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Building a Strong Society in the Changing WorldVladimir Putin, President, The Russian Federation According to our overview of the past four years, we can state with confidence that Russia has not only recovered from the crisis but has also made a significant step forward. We have become stronger.In the course of the past election campaign I listed our priorities, at least as I saw them as a presidential candidate. My first presidential decree will include a roadmap for all the initiatives that I announced. Moreover, work on them has already begun. I believe that we must focus on the issues of strategic, fundamental importance that have to do with our historical prospects as a nation. Firstly, it is the demographic situation in Russia. Every Russian citizen counts today. We must realise that we will face a serious challenge to the demographic echo of the 1990s, when the country saw its most severe demographic decline. We need to take new decisive steps to maintain and raise our population numbers. However, unless we revive the traditional attitude to basic moral values, no socio-economic policy will produce stable results. The efforts of the state, society, religious, educational and cultural organisations should be aimed at promoting a strong, prosperous family with children.Secondly, Russia has the world's largest territory. We must preserve and protect our territory from external threats and provide modern living and working conditions in all the country's regions. We must pay a great deal of attention to the development of the Far East and Eastern Siberia. This is an essential geopolitical task. We need to ensure higher growth of the gross regional product in Siberia and the Far East as compared to the growth of the national GDP. This trend needs to " The 21st century promises to become the age of new geopolitical, financial, economic, cultural and civilisation centres "continue for at least 10 to 15 years. Certainly, we will try to achieve a stable demographic increase in these regions instead of an outflow that is still observed. Its pace is decreasing, but, unfortunately, the outflow is still there. We must ensure population growth. We are now discussing the establishment of a specialised agency that will coordinate and oversee the implementation of projects aimed at developing the Far East and Eastern Siberia. The decisions will be submitted soon.Our third priority is the creation of new and sound jobs. Millions of people are now employed in outdated, ineffective workplaces with low wages and zero prospects. We must provide them with other jobs, interesting and well-paid, which can give them high living standards, good pay and the opportunity to support a large family. The average real wages in Russia need to grow by at least 37-41 per cent by 2020. We must also encourage active employment of people with disabilities, which requires building a nationwide barrier-free environment. We have adopted such a programme and you are aware of this.Creating sound jobs is essential to meet the demands of our human resources. An extensive middle class is a key for victory over poverty. This is an opportunity for millions of people to fulfil their dreams and it is a way to a true diversification of the national economy.Hence, our fourth basic goal is to build a new economy. It is not fourth in terms of importance. In terms of importance, this is probably the key one. The economy must be stable and capable of showing qualitative growth under tough competition. We must be prepared for any external shocks. As Pictured: Vladimir PutinCredit: UMP photo034 G-20 MEMBERS

you know, the possibility that they will happen again is quite high. The world has entered the age of turbulence. In addition, there is a wave of technological changes; the configuration of global markets is also changing.For instance, the United States has actively developed the technology of shale gas production over the past years. Colleagues from LDPR ask about this issue and our attitude to it. It can dramatically restructure the hydrocarbons market. Russian energy companies must certainly meet this challenge. I agree with the deputies' proposal on the creation of a better long-term system of macroeconomic, financial, technological and defence forecasting. It is all the more important given that the 21st century promises to become the age of new geopolitical, financial, economic, cultural and civilisation centres. nVladimir Putin was sworn into office as President of the Russian Federation on 7 May 2012, for a six-year term. This is Mr Putin's third term as President - he formerly served for two terms from 2000 through 2008. He returns to the post after four years as Russia's Prime Minister. The above remarks are a part of Mr Putin's annual report on the Government Performance to the State Duma, delivered on 11 April 2012, when he was still President-Elect and Prime Minister. Source: Government of the Russian Federation.G-20 MEMBERS 035