Voting for United Russia is voting for Putin as president – Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev (RIA Novosti / Ekaterina Shtukina)
Speaking at United Russia party convention in Moscow Dmitry Medvedev pledged full support to Vladimir Putin’s candidacy at the presidential elections.

Below is the full transcript of Dmitry Medvedev’s speech:

Friends, colleagues and supporters, I welcome you all. I welcome all the people of Russia. Two months ago our convention approved the federal list of United Russia for the State Duma elections. I have the honour of heading the most powerful political force in the country in these difficult times, times that require enormous responsibility. I would like to thank you and all of our supporters once again.

Today, upon my suggestion and upon decisions voiced earlier, the convention is to nominate Vladimir Putin as our candidate for the President of Russia. By doing so, we will officially announce our political strategy for a long-term, not a short-term, period. We have announced our goals, our candidates for parliamentary deputies, for the head of the cabinet and for the president of the country. We declare these names openly.

So we know the names, we have a platform, the dates for the parliamentary and presidential elections have been fixed. It’s all clear now. But it’s up to the people to assess our proposals. It’s up to the voters to decide which of the politicians is worthy of their trust. Politicians, too, have the right to ask people for support.

I would like to say to our supporters and to those who are still undecided, on my own behalf and on behalf of United Russia, I am talking to all people of Russia, – come to the elections on December 4th, in a week, and vote for United Russia.

I call on you to vote for our party, our platform and our future, and by doing so, you will vote for our presidential candidate.

Why should you do it? Because the results of the State Duma elections will of course reflect on the presidential campaign. A decisive victory at the December 4th elections would mean a landslide victory next March. I am sure that it would not only be beneficial for Russia if we won, I believe the country needs us to win. I will explain why.

First of all, the candidate I am nominating, Mr. Putin, is the most popular, experienced and successful politician in Russia today.

Members of United Russia just had the floor… That’s what I call support. Indeed, it’s most important that the overwhelming majority of our citizens trust him, they pin their hopes for the future on him. And I have no doubt that, at the end of the day, our convention will officially nominate him as our presidential candidate. And I wish Mr. Putin success in everything.

Now I’d like to say a few words about our party and why this choice is both beneficial and necessary for our country. I would like to say again one thing here, it’s probably obvious but it’s worth saying. United Russia is a party of action. It is an efficient party which has taken responsibility both for the economy and social care system, and for the safety of our citizens, and for our wellbeing. It’s no secret that our party is being massively attacked by the opposition. I must say it is often true that such attacks contain next to no constructive criticism or none at all; instead they juggle facts, try manipulating them, and basically – which is regrettable – resort to lies. Despite that United Russia has been and remains the leading political party because it is driven by the right cause, because we never promise the impossible.

We never promise the impossible, but we always do what is possible. We’ve had successes, we’ve had decisions that have not been implemented to the full. Of course, we’ve made mistakes and we deserve criticism for them. But it's only those who do nothing that make no mistakes. We are a party of action, and whatever some say, we have done quite a lot. It’s a fact you cannot deny, and that’s what makes us so strong.

People know about this. They know what we are worth by our actions. Both our supporters and opponents are well aware that salaries have risen several times in the past couple of years. It’s a seven- or even an eightfold increase, compared to the figures we had back in 2000. Our opponents are well aware that pensions and real incomes have increased in the past years, the number of the poor halved, the average life expectancy rate grew by several years. We’ve managed to curb population loss, and the birth rate reached a record high in the last 20 years. Could there be a more important thing for our nation? This is a key index.

Agriculture has become a profitable business. We all remember what it used to be back in the 1990s.

In terms of investment in the R&D sector, we have been ahead of many developed countries. Upgrading production facilities and building an innovative economy have become the cores of our new industrial policy. Increasing the salaries of our servicemen, the supply of modern equipment to our army and navy are priority issues for us, and not just on paper, as has happened in Russia’s history all too often. These projects are being implemented because we’ve allocated the funds for them. We have managed to stop the rampaging attempts by terrorist groups, we undermined social, political and financial support for separatists. But most importantly, thank to economic and political stability, Russia has seen the emergence and strengthening of the middle class. I am talking about millions of self-made people with an independent way of thinking, who enjoy decent salaries and are free to express their opinions and to act as they think proper.

Massive poverty of the 1990s was replaced with massive welfare, which is the main condition for the existence of any democracy. The rigorous state support of the national economy during the crisis helped to preserve this new class and protect it from bankruptcy. This, in its turn, also helped to preserve political stability and our prospects for further development.

I have laid our hard and cold facts on the table. That’s a reality you cannot deny. But it didn’t come on its own. It was the fruit of appropriate and efficient policies followed by the leading political force, by the ruling party – United Russia. This is another fact you cannot deny.

Friends, supporters, colleagues,

We live in a country which is not isolated from the rest of the world. We need to keep in mind what is happening outside Russia. Just have a look at some of the European countries which seemed to be doing quite well, at the US, at the Middle East or Africa. The effects of the global shockwaves have proven devastating in some parts of the world. Our country has been able to remain on a stable track. And my meetings with leaders of other countries at various international forums confirm this. We have been able to get over the first wave of the crisis, but should the second wave roll in, we will cope with that, too. I am sure of it. We’ve been able to keep the jobs we had, our unemployment figures have reached the pre-crisis level, which is one of the world’s lowest. This year, the inflation rate hit a record low since 1989. Just fancy that! That’s one of our achievements.

Here’s another figure, which I believe is very revealing. In this post-crisis time, banks have reported an 80 percent growth in deposits. This proves two things – firstly, people are confident in the national economy and, secondly, that they have the money to save.

So here’s a simple question for all of you: is there any other political or managerial team in the country that is capable of withstanding the global shockwaves? Everyone, including our political opponents, realize there’s no alternative to our team.

