Ministry to ensure the necessary information cooperation, while stipulating a special-emergency response level during disaster-relief operations, and to inform the Government on specific results in the first quarter of 2013.

Federal executive bodies and authorised organisations controlling functional subsystems of the joint state system for the prevention of emergencies and for disaster-relief operations were instructed to complete the creation of routine federal-level emergency-response management agencies in 2013, and to stipulate the introduction of modern information technologies.

The Government also advised regional executive bodies to create and upgrade emergency-response management agencies at regional, municipal and corporate levels in line with their respective powers.

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Following the Government meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets commented on the decision to establish the Government Council on Guardianship

Olga Golodets: Good afternoon, colleagues. I will brief you on the recent establishment of the Government Council on Guardianship.

It is impossible to implement social policy projects today without the active participation of civil society. Guardians who are now working in most of the social services institutions addressed us with a request in July to establish such a council so that the Government has an efficient instrument for cooperation with activists and volunteers who work in social care establishments.

The Government Council on Guardianship will engage only in social care establishments – hospitals, hospices, educational institutions and orphanages. This is a very special kind of guardianship because it concerns the most vulnerable social categories – disabled people, orphans, children in difficult circumstances who are confined to hospital beds for a long time. That’s why the role of this council is hard to overestimate because these vulnerable social groups need permanent care from the state and society. I am glad that committed people whose work has already proved that they are capable of developing and improving the system have joined the council – Chulpan Khamatova, Yegor Beroyev, Yulia Basova and many other wonderful people. I hope that the formation of this council will change the level of cooperation between government agencies and civil society institutions.

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