Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Nizhny Novgorod Region Governor Valery Shantsev


Governor Shantsev told the prime minister that the gross regional product in the Nizhny Novgorod Region has already exceeded pre-crisis levels. But there are some problems – investment being the most acute – that have yet to be solved. During the meeting, special attention was paid to the programme to modernise the healthcare system, which, according to the prime minister, will elevate healthcare services to a new level.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: What is the situation at the end of the year?

Valery Shantsev: Mr Putin, in general we are ending the year on a good note. We have been gradually overcoming the downturn; everything has stabilised; the gross regional product has started growing.

Vladimir Putin: You said that the figure is good. So, you have exceeded 2008 levels?

Valery Shantsev: Yes, but not by very much.

Vladimir Putin: But still.

Valery Shantsev: It was about 598 billion. Currently it stands at 594.5 billion and we are expecting to add another 15 billion this month.

Vladimir Putin: That's very good.

Valery Shantsev: We have already reached the corresponding level of the consolidated budget... Our best year was 2008 with 106 billion: we had increased from 34 to 106 since 2005. Now we expect to have 109 billion at the end of the year. Trade is also higher than in 2008. During my term, wages and the volume of paid services have increased by 150%-200%. We are in first or second place for public sector employees among the Volga Federal District's regions, and we used to be last. We have been gradually recovering, but still we have a lot to do.

Vladimir Putin: What problems do you consider the most acute?

Valery Shantsev: The most acute is investment, which has decreased 100% compared with 2008.

Vladimir Putin: Is this decline connected with construction?

Valery Shantsev: It has to do mainly with budget investments, since we have no development programme. While we could make about 20-25 billion in investments in 2007 and 2008, now we can afford only about 8-9 billion.

Vladimir Putin: What about the construction industry?

Valery Shantsev: The construction industry has not returned to pre-crisis levels, though we have been increasing housing construction every year. This year we set a record at 1.45 million square metres. Low-rise buildings make about 60% of the total. You have seen them.

As far as construction volumes are concerned, now we are at 88% of the 2008 level, and that's a problem. This was caused not by absence of contracts or orders, but a lack of investments. That's why we cannot afford budget-funded construction in such volumes. In light of this, I urge you (we have written appeals about this) to provide co-financing for kindergartens, schools and healthcare facilities. We are building a perinatal centre, but if we build it ourselves, we will need another 5-10 years to complete it. That's unacceptable. If we do it together, we will succeed.

Vladimir Putin: What about healthcare programmes?

Valery Shantsev: We have submitted everything. We are waiting for them to be approved.

Vladimir Putin: We will approve them soon. In terms of schools and kindergartens, you need to support municipalities at the regional level.

Valery Shantsev: Yes, we are building them not for ourselves but for municipalities. We have our own system, which is quite limited. We take funds from the regional budget only for large facilities, which can be significantly exploited. In most cases, co-financing is provided: 10-12% is given to us, and the rest is at our expense. And everything remains at the municipal balance, since the system is entirely at the municipal disposal.

Vladimir Putin: Right. That's how it ought to be.

Valery Shanstsev: We would like to see faster progress, because there is a disproportion. For instance, the hospital at Volodarsky District is still located in typhus barracks built in the 1930s. It's unacceptable.

Vladimir Putin: Let's have a look at modern high-tech medicine within the framework of the programme to modernise the healthcare system. And such old buildings... Formulate a plan for how to handle things, how to develop, what will be repaired, what will be combined and so forth as part of your proposals. This programme is not about spending money, it is about elevating healthcare services to a new level.

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