16 february 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Krasnodar Territory Governor Alexander Tkachev

The governor reported to the prime minister on the region’s social and economic development and on the results of relief works following last year’s severe flooding. Mr Tkachev expressed gratitude to the federal government for the support they had provided and informed the prime minister that new housing for the flood victims had been completed by the end of last year.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Tkachev, we regularly discuss problems arising from the preparations for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but we do not talk about the Krasnodar Territory’s local problems as often as we should. First of all, I would like you to report on disaster relief following last autumn’s floods. We both were on site and had to make emergency decisions at the time. Second, I would like to hear about the most recent developments in the region – in local industry and agriculture, as well as the social sphere.

Alexander Tkachev: Indeed, Mr Putin, the region’s life is not entirely focused on the 2014 Olympics. Still, Olympic projects are in the spotlight, and they are something we are proud of.

We both saw the terrible aftermath of the floods when you visited us in December. The disaster affected thousands of people. I would like to thank the federal government, on behalf of the Tuapse and Apsheron Districts, as well as the Krasnodar Territory as a whole, for the support it provided, especially financially and administratively. It took us two months, as we had promised… and, on December 30, nearly all the relief housing projects were completed and people could move into their new homes.

We built two new neighborhoods using new construction technology. It makes one happy to see people moving into their new homes, which are better than the old ones. Thank you very much. I would like to invite you, also on behalf of the Tuapse District and the residents of our new villages, to come and see for yourself….

Vladimir Putin: Okay. What about the rebuilt villages? Remember we discussed ways to restore the destroyed heat and power supply systems? There was a boiler room that had to be rebuilt and other damaged facilities.

Alexander Tkachev: There was a lot of damage to local social and engineering infrastructure, including boiler rooms, a library, as you remember, and a school – it has all been repaired.

Local children study in a brand new building now, and we are building one more school in case there is another flood. Unfortunately, we know that such natural disasters may happen again, perhaps a hundred years from now, in our climate.

We are clearing rivers to minimise losses in case there is another flood. This programme is very expensive, but we are keeping to it because it’s worth the investment, and we also hope for some federal support.

The region’s social and economic results weren’t bad last year, and we posted a 5.5% growth. Investment reached 500 billion roubles.

Vladimir Putin: Do you mean your gross regional product grew 5.5%? Or was it industrial output?

Alexander Tkachev: I mean the gross regional product. The unemployment rate was 0.8%, and incomes grew 12%, to 17,500 roubles [per month] on average. The region’s budget grew 14%, to 150 billion roubles. The region now probably ranks fifth in the nation by budget and socio-economic development level.

The Krasnodar Territory is also getting a different look and feel. In addition to our tourist sector and small business development, we are building up local industries, the high-yield branches of the economy.

We have completed the first stage of construction on a local smelter. The region already produces about 3 million metric tons of sheet steel, which is in great demand. Construction of the second stage is underway. Our wood working industry is growing too, as well as the glass industry and other branches of manufacturing. I believe these industries will provide for the region’s future, creating jobs and yielding profits.

We have had major improvements in local healthcare. With the federal government’s support, a cardiology centre was built here five years ago that performs 6,000 heart surgeries per year. This means saving 6,000 lives. We do appreciate your support.

Vladimir Putin: But you mainly invested regional funds.

Alexander Tkachev: We certainly did, but we also had federal support. We have also built a perinatal centre; it will be commissioned soon.

Vladimir Putin: When?

Alexander Tkachev: I believe March 1. Right before March 8, Women’s Day. I would like to invite you to attend the ceremony. There is also the planned endoprosthetic reconstruction centre. You know that we are starting it now…

Vladimir Putin: By that time, we will hold a meeting on the progress of the nationwide programme to build perinatal centres. We’ll look at your centre then.

Alexander Tkachev: Most importantly, high technology and these federal programmes help improve the demographic situation. The birth and death rates are now equal in the region, and the average life expectancy is 72 years.

Vladimir Putin: For men or women?

Alexander Tkachev: On average.

Vladimir Putin: Averaged for men and women?

Alexander Tkachev: Yes. We had 68,000 births and 72,000 deaths last year, which is about the same level. There is no other option now except developing cancer treatment.

Vladimir Putin: What about housing construction?

Alexander Tkachev: In 2010, we built 3.5 million square metres of residential property, the second best result in Russia after the Moscow Region. We are actively stimulating this sector and encouraging mortgage lending. The economy is steadily reviving after the downturn. Our construction sector is showing good results.

Vladimir Putin: Compared with 2009?

Alexander Tkachev: Compared with 2009, we posted a 10% growth in construction.

Vladimir Putin: What kind of relations do you have with your neighbours, for example Abkhazia?

Alexander Tkachev: I have met with the Abkhazian president. We meet regularly. In the past, when Abkhazia was a closed country and needed our help, we supported it in every way we could. Now our relations have become closer. We have signed an agreement and opened a diplomatic mission there. Many Russian companies, including small businesses, operate there.

We are helping renovate a Russian school in Gagry as part of a socio-economic support programme, according to your instructions. I believe this will further improve our relations and make our friendship stronger.

Vladimir Putin: Good.