OREANDA-NEWS.  February 09, 2012. Vladimir Putin's address: Ladies and gentlemen, friends, colleagues, Mr Shokhin (Alexander Shokhin, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs) has told me how your work began. It was nice that he took note of the statements made by our ministers, saying that they are acting brilliantly, promising everything. I will not promise you everything, but will try to speak only on the issues of interest and concern to all of us.

Thank you for inviting me to your conference. I would like to begin by congratulating you on your 20th anniversary. Although the actual anniversary was late last year, I was given to understand that you decided to celebrate it this year, because of the long holidays [early this year] which left no time for your celebration. A few words about our holidays: the New Year holidays are indeed too long. We could decide to end them on the Orthodox Christmas day, January 7, moving the other holidays to May, as people have suggested. What I mean is, holidays coupled with weekends lasting as long as 10-11 days do not seem good for health. That was a minor digression, and an unplanned one at that. So, I want to congratulate you on your holiday and wish you all the best.

The companies that are represented in the RUIE really do constitute a powerful force: they account for two thirds of the country's GDP. You can be rightfully proud of this, because it means that the RUIE is the largest and most important association, one capable of discussing the problems facing the country, the economy as a whole and business. It provides a forum where these issues can be discussed and solutions found.

Today we are definitely going to talk about practical measures aimed at fundamentally changing the investment climate. As you know, the first package of such measures was made public at the Russia 2012 investment forum a week ago.