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Records of panel discussion on the role of mass media in social well-being of general public. 10th Regional Forum Information World of Ugra


Records of panel discussion on the role of mass media in social well-being of general public. 10th Regional Forum Information World of Ugra

S. Kozlov: Good afternoon, dear colleagues. It is my pleasure to introduce participants of today's panel:

Governor of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra, Natalia Vladimirovna Komarova.

Editor-in-Chief of Expert magazine, member of the Central Staff of All-Russia People's Front, Valery Alexandrovich Fadeyev.

Director of the Institute for Political Studies, member of the Civil Chamber of the Russian Federation, Sergey Alexandrovich Markov.

Head of the Centre for Applied Research and Software, member of the board of non-commercial partnership OPORA ROSSIYI (Backbone of Russia), member of the presidium of the National Anticorruption Committee, Alexander Sergeyevich Tochenov.

Taking this opportunity to talk first, in the context of yesterday's message, I would like to thank Natalia Vladimirovna on behalf of my teacher-colleagues, for an important idea she voiced yesterday. We were waiting to hear it for 20 years, and our Governor was the first to do so. She said that education is not a service, but a public good.

N. Komarova: To be fair, the idea is not mine, I simply agree with it.

S. Kozlov: Teachers really did wait for this to be said. Like when professors from Moscow came and lectured our teachers, during our workshops, about the way they should perceive students.

N. Komarova: I was introduced to this idea back in Moscow. To be fair, many people think so. Even when financing method for health care and education was decided, still we realize – it's a public good. Let me explain to you why I mentioned I picked this idea up in Moscow. Shortly before that, I took part in a meeting of expert council presided by Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev. The agenda covered issues of commercialisation of education. Participants included managers of private educational institutions, preschools, directors of other social institutions. And this idea was declared as the central one, so that we wouldn't think only money. Agency for Strategic Initiatives voiced this thought in the beginning of discussion and tried to hold on to it during the entire time. Great number of people thinks this way, exercise this approach and have it lead them while fulfilling their professional duties.

S. Kozlov: My colleagues and journalists are here today, and, of course, they are all interested in one major thing. We would like to know what madam Governor thinks of media influence on social well-being of the region, and, most importantly, what, in your opinion, 'efficient regional mass media' means?

N. Komarova: There is no answer to this question. It's an open issue, it always remains open. Let's take the rules for instance; perhaps, we'll be talking about them a lot. There are rules that were used, assessed and observed by the Government of the Russian Federation to determine the twenty most efficient regions in the country. As of the end of 2013, we came up in the top three. From this point of view, we can say that social well-being in the region is at a good level. At the same time we are talking statistics, some averaged macroeconomic indicators that are used to measure this well-being, while there is also my own, inner feeling and sensing of the same. Considering this, the evaluation may vary somewhat. And in this sense, the influence that media have is huge. This is why I work closely with media, trying to be as open as possible for everyone, including journalists. We need to have a special attitude here, moreover, it would be nice to see more professionalism on journalists' part, to see them better prepared for the job they are doing, more familiar with the topic they are covering and commenting on. Of course, there are a lot of things we'd like to see here in return, but, oh well, we have what we have. Yet again, you have the right to choose, but I don't. These are the rules. I have to accept them, and so I do. No matter how unpleasant a publication might be, because it wasn't done on a professional enough level. This is the initial reaction, it may remain in the data base, but still you are trying to wipe it out, and at the same time to help the journalist. Something made him write that, but what did? What were the grounds? So you try to find it. It's not that you always have the time to do this, so you don't always dig deep enough. For example, yesterday Arguments and Facts posted online that regional office of the Federal Antimonopoly Service in Ugra has illegally, unreasonably hiked up the tolls of Vakh bridge. Is it normal? It is just maddening. They actually wrote Vakh River Bridge. They did! I'm talking professional and unprofessional here. Or maybe it was on purpose. But it would mean another approach, with another effect of what was said. I checked official news feed of the Federal Antimonopoly Agency: it says it all as it is, all correct. And that journalist did it that way. Why? To be honest, I didn't have time to get down to why, let it remain on these journalists' conscience. But this information, it does influence well-being of citizens. Just imagine, what would be the reaction of a non-professional, not mine. So, they charge you for using the bridge! And the tolls are unreasonably high! Thank goodness, FAS had dealt with it. See, we built it, on our own expense, and so on and so forth. Does this influence social well-being? It most certainly does! Journalists play a huge role. That is why I believe that journalists' work is extremely important, while cooperation and creating an environment for mutual understanding is what we need to do. So called independent media, let me emphasize it once again, their significance, the way they attract people, it's also huge, because people think of these resources as of alternative, they see it as an opportunity to see or hear several points of view on one and the same issue. That is why may you all find it in your hearts and be reasonable enough to do your job perfectly well.

S. Kozlov: Thank you, Natalia Vladimirovna. To continue this topic, I would like to hear from our federal experts regarding the same issue. Let's start here, Valery Alexandrovich, what does regional journalism mean to you? What, in your opinion, affects social well-being in the region?

