Putin to select leaders for Agency for Strategic Initiatives.

14/7 Tass 4

MOSCOW, July 14 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday will hold a videoconference with Yekaterinburg, where the INNOPROM 2011 forum is underway. The press service of the Russian government reported that in this regime “he will hold a working meeting with the winners of the first stage of the competition for the positions of the director general and directors of branches of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI).”

A government source said that the “the contest committee had reviewed and selected over 1,000 applications, and the ‘long list’ of the winners of the first stage includes about 200 people invited to participate in the Yekaterinburg forum.” “From this list the Expert Council and ASI directorate with the director general in the head will be formed at the second stage of the competition,” he added.

According to the source’s forecasts, “most likely, the names of the winners will be announced in late July, at a meeting with the head of government in Moscow.”

This format is chosen not accidentally: in fact, “the ASI day” will be held at the forum that can be considered the first working day of the Agency in an expanded format. The contestants and experts attracted to the work, divided in sections, will participate in four thematic ‘brainstorming’ roundtables on key aspects of their future activities.

The organisers expect that “as a result, the basic problems and ways to address issues such as selection of projects and mechanisms for their promotion, the problem of communication between medium-sized businesses and the authorities, measures to improve the business environment, career advancement of young people, creating a system of professional certification and promotion of social initiatives are to be formulated.”

In addition, according to the source, “simultaneously with the contest for the post of the director general and directors of branches the Agency was selecting business ideas and projects – a total of about 900 was submitted.” “The ‘exchange of projects’ was organised on the ASI website – any registered user could join a public discussion of the projects submitted for the competition,” he said, adding that “the winning projects will be selected by members of the Expert Council after careful consideration – closer to autumn.”

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 valuable projects and ideas, as well as to open for this population category “social elevators” to senior positions in the government, social, scientific and business structures.

At the initial stage, Putin suggests to organise the Agency work in three directions. Within the first track the selection of new projects and practical initiatives will be carried out. The second track is linked with the establishment in Russia of a working mechanism of qualification and assessment of the personnel. The third track of the agency’s activities will be social projects in the sphere of culture, education and health, including “with the attraction of independent non-profit organisations.”

According to him, the basic principles of the agency will be “openness, involvement of a wide range of independent experts, minimising all sorts of bureaucratic formalities.” “For us it is important to use and widely disseminate the best regional practices and to efficiently manage the administrative resources,” he stressed.

Putin said earlier presenting the ASI initiative, in particular, that “I believe that, in this segment, we can support people who have achieved certain results. In order to move forward, they need support and administrative or, sometimes, financial assistance, and the Agency might serve as a mediator between business representatives and financial organisations, our country’s leading banks and development institutions. It might support projects that are already underway and people who have proved that they are able to do something, as they have already implemented some projects, and propose new areas of activity. And I think it may well be so that people will appear who haven’t done anything special but have absolutely new, fresh, breakthrough ideas. The point is, if the expert council reviews these ideas favourably, it will be necessary to take a closer look at these proposals.”

“As part of work in this “new business” field, it will be important to have the opinions and experience of those who have already contributed to removing administrative barriers, to expanding relations with government and administrative bodies, and promoting new ideas to the municipal, regional or federal levels. Certainly, it will be very important to hear and devise approaches that will create more transparent relations between business (at least in the given segment) and the state in the broad sense of the word,” Putin noted.

The Annual Urals International Exhibition and Forum of Industry and Innovation INNOPROM 2011 is organised with support of the Government of the Russian Federation – it is Russia’s first specialised exhibition for industry, innovation and technology. It offers a unique opportunity to exchange experiences and constructive cooperation of federal and regional authorities, major domestic and foreign companies, small and medium-sized innovative businesses, scientists and experts.

In addition, INNOPROM 2011 is intended to be a discussion platform for those who understand the challenges of the present moment and has a strategic vision for the future of Russia.

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