28 october 2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Samara Region Governor Vladimir Artyakov

They summarised the region’s performance this year, focusing on AvtoVAZ. The regional governor said that government support of the company certainly did much to improve the economic situation in the entire region. They also discussed employment and other social issues.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Artyakov, these are the last days of October. The year is ending soon. What has your region achieved in 2010?

Vladimir Artyakov: Mr Prime Minister, I would like to stress that it makes a difference to us that we are meeting here in the Samara Region because we will have an anniversary of sorts next year, 75 years of oil production in the Samara Region. We have produced a fair amount of oil since then, 1,200 million tonnes.

Regarding current achievements, the first nine months' results exceed the indices for last year by 5% for oil production and by 41% for refinement. We have really made considerable earnings for the region and for all of Russia - and this means jobs and social guarantees for the region's employees and population.

We can say with confidence and objectively that the regional economy has resumed a dynamic development pace after the downturn at the end of 2008 and throughout 2009. To be honest, we did not expect such efficient work. We owe it mainly to the federal government and your personal involvement in the support of AvtoVAZ. We know that it is the backbone of the entire automotive industry, with many branches and a huge number of employees. The support of AvtoVAZ played a prominent part in the economic revival of the entire region because the Samara Region possesses not only oilfields and oil refineries but also a sizeable engineering industry.

Vladimir Putin: How did our support influence employment in the entire region?

Vladimir Artyakov: Mr Putin, I am happy to report that we are among those parts of the country that have the lowest unemployment, with 2% registered and 4.4% total unemployment. 2.4% of the population is unemployed in Togliatti, which is a single-industry city. These are really good indices. I would also like to say that we have reduced the AvtoVAZ staff from 102,000 to 70,000 - even below the targeted 72,000. We have found new jobs for 31,000 by now in Togliatti and elsewhere in the region.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Artyakov, when the state was taking over AvtoVAZ's social obligations at the company's request, I heard that people were concerned about a decline in healthcare and other services. I asked you and other officials then to monitor this closely. What do you think about the current performance?

Vladimir Artyakov: Mr Putin, we are monitoring the situation on your request, and we oversee this work. The townspeople and AvtoVAZ bear no great grudges against these institutions. There were problems during the transition, of course, and we took them into account. Now, no one thinks that these services are on the decline.

Vladimir Putin: There are social services there apart from healthcare.

Vladimir Artyakov: I mean healthcare, kindergartens and sport facilities. Mr Putin, we have also decided to resume the construction of an ice arena in Togliatti next year. It is a crucial project for the city. It is rather expensive but regional funding will suffice for construction.

Vladimir Putin: However much the automotive industry might matter to the regional economy, the Samara Region has other industries, as well. How are they doing, especially high-tech - I mean the establishment of the Zhiguli Valley high tech park?

Vladimir Artyakov: We have received 600 million roubles in federal allocations for the programme due to the efficient action as reflected in the comprehensive investment plan for urban development in Togliatti. We are busy with project design and pre-drafting, in particular, on the infrastructure. Land plots have been assigned and design offices specified. We are certainly coordinating the work with the Ministry of Communications because we see that the job should integrate into the relevant federal programme at this stage.

It is our duty to establish a high tech park following the standards set not for today or even tomorrow but the day after. That is why we intend to launch the project as soon as possible with reliance mainly on the regional budget, and to take part in federal programmes. We have an agreement with the Ministry of Communications, and we maintain the necessary contact with them.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Artyakov, are there any problems you want me to pay attention to?

Vladimir Artyakov: Mr Putin, the job is going as planned according to your instructions.

I would like to thank the government, its staff and all ministries and agencies for smooth teamwork in implementing this programme. When we talked about the problems of Togliatti two years ago, the situation was really complicated. Today, I can say with confidence that things have much improved, and I expect that the city will be doing well in the future, and that our future achievements will be at their present level or even higher.

There are real opportunities to make progress, especially with regard to the modernisation of AvtoVAZ. As I have said, it is prepared to manufacture more than 600,000 cars with the staff they have, though its workforce has been reduced - which means that the company is beginning to modernise production.

Then, we have the special economic zone to develop and a high-tech park we mentioned today to build. I think it will be done soon.

Vladimir Putin: Good.

More Information