Dmitry Medvedev meets with Deputy Prime Ministers


Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Dmitry Medvedev: Well, we need an update on the recent holidays. Holidays are a good thing, of course, but they are over and, as usual, the celebrations are also accompanied – to my regret – by anything but pleasant events. Let me start with some rather grim statistics: during the New Year holidays, there were 134 road accidents caused by drunken drivers; 15 people died and almost 200 were injured. In other words, it’s the same old story that we have discussed time and time again. Hardly a day goes without new reports about more deaths, including, regrettably, children hit by drunken motorists. We have repeatedly discussed this subject. I think that we must go back to it again and at long last approve measures directed at fighting drunk driving, rather than counting the pro mille of alcohol that one can take – or not take – before getting behind a wheel.

The proposals we have discussed are in the form of a draft law. We considered it and then introduced it. It stipulates a severe punishment, toughening both criminal and administrative liability for violating driving regulations in a state of alcoholic inebriation. They are looking at the draft in the State Duma now. Mr Shuvalov (First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov), how soon do you think they will make it through parliament?

Igor Shuvalov: Mr Medvedev, as you instructed us, we continue working with the State Duma. As a result, Deputy Irina Yarovaya drafted a bill which was then submitted to the Government for approval. On December 17, the Government forwarded its comments to the State Duma with a recommendation to support the bill after finalising it. I have contacted Ms Yarovaya, as you instructed; this week we will meet to discuss how the draft can be amended so that lawmakers support it and the Government has no problems with it.

To follow up on what you were saying, the Ministry of the Interior has reported to the Government that 16,616 people were arrested between December 30 and January 8 for drunk driving or for refusing to take the test.

Dmitry Medvedev: Which in fact means the same thing.

Igor Shuvalov: Exactly. This is a lot actually, and this suggests that the situation is not controlled properly so far.

Deputy Yarovaya proposed raising administrative fines for some offences to 50,000 roubles, and up to 200,000 roubles for more serious violations. Criminal liability will be introduced or increased in cases where the perpetrator caused the victim serious bodily damage while intoxicated.

Dmitry Medvedev: This is in alignment with my proposals which we have repeatedly discussed; the time has come to implement them. In addition, I will discuss this with the United Russia party leadership and parliamentary group in order to promote this draft law.

And just to inform you – on December 27, I signed a resolution restricting the number of locations licensed to sell liquor. This resolution aims to reduce alcoholism especially among children and young people. Under the federal law, this resolution includes a package of amendments to the Criminal Code and Administrative Code. I hope this will also produce some positive results. This work should be conducted in regions with mass media support; information should be posted on [official] websites. Mr Dvorkovich (addressing Arkady Dvorkovich), you, as a supervisor of this sphere, will you say a few words on this point? 

Arkady Dvorkovich: Yes, this resolution was signed in accordance with the requirements of federal law with respect to state regulation of production and sale of ethanol and spirits. The resolution sets up the criteria for local bodies, regions and local governments to determine  locations where the sale of spirits is restricted. What are these locations? First, these are places of mass action under the law On Meetings, Demonstrations, Marches and Picketing: the sale of spirits is banned during such actions, and both before and after. Second – these are high risk locations, that is, large enterprises, power stations and similar facilities, according to the law on industrial security, and also, most importantly, to restrict the sale of spirits in places with a great number of children and young people – these are educational institutions, healthcare institutions, sports centres and surrounding areas. Local governments will establish time limits and specific boundaries of the areas where the sale of spirits is banned under the criteria included in the Government resolution. Every region can deviate by 30% at most from the minimal distance that it has established.  But these standards cannot differ greatly. For example, we cannot allow a case where one kindergarten has a 50-metre restricted zone and another kindergarten has a 200-metre restricted zone. There can be zones of 100 metres, 130 metres and 70 metres – larger differences in the size of the zones are unacceptable.  All these maps of restricted areas should be published in mass media and posted on websites. We have also decided to monitor the performance of local governments within six months – in order to see who established the local restrictions and in what manner. If necessary, we will introduce amendments, we will propose that the Government introduce amendments in the adopted resolution or even in the federal law.

Dmitry Medvedev: We will see how this all works – it’s important, on the one hand, that all bans be well structured and, on the other hand, they are achievable. This is the other side of any rule.