V. Fadeyev: If we look, say, at intensity, criticality of federal media and regional media, they are very different in this respect. In Moscow, we always discuss that the problem we have with media in the entire country is that they are pushed too much. Just recently people were following the controversy with Echo of Moscow radio station, where they tried to fire a journalist, and there was a conflict between the board of directors, shareholders represented by the chairman of the board, on the one hand, and the staff and their editor-in-chief on the other. Seems like they've settled it, and it seems to be ending well. But it is obvious that there is a number of media in the country, and, first of all, in Moscow, that criticize the authorities as they see fit, and are very critical of the President. Let's take, for instance, Government and, in general, different politics in different fields – finances, education, health care, industrial politics, we can find a lot of publications and stories which are harshly analysing what is going on in that field. And if take regional media and look, without bias, at what's happening there, we'll rarely see the same intensity. In our country, we can criticize the President, while we can rarely touch a governor. It's the same almost everywhere though, but it's another question. Let's take USA, for instance, it is obvious that Obama or any other President can be trashed, but when it comes to local authorities, local media will have much more difficulties trying to criticize a governor of a state. Naturally, it is local elite, everybody knows each other and everyone is connected, so if you pull a string here it may ring a bell there. This is normal for any society. But in this respect, it becomes more difficult to work locally, than it is in Moscow. So, to a certain degree, it is easier to criticize the President. Another thing is that very often it is unmotivated and unreasonable, and I totally agree with Natalia Vladimirovna here. And the President never resents any criticism, even when unjustified. Let me tell you what would be useful for local media, I tried bringing this idea up a number of times, it's not mine, but still. I believe that we need to organize a new from of media in regions, where financing comes from the state, region, local government, but they are subject to public control. We understand that today's market can not financially support a large number of media, and the situation gets worse by day. In Moscow, the market is in terrible state, especially advertising. It is objectively so, and it is even more difficult to raise money at a local level. We are trying to start local versions of Expert magazine; we have 5 in total now. Recently we've launched one in Tatarstan, and it is our only regional, republic-level in this case, publication, the rest are meant for federal districts. Tatarstan is big, it is powerful, and develops rapidly; it has money and large audience. So, we've launched this magazine there. Meanwhile, there are many similar regions, where audiences are big. Authorities are financing the media. I think it would be interesting to create some public boards that would control those media. Namely, appoint editors-in-chief. Authorities can appoint directors, since it's their money, so the director can control this money, and the public of the region would appoint editor-in-chief. It could be Public Chambers, they have been established in all regions by now, or it could be some other non-state institutions. But so that only they could appoint or dismiss editor-in-chief. Such schemes are implemented in some European countries. I believe it would be interesting. It would provide for interaction between state authorities, regional authorities, and general public, and would provide additional resources for journalists, so they would feel more liberated. I suggested this scheme for some regions, but it hasn't been implemented yet. When it comes to professionalism and criticism, I agree with you, Natalia Nikolayevna. There is acceptable criticism, of course. As they say, if there is no such poison, we'll be left with music shows and entertainment content. So, of course, they should be available. But the higher the professional level is, the more opportunities there are for criticism. Because if you did it unprofessionally, it causes negative reaction, and the journalist thus gives a reason to reject such criticism. But when done seriously and professionally, it gives a chance to enter in some kind of communication, to engage people in a discussion so as to find some solution. Regardless of the form of media, whether they are company-owned or state-owned, the most important thing for us is to remember to be professional in what we do. Thank you.

S. Kozlov: I can only add that the meeting of editors-in-chief with Presidential Envoy in Ural Federal District, when Nicolay Alexandrovich Vinnichenko held this position. There was an agenda back then that all media should be private, and so on. So I asked him then: Do you agree that mass media are a weapon of mass destruction? The envoy agreed and said that we are giving weapons into the private ownership. But it would never occur to us to give tanks, guns, airplanes, or, the more so, nuclear weapons to anyone just like that. Let's leave something for us, shall we? I am not sure, but it seems to me that back then this message was received. I still think this way, but your idea about a public board is very interesting. Such practice is implemented as a powerful form of influence when it comes to schools.

N. Komarova: I had a request to you as a moderator. Could you ask the participants to vote for this idea, I could go by the votes.

S. Kozlov: Dear colleagues. As requested by our Governor, let's have a switch on the democracy.

V. Fadeyev: I'll repeat my thought once again. If media are state or region-owned, and are financed by the state, then the state can appoint an executive officer for them, because it's their money, so let it be their director, as well. But since journalists, on the other hand, should be able to be more or less free in their opinions on current problems and be able to criticize authorities, among others, regardless of where their money comes from, editors-in-chief should be appointed not by the money owner, but by a public board. How this board will be appointed, who will be on it, and how authorities will influence that, of course they will have a say, it is normal, – it is another issue. The bottom line is – editor-in-chief is appointed by the public board and should not be fired unless so authorized by the public board. So we create a public front for the media, so to say. It's clear, isn't it?

S. Kozlov: Pardon me, Valery Alexandrovich. Our editor-in-chief was paid less, than director general. Because for director general only economic risks are at stake, while for editor-in-chief everything's on the line.

V. Fadeyev: Seems like you are trying to push the audience with this thesis.

S. Kozlov: No. It was only a joke.

A. Tochenov: Sergey Sergeyevich, may I weigh in? A small remark from the past, when the first press law was introduced. I was a member of the parliament back then, stationed far away, in Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, and used to chair a committee. And we developed the first statute for the district. And that's exactly the format that was adopted back then. People were also applying to be on executive committees. It was the last session. The executive committee would give the money, but the editor (that was appointed by the city council back then) could not be dismissed without our approval. We were given a free hand. So guys, let's work honestly, so that things that Natalia Vladimirovna mentioned, don't happen. And the committee had all the freedom to do their job, and it worked, Valery Alexandrovich, it did work even back then. It actually did.

S. Kozlov: Dear colleagues, as requested by our Governor, all those in favour of the proposal, please raise your hands. Thank you. Those opposed? Anyone? Wow. All right.

N. Komarova: It looked like the majority was in favour, but I was worried you'd all be opposed. Well, anyway, we are still considering it.

