The President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, has appealed for the government to be more considerate in its attitude to the needs of the disabled. He announced this at a meeting in the Kremlin with Cabinet ministers on 3 December, the International Day of the Disabled. Pointing out that there were approximately 10 million disabled people in Russia today, the President stressed that, furthermore, they all needed care and support from the state. According to the President, in the past the government confined itself to only granting the disabled "meagre entitlements, and not always met these demands. All these measures, the President claimed, did not allow them to live a normal life. Stating that the most important thing was the "social adjustment" of the disabled, the Head of State said that the Russian urban environment- transport and community buildings- were absolutely incapable of aiding the disabled. The President claimed that he "was ashamed" to recall a recent incident in the Kremlin at a citizens forum, where even the turnstiles were inadequate to allow wheelchair access. No less important is the moral aspect said Putin. The disabled often have to contend with quite harsh, inhumane and uncivilised reactions, including employment attitudes. The President appealed for the government to create the necessary conditions, particularly of a legislative nature. The Russian President also recalled that a year ago he met representatives of the disabled community and business leaders. Then clear decisions were made. Putin asked Vice-Premier Valentina Matviyenko to give him a report regarding the progress of these decisions.
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