The establishment of the National Research Centre – Zhukovsky Institute is the main item of the agenda.
Dmitry Medvedev: I would like to briefly discuss important issues that we have worked on lately. I would like to inform you that I signed a Government resolution on the state regulation of prices for products delivered in accordance with state defence contracts. This document should be central to the emerging system for regulating prices for products delivered under these contracts. It should be used at all stages, including the formulation, awarding and executing of state defence contracts. Most importantly, the pricing process will not only involve state customers and executors of state defence contracts, as had been the case before. The Ministry of Industry and Trade, Federal Space Agency, Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation, in some areas, and the Federal Tariff Service should take part in formulating state defence contracts. They will examine the product price proposals of the defence industry, assess them and issue their findings on the authenticity of prices suggested by state customers. I hope that this procedure for the state regulation of product prices will create favourable conditions for more cost-effective planning, and the timely awarding and fulfillment of state defence contracts. At the same time, it will be possible to balance the interests of customers and suppliers.
Dmitry Medvedev: "We reduced specific deadlines for signing state contracts, which ensure the timely execution of state defence order objectives. Therefore, this will ensure the more cost-effective spending of the budget funds allocated for these purposes."
The preliminary calculation of prices in the formulation of state defence contracts will eliminate the causes of so-called price wars, which periodically flared up between state customers and suppliers during the awarding of contracts. We reduced specific deadlines for signing state contracts, which ensure the timely execution of state defence order objectives. Therefore, this will ensure the more cost-effective spending of the budget funds allocated for these purposes. I hope that this system has been streamlined, and it is therefore necessary to enforce the implementation of this resolution. The Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Federal Space Agency and Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation will focus on this issue. However, senior Government officials and Dmitry Rogozin should ensure coordination.
Now, back to the Government meeting agenda. Today, we are examining a legislative package on establishing the National Research Centre – Zhukovsky Institute. This implies the consolidation of national industry-specific science and the development of proving grounds and testing facilities.
It has been suggested to adopt a new federal law on the National Research Centre – Zhukovsky Institute during the first stage. We should also amend a number of statute documents, such as laws on unitary enterprises and independent agencies. In the future, the centre will include leading specialised research and development institutes with the status of independent agencies.
Dmitry Medvedev: "The centre will be able to commercialise the results of its intellectual activities. I hope that this will allow our aviation science to concentrate its efforts on the priorities and will eventually secure Russia stable positions in military and civil aviation."
The new centre is being established by the Government. The centre will need to have its structure approved, a supervisory board created, and the candidacy of its general director confirmed. As previously, the customer ordering the research projects in aviation is the state. The funding is conducted under our major programmme Aviation Industry Development, 2013-2025. The centre will be able to participate on the basis of state and private partnership and commercialise the results of its intellectual activities. I hope that this will allow our aviation science to concentrate its efforts on the priorities and will eventually secure Russia stable positions in military and civil aviation. We hope that, as a result, our fleet will be significantly updated with modern and reliable Russian aircraft.
We will also review a number of important issues. This includes the draft concept of openness of the federal bodies of executive power. Regarding the introduction of telecommunication technologies and the development of civil society, our priority remains in providing transparency of state power and its accountability to the public. We are tackling this. The parametres have been set by the President’s May executive orders and the main areas of the Government’s activities.
Dmitry Medvedev: "Regarding the introduction of telecommunication technologies and the development of civil society, our priority remains in providing transparency of state power and its accountability to the public. We are tackling this. The parametres have been set by the President’s May executive orders and the main areas of the Government’s activities."
In May 2012, I said that creating the system of Open Government was one of our seven key priorities. The system is developing dynamically and produces results. The Government’s programmes and decisions have become more open for the people. Draft regulatory acts are now posted on a website and a procedure for holding public debate online and by public and expert councils has been adopted. Some 18 months ago, this practice was not in place. I then gave an order for standards of openness for state bodies to be developed and applied. This resulted in establishing the Concept of Openness.
The next issue is support for families with many children. I mean providing families of three or more children with free land plots. A bill has been drafted according to which all Russian entities must rely on certain criteria for assessing which families require housing improvements the most. This must be targeted assistance for those who really need it.
