31 december 2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a working meeting with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin

The meeting was dedicated to the results of this year in the capital, the city’s social problems as well as plans to construct new metro stations. They focused on the situation caused by extreme weather conditions this year.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Good evening.

How is Moscow looking at the end of this year, Mr Sobyanin?

Sergei Sobyanin: On the whole, not bad. You know that we have drawn up the budget, developed all the main programmes and put our team together...

Vladimir Putin: Does "not bad" mean good?

Sergei Sobyanin: Not bad is good, and I always speak cautiously, like you, about something good, so I won't jinx it. But, thank God, everything is all right. Moscow was hit also by the extreme weather of recent days. There were 900 minor power line breaks – mainly affecting street lights. All of them have been repaired.

Vladimir Putin: Did power transmission lines fall?

Sergei Sobyanin: Yes. As for power transmission lines, power lines running to the Moscow Region lost power. There was a build-up of ice on the wires and several transmission towers, nine towers, fell. Just about an hour ago I was at the site of one of these emergencies. New towers have been delivered and by January 9 we will have the power lines restored. However, all the energy consumers are connected to other independent sources of power, so it has not affected the consumers at all.

Vladimir Putin: Are there any Moscow residents left without power?

Sergei Sobyanin: No, no one. Power sources were instantly switched. All the districts are connected and the connection has been doubled. Still, there was one problem: when the power transmission lines are restored, wire needs to be stretched across the Moscow Ring Road. This is why we set up an administrative group not to block traffic altogether. Traffic was halted four times for 15-20 minutes only. That means the work has been organised well there.

Vladimir Putin: How much has regional production grown in 2010?

Sergei Sobyanin: By 6%. Our plans for next year are also for a growth of about 6–7%. The budget in general will be increased by 5%. However, these are our most conservative estimates.

Vladimir Putin: Ms Matviyenko (St Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko) reported in the morning that St Petersburg has reached 5.5%. What about industry?

Sergei Sobyanin: Industry has shown growth of 4%.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Sobyanin, in St Petersburg it is 10%!

Sergei Sobyanin: Yes, I know. In Moscow the industrial growth is small because the enterprises here have practically reached some high point and stopped developing any more. We have to look into it, and we are working on it with Mr Khristenko (Minister of Industry and Trade Viktor Khristenko), we, along with the Ministry of Industry, need to find out what needs be done with the Moscow industrial centre and industrial areas. The reason is that it has become impossible to develop further along the existing patterns. It is impossible to produce pig iron or construct steelmaking plants. We need to launch new high-tech production facilities.

We are now working on all the industrial areas, which belong both to Moscow and the Ministry of Industry. Today I met with Mr Fursenko (Andrei Fursenko is the Minister of Education and Science) and talked with him. We need a new strategy for industrial areas and production facilities. We also work with Mr Chemezov (Sergei Chemezov, Russian Technologies State Corporation CEO), our most recent meeting was just two days ago. We also had a discussion and set up a joint team. It is such a serious problem for Moscow. The point is that it is impossible to develop extensively here, and we need new production facilities based on high technologies and science. This is the task we have set for ourselves.

Vladimir Putin: How is the public sector doing?

Sergei Sobyanin: One of the main problems has to do with public health. It would seem that Moscow's public health system is one of the best in the country, but there are great imbalances there.

Vladimir Putin: In the major cities, yes?

Sergei Sobyanin: The large imbalances are due to the fact that some hospitals have an excessive number of hospital beds, while others have a shortage. Particularly when it comes to children's hospitals – the shortfall is somewhere around 25%. Moreover, several children's hospitals are in need of major repairs and renovation. Per your instructions, we have developed a modernisation programme with the Health Ministry. Over two years, it will cost about 100 billion roubles, 50:50.

Vladimir Putin: Next year, we will allocate 50 billion roubles for you.

Sergei Sobyanin: This is a joint programme. We divided it up so that 39 billion will go to purchase new equipment, approximately 30 billion will go to repairs and renovation, six billion for information technology and 15 billion to develop new standards. So with of all these sums broken down, the structure of the programme is complete – an official document will be issued soon – and we will proceed to implement it.

Vladimir Putin: And a federal loan is available for Moscow.

Sergei Sobyanin: You issued instructions based on my request for the Finance Ministry to allocate 30 billion roubles for Moscow as a federal loan. In total, Moscow has 250 billion roubles of debt, or rather not debt but borrowed money that must be paid back in a few years.

Vladimir Putin: Debt!

Sergei Sobyanin: Yes, debt, and real debt. This is not just a nominal deficit, this is real debt that needs to be paid back. Therefore, it is important to get by with more small loans – 30 billion is a decent amount.

We have already filed for 15 billion with the Finance Ministry and early next year we will plan for another 15 billion. This is good support to start developing transport infrastructure, particularly the metro.

Mr Putin, thank you very much for signing a government resolution regarding the two-stage design phase for the metro. I turned to you because this is very important as we have no basic design for the metro. This means that if we start to design in the usual way, we will be able to build only in five years. Under the new resolution, we still have the option to design in stages and start building immediately. In general, we plan to introduce about 70 km of track and 35 new metro stations in 2015. This is a major programme.

Vladimir Putin: Thirty five – that's a lot.

Sergei Sobyanin: Yes. And remember, you issued instructions to Vnesheconombank to work with us to create an investment pool for the construction of major highways. Today, we are working with them on that. I hope that early next year, I'll be able to report to you on it.

Vladimir Putin: Good.