27/7 Tass 2
MOSCOW, July 27 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday will meet with the winners of the contest for the post of the director general and area directors of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI), the government press service reported. Other participants in the meeting will form the basis of the Expert Council of the Agency.
“The primary task of this body of the new structure will be the formation of a regional network, the selection and follow up on projects and business ideas, expert evaluation of materials prepared for consideration at meetings of the ASI Supervisory Council,” the press-service explained.
The contest for the post of the Agency’s director general ASI three directors in the areas “New Business,” “Young Professionals” and “Social Projects” was held in two phases during the period from May 25 to July 21. A total of 2,3678 people submitted applications for participation in it. The largest number of candidates was nominated from Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Sverdlovsk region.
A government source told reporters earlier that among the five leaders competing for the main seat there are such “heavyweights” as President of Business Russia Alexander Galushko, his deputy Yelena Nikolayeva and editor of Expert Magazine Valery Fadeyev. However, the “young and venturous” will become the directors. “More well-known and heavyweight people will be put on the Agency’s Supervisory Council,” said the source.
According to him, in addition to the stated objectives ASI will also engage in improving the customary image of an average businessman. “At present an entrepreneur is at best – a positive bandit, and at worst – negative,” he said. “Anyway, he is always a crook who made a fortune by unrighteousness.” According to the source, this image is “infinitely far from reality.” “In fact, businessmen as a rule started their business from scratch, and contrary to many realities. They are the true heroes of our time,” he believes.
The source specified that a number of sites for placing the ASI headquarters have already been determined, but added that the final choice will be made by the director general. Also, he said, plans for the Agency’s regional network are being actively developed. “We intend to launch pilots in Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk,” he said. Governor of the Sverdlovsk region Alexander Misharin will be in charge of ASI regional work. The task of the Agency is to attain the level of promoting 100-200 projects a year.
According to the government official, big business will sponsor the promotion of projects of medium-sized businesses. He said that several companies have already expressed their willingness, but did not disclose their names.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced the idea of ·· creating the agency on May 6 in Volgograd at an interregional conference of the United Russia party. The prime minister said the new structure should provide additional mechanisms for the “young and promising people” to implement community service projects and ideas, as well as open for this category of the population a “social elevator” for senior positions in the government, social, scientific and business structures.
At the initial stage Putin intends to organise the Agency’s work in three directions. The first track will be the selection of new practical projects and initiatives. The second is linked with the establishment in Russia of a working mechanism of qualification assessment of employees. The third will be social projects in the sphere of culture, education and health, including “with the attraction of independent non-profit organisations.”
Speaking of young professionals, Putin said earlier that ASI would “help to create a comprehensive system of professional qualification” and select the best education programmes. As for social projects, the agency will engage in innovative activities in such fields as education, healthcare, culture, leisure time, and help to the elderly and disabled people. Putin said ASI would not consolidate governmental programmes for the sake of its goals.
Replying to a question from the Volgograd-based company Evropa-Biofarm, Putin said, “ASI will not seek to consolidate governmental programmes but will select the most promising projects in certain sectors.”
He mentioned a federal target programme for the development of the medical industry “where investments have already been made” and said that ASI could play a role in determining which projects need support under this programme.
“Our market is dominated by foreign pharmaceutical companies” that earn billions of US dollars in Russia, “while domestic products are scarce and can be fond only in the low-priced segment, and there are only a few high-tech products”, the prime minister said. He stressed the need to develop the pharmaceutical and medical industries in Russia.
Putin said the newly created Agency for Strategic Initiatives would not compete with the Skolkovo Foundation. “Skolkovo is a good project that seeks to bring together interesting people and important projects in a well equipped place. This is something different. This means network activities across Russia,” he said. “One will be harmoniously complement the other,” he added.