S. Kozlov: Sergey Alexandrovich, what is your stand on the mass media?

S. Markov: Thank you. The level of criticality was mentioned here, and it is really declining. And, to be totally objective, there is no criticality as such. And it is normal, it's like this everywhere. It got me thinking about the level of trust. We see that there is a poll on the level of trust in authorities. Level of trust is rising there; trust in the President is outstanding. And this poll has been conducted for many years now. Level of trust in government. Whereas level of trust in media has a reverse tendency. Central media are trusted less, and the less money they get – the more trust they enjoy. It's quite interesting. It means that the deeper it is in provinces, the higher the level of trust in media. I guess, it is due to the lack of criticality, you know? And local media turn out to be very influential, so, naturally, they are being watched more. But at the same time, one of major points is that while there is trust, but readership or viewership is not increasing. There are several points here I'd like to emphasize, number one: there are mass media, and there are mass communications, and they actually are totally different. And both of them should be available. Mass communications are, primarily, the means to communicate with each other through all these newspapers, TV channels, etc. It means that the public opinion platform, such as a newspaper, should be discussing things that its readership want discussed. So that all important issues that are brought up by people end up covered. There are often absolutely whimsical speculations, and all of them, in my opinion, should be discussed. This reminds me a little of the current policy of the Presidential Administration regarding regional elections. In the sense that all existing influential persons should take part in elections, then it is perceived as serious, real and honest; same here – people will consider mass communications only when all existing stands are covered. As far as mass media are concerned, for local ones it is much more difficult to do their job than for federal ones. The latter are sitting in news agencies, it's all known, maybe they'll talk with someone on the inside, get another angle. It is more like interpretation of news, while for locals it is, frankly, journalism in its raw, pure sense. When you can find information, an event or a fact that no one has ever written about before, and in this context regional journalist's job is, from my perspective, much harder. Firs of all, people start reading more closely, when mass media runs stories on their friends, or on them, then it acquires certain magnitude. The same is true for federal mass media, by the way. They also like it when it's about friends. It's like you walk out into the street, where dogs are running around, and they don't care about us; everybody is interested in their sort. It's the same here: tycoons are interested in other tycoons, military officials are interested in other military officials, members of parliament want to read about other members of parliament, and so on and so forth. When people read, they want to see stories on people they know, and this need should be met. It leads to the loyalty of the audience, and multiplies it. Those who read about themselves in the paper will keep reading, and their gratitude will last for years, and they'll keep reading this paper. Again on that topic, you need to find out those initial facts, like what is going on? Not everybody can pull it off; everywhere I go I try to read local papers to see what's happening there. And, you know what? More than half the time, it doesn't work out; so I end up asking drivers who are taking me around, to find out what people are talking about? In the end, topics discussed in papers, and things that drivers tell me, turn out completely different. This is definitely a big strategic mistake, which should be changed. The newspaper should cover topics discussed by readers, and should inform people accordingly. And they should not be afraid of discussing things that are actually interesting. Things are worrisome. It is a good tool. But, let's assume, there is some construction project going on. A long-term project. It is wrong to think that if it has been covered a couple of time, and that's enough. In reality, people are always interested: when will it be commissioned, what are the problems? These are long-term topics, and they should be talked about constantly. You know, there is an exotic example. Komsomolskaya Pravda has a regional publication – KP Thailand. They have a regular piece – there are some fruit drawn, their names, and the ways to eat them. It is important. Logical. But the same information is published in each paper. This is not only logical. Most importantly, the reader needs it. There are relevant topics, and they should be covered.

There is one more topic. There is some kind of triangle. Bosses, journalist and society. And we are forced to circulate in this triangle. It is important that journalists understand that freedom of speech belongs not to them, but to the public. Back during nineties, such incorrect understanding let the press fraternity down. Back then, journalists used to mistakenly consider them as messengers. But when social agenda began to fade, they started presenting themselves as social leaders of sorts. And at the same time, started doing everything for money. And when the situation changed, the conflict began. NTV faced that problem. Like it is with Echo of Moscow now, they said: The Government is doing us wrong. Society should support us. The society replied: Get out! You are no public platform! You are a platform for a certain commercial group, and are publishing what they want you to. And that's how you make money. You are not one with us. And this example is extremely important.

Journalists often used to oppose public councils, saying: Authorities are telling us what to do; now public councils will. I believe it was a mistake. Of course, some people really leave no choice but to tell them what to do. Very often these people can not speak up, and remain unheard. But you and I, we have a super-humanitarian mission: we need to help that speechless society that is in loss for words, can not voice their opinion, and that society will thank us in the end. And this is our actual mission in this world. Thank you.

S. Kozlov: Speechless society – it was a good one. Another question here. Regarding today's dispute. In the nineties, journalist classes taught that we should get an objective picture. To do so, you should gather as many expert opinions as possible, and, basically, should not express your own. The journalist is just translating someone else's opinion, and their own should not be in the picture. From my point of view, I write, and I still learn how to write, so that I can express public opinions that society can not express and also to express my own views. So my question is related to that. We have spent half an hour on this topic. What do you think, as esteemed experts, should journalists have their own opinion, or should they merely create an objective picture, that is made up of subjective views?

A. Tochenov: Sergey Sergeyevich, it depends on the genre. To begin with. But before I reply, dear colleagues, I would like to mention how incredibly lucky you are. First of all, congratulations on the tenth anniversary of the panel. There aren't many regions where such workshops are conducted. Let me be honest. I travel a lot, and go places. And it's not often that authorities meet with the fourth estate. And you are the fourth estate. Valery Alexandrovich has the Fourth Estate award, and one of our media, I won't name names, received it, too. And it's good. You have stable, working relationship with acting authorities. Regarding the issue in question. Alexander Vasilyevich Zinoviev used the came up with the term detached subjectivity. If we talk about expert opinions, then journalists write with detached subjectivity. No, we can not get rid of them completely. But we take out our preferences, critical views when we write, and that's the picture that we get in the end. This is one of the genres. But journalists should have the right to express their views, like columnists doe. This is the reason why we are the fourth estate. That's one.

Secondly. Sergey Alexandrovich conducted studies as whom people trust, what they pay attention to. I used to do that myself, as well, and was involved so called electoral social studies and their analysis. In those studies, the two main questions are: whom do you trust and where do you get your information. In all regions it's different, although there is a pattern. On the one hand, information comes from the regions, so to speak. But what information is it? Mostly domestic – where will something happen, what is going on. Television is the source of general information. But when it comes to whose opinion you trust? That's when usually people are named. It's usually neighbours, friends, and family – those who plant ideas in your head, as they say. But the result is totally different. Because they push too hard. Because people still read. Out children can already read between the lines. Our option is shaped, enforced on us even. And this is actually happening. That is why a journalist should be like a surgeon – mistakes are unacceptable. You mustn't do harm. This is what we need to remember. All of us here, who write on various levels, but we must never do harm. Yes, depending on the genre, any journalist has the right to have a personal opinion, but they should report objective information. If it's information we are talking about.

S. Markov: About personal opinions. I believe that a journalist can have personal opinion, but it will be right if this opinion is not as much their own, as it is the opinion of those speechless people. When a journalists expresses their opinion on their behalf. When they capture that topic, and people start reading, but when it's nothing but that journalist's opinion… Well, there is such a role – to contradict everything. And to criticize all the time.

A. Tochenov: I would like to add here. When we use materials from mass media for our studies, I always make a remark that 100% credibility is unreachable, because we don't know who pulls the strings with these or those media. Sometimes envelope journalism is just obvious. No questions.

S. Kozlov: We often hear term independent mass media. I have never seen independent media, I have never encountered them.

A. Tochenov: I agree. They can not be completely independent. But, you know, journalists can. It is very strange to see that when owners change, the editorial board remains the same, but editorial philosophy changes. This is why it is called the second oldest profession.

