“Better to work than complain” – Putin to the Cabinet

RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolskiy
Vladimir Putin has lashed out at officials over logjams at Moscow airports that came as a result of bad weather. The premier banned the Cabinet and the regions’ heads from taking New Year leave unless the situation is resolved.

Before wrapping up its work for the year and enjoying the upcoming holidays, the Russian government presidium – including the deputy premiers and key ministers of the Cabinet – held a meeting today at Moscow’s White House.

However, the mood at the beginning of gathering was not exactly festive. Just as Russia started recovering from the consequences of unprecedented summer heat, the so-called freezing rain hit the Moscow Region, resulting in chaos at the airports and leaving thousands without electricity for several days.

Commenting on the issue, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called on the ministers “to work rather than complain.”

For three days, thousands of passengers have been stranded at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo airports due to flight delays and cancellations as a result of weather conditions.

The prime minister stressed that all those responsible should “stay at their work places instead of already celebrating New Year.” He noted the weather has deteriorated since Sunday so serious efforts are required to tackle the situation.

The premier was especially angered at the way people were treated.

“How did you work with people?” he wondered applying to representatives of airlines and airports. Though, that was a rhetorical question with the answer already known. “You didn’t at all.”

Putin said that while there were electricity cuts at Domodedovo, people still kept arriving at the airport, since they were not aware of the problems.

“What was notification like? There was none. As a result, over 8,000 people got stuck. What kind of work is that?” the premier added.

The prime minister urged the officials to analyze the work of the entire aviation complex in the critical situation and come up with proposals on how it can be improved. Reports on who performed their duties and how will also be required.

Presidential support praised

Later in the day, President Medvedev’s arrived at the White House. Normally, the head of state does not take part in Cabinet sessions, but at least once a year, the president comes to the government building to summarize the results of its work during the year.

According to Vladimir Putin, despite some differences in views within the leadership, it would be impossible to solve problems in the country without the president’s support.

“We have managed to create a united team. Yes, we did have different opinions. However, that was not separately in the [presidential] Administration or separately in the government, but within the united team,” he said, speaking at the government meeting, where Medvedev was also present. “There were different approaches to some problems, but we solved them together, through disputes.”

Overall, the premier said, they managed to find the right solutions.

“I would like to underline. I know it perhaps better than many others present here [at the government meeting] – such work would be impossible without direct support of the president,” Putin declared, as cited by Interfax.

Medvedev applauds government’s role in solving national problems of 2010

Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that the government had managed to tackle all major challenges in the past year, first of all, the difficult situation in the economy.

Medvedev noted that the government was working in the non-stop mode in 2010 and said that regretfully, the top officials in the country still have to manage all operative questions including those that must be solved by regional authorities.

The president noted the difficult situation in Russia’s transport hubs. “The government has to deal with it as well, regardless of the fact that it is, to be honest, the task for the heads of regions,” he said.

The President noted that the government managed to maintain all social programs in the country. “We are not ashamed to look our people in the eye, all social obligations that we have taken are now fulfilled,” Medvedev said.

At the same time, the Russian President warned that the next year will be difficult. He said that the priority objective for the nation was the improving of investment climate. He said that the officials must concentrate on creating a modern financial center in Moscow and in Russia as a whole and added that such center is important not only for those who work in the finance sector but also for fulfilling the social obligations.

Medvedev called upon the government ministers to develop the economy’s production sector and continue the course of modernization. He also stressed the importance of reforming security agencies and implementing changes in the country’s international relations.