Dmitry Medvedev: "Regions will receive more resources for resolving the housing problems of families with many children, including various forms of state support. This support includes providing funding allocated for individual construction projects, preferential mortgage loans and construction materials for those choosing to build their own homes themselves, housing according to a waiting list, and other variants, depending on the region’s capabilities and specifics."
Regions will receive more resources for resolving the housing problems of families with many children, including various forms of state support. This support includes providing funding allocated for individual construction projects, preferential mortgage loans and construction materials for those choosing to build their own homes themselves, housing according to a waiting list, and other variants, depending on the region’s capabilities and specifics.
Let’s discuss the agenda: the draft federal law on Zhukovsky Research and Development Centre and introducing amendments into a number of laws. Denis Manturov, please.
Denis Manturov: The establishment of an aviation research centre is the essential element of the implementation of the Aviation Industry Development until 2025 state programme, which is aimed at creating a modern high-tech industry closely connected with research. Now, we have a few autonomous entities, each of which specialises in a particular research area. First of all, such fragmentation does not allow for the maximum use of scientific potential, as approaches to the design process have been changed.
Then, any aviation project is a bonded technological complex. For instance, the development of composite materials provides new opportunities for changing the whole design of aircrafts, so production companies need such a partner in the scientific sector who has a wide range of competencies for designing innovative vehicles.
Denis Manturov: "We have a few autonomous entities, each of which specialises in a particular research area. First of all, such fragmentation does not allow for the maximum use of scientific potential, as approaches to the design process have been changed."
And, finally, the last issue. The scope and the capital intensity of the project’s scientific component of civil and military aviation have increased significantly and can be implemented only by enterprises with large financial resources. Taking into account all of these requirements, the system integration of competencies in a single entity has served as the basic idea for the establishment of a national centre. In scientific terms, we will combine research, technology, and the human capacity of major research centres specialising in aerodynamics, durability, engine manufacturing, and testing.
The consolidation of a research base is the final stage of the aviation industry’s integration, as all production sectors are already consolidated in such enterprises, such as the United Aircraft Corporation, the Russian Helicopters, and the United Engine Corporation.
We considered various models for aviation science development, including its integration into existing institutions with manufacturers. However, finally, we came to the conclusion that science should be independent. This nullifies the risk that it will only service current production needs, as its primary objective is to generate an advance technological capacity. In addition, the centre is intended to serve as an independent expert that will monitor global technology trends and will be able to consult aviation companies about innovative development programmes.
Denis Manturov: "Science should be independent. This nullifies the risk that it will only service current production needs, as its primary objective is to generate an advance technological capacity."
We should understand what technological base we have and how it allows us to move forward. The national centre’s independence will not be an obstacle to cooperation with the design offices of united companies. The Zhukovsky Research and Development Centre’s opportunities provide for its conversion into a large design centre that is capable of providing engineering services as part of the creation of innovative samples of technology.
In addition to the scientific component, we will consolidate the financial base. Research expenditures are increasing constantly. To optimise them, our European colleagues are implementing projects financed by a few countries; for example, this includes a project on the creation of a cryogenic pipe. The Zhukovsky Research and Development Centre will be able to take part in international research alliances that are fruitful for all of their members. One of the centre’s tasks will be cost optimisation through eliminating useless or duplicative studies.
The establishment of the centre provides other benefits. Primarily, this will lead to high coordination and control in the aviation science sector, and promote resource concentration to establish research and technological potential and breakthrough crucial technologies. The centre will pursue a common policy in the development of scientific infrastructure and human resources in the industry. It will also have to implement a long-term planning system.
Sergei Nedoroslev (Member of the Government Expert Council): Shifting state financial support for the aviation industry from direct subsidies to manufacturers to promote research at a single centre is one of the key innovations in the reform plan reviewed by the Government Expert Council. The technological progress produced by the research centre using federal funds would be available to all companies, not just those in the aviation industry. This kind of approach is in line with Russia’s WTO obligations and would streamline government spending.
That said, the practical mechanisms for commercialising research and the solutions developed at the Zhukovsky Research Centre should be discussed along with practical steps to make these technologies available to other segments of the economy. How would this be done?
It’s important to ensure that all companies, private and state-owned, big and small, have equal access to intellectual property, as well as to create convenient tools to facilitate access to all the available data, and transparent rules for using it.
