28 april 2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Astrakhan Region Governor Alexander Zhilkin

Prime Minister Putin and Governor Alexander Zhilkin focused on the positive economic growth experienced by the Astrakhan Region in the first quarter of this year, as well as housing construction and renovation. Governor Zhilkin reported that approximately five thousand families moved out of dilapidating and hazardous housing over the last three years, and roughly 46% of housing stock for the entire region has been repaired this year.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Zhilkin, how did the year begin in your region?

Alexander Zhilkin: Stability is the word. Just as we have expected, we are through with what I think was the worst of the downturn.

Vladimir Putin: Your region saw growth in the first quarter, correct?

Alexander Zhilkin: Yes, we did. Industrial output grew by 16.4% and the gross regional product by 3.2%. To raise tax revenues back to the pre-crisis levels [this year] would be too good to be true, but we expect to reach 2008 levels next year. As for industrial output, I think we will approach or surpass 2008, pre-crisis levels before the end of this year.

With this target in view, we have opened many new production facilities, particularly meat and dairy factories, and iodine and tomato sauce manufacturers.

Incidentally, the iodine project would support import substitution.

Vladimir Putin: Are there any back-owed wages?

Alexander Zhilkin: We reassess the situation every week. There are ups and downs, but there were no back-owed wages as of April 15, the date of the last report.

Vladimir Putin: Are there no back-owed wages at all in the government-financed sector?

Alexander Zhilkin: We are meeting all our obligations there, with no problems at all.

Vladimir Putin: What about housing construction?

Alexander Zhilkin: We are implementing the programme you supported to resettle people out of dilapidating and hazardous housing. Roughly five thousand families have received new accommodations over the last three years. We will go on with the programme, though we will adjust its objectives somewhat.

Vladimir Putin: What about housing renovations?

Alexander Zhilkin: We are renovating housing. We are working in close cooperation with officials from the Federal Housing and Utilities Reform Fund, and our expenditures occasionally exceed the allocations we receive.

Vladimir Putin: How many houses have been repaired?

Alexander Zhilkin: Working with the federal fund, we have repaired roughly 46% of the entire stock for this year. The final amount for the year will exceed 58%. According to our predictions, all houses in need of repair will be renovated within two years.