Thank you. And this is what we have to show to support our words. Let us ask ourselves another question. With all due respect to our political opponents, what were they doing over these past several years? All they did was talk, blab if you will, and criticize the ruling party. In some regions they have been lucky enough to have their representatives, with their utterly unrealizable agendas, elected into office. How did these people do their jobs? I would say they did not. They failed, some of them were caught in the act of corruption. Regrettably, this is also a fact. A fact of life for the opposition.

Another thing I would like to say, the most important thing actually, is that if we win these elections we are going to carry out several large-scale political projects that will change our day-to-day life for the better. They will change the lives of all Russians. We have to create a government based on a different organizational structure. It will be based on the principles of transparency and feedback. We will use a diverse communication network that will reach every citizen of Russia. In order to do that, we will have to resort to traditional ways of communicating with the people such as public chambers and open offices, as well as innovative high technology methods of doing it. It will let us keep in touch with millions of people. I believe that no political power has a future without a communication system of this sort. It will be hard to do, but it can be done. The question of creating an open, transparent and accessible government based on this model, sometimes called ‘the extended government’, is a pressing issue. But why is it so important? Our society as a whole is becoming more educated and open. Our party has to understand that. Russian citizens are absolutely right in their desire to control the authorities. Everyone is sick of corruption and dealing with the system’s stupidity. We all want justice, but almost all social groups consider themselves to be insufficiently involved in the political process. They think their opinion is not taken into account, even in matters where their interests are concerned. This situation is unacceptable and I believe we have a chance to improve it.

Heads of regional administrations are present here today. They are the very pillars that uphold the entire system of authority. These people are very important for the government, as work in the regions would stop without them. Ask them and they will tell you that people rarely come to them for advice. Their opinions are rarely taken into account. The same goes for heads of municipalities, in fact their situation might be even worse. Businessmen also think they should be consulted more often, so do NGOs. Perhaps even United Russia deputies would like to see more attention from the executive authorities. I am not even going to mention ordinary Russians. It can be very hard for them to get an appointment with an official. That is the reason why the new government, formed following the parliamentary and presidential elections, will work openly, making its decisions cooperatively with deputies, governors, municipal heads, experts and public organizations. I will say again that it will be a difficult managerial task to carry out, but it is entirely possible. We are simply obliged to create a system for receiving feedback from the people.

I will outline another task that is very important. A task that I have recently been discussing with a lot of people. The task is to decentralize authority in Russia and review budget relations. A policy of centralization was justified in the past few years. The mechanism of collecting funds for the treasury was weak and inefficient. The federal center had to centralize financing in order to resolve the most relevant outstanding issues. To pay salaries, pensions, benefits, reconstruct roads and houses, to ensure national security. Over time, people started getting used to that policy, and now they are used to it. Today that policy would not be very efficient as it takes economic stimuli away from the Russian provinces. The strategy of budget leveling looks more and more like a one-size-fits-all policy now. Besides, this does not leave the regions with enough money to fulfill all of their own obligations. Regions and cities have been granted with the relevant authorities and tasked with relevant obligations but they have not always received the relevant funding. That's why our schools, housing and public utility services, and road construction projects are under-financed, that's the reason for low salary rates for primary school teachers, social and cultural workers, nurses. That's no good. We must make amends for this situation. But we should act carefully, we must ensure full-scope financing of federal obligations as well, I refer here to the army, police forces, a number of social projects, and many other things. That's why we need to find the optimal balance of federal and regional expenditures which would be relevant to our tasks today. And I am convinced that we shall find such a solution in the nearest future. And we'll find a way to make sure that a larger portion of people's earnings and business profits stays in the regions.

Dear friends, we always speak of Russia, of our country as of a powerful state. We truly are a nation used to running large-scale projects, that's our nature, that's in our blood, if you will. We have a vast land and we set ourselves high goals to achieve, we've had great victories – all of it belongs to us. And let's say it honestly – citizens of Russia are far from being concerned only with their daily routine problems, they believe in Russia's historical purpose. Therefore we keep working on expanding our economic and cultural space, which had dramatically shrunk with the downfall of the Soviet Union, in a devoted and consistent manner. And you know what? We are succeeding.

Just recently, together with the leaders of Belarus and Kazakhstan…

(applause and crowd chanting ‘Russia’)

I perceive this as a sign of support of our integration policy. Indeed, we just recently came to an agreement with our partners, i.e. with Belarus and Kazakhstan, to make integration our common goal. I expect more nations to join us in the future because our project is attractive, as it's based on the parity principle and historical connections between our peoples; it treats all economies as equally valuable. It creates a new economic space and a new union. We are creating large markets for Russian goods and services, developing the collective security system, and it's all especially worthwhile because keeping us together makes us stronger and richer, and our new union will give a greater sense of our geopolitical significance, which is certainly also important,it'll give benefits and advantages to every single home in Russia because it'll boost our economic capacity, it'll allow us to reinforce Russia's position on the international arena. And as we all know, Russia has earned this position through the hard work of a vast number of its people over many centuries.

Colleagues and friends, these are our plans. And I'll emphasize this again – they are all crystal clear, 100% transparent. I would like once again to address all of our voters, all of our citizens. No matter where you are or what you are, whether you can hear me now or you get to hear of my address from people close to you, do remember that we have come a long way together, we have risen to eminence, we have worked together and overcome difficulties together, we have been protecting our motherland. Our goals are wellbeing, healthy families, and a stable future. We simply must continue working together for the sake of our country, for the sake of our people, for the sake of our children and loved ones. Vote on the election day of December the 4th, vote for United Russia!

Vote for United Russia! Support us! We will not fail you! We will succeed! Thank you!