Let’s take another subject that has resonated with the public.  I mean the protection of orphans. Last year the subject of adoption produced a colossal public response. It is still an issue. People voiced various opinions and that is no surprise. But everybody, both the opponents and proponents of a number of laws agree that in any case the problem of parentless children demands a comprehensive solution. We should not only create conditions for families adopting children, we should also ensure that children’s homes are well run.    

A special presidential executive order to protect orphans and children without parental care came into force on January 1. It provides various kinds of state support measures for adoptive parents and guardians. This is a comprehensive task. The situation in Russia greatly varies. Just recently, on Friday, I visited a children’s home. If a children’s home gets support, its condition is normal, that’s clear. If either the state or possible benefactors fail to pay attention to a children’s home, the situation is more complex. The problem demands a comprehensive solution both with respect to children’s homes and adoptions.

Ms Golodets (addressing Olga Golodets), you should organise the effort to implement this executive order. It has a tight timeframe. Tell me, what are you planning to do on this matter?

Olga Golodets: Indeed, Mr Medvedev, we continue to address the issue of parentless children because this is one of the most acute problems. Our database on parentless children currently has over 128,000 entries. These children need to be adopted today. We also have a waiting list among …

Dmitry Medvedev: Ms Golodets, what parentless children are you talking about? You mean all of them?

Olga Golodets: In all, there are over 650,000 parentless children, or 654,000, to be exact. However, an overwhelming majority of them now receive various forms of family support. They have been adopted, or live in foster families or are in the care of adult guardians.

Dmitry Medvedev: So, these are children who have not been adopted, who are not in foster care, and who don’t have adult guardians?

Olga Golodets: Yes, we currently have over 128,000 children in this category. We have families, which are ready to receive … 

Dmitry Medvedev: How many children are there at children’s homes?

Olga Golodets: In all, 105,000 children stay at children’s homes and similar institutions. The remaining 23,000 children study at vocational institutions. They are already at least 14 years old, and some of them continue to study and live in dormitories. They are also placed under special state protection.

Dmitry Medvedev: I would like to raise a separate issue. I have talked to people in the Ivanovo Region where many people have to wait for housing for a long time. Of course, this depends on the efficiency of the governor and the size of the housing fund, but this is a nationwide problem.

Olga Golodets: Currently, 18,000 families are ready to adopt children or otherwise care for them. We are now looking into how to reduce the time it takes and expediting official adoption and guardianship procedures. We will complete this highly important system on time, quickly and efficiently. We are receiving help from civil society organisations and from absolutely all ministries and departments as we work to complete this project.

A presidential executive order was issued on December 28. The directives making it possible to implement the executive order were issued on December 29. As you have noted, a directive envisioning additional material support for families who adopt children is among the most important directives. For instance, families adopting a parentless child will receive a more substantive one-time payment. Those individuals who care for disabled children will also receive extra benefits. In addition, we stipulate an entire range of privileges, benefits and payments to support families who care for disabled children and those children who have been accepted, regardless of their health.

At the same time, we have started re-examining all children who are currently at children’s homes and other similar institutions in line with a separate programme and in line with the decisions of the December 18 meeting of our board of trustees. The trustees are making it clear that current diagnoses need to be revised and specified. We need to choose the correct forms that meet the individual development and education needs of each child. I hope that we will be able to transition to new methods for fostering the children’s development as a result of our work, that every child will be able to find a family that pays for or cares for him or her on a professional basis, and that he or she will be adopted. This is an absolute priority for our country.

Dmitry Medvedev: All right. Good. I would like to once again draw your attention to the fact that the executive order stipulates quite rigid deadlines for drafting the document. I noted the need to expedite the procedure a month ago because I believe that this is the right thing to be done. But when we start drafting proposals to expedite the adoption process and the process for sponsoring children, then we must do our best to create a reasonable procedure. In other words, we must see to it that this process is doable. As for taxes and benefits, specific proposals should be drafted with due consideration of incentives. At the same time, we should, naturally, take into account the current national economic situation.

We must also focus on the medical aspect, which is a top priority. We need to assess the medical care, including high-tech, provided to these children.

So, we are agreed. Thank you.


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