We should also make sure that procedures are transparent with regard to the reorganisation and involvement of the expert community in the development of performance indicators for the research centre that is being established. All in all, the experts support the proposed draft laws.
Vladimir Fortov (President of the Russian Academy of Sciences): The decision to establish the research centre is more than timely, so it goes without saying that the Academy of Sciences supports this good cause. This initiative does not boil down to eliminating duplicate and wasteful spending. Delivering on objectives assigned to the aviation industry would be impossible without pooling the efforts of the experts from across the spectrum. I’ll give only one example – supersonic aerodynamics, supersonic propulsion.
The second problem is that engine capacity should be 30-fold greater to fly at such speeds, which means that new engines need to be developed. This is also a challenging issue, that there be no shortcuts in reaching this objective, which means that the research should take centre stage in these efforts.
Vladimir Fortov: "Delivering on objectives assigned to the aviation industry would be impossible without pooling the efforts of the experts from across the spectrum. I’ll give only one example – supersonic aerodynamics, supersonic propulsion."
The Academy of Sciences has always closely cooperated with the Zhukovsky Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute. A programme of projects has been established. We believe that the proposals we have put forward can be very effective, including fuel burning plasma modifications, steering mechanisms (it is very difficult to design wing-flap systems for such speeds as a plasma discharge helps propel the airplane), and many other proposals. All in all, I think this is a very positive and long-needed project.
Dmitry Medvedev: These considerations should be taken into account, there’s no doubt about that. Colleagues, does anybody else want to say something about the establishment of this centre? Should this proposal be upheld? Let’s uphold this important decision for the development of Russian aviation. The decision is approved.
Minister Mikhail Abyzov’s briefing upon the closure of the Government meeting
Mikhail Abyzov: The transparency requirement for executive authorities that was considered during today’s Government meeting builds on the practical expertise gained by our ministries and agencies over the past 18 months since the principles of openness began to be introduced into their practice.
We carried out several basic pilot projects. Their outcome was summed up and used for developing a standard, which consists of three sections. The first section defines the concept of openness. The second section contains methodological instructions regarding its implementation. The new, third section that has now been added to the standard describes the system for performing independent appraisals and monitoring the openness of the executive authorities. This is a new practice that will be introduced into the work of our ministries, agencies and independent experts in 2014.
We suggest that the monitoring and appraisal should be carried out by independent experts and based on three sets of data. The first set will result from a self-appraisal conducted the by heads of ministries and agencies regarding progress in developing openness techniques. The second set will be provided by the main reference groups, i.e. the industrial entities and public organisations directly affected by the ministries’ policy. Finally, opinion polls will deliver the third set of monitoring and appraisal data.
The appraisal will be performed at least once per year, allowing ministries and agencies to judge whether their own estimates approach the targets set by society and independent experts. As I informed the Government at today’s meeting, we carried out pilot tests of this appraisal system with regard to the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Healthcare and the Ministry of Science and Education. We used a polling procedure that I find unparalleled, encompassing the opinions of over 1,600 respondents over a wide social spectrum, with a special focus on reference groups that interact most closely with the ministries in question.
In addition, in this sociological survey we looked into the attitude to the Ministry’s activity on the part of major institutions controlled by the Ministry. Thus, we attempted to conduct a 360 degree independent assessment. The results testify that the ministries and departments that introduce these mechanisms most efficiently receive a positive effect in involving citizens in the work of ministries, and a positive assessment of their activity. And this shows that the use of the mechanisms built into the concept’s foundation produces a positive result, including in society’s perception of the main policy carried out by ministries and departments.