V. Fadeyev: Such mortification is unnecessary. This isn't true. Remember that owners are not the problem. Objectivity is the real issue. But there is no such thing is objective. Each of us has our own point of view, life experiences, and friends. Subjectivity starts when selecting a topic, when raising a question. Subjectivity. Say, Ebola fever – is it a horrible disease? Mass media are covering it. Who remembers how many people have died? 4351 people. And how many people have died of some regular fever in Africa? About half a million people. And how many children die in India of indigestion? About 600 thousand kids in India die each year. Ebola is not an extremely dangerous disease. It's a media phenomenon. Now, are those writing about it, including you and me, lying? Of course, not. We just got carried away by this topic. So it will be blown out of proportion. We got carried away. Someone might suggest that vaccine is being developed for money. No. It's only a media phenomenon. Here's another one. Mikhail Leontyev showed in his feature segment, Odnako, an allegedly satellite image in which Ukrainian airplane is shooting down Malaysian Boeing. Within no time, people emerged who started to check the image. And they seemed to have proved it was a fake. I have a question here: Why is it that as soon as Misha Leontyev showed that picture, a whole group of our colleagues jumped right to critically and harshly dissecting it? Why don't these people ever analyse evidence against the other side in the same harsh manner? Don't react to what Misha had to offer. Because for the very beginning they are on the other side. Although, generally speaking, the act objectively. While Misha, by the way, said that he didn't know whether the picture was real or not. It's not about objectivity even; it's about professionalism, and in trying to be useful to others. This is what Sergey Markov talked about. After all, we work for the society. Some work for their community, others work for someone else's. It's a matter of personal choice. I don't believe in absolute objectivity. In absolute, physical objectivity of the work we do.

S. Kozlov: Thank you, it's comforting to know. Now I know that Ebola is not the worst, and that Russia is the runner-up in the system of evil. We have been talking about it for an hour now, but there are still many sensitive issues remaining. Apart from routine problems, like fools and roads, there is another wound, a nasty one. It's public utilities system. Yesterday madam Governor spoke about transparency and controllability of overhaul systems for apartment houses. This system has hard time settling in. And it brought up a lot of questions during the recent panel of the People's Front. We know that Valery Alexandrovich criticizes this issue in the People's Front. We would like to know why, in your opinion, this new system is not adjusting that well in Russia. And what should be done to make it less obscure to people?

V. Fadeyev: Thank you. Indeed, this is the most pressing problem now when it comes to public utilities. Out of nowhere people were told they now need to pay for something. And to pay quite a lot, if we are speaking of not-so-rich. The first thing that needs to be say here is that it's a political decision. And it was made long ago. By the State Duma, by leaders of the country. And this decision implies that owner has to pay for overhaul. Agree or disagree, but when in the end of nineties we all went private with our apartments, no one thought we would have to pay for the roof, for the halls, for the elevator. Nobody thought of that, we jut got the apartment and were content with it.

But this is property. It's not only an asset, but a liability as well. Now that the decision has been made, someone will have to pay. Either dwellers of apartment buildings, or local municipal budgets. Or other budgets. But it is our money, taxes paid by companies where we work. Someone has to pay in any case. Since many regions saved on this item of the budget, houses turned out under-repaired. It's just that not sufficient money was allocated for overhauls. Houses wear out, become ramshackle. Housing of the city degrades, too. Another political decision could have been made, that is not to take money from citizens. But then it would be necessary to decide what expenses to cut down: kindergartens or teachers' salaries? Some expenses have to be reduced to improve the housing situation. My personal opinion is that this was a correct decision, and since we live in houses, not only apartments are ours, but halls are, and elevators that we take, too. But can everyone pay? That's a whole other question. No, not everyone can. It should be like this: those who can pay – should pay. If it's disadvantaged people, we need to find a way to reduce that burden for them. Average salary in Moscow is 58 000, in your region it's above 50 000, and it's quite a lot. According to estimations, average overhaul costs 12 roubles per square meter. Most regions set the rate at 5-6 roubles, in some it is 2 roubles. I understand heads of regions, too, because what else can they do? People are not willing to pay, so there is a risk of social tension. This needs to be seriously discussed with the people, and we, mass media, play an important role here. Probably there will be some ideas as to how to help disadvantaged social groups, may be such an idea will come from us. As far as what to repair and how much it costs. For instance, how much will it cost to repair a roof? One of the problems is that no one is ready to diagnose the house, to diagnose apartments, examine the state of the building. As of now, in the majority of regions standards only state the time to repair. 20 years? And what if it does not need repairing, or, on the contrary, it deteriorated before these 20 years expired? This is not being done. Another aspect is the prices. Compare prices in different regions – they vary by half or twofold. But this is our job: so why should people in one region pay twice as much as people in another region? There are a million issues here. But let me get back on track: we must pay, and pay the actual price. According to calculations, that such payment for a standard Soviet apartment will be 700-800, maximum 1000 roubles a month. The form of payment is another issue. There are separate accounts; there is a common account… There is no answer yet, and it hasn't been finalized so far. And these questions can not be found. You may say: experimenting on people is bad. Yes, it is bad. But houses are deteriorating, and we need to get under way somehow. You and I, being the media, will have to insist, I personally believe that it's the right decision, that if we live in multi-dwelling houses, then halls and elevators are our responsibility.

I believe it would be wrong to stop and wait until somebody finds answers to those questions. A few years ago, the decision was made, hazardous dwelling units were identified, and money was allocated to move people from such houses. If we don't start repairing our houses now, in 20 years the entire country will be in state of emergency. This is an actual problem. We need to change the pattern of maintenance of our houses and change it to the better. There will be mistakes, and our main goal should be to help solve problems and correct mistakes. As for prices, if we are afraid of talking to people about it, in 3-5 years this problem will emerge, and the price will have to be raised anyway, they'll have to take money from somewhere. This is my brief opinion on this problem.

S. Kozlov: There is another problem, namely passive attitude of householders. I am like that myself – I'd rather just give the money, than run around making decisions. But if my house falls apart, I will be blaming everyone else.

There are a lot of questions worth asking. Let's try to jump from routine, domestic issues to international ones. Ugra is working on expanding its international relations. Last year one IT Forum was held here, and it was attended, which is very important in today's situation, by BRICS. The idea received support from the President. During next year will be devoted to strengthening of connections with regional representatives of these countries. A question to Sergey Alexandrovich: how important is cooperation with BRICS in the context of what's happening in the west?

