The advisor to the Rector, Hero of the Russian Federation Sergei Voronin has just returned from Moscow where he participated in the meeting of President Vladimir Putin with his confidants. You can learn about the most important points of this event in this interview.
— Sergei Nikolaevich, how was everything organized?
— Prior to the meeting with the first person of the state, the confidants who came to the meeting from all regions of Russia were divided into eight groups: science and education, society and security, medicine, agriculture, and others. In each group, experts discussed hot issues.
— What group did you take part in?
— As the adviser to the Rector, I was assigned to the «science and education» group, which represented the scientific world: rectors of universities, representatives of schools and institutions of additional education. The range of issues discussed was very broad. Much has been said about the problems of higher education in the country: these are additional places in student dormitories, an increase of scholarships, quality of modern education, attainment level of entrants...
The participants of the meeting identified their problems, discussed them with colleagues and proposed solutions. For example, for federal universities or as large as ours, an important problem is to provide students with accommodation. And for universities with a small number of students, as Gorno-Altaisk State University, there is a set of their own unresolved issues. As a result, about five hours were spent in the discussion.
The moderator of the event was the rector of Moscow State University Victor Sadovnichy. Together with the head of the educational center «Sirius» Elena Shmeleva they fixed and summarized all the issues. After the group’s work, they additionally stayed with the rectors of some universities to discuss and detail their problems. In addition to the list of problems that Viktor Sadovnichy announced, a detailed list of all the issues raised will be prepared.
— Was the theme of patriotic education of youth raised?
— This question was addressed to Vladimir Putin by a member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, Hero of the Russian Federation Vyacheslav Bocharov. He outlined the main problems and issues, including establishment and strengthening of regional centers of patriotic education and concretization of the of patriotic education program. He said, in particular, that it was necessary to conduct more coordinating activities aimed at fostering civic consciousness and patriotism. And what is more, this work must begin with the kindergarten.
— What are the main program proposals of the presidential pre-election campaign?
— The pre-election campaign has not started yet: they did not even register candidates for the presidency. Vladimir Putin is to be registered as a self-nominated candidate. Until February 10, the Central Election Commission will receive and verify signatures in support of the registration of candidates for the presidency. A total of 1,620,000 signatures were collected, 315,000 were submitted. Based on the results of the verification of the subscription lists, the names of registered candidates will be announced. I think that in our case there should not be any difficulties: out of 1,600,000 signatures, 300,000 could be chosen, which met all the requirements.
The pre-election race will begin after February 17. During this period, the pre-election program will be announced. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has outlined only bullet points. If he wins the election, the country will take a course to create conditions for rapid and powerful economic growth. Along with it, it is necessary to provide that the breakthrough in the development of Russia would last another two years after the end of the presidential term.
— The President has repeatedly stressed that confidants are an important part of the election campaign because they convey hot problems and interests from the regions. What words did he address to you?
— Do not promise to people what you do not know and cannot fulfill. Explain in detail the issues from the area in which you are competent and well versed. If you are not aware of the information, do not deceive people because voters will never forgive deception. Vladimir Vladimirovich recommended everyone to lead a fair contest and do not badmouth the competitors.
— Now you are actively working in the candidate’s election campaign team. What do people come there with?
— People worry about the very different matters: from changing the traffic light mode near the house to changing the legislation of the Russian Federation. Such problems of society as hoodwinked investors and deceived depositors are clearly highlighted. Someone comes with personal problems: for example, a person cannot get the necessary help. Most applicants are from 30 to 80 years old. In the first week of our teamwork, the average age of the applicants was 56 years.
All public appeals are registered, summarized and sent to the processing center, where decisions are taken at the level of regional or municipal authorities. If an issue is not within the competence of local authorities, it is e-mailed to the capital for decision-making. In any case, all the problems of people’s concern reach the president and will subsequently be reflected in his pre-election program.
— Many people wonder how you became Putin’s confidant.
— The selection of candidates was very serious work. It was a whole contest. They checked both merits and occupation ... Late December, I was asked to participate in the meeting of the initiative group on nominating a candidate and asked about my desire to work as a confidant. For me it was unexpected. Even after I agreed, I did not believe that it could be possible. Later, on January 18, they called and told me that I had been approved as a confidant.
— What impression did Putin make on you as a person?
— We periodically intersect with the president. In 1999, he visited us in the combat area in the Botlikh district of Dagestan. It says a lot. The man in the post of Chairman of the government of the Russian Federation was not afraid to come to the forefront, where mines from the enemy’s side occasionally flew. He found an opportunity to talk with the personnel who had just left the trenches after the battle. My next meeting with him took place in April 2000, when he, as acting President, awarded me. Later there were several more meetings at various events: the graduation from the Military Academy of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the annual meetings in the Kremlin in honor of the Heroes of the Fatherland Day...
At all events, where Vladimir Vladimirovich is present, one always emphasizes his calmness, poise, and clear thinking. You look at him and if you felt uneasy, you begin to calm down. His benevolent mood seems to say: there is no need to worry. At such moments, you understand: he is the same person as you are, only he occupies a certain position. No more, no less.
— What will be your fate after the presidential election?
— I will stay working further as an adviser to the Rector. I have no desire to go into politics yet. I always stress that I am an apolitical person. I am interested in politics only to the extent that allows defending the issues of statehood.