This is important because often the public officials who determine and announce the priorities implemented by the ministries explain them using an officialese, i.e. their professional, bureaucratic jargon, which common people are unable to understand. To ensure that the language is understandable, the methodical recommendations include a section which will be used by ministries next year. A relevant instruction was issued at a Government meeting and it will produce a positive result. We have the first results already. The 2014–2016 budget posted on the internet, on community websites, including on the State Duma website, must show to citizens, and explain in simple language, how taxpayers’ money is being spent. We will continue this work on a regional and municipal level. This is a good example of an understandable format of the activity of executive bodies. Common people, businessmen, can promptly understand, without being entangled in bureaucratic formulas, the essence of the ministries' activity, the tasks that a ministry sets for its officials and the aims that will be implemented, explained in understandable language. These are the main directions in which we will work in 2014. We will also continue the work on implementing the concept of open data. I would like to recall that the Russian Federation signed the G8 Open Data Charter unveiled during the UK's G8 Summit 2013. To date, following the President’s instruction, the Government has adopted a plan on implementing the G8 Open Data Charter. This plan provides for taking the work on disclosing information in machine-readable format to an absolutely new level. This work is being carried out by the Open Data Council as part of the commission headed by the Prime Minister. This work will continue in 2014 and will become one of the main efforts for information openness of our ministries and departments.
We will continue to raise the level of public control. Next year, we will have to reorganise the activity of public councils on a grand scale. It is important that we take the work of public councils to an informal and productive level if their activity is to make it possible to consider the opinion of public councils in the work of our department.
In 2014, we will continue to implement the third aspect, providing expert support for the state’s control and oversight functions and state services, as well as ensuring their public discussion. What new objectives have we accomplished this year? We have converted the state services being provided by our territorial agencies in Russian regions and municipal entities into a system, which allows the people directly obtaining these government services to assess their quality. We have launched this pilot project under the auspices of the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr). This unique system allows people to quickly obtain convenient and high-quality government services. The introduction of a system that allows citizens to assess the quality of these services will have direct consequences for assessing the performance of our public servants and the heads of the relevant territorial agencies. On the basis of the public’s assessments, we will make conclusions as to whether our regional experts are up to the mark and whether they are competent enough.
We will work actively in the area of public control and expert support for issues linked with state spending. Principles of the federal contract system will be introduced starting 1 January. This is a complicated process. While transferring state purchases and state expenses to a new system, it is important that we ensure their public transparency and a high level of public control. The new legislation provides additional mechanisms for this.
And, finally, we immediately determined at a Government meeting that the events we are planning, along with the methodological recommendations, are in line with the open book approach , and we will promptly expand them during our work as we obtain new results and adopt new practices.
Before 10 February, ministries and departments must submit their own individual plans regarding the introduction of open practices in 2014-2015 to the Government Commission for the Coordination of the Open Government, and this Commission will have to examine and introduce them before 1 March. Moreover, there are plans to conduct an independent monitoring survey and to assess openness levels of ministries and departments up to 1 March. In effect, this independent assessment will help ministries and departments to adjust and expand these plans and to see how their implementation will influence changes in the February assessments from independent experts and the public. We plan to conduct the next survey before the end of 2014.
Question: Judging by your current data, which ministry or department now posts the highest levels of openness, and on the contrary, which posts the lowest? And here is the second question: You have said that this data will be used to assess the competence or incompetence of their top managers. How do you understand this, and when will you be able to submit these recommendations to the Government?
Mikhail Abyzov: I would like to note that this concerns top managers of territorial executive agencies directly providing services to the population, the people of Russia. It is they who will be subject to the provision stating that a negative public assessment of local services being provided by our department will, first, result in official inspections and, second, in decisions regarding the competence or incompetence of officials. The Government resolution which stipulates this has been approved, and it contains criteria specifying that at least 70% of government services recipients should be satisfied with their quality.
We launched this work in 2013 under the auspices of Rosreestr. This is one of the most sweeping state services being provided to the people and comprises everything linked with the registration of property rights, including land relations. In 2014, the Russian Government will expand this methodology for the public assessment of the quality of state services to the Federal Migration Service and our other departments as well. We will also draft methodological recommendations during the first quarter, and these recommendations will allow Russian regions to move to this system for assessing the quality of government services and the competence of public servants.
Which ministries are more open than others? I can say that all ministries fulfill all basic requirements. First of all, they fulfill them because the introduction of the Open Government system is a Government priority, as outlined by the Prime Minister from the very beginning.
As a joint team, we implement those Government priorities which are being approved and which are truly important for the work of the entire Cabinet of Ministers. On the other hand, formal and administrative procedures stipulate the following system: No regulatory legal document can be submitted to the Government unless a public discussion is conducted. First of all, we conduct this public discussion by posting the relevant document on the websites of ministries and also on the centralised website http://regulation.gov.ru/.
