Summarizing the results of the passed year the President said that the country achieved the goals set out to do both within the framework of the 2020 Concept and within the framework of medium term plans.
Dmitry Medvedev pointed out that the Government should particularly focus on development of social assets in the incoming year.
"I think that overall, our country, the Russian Federation, carried itself through 2008 commendably. We confidently achieved the goals that we had made for ourselves; overall, we developed, expanded all of the main positions that we set out to do within the framework of the 2020 Concept, and met our goals within the framework of our shorter-term and medium term plans”, said the Russian President.
"I would like to ask all members of government, as well as our colleagues from the State Duma and the Federation Council, to pay particularly close attention to social services, because that is the area that most interests citizens, and while perhaps we can limit any of our spending in other areas, social services should remain our highest priority in government development. It should remain under constant control by government, law-makers, all non-governmental organizations, and parliamentary parties, as this is the most important component of our lives», the Russian Head of State pointed out.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that the results of economic and social development in the passed year are positive.
"The results of the Russian economy and social development in 2008 are positive. A GDP growth is expected to be about 6 per cent. Many other key social and economic indicators are also positive. For example, a growth rate of agricultural production is even higher than expected. The latest data – 10 per cent. A growth rate of investments in the economy is also higher than expected: 10 per cent. Despite the inflation average wages increased by about 13.5 per cent and in the real terms – by 10-12 per cent. Pensions increased by one third”, said the Russian Head of Government.
At the same time, according to Putin the results would have been better if it had not been for the global financial crisis, which affected Russia.
"The global financial crisis that evolved into the economic crisis inevitably affected our country. In so doing its impact on the Russian economy is rather painful due to its specific structural features. We not only experienced the consequences of the world financial system collapse but also faced a sharp fall in prices for our main export commodities: metals, energy, chemicals, etc.” said the Russian Premier.
However Vladimir Putin emphasized that the Government was ready for the negative scenario.
We “always kept in mind a possible negative scenario”, said the Head of the Cabinet. “I said it repeatedly; therefore we pursued a rather prudent and weighed financial policy. We created big reserves, so, when the threat became a reality, Russia was in position to use the accumulated funds to respond to the crisis”.
The Chairman of the Russian Government pointed out that the created reserve fund successfully provided for replenishment of lost budgetary incomes. Trillions of Rubles have been already appropriated for implementation of anti-recessionary measures, and this money will be spent efficiently, emphasized the Head of Government. “This sum includes the funds of the federal budget, Bank of Russia and reserve funds”, he said. Vladimir Putin pointed out that it is quite possible that there will be no need to spend all this money.
"I should make reservation: the Government does not intend to throw new and new money into the furnace of the crisis not thinking about the efficiency of its use. The efficiency of budgetary expenditures and maintenance of the macroeconomic stability become the highest priority”, said the Russian Premier.
The Chairman of the Russian Government told how the reserve fund money was spent.
"First of all it was necessary to extinguish the most acute manifestations of the crisis and support our banking system. Of course, it was not a desire to help to rich bankers but we had to maintain the blood-vascular system of the national economy, maintain its stability and prevent the loss of private savings”, he said.
"Further, we have taken steps to maintain the business activity in the economy, radically decreased taxes, and elaborated measures to support key industries of the real sector. They include first of all the machine-building, transport, defense enterprises, fuel and energy industry, agriculture, retail and SME”, said the Russian Prime Minister.
Besides, Vladimir Putin noted that the Government has made a list of 295 strategic enterprises receiving state support in various forms.
"Operations of the strategic enterprises will be carefully monitored by the State Board for Improvement of Economic Stability, said the Head of the Russian Government.
Vladimir Putin focused on two specific measures aimed at the assistance to citizens who found themselves in distress due to the loss of job or decrease of earning.
"The point at issue is to increase the unemployment allowance, implement regional employment promotion programs, and assist in repayment of mortgage credits”, he said.
"Today we may say that the most urgent decisions have been taken. We created an anti-recessionary state governance architecture that includes special legislation acts, situation monitoring system, governance and immediate response bodies”, said the Prime Minister.
The Head of the Cabinet also touched upon a plan and future prospects. “In November, the Government approved the Concept of Russia’s Long-Term Development until 2020”, he said.
"The task is to securely settle by the end of the next decade in the group of world leaders both in terms of the economic development and key living standards of the Russian citizens”, said the Russian Premier.
At the end of his speech the Russian Prime Minister expressed gratitude to all ministers for their good and coordinated work in the passed year.