S. Markov: We have the Ukrainian situation of attempted coup d'état in Russia. Illarionov, former adviser to the President, has told what they were planning. It was in his blog. Russia should admit to its defeat, should agree to international control over nuclear weapons, over energy weapons, which are oil and gas. Oil and gas are Russia's curse, so Russia should ditch it, and hand over production rights to transnational corporations. Main oil and gas pipelines should be internationally controlled; crazy Russians have no right to handle them. And Russia should give a part of its territory. Krasnodar Krai, Rostov oblast, Voronezh oblast, and Kursk oblast should go to Ukraine, Bryansk and Smolensk – to Belorussia. If Russia did give in, the issue with Lukashenko would be resolved within 2-3 weeks. International control, international policing. Sakhalin and Kuril Islands – to Japan. Karelia – to Finland. It turns out they also promised some territories to China. By the way, a few months ago I saw American emissaries go to China, to negotiate Chinese joining sanctions against Russia. I wondered – why behave so silly? It turns out they have been actually promising lands. Of course, we can not agree to such scenario. My story should be in today's Izvestiya; I'm writing about what Europeans actually think. I was at EU-Russia forum. And I was shocked: there are three levels of negotiations. Negative level: Russia is wrong, Russia shouldn't do this, mustn't do that. Another level is when nobody criticizes Russia. Everybody understands that whatever Russia is doing now – any other great independent country would do. So various formats of actions are discussed, but there is no criticism. But the third level is the most interesting, when they talk to each other. It turns out they know everything and understand everything. Nobody considers Ukraine to be an independent country. Everyone clearly understands: key decisions are not made by Ukrainians. It turns out they think that European Union hasn't made a single correct step during the whole time when Ukrainian conflict was unfolding. They signed the peace treaty, and threw it right away. EU repeats the same mistakes, and demonstrates its impotence when it comes to foreign policy, unable to do anything.

European Union is now waiting for its hero, some one to stand up and say out loud what others are thinking. Things that are happening in Ukraine are horrifying; it's the policy of dragging Europe into fascism.

About fighting with Ukrainian people. There was no fight as such. Ukraine is an occupied country, with an extreme level of propaganda. Strelkov says he watches Ukrainian television often and starts doubting. Poroshenko is now going to Moldova, to advocate for anti-Russian candidates. They told him to go because their provinces are pro-Russian.

There are several issues here. IT is the major power of civilization. These technologies serve to countries, such as Russia. Huge territory, accessibility problems. We don't do enough. We need to provide digital equality to our people. Our space industry is huge, and we should make internet available in any point of the country. This is a serious program. There will be a serious revolution of the generation. There will be more Internet users among retired people than among the young. Internet is perfect for retired people. They have a lot of free time, but lack companionship. We should hurry up and improve cooperation with BRICS. This will let us provide those services to the elderly.


S. Kozlov: Sergey Alexandrovich, I have to weigh in. I myself read this online: a retiree, with good language skills, will troll any organization.

S. Markov: We need to act faster. There is something else that needs to be done. That is to switch all public services and such to online format to the maximum extent. There is a problem, that not everyone, not always can do this. My parents, for instance, they are 82 and 84 years old, I've tried everything with them. Bought them computers, try pushing them to learn. But they just can't, a gap of a whole century… So, not everyone, but many can do it. And what we need here is experience of other countries, first of all. How to efficiently teach a large number of people, how to transit to information support services. In this respect, Brazilians are far ahead of everyone else. We have a lot to learn from them. And in the end this will save budgets. It allows to control better, it's a very serious and right thing to do. We need to understand that we should make another block available, the one that does not enjoy that much attention, and that, I believe, needs to be worked on. The one for specialists. Generally speaking, there are teachers, doctors, and administrative staff and so on… We need to connect them, to provide them with access to global society, and the important issue here is knowledge of the English language. That is why today every specialists should know English. First of all, on a conversational level, then on professional level, and that's where our help is needed, and then the after-effects will be huge. And about IT. We talked about healthcare, medicine and so on. Colleagues, this is just amazing! This is one of the major trends in development, quality of medical assistance is being quickly improved, centres in Russia and other countries, but many areas are still very far behind. Like in Moscow, people just don't know about it. Say, there is a state-of-the-art medical centre three-four blocks away, where they treat with super-methods, super-equipment, and there are no lines. But the person doesn't know. And if we speak of regional centres, a model is being worked out now to provide such hi-tech medical assistance remotely. In reality, this requires not IT to be worked on, but hand-over centres to use those hi-tech services, so it requires assistants who could handle the tasks that are being handed over. This is where future of health care lies. And since this has been already developed there, we should provide links to connect.

I have taken much interest in medicine lately. You know I had to join an international committee of my choice, and they said: come on. So I signed up with doctors, and I got absolutely fascinated! I'll tell you the simplest things: like average life expectancy in European Union is 82-84 years, in Russia it's around 70. The main reason, of course, is strong alcohol. 90% of our setback. Meanwhile, I recently was at a humanitarian forum in Baku, there were 13 Nobel laureates there, and five of them delivered such information: We are entering a period of long life. Average life expectancy in Monaco is 92 years, in EU countries and here life expectancy increases by 5 months with each year. It's not science fiction. At such a rate in less than 20 years average life expectancy for Monaco will reach 100 years. As of today, a human being's limit is considered to be 120-125 years, while medical and biological studies allow to prolong mammal's life by 40 percent.

Just look, we haven't done anything drastic, and still our rate of growth is almost half a year. In 60 years, life expectancy in our country will be 100 years, even if we don't do anything special. But, I hope, we will, because modern medicine really does miracles, and these miracles are what we should be oriented to.

S. Kozlov: You know, Sergey, I think that this fascination with age issues is the phenomenon of age as such. Just think about it. Think! What's with your age and your life experiences?

S. Markov: I totally agree, of course. And it's normal. When a person is 20 and couldn't care less about his health, that's how nature designed us.

S. Kozlov: I wanted to ask Natalia Vladimirovna about BRICS; what will our region get from these relations?

N. Komarova: You know I tried to emphasize it in my key note address. The most important thing here is not to close up. This is why I believe that our inter-regional cooperation within the Russian Federation and international partnerships are so important. Today, before this meeting, I talked to Tatyana Gogoleva, she stopped by my office, and we talked about language problems, about preservation of endangered languages of Northern peoples. I suggest the following: let's create not an intraregional, but an inter-regional council on languages of indigenous peoples of the North. And let's engage all federal subjects interested in this issue, with people that belong to those ethnic groups. This will be a whole other level relations, and will increase our chances to achieve actual results. We'll take it to the federal level, and the chances of achieving something, like preserving a language, ethnicity, culture, will be multiplied compared to if we keep circulating within our region only.

