On June 25, 2014 President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members.The meeting addressed issues pertaining to organisation of transportation and development of communication services in Crimea, as well as the problem of taking care of refugees fleeing conflict zone in Ukraine. Ways to encourage low-income housing construction and the creation of institution of non-profit housing rental were discussed separately.
The following is a transcript of that conversation of that meeting held in the open door session of that meeting at the Kremlin:
PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: “Good afternoon, colleagues,
We will discuss railway transport issues today and carrying out the financial plan in this sector. This is a systemic issue that concerns the entire economy. But I want first to say a couple of words about my visit to Vienna. Overall, the work with our colleagues there was very substantial.
As you know, we reached an agreement on moving forward with the South Stream pipeline, and this is an important part of the project’s overall implementation. You could say that this represents a big step forward in carrying out our strategic plans and in supporting our European partners by ensuring stable energy resource supplies to Europe.
Among the various issues discussed, we also spoke about sensitive matters, issues such as the events in eastern Ukraine. In this respect we touched on the very sensitive problem of refugees. I asked you to look at what we can do to help people who are fleeing the conflict zone for our territory. It is clear that the number of refugees coming in now is too high for the regions to deal with on their own. I asked the Government to look at what we can do to support the regions. I know the Prime Minister has already made a decision. I ask Mr Kozak to say a few words now about how you are organizing this work.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER DMITRY KOZAK
“Mr President, as things stand at the moment, 95,000 people have applied to the Federal Migration Service to clarify their status on our territory. They are part of the approximately 400,000 people who, taking into account the difference between people leaving and entering the country, have officially applied for refugee status, for the right of temporary asylum, or to be granted citizenship or right of residence. This figure, even not counting refugees and people who have applied for temporary asylum, is more than triple what it was last year.
It is the regions on the border that are bearing the main burden at the moment. We have opened 271 temporary asylum centres there at the moment, which have taken in more than 27,000 displaced persons. Rostov Region has the biggest burden to bear in terms of providing shelter, medical care and food. The Government has already sent money.
We held a meeting with the federal executive authorities involved in this work yesterday, and with the regions that are bearing the biggest burden. We have decided to simplify procedures for obtaining the right of temporary asylum in the Russian Federation. The current procedures are cumbersome and require a medical examination first. With this many people coming in, we need to simplify procedures so as to make it quicker for people to obtain temporary asylum status.
Furthermore, many people are currently living with Russian families, but people did not count on having to provide for themselves for a month or two while waiting to obtain temporary asylum status, and are already experiencing material difficulties. We have therefore decided, starting Monday, to draft proposals so that whoever has been granted temporary asylum in Russia will also receive a one-off support payment. This is all the more so as many people are facing problems because Ukrainian banks are not working and many people came here with their bank cards but now cannot withdraw money. We will need to make some minimum funds available for these people too, and not just for those who are at the temporary shelter centres.
By Monday, we will have drafted a Government resolution on medical aid and vaccinations for the people arriving here. The local authorities currently have no such rights, and so we will allocate the necessary resources to make sure that people receive this assistance.
We already have cases of people seeking high-tech medical assistance, in particular for children. It is not possible to turn away these people in such a situation. There are only a few such cases and we will provide the needed assistance and make the additional funds available.
I also want to say that the number of people applying to take part in the programme for resettling and supporting compatriots from abroad has risen considerably, almost seven-fold, and now comes to more than 4,500.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: These are people wanting to permanently resettle in Russia?
DMITRY KOZAK: Yes, people wanting to permanently resettle in Russia under this program. The program is being carried out quite successfully in the regions: of the 48,000 people the program for this year was expecting, 33,000 people have already arrived from various countries, including Ukraine, the regions have already allocated start-up money, and the new arrivals are in employment, and so there is a demand for this program.
Most of the people applying to us now are people who have lost their homes in Ukraine, and this group is mostly seeking permanent residence. Given this situation, we have already decided that we need to support the resettlement programme and increase the provisions for it for this year.
We have spent the last five days working out with the regions where there is demand for labour resources and where there are possibilities for resettling people so that the process is a comfortable one and in keeping with the demographic situation. The regions have made applications.
The amount of money needed for this year is not so big, and so we will try to increase this programme so that people who have applied to resettle in Russia will soon receive support through this programme, so as not to keep them in the temporary shelter centres but send them straight away to the places where they will live.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good, thank you.