26 november 2012

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev meets with Deputy Prime Ministers

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Dmitry Medvedev: On Friday, the State Duma passed the budget in the third reading. At any rate, this draft law has been passed for 2013 and, consequently, for the 2013-2015 planning period. I would like to thank the members of the Government who were actively involved in drafting this document. And, of course, I would like to thank the Duma deputies, above all, United Russia, which has accomplished a great deal of work. This is very important, all the more so as the budget, which is rather rigid and complicated, stipulates austerity measures. The budget was passed in a difficult situation and has given rise to various debates, but this is a realistic document. And, most importantly, it reflects the current state of the Russian economy, and it should ensure the country’s sustainable development and growth. In the long run, the budget will reduce our dependence on oil and gas revenues and will accomplish this objective, which concerns all of us. However, this will not happen very quickly, and it will be linked with the current state of the global economy. Anyway, I believe that the budget combines conservative and development related aspects. And most importantly, the budget stipulates the fulfillment of all social obligations. The Government considers this objective to be highly important.

And now I would like to mention another extremely important issue. I have issued a directive to complete work on the so-called law “on fans,” also known as the law on ensuring public control, law and order at official competitions. This document was quite relevant, but it naturally became even more important after recent events, including an incident at the Dynamo – Zenit football match in Khimki. We need to take measures that are legally balanced, but which are also sufficiently harsh for those who come to a stadium not to watch a game but to break the peace, and very harsh for those who come planning to commit offences, the more so as we are set to host a number of large competitions in the next few years. I am referring above all to the Universiade in Kazan in 2013, the 2014 Winter Olympics and, of course, the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Hence, ensuring public order and the safety of citizens, including fans and football players, is an unconditional priority. The document has been prepared; it stipulates special powers for the Government and other agencies, as well as responsibility [for offences]. Mr Kozak, you oversaw that issue, as I entrusted it to you and to the Minister of Sport. What stage is the draft law at now?

Dmitry Kozak: The law has been drafted and improved with due consideration for the results of the Government meeting. It is ready for submission to the State Duma. It has been coordinated with all the agencies concerned. I’d like to remind you that it was drafted jointly with the Association of Football Fans and public organisations. The draft law provides for strengthening… It adds to the legislation new kinds of offences and violations of the rules of behaviour during sporting events.

Dmitry Medvedev: Such as?

Dmitry Kozak: It is planned that the rules should be approved by the Government. This is stipulated in the draft law, as you have said. There are several kinds of administrative liability for violating these rules, including a new penalty, a ban from attending sporting events for one month to a year, depending on the gravity of the offence committed at a stadium. Compliance with the rule shall be the responsibility of the Interior Ministry departments and the owners/users of sport facilities. In addition, in accordance with the rules on the safety of sporting events, all stadiums shall have video monitoring equipment that will help to quickly solve these crimes, as well as violations of the ban on attending sporting events. Additional responsibility is stipulated for violating the ban, up to and including administrative arrest. In addition, we are working jointly with State Duma deputies and associations of sport fans on the issue of criminal responsibility for violating a court decision prohibiting a culprit from attending sporting events.

Apart from the draft law, the Ministry of Sport and the Ministry of the Interior have been instructed to prepare for a second reading the safety rules for sport facilities and the rules of spectator behaviour, so that the entire legislation on this issue is ready and can be adopted as soon as possible, probably by the end of January.

Dmitry Medvedev: I browsed the proposals on banning [spectators]. This provision is applied in nearly all countries where people love football and where spectator behaviour varies.

I just thought of something: maybe for those who commit a crime right at the stadium, this administrative ban could be extended, maybe even for life. In any case it could be longer, so that anyone committing a grave offence would keep in mind that the punishment will be followed by a long ban on attending this kind of sporting event.

Dmitry Kozak: As to criminal punishment, it already exists – for hooliganism.

Dmitry Medvedev: I was just saying what I thought of right now. If anyone commits hooliganism, as was the case at Khimki Stadium, that person will face at least a year behind bars. However, when the convict comes out, his/her administrative ban also expires. I don’t think this is fair though, because, although he has already served his term, other spectators should not have to suffer from that person’s presence at the stadium.

Dmitry Kozak: A relevant amendment to the criminal code…

Dmitry Medvedev: This is just something to think about, and I am not going to impose my ideas on anyone. I just think this is a case for an administrative ban to be longer than the prison sentence; or it could be counted from the day the prison term actually ends. Agreed.

Two more important documents were considered last week. Along with the federal budget, we considered two government programmes for the development of the transport system and the aircraft industry. Regional transport services are an important component of the accessibility of some of Russia’s regions, which is crucial for Russia, unlike for other countries. Regional services in Russia are rather like international services in Europe. One of the policies to improve the transport situation is government support of air transport to a number of destinations in the Far East, Siberia as well as northwestern Russia.

The Government is planning to approve a law on  federal subsidies to make passenger transport from Kaliningrad to European Russia and back affordable. I know that this issue is being widely discussed in Kaliningrad – I have spoken with many people there and with the local authorities as well. The idea is to introduce a discounted fare for all Russian citizens of all ages, regardless of their place of residence during a designated period. Mr Dvorkovich (addressing Arkady Dvorkovich), how is this progressing?

Arkady Dvorkovich: Following your orders, the Transport Ministry has drafted the applicable resolution and procedure. The draft was submitted to the Government today after approval by other agencies. The financing of this initiative has been included in the 2013-2015 federal budget. The change from the previous version of this act is that all Russians will be entitled to this discount without having to confirm that they live in the Kaliningrad Region. Why is this important? It is a pragmatic step. Until recently, it was difficult to buy discounted tickets for children because they do not have passports which would contain data on their place of residence. Dozens or even hundreds of Russians encountered this problem travelling with kids. Now this problem will be solved. In addition, the period of this discount will be extended for another month. It will still begin on May 15, but instead of September 15 it will end on October 15. People should be able to travel more – this is a good thing.

Dmitry Medvedev: It certainly is, because some people go on vacation in September rather than in summer. They will be able to travel to European Russia, and people living there will be able to travel to Kaliningrad.

Arkady Dvorkovich: So this resolution can be signed within the next few weeks, and it will come into effect next summer.

Dmitry Medvedev: All right. Prepare it for signing. Agreed.

Lastly for today, I would like to inform you all, as well as the reporters present, that on November 20, I signed a resolution on the federal information system. This system, working as a one-stop shop, will enable people to contest decisions of state and government agencies and officials with respect to providing state and municipal services without going to court. People will be able to post their complaints against any government agency on a website, which should also allow people to track the progress of their request. The website should also contain statistics on the types and numbers of complaints lodged and addressed. The system still needs some time for finalising and debugging and is expected to become fully operational on January 1, 2014.

At this stage, a pilot version will go online, which is also expected to prove its worth and make the management of state agencies at all levels more efficient.

Let’s begin discussing other issues. Thank you.