We pursue the same goals when we try to strengthen these forums by bringing in people from BRICS. We are making arrangements to expand this cooperation next year, taking advantage of the fact that Russia will be presiding in BRICS, at SCO. Same as with health care, with this format of cooperation we can receive a whole other product in terms of quality. While spending money and time on it absolutely differently. Therefore, that goal we pursue – better life expectancy, better quality of life, – can be achieved much faster. This is the final goal, all the rest serves to achieve these objectives. This is why we are now making most efficient mechanisms to open up the borders. Not to forget about our Motherland. But to enrich our Ugra land, to solve outstanding tasks faster and better.

Those were the objective defined – specific result, specific service, and specific partner. A developed and produced product, with the view of the main goal.

S. Kozlov: Speaking of connections, take, for instance, horizontal communication between different regions. It is important to maintain communication, especially with actual allies, not potential ones. The fact of communication as such is the backbone of relationships, of the new multi-polar world. This is extremely important.

N. Komarova: Sergey Alexandrovich asked to emphasize the following. Like when we went to Paris. People don't know us, and don't know politics. How excited they were to meet people from Ugra, we tried to bring the most interesting ones. From Maria Kuzminichna Voldina to linguistic experts.

And when the head of international council for philosophy and human sciences from Mali tried to briefly characterize us, he said that he was most amazed with the fact that Ugra people gave him impression of radiating immense amiability. And also that we have a special attitude towards nature. It is very important because our there were many representatives of indigenous peoples of the North in our delegation. People from England and France, from other countries, discovered Russia for themselves. We don't know it, but we judge. This cooperation has a great geopolitical significance.

Being out of the country, I feel bad when I meet people who are ashamed of being Russian. This is very offensive to me.

S. Kozlov: The Patriarch drew attention to this issue today, emphasizing that we need to stop being afraid of being Russian. It reminds me of Dostoyevsky, his diaries. He wrote a lot about it. And wrote a lot in Emperor's defence. He was a prophet in many senses. He wrote that it's customary here to attack emperors, hunt them like wild beasts, while this emperor has done a lot, has launched liberal reforms, has abolished the serfdom. The one who had most monuments erected in his honour. That's a paradox. We have very little time left. And we have Sergey Alexandrovich sitting in the back, and he has a very complicated issue to cover. Yesterday madam Governor in her address spoke about tax holidays for small and medium businesses. There is an expression – to nitmarize business. In our country they are trying not to harass businesses by adopting various laws. It was said that 20 thousand additional workplaces could be created, and we have an initiative in Surgut when non-commercial organizations want to enter the social services sector. Alexander Sergeyevich, are there any data on the scale of the country, and how successful is introduction of small and medium businesses to the field of social services?

A. Tochenov: Thank you. There is a reason why NCO’s are said to be the third sector of economy. This form exits, it works, it lives, it is effective and it is necessary. And in this case, Natalia Vladimirovna, no initiative should go unpunished. If people want it, please, let them have it. In reality it is all possible, it all works. An example that correlates a little with topics of public utilities and home owning. Let's say, I am in the homeowners association. There were several attempts to take it over. The chairman was beaten up, and so on. A lot happened. Our executive officers don't get paid, only staff does. The house has municipal apartments. No problem, we are maintaining them, too. We've taken it all back from the old board that was captured by the managing company, we've paid back their multimillion debts, the house is developing, and our rates for utility services are the lowest in town, which is in Khimky, near Moscow. In this scenario, everything is perfect: people have come together, they did what needed to be done, and they are keeping it up. They are civilly trying to get us under control of a management company again now. But we won't give in, we'll manage ourselves. Good motivation, we are ready to pay, we are ready to invest, and we understand where money is going. The house is only 8-9 years old, the repairs are ongoing. This is one example. Now regarding small and medium businesses. Yes, it was also mentioned at the People's Front forum, that people want at least a three-year guarantee, although it should be much longer, that there will be no changes in conditions, in rules by which this game is played. Business should understand what it will do and how it will do it, so that investments are not short-term, to survive today, but a little bit more long-term. This is one side. On the other hand, you should understand that each community has from 5 to 7 % of those who are capable of feeding the rest. Those who are active, those who can. They provide workplaces, they feed people, and they educate children. We should create the environment for that. It's a goose that lays not one, but many golden eggs. It's small and medium businesses. The third sector of the economy, non-commercial organizations. There are many of them in the social sphere, as well. Some of them operate on voluntary basis, and they also need money to organize their volunteers. And people are coming to them, volunteering is becoming more and more popular. People begin to understand that even if their life is good, they still should help others. Regardless of what the state is doing, unfortunately, the state can not be all-powerful. Yes, now we are heading towards crisis, as economists are saying, the next year will be even harder. Not only for us, it's not all because of the sanctions. This is why I believe it is promising, and we need to hold on to that. To support businesses in social services sector, and that's exactly where we help out. Small and medium businesses are not only simple ones. Your region, too, can have hi-tech businesses developing. The IT topic that was brought up today has a lot of potential, and a lot of small businesses are in this field. All products, software products, hardware, – all these are provided by small businesses. It is a promising trend, it is the right thing to do, a good thing, and it should receive proper support. And for some reason I believe that the President said so, and they will make it happen so that small and medium businesses will get such guarantees that will allow them to function. Of course, small ones will be pressured anyway. But thanks to business associations, such as Opora Rossiyi (Backbone of Russia), Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia), and others, they are pushing back. And credit should be given to authorities who support those businesses. Their skills, their intellect, their actions are used to support a major part of our population. We are running out of time, and still I would like to make a brief remark on life expectancy. Sergey asked: Why live long? You know, there was an ancient Chinese saying that could be translated something like that: You can die young, but not too soon. So that's why. This is why 50 years age is only one third of life. Thank you.

S. Kozlov: Thank you, Alexander Sergeyevich. I still have one more question to Valery Alexandrovich. In Ugra there were debated, I mean, televised debates, regarding elections of Social Departments heads. I was an anchor of those debates. I need to say that it was terrifically, interesting and unexpectedly. It was terrifically to me as an anchor.

V. Fadeyev: I watched that program; I understand what you are talking about. That program received The Fourth Power award. Natalya Vladimirovna, do those who were elected still hold that position?

N. Komarova: Yes.

V. Fadeyev: So, it was successful elections?

N. Komarova: One can argue that (with a laugh). The contenders were not elected; they were selected but I had CV and other materials for the person who was finally selected during those debates.