In addition, many ministries and departments use the public council format for conducting independent audit checks of their draft decisions, which are subsequently approved by the Government. The Government cannot review documents unless these measures are implemented. This is a mandatory procedure for everyone, and it is difficult to single out anyone in this respect because this has already become standard practice for all ministries and departments. The same applies to major state expenses, which exceed one billion roubles. They are discussed no matter what, and these discussions involve the public and independent experts. It is impossible to allocate federal budget funding unless the expenses are publicly discussed. I can say that those six pilot ministries, which, in 2013, publicly declared their goals and tasks up to 2018, have achieved certain positive results with regard to their 2013 objectives.
Question: Participants in a meeting of the National People’s Front have just criticised you. For instance, they have criticised you for failing to voice your stance on the Zapadnoye (Western) Biryulyovo conflict. Here is one more question: Do you think that you managed to reach a mutual understanding with People’s Front participants the other day? And I would also like to quote Vladimir Putin as saying that “Open Government ministers are not yet open enough.” What can you say on this score?
Mikhail Abyzov: I believe that the Government needs to cooperate with public organisations, including the People’s Front, very much and that this cooperation is quite useful. This also concerns people who are involved in the activities of the People’s Front. Critical remarks are a normal process, and, most importantly, criticism should be objective and constructive. This criticism and these discussions should lead to specific joint decisions and changes in the government system. This concerns those areas where the government system should modify its decisions. Public feedback within the People’s Front and Civic Chamber formats ensures objective and constructive criticism. I believe that the Government finds it extremely important to continue its cooperation with the National People’s Front and with public organisations. Yesterday’s proposals with regard to the Government will certainly be analysed, and we will make a decision in accordance with specific results.
As for insufficient openness, this remark is sometimes justified, and we will do our best to more actively interact with society. Participants in today’s Government meeting have discussed this task, as well as specific mechanisms that will allow the Government and ministers to do this.
Speaking of Zapadnoye Biryulyovo events, I believe that this should be subject to serious analysis and to serious official decisions. Instead of merely responding to previous developments, we should also work hard to prevent them. In this respect, regarding labour immigration issues and the entire immigration legislation, we need to seriously expedite work and improve this legal aspect.
First of all, local governments should accomplish this task. Federal leaders find it impossible to immediately visit any Russian region where these incidents occur. Local governments should primarily focus on preventing similar situations.
Question: What other databases have been opened by ministries in line with the open data format? Could you mention any examples that you consider successful?
Mikhail Abyzov: To date, we have opened over 5,000 sets of data, and this is only the beginning of our work. We have not even accomplished 25% of our objectives. The state accumulates tremendous amounts of data during its work. Various estimates show that 15%, 20% and, in some cases, maybe, up to 25% of the state machinery and resources are involved in accumulating and processing data. The state’s effective work is impossible without this support.
It is important that this data should also become part of the economic turnover so that it would improve the quality of life, the quality of business operations and state administration. Next year, we expect to increase the volume of machine-readable data being received from our ministries and departments by 300-400%.
We focus on disclosing data which is needed by people or the business community in the first place. For example, people find it important to have access to open data on the results of the school-level Unified State Exam. The same is true for the quality of medical services. People must be able to view the availability of medical appointments at outpatient clinics and to use the online medical appointments system. We will be guided by precisely these priorities while determining the specific databases which will be declassified next year.
Question: Did participants in this government meeting approve the concept of the openness standards? And were any additional instructions issued on upgrading and expanding this concept?
Mikhail Abyzov: As for the decisions which have been adopted, we have approved the openness concept. This is the first thing. Second, the relevant standard consists of the concept, methodological recommendations and the assessments system. The Government Commission has been instructed to approve the methodological recommendations and the assessments system at a meeting of the Government Commission for the Coordination of the Open Government. Third, this February, every ministry and department will submit its own individual plan, with due consideration for its own specifics, and each of these plans will be approved by the Government Commission for the Coordination of the Open Government. Meeting participants have also discussed the need to consider the specifics of ministries and departments, including our security and law enforcement agencies, during the implementation of the openness standard and the drafting of the appropriate plans. After this discussion and after Government discussions, the relevant additions will be included in the methodological recommendations.