TODAY, RUSSIAN BUSINESS HAS SOCIAL FACE has already reported that the winners of the all-Russia competition on the “Russian Organization of High Social Efficiency” were awarded today with diplomas at the House of Government. Speaking at the opening ceremony, vice-premier Valentina Matviyenko said the competition had evoked interest in all the regions of the country, in companies representing most branches of the country’s economy. In particular, Mrs. Matviyenko said the following. “Unfortunately, at the stage of the country’s transition to another economic and political system, we can see a decreasing attention to the working man, to his social protection, his labour conditions. We have inadvertently rejected what maintained social stability in the society, including the confidence in the future. At the same time, a successful development of the economy is to a grate extent dependent on these factors. To make the employee interested in the results of his labour is the task of not only the authorities, but of the employer, too.” Touching upon the peculiarities of the country’s social and economic development for this year, the deputy prime minister said the following. “Over the first 10 months of the current year, GDP rose by 7.99% compared to the same period last year. Production grew by 9.8%. Virtually all large branches of industry exceeded the level reached last year. The population’s real cash income rose by 9.4%. We are sure to have basically overcome the consequences of the 1998 crisis. The main thing is that the government’s mentality has changed. The course has been taken to building a socially oriented market economy. The main priority has been put forward, that is, raising living standards and investing in man. Those priorities have been included in the programme of social and economic development of the Russian Federation for the period to 2010. The overall expenses for the social sphere in the draft federal budget have been increased nearly by 58% compared to the 2000 budget.” Mrs. Matviyenko’s words have been confirmed by Aleksandr Khloponin, director general of the Norilski Nikel company. “Today, everyone of us, industry majors, knows that without social programmes it is impossible to materialize any strategy of industrial or corporate development, he said. Mr. Khloponin expressed gratitude to Valentina Matviyenko who “for the first time has publicly declared that Russia’s largest businesses, apart from the flaws they have today, do have a social face, a social significance.” Arkadi Volski, president of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, said that “we assess the government’s decision of holding the all-Russia competition as a very significant one.” In Mr. Volski’s view, the experience gained by the competition participants as to the development of a constructive dialogue with the government should become subject of a special consideration.

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