V. Fadeyev: It was a good program, the jury decided to grant that award. That was an interesting show and productive as well.

N. Komarova: Sergey Sergeyevich, if you would not hear out the journalists you will be banished. And we would be banished with you either. So, let them speak.

Question of auditorium. A. Korneyev: It is a short question; the same one to all of you. In your opinion what is freedom of word today? Do we have it?

V. Fadeyev: When you say short question, what do you mean? You must understand that it is quite complicated problem. Do you ask this question in an aspiration that we would say something worthy just in a couple of phrases? It is impossible. Please understand. I am not ready even to approach to this subject. May be, we have a dinner and talk? I speak seriously. You ask as if all of us do not work in the same sphere, as if we do not have certain idea about this, as if we do not understand what is interaction with the state authorities or at least we do not have background of interaction with power authorities, with a director, with a master. All of us understand that it is very complicated subject. I may say one thing only. It is a living concept. Freedom as we understood that, I mean, most of us, in 1990's is quite different from our today understanding. Understanding of this concept in Europe is different from that in China. In a certain sense, there is freedom of speech in China and the Communist Party of China assumes that the significant part of the society may express their opinions and mass media may develop their communication strategy. They have freedom of speech though they impose some restrictions upon Internet and one may not say a word about Tibet. I admit. there are such restrictions. I can say only one thing about the situation with freedom of speech in our country. They say: It's awful! However, it is not worse than the situation in the leading Western countries. Often, it is better. They have their restrictions and we have ours. That is my point of view.

S. Kozlov: Would any of the experts add something? I believe that the asked question is quite global.

N. Komarova: I may express my opinion from the point of view of consumer. How the citizens treat that. For me, there is freedom of speech, if it is real. If one can not characterize it and measure, more or less, available or not. No characteristics. Even word has no characteristic. Never anybody even attempted to say what freedom of speech is, without referring to it as a matter of taste or something judgmental. From such point of view one may say that it does not exist, ant that is a concept like the concept of soul. Atheists do not know what soul is. But each of us, many of us, majority of us live with that.

Question of auditorium. V. Merkushev: Dear participants, I would like to ask Sergey Alexandrovich Markov. In mid 2000's I was your student in the political science forums in Crimea (to continue the topic of Crimea). Sanctions were imposed on Russia but they had reverse effect. Now the society is more nationally conscious, people are more exacting to mass media, they require more civic consciousness. In this regards, I would like to know your forecast about development of situation with the sanctions, whether social situation would depend upon them, whether we would be capable to maintain national consciousness that became so evident this year.

S. Markov: First I want to say couple of words about freedom of speech. It seems to me, that now freedom of speech can also be freedom from something and freedom for something. Freedom from pressure of power and money. There is sphere of privacy, sphere of culture and education, sphere of market and sphere of politics. One of the most critical problems of today that the sphere of market is expanding and overcomes other spheres. Freedom for something is the freedom to express your position; that is an attribute of developed civil society. I have told already, freedom does not belong to mass media, freedom belongs to society. The society should have its own position. Interesting discussion prerequisites interesting positions. If companions do not have educational background, information or position, there is no space for discussions. It would be boring and not interesting.

And now, the future of the sanctions and so on. In my opinion, they have shaped their course. They will beat at several directions.  First, they will beat at oligarchs to make them principal institutors. They are oppressed and so on. But our government tries to tell them: we warned, sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. We have developed Sochi for you, you have a place for Alpine skiing, and we’ll develop other spheres and so on. Secondly, they will beat at the middle class. The aim is exacerbation of the middle class. There are many things that could be done. For example, I think they may cut off Internet. The Americans suppress and we still have no idea what should be done to make them to leave us in piece. For a while, our strategy is not to go into big conflicts. Without surrendering, at the same time.

We need to propose our globalization model. Globalization is irreversible; that is for sure. We say that we do not like the American model of globalization. We are asked what model is preferable but we keep silence. It shall be formulated finally. It is point of our ideology, it is important. All of us want to be part of the progress, son we shall develop our vision of the future. By the way, after we started to rely upon the values paradigm, we have acquired our supporters in the European Union, in Europe and all over the world. I need to communicate much. You would not believe but the European Parliament deputies come to me and say: I am a secret supporter of Putin. Unfortunately, tomorrow I would not be able to say anything.

Question of auditorium. T. Motoshina: I would like to return to journalism issue. I am concerned about the following: quality of people working in mass media and their knowledge in the Russian language and stylistics. Today it is a significant problem but there is one thing that is more critical: the present journalists are mere day players. In your opinion, is civic consciousness important; is it possible to be a high-quality journalist without civic consciousness; is it possible to have high-quality mass media without that? Thank you.

S. Kozlov: I would request our experts to answer briefly, though it is a global question, too.

V. Fadeyev: I am confused; the first question was about the Russian language? About quality of language?

T. Motoshina: No. Mr. Kozlov added about the Russian language. I talked about the quality of journalists. Is it critical not to become a day player but to have civic consciousness? Can day players create a high-quality mass media? In my opinion, it is impossible.

V. Fadeyev: You have answered you question by your last phrase.

Question of auditorium. V. Dynin: Natalia Vladimirovna, could you give your forecast about oil?

N. Komarova: I told about this issue many times. Yesterday, in my address, I have drawn attention to this. Russia is the leader in power industry and relinquishing this status is not reasonable. There would be no excuse for that. One oil industry expert and simply wise man said: oil and gas shall be produced right no. No need to leave something to the future generations. The future generations will invent something, like the previous generations had invented how to use oil and gas instead of wood. That inventions would be definitely better. On no account we should reject our competencies. I am against destroying. Rejecting our competencies is destroying the oil industries and many other industries, too. In the Autonomous Okrug Government, we work having such vision. It is the state mainstream. This industry must continue development and the leading positions of the Russian Federation in this sphere shall not be relinquished on any condition. Neither under political leverage, nor under political pressure. We have tremendous potential that shall be utilized.

