Uploaded on Dec 20, 2008
Live with President Vladimir Putin - Hot Line (excerpts)Part 3
December 24, 2001
Moscow, Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, village of Kazache-Malevany (Krasnodar Region), Kaliningrad, Novosibirsk, Murmansk, Rostov-on-Don, St Petersburg
Прямая линия с Президентом России
24 декабря 2001 года
Москва, Владивосток, Екатеринбург, Казань, хутор Казаче-Малеваный (Краснодарский край), Калининград, Новосибирск, Мурманск, Ростов-на-Дону, Санкт-Петербург
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Thank you for your question. Indeed, little is happening in this sphere, but I must say that reforms havent really started. So far there has been just talk about the reform. It is as if somebody who has suffered from a chronic ailment for many years comes to a doctor and says: I want to join the pool of cosmonauts, can you give me a pill because I have to pass my medical checkup tomorrow with flying colours. Such miracles do not happen.
The problems with the housing and utilities sector have been building up for years, and not only in the last 10 years. You are a young man, I dont consider myself to be an old man myself, but I remember, and the people of my generation remember well a lot of jokes about plumbers in the Soviet times: they either have no nut of the right size, or a pipe would break, and pipes would leak here and there we all know it. The sector was under-funded for decades. But in the Soviet times, although all this was officially municipal property, in fact it was financed by the central government, because the heads of the so-called planning commissions of local Executive Councils went to Moscow or to the regional capital to lobby for more allocations. And the money then trickled down to house maintenance committees. Everything was in short supply, and there was underfunding, and everything was slowly decaying, but in general kept afloat.
Beginning from the 1990s the whole housing and utilities sphere was truly transferred to the municipalities, and their financial and budgetary resources are way too limited to meet the needs of the housing and utilities sector.
So, a lot remains to be done here. And for starters, we should make sure that the money the government allocates, including the federal budget money, does not go to local monopoly enterprises (it does not matter whether they are private or government-owned, what matters is that they are monopolies), but directly to the people: to you and other owners of housing. When people begin to accumulate money in special personal accounts and create associations of flat owners and themselves order services, then that government money will work much more effectively.
Experts say that 20% less money will be needed than we spend on that sphere today. And another result which is important in this country, whose population is not very wealthy, is this: government assistance will reach the people who need it. And the people with high incomes will pay the full price.
ANTONINA RZHANOVA (Volgograd): My name is Antonina Yemelyanovna Rzhanova. I am a war veteran and I get a pension of 1000 rubles. Help me, please, I saw military action during the war. I was on the frontline and for some reason I only get a pension of a thousand rubles. I have been in Kalmykia, I have been in Poland.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: I understand. Thank you for your question. It is strange to hear this because the average pension in the country has exceeded the targets that we set early in the year. In general, I must say (and this is well known) that over the past two years the government has been paying a due share of attention to pensioners, at least to the best of its ability. I have said that the average pension has increased by about 23%, but the pensions of war veterans and disabled war veterans have increased even more. Let me see, the pension to World War II veterans has increased by 1250 rubles and has reached 3400 rubles. And if for some reason your pension has not been adjusted, that is odd, obviously it is a mistake of the relevant agencies, which should look into it.I hope that you have left your telephone number with the studio and it will be passed on to us, and I promise you that the problem will be solved.
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