26 october 2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on the implementation of priority investment projects in the Siberian Federal District

Vladimir Putin

At a meeting on the implementation of priority investment projects in the Siberian Federal District

“Our goal is to improve living standards in the regions beyond the Urals and to make Siberia attractive to people, all within ten years. In fact, Siberia will need a new industrialisation plan to realise its competitive advantages.”

Vladimir Putin's opening remarks:

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

Three months ago, in July 2010, the government drafted and approved a development strategy for Siberia through 2020. We also agreed to monitor its progress. I'd like to remind you that the document was approved after serious consultations with the regions and with the regional branches of the United Russia party. We worked together to determine the priorities and to choose the key investment projects for the Siberian district.

Our goal is to improve living standards in the regions beyond the Urals and to make Siberia attractive to people, all within ten years.

In fact, Siberia will need a new industrialisation plan to realise its competitive advantages, which are well known. This implies the development of Siberia as a commodities supplier, the establishment of new high-tech industrial complexes, and the development of Siberia as one of the best tourist attractions in Russia.

We must also work consistently to resolve the most crucial social and environmental problems. A relevant example is the social development programme for the Norilsk industrial region. Huge funds will be invested in the modernisation of Norilsk Nickel, in the city's housing and utilities sector and in the construction of new childcare and sports facilities. Additional allocations have been approved for moving pensioners into regions with a more favourable climate, including in southern Siberia. The total cost of the programme is 27 billion roubles.

Today we are to discuss the efforts to implement Siberia's development strategy and individual projects.

I'd like to say the following in this respect: First, a considerable portion of Siberia's priority projects are being implemented within public-private partnerships. We are building infrastructure facilities, while business is responsible for industrial projects.

The government is honouring its commitments. For example, requisite allocations have been approved for completing the construction of a railway line, roads, a bridge across the Angara and the Boguchany hydroelectric power plant all within the scope of the comprehensive development of the Lower Angara territory.

The power plant will come on stream next year. Vnesheconombank will lend 28.1 billion roubles to complete the Boguchany hydroelectric power plant. The first section of the Karabula-Yarki railway line is to be commissioned in 2011. Several sections of the Kansk-Boguchany-Kodinsk highway have opened, and the road is to be completed by the end of 2010. The bridge across the Angara is to be completed in 2011.

A railway line is being built to facilitate mining in the Trans-Baikal Region. The line from Naryn to Aleksandrovsky Zavod opened for service in 2010. Work on the project is ongoing.

However, infrastructure should not be developed separately but as a condition for the establishment of new production facilities. Therefore, we may demand from investors a comparable approach to their pledges to commission new industrial plants (in this case, an aluminium smelter) and new mineral deposits.

By the way, it has been decided to approve a 21-billion-rouble loan for resuming the construction of the plant.

The projects involving the development of mineral deposits in the Trans-Baikal Region are now at the design stage; it is the responsibility of Norilsk Nickel.

Next, Siberia badly needs new good highways. The Chita-Khabarovsk highway, which just opened, is an important but not the only such project. There is still much work to be done before the highway project is completed. I am referring to road infrastructure, vehicle maintenance and service centres, communications, and so on.

We have yet to complete the construction of bypass roads around Irkutsk and Novosibirsk and to modernise the main roads in the region - the Baikal, Yenisei and Chuysky Trakt highways.

There are plans to allocate 4.5 billion roubles for the Baikal federal highway already this year. As much as 533 million will be approved for the Yenisei highway, and the Chuysky Trakt project, which is to be implemented in 2010-2012, will receive 540 million roubles in 2010.

Our third priority is the construction of housing and social infrastructure. The Cardiovascular Surgery Centre has been opened in Krasnoyarsk. You probably know that I have visited it and so can assure you that everything there has been done to the highest standards. The main goal now is to ensure comparable standards of medical services there.

We should also actively promote housing projects, in particular the Lesnaya Polyana residential district in Kemerovo, and projects to resettle people from dilapidated housing and to build comfortable base camps for miners near oil and gas deposits.

And fourth, we must develop tourism zones, which I have already mentioned. The government has decided to establish four special tourism zones in Siberia: in the Altai Republic, in the Altai Territory, in Buryatia and in the Irkutsk Region. Two of them have already started servicing tourists, with more than 100,000 people spending their vacations there this year.

Of course, I have not mentioned all of the priority projects in Siberia. I'd like to say that we will monitor all of them. The task has been entrusted to Dmitry Kozak, and we will regularly discuss the progress.

Before starting discussions and giving the floor to Minister of Regional Development Viktor Basargin, I'd like to remind you that the ministry has been given a number of new functions and authority. One of them is to coordinate the activities of the federal and regional authorities and investors in implementing the development strategies of the federal districts.

Let's start working now.