Question of auditorium. Kipras Mazheyka: This question is addressed to Sergey Markov. I hope, he would answer it easily. You remember address of Aleksey Volin at the scientific conference two years ago, and scandal associated with that. You remember it was because of his words that students of the journalism department are taught not in proper way. Journalist shall not be the torch of intelligence, kindness or other high-toned values. Journalist shall work for his boss who pays money. That is one principle of journalism. Today you have told about another principle, like orientation at public television. I agree with you. In two hours I'll preside over a seminar. We are at regional TV studio, but I am going to tell exactly how you talk. However I would like to ask you as a specialist about your attitude to Volin. He is Deputy Minister of Communication, he speaks well, and finally he says: You are free to choose what do you want: taxi or yellow colour of cab? So, my first question is your attitude to Volin and to such his words. The second question. Dear Mr. Markov, you are excellent political analyst, you are very intelligent, I like watching you when you discourse on television that the same people talking about Ukraine have already become annoying. The same faces – Zhirinovsky and the like. When new faces would come – smart people who are able to argue? We have plenty of them in Russia – don't you think so?

S. Markov: First of all, I would lie to say about Volin. Of course, I disagree with his statement that primarily we should teach how to learn money. Of course, one should be capable to earn money, but we understand that it is not the only aim. That is partially related to generation philosophy. Now we have a number of people who believe that utilitarianism is more important. Practically, utilitarianism, I mean, cynicism, is complete denial of such values. First, it is rejected by the society. I think that one of the most important problems of our society is significant corruption of ethics. I beg your pardon, but we give up children. My country, Ukraine, has the highest rate of giving up children, comparing to other Europe. Is it moral? And how we treat parents? They suffer without real help. Enormous number of divorces. In this situation, cynics play a leading part. At the same time, Volin is very rational person. Together, we should formulate some paradigm of values. Spiritual, moral revival starts from the fact that we are appealed to drink, so to say, vodka in tons, we are appealed to consume drugs, we are appealed to give up children – all that related to the real things. Until we resolve all such problems, cynics would go great guns. Now, I want to say something about new ideas. You know, finding them is not an easy thing. You see, there are many smart people, but quite often smart people can not work in specific frameworks. When you talk on television, you need to talk fast; you have two to three minutes to say what you want. Sometimes it is just 30 seconds. You understand, not everyone can work in such a format. It is not practicable, whatever side you take it. Another example. There is round table in The Parliament Sheet discussing conflicts in the post-Soviet countries. I propose certain ideas. I am told that all that is known from media, people won't watch others. This is the principle of the modern world of information. You know, it is the principle of tears. If somebody is known, he or she would be watched. Others, even he or she is smart, would not watch, they would go to make the tea and would not listen. Unfortunately, this is paradoxical situation. However, believe me, TV channels search for new people, new smart faces that are capable to work in such format. They hunt for them.

S. Kozlov: Valery Alexandrovich?

V. Fadeyev: They hunt quite badly. I have become a program anchor on the First Channel. It is a very interesting job but listing is very short. Totally, there are about 70 persons. I mean media persons Sergey talked about. Those who can express their point in a tough manner for a minute or two. At the same time they should be emotional and even hysterical, I am serious. One may say that it is very easy. My friend, Vitaly Tretyakov, has a program, What Shall We Do? It is of different sort, quite peaceful. It has only 2%, you understand? And my program, with Zhirinovsky, has 15%. I am also annoyed by the same persons. And now I am in different shoes. It is incredible, but Zhirinovsky creates own space around him. He is a high-level professional; he knows how to do that. It is obvious that many television viewers are tired of him but he creates those grounds for discussion. I speak being a newcomer as TV programs anchor, I talk about my experience. No doubt, we shall expand number of people we invite to our programs. We must understand that it is a special work on selection. As far as Volin is concerned. I do not agree that Volin does not understand that journalists are creative entity. For a while, Volin was Chief Editor of Profile magazine. Now there is no Profile magazine, it vanished. And The Russian Reporter magazine that we had established 7 years ago still works. I can not come to those talented people and say: Look here, from now on, you obey my orders. It is obvious what they would say. I would be fired. Instead, it is a successful project, it occupies its niche, and we are satisfied with amount of ads we publish. Marina Akhmedova has been living in Ukraine for about one year. Do you read reports by Marina Akhmedova? Who reads reports by Marina Akhmedova in The Russian Reporter? Probably, many. How could I give orders to her? She is ten times more talented than me, you understand? She is paid less than me, in her own company. So, it absolutely false concept of journalists. It is politics. Of course, there is news line. Such work has specific limitations and this approach is applicable there to some extent. But if you want to have a real success you can not speak to journalists in this manner. It is a simple answer. Therefore, Mr. Volin (though I respect him) would not succeed on the market if he follows such philosophy. If he has no moral grounds he would not be accepted either by journalists or by audience. Thank you.

S. Kozlov: Our guests from the Federal bodies and the Government have just half an hour to make a light meal before the next discussion. Moreover, we have no right to exceed duration of our President conversation with the journalists. Of course, it is just a joke. The next question will be last one.

Question of auditorium. Good afternoon, I reside and work in Ugra, so, most of all I am concerned about local journalism issues. In this regards, I would like to ask you, Natalya Vladimirovna. Do mass media financed from the Okrug budget give adequate reference points to the population to enable them to take correct decisions? I hope, it is their primary function, isn't it?

N. Komarova: This is a difficult question, as difficult as one about freedom of speech. If one evaluates by circulation, it is a disputable issue. If we talk about number of printing organs, it would be more positive. As far as development is concerned, Tatyana Vladimirovna has expressed her opinion. It would be great if professionalism goes higher. It would be another step to final success, I mean, purchasing, reading, and watching our resources. Therefore, I believe we have space to develop. You are here, you work, and you are active. So, it is mutual desire. We may expect a success. We will seek it. There is a demand and we shall work together. May be, we exercise via such social councils. I prepare wider authorities to this social council and the nomenclature of issues that could be outsourced. That is to the extent of grants distribution, funding and so on. Really, I am ready to give such authorities to enable establishment of a functional institution. I am for local, for regional mass media. I think that if they are demanded by the public, such demand is to be satisfied. Is governor required or not? One may say that governor is not required; another would say that he is. Is there a demand for governors? There is such demand, so, it shall be satisfied. One can not hold the position of governor in such a manner that people decide that such institution is unnecessary. Similarly, journalist shall work in a way to make people understand that local newspapers are required. If we are to do something for that, please tell, we are ready to provide that. I am for local journalists.

S. Kozlov: Dear colleagues, I understand that today is the fist day of your work; it is the first discussion in such a format. May be, not all the questions were asked. However I would like to thank our honourable experts for visiting us. Alexander Sergeyevich, Sergey Alexandrovich, Valery Alexandrovich, thank you very much. Without any flattery, many thanks to our Governor, Natalya Vladimirovna for spending her time to meet us again.



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