21 march 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with President of the Republic of Udmurtia Alexander Volkov

At the meeting, Mr Putin and Mr Volkov focused on the situation at IzhAvto auto plant, which, according to Volkov, plans to manufacture up to 300,000 cars by 2015. The officials also discussed the implementation of social programmes, particularly the work of the local perinatal centre.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Alexander Volkov: Mr Putin, before I begin my report, I would like to thank you for your efforts to get local industry up and running. From your visit to the IzhAvto plant on September 7 through December, you took the strategic decisions necessary to get the plant running.

Vladimir Putin: Has the plant starting making the Lada-2107 model?

Alexander Volkov: Yes, it has. The main thing is that by July, the plant will be producing 10,000 cars a month. At the beginning of 2011, the plant employed 2,500 people. By the end of this year, that number will more than double to 5,100. Wages will be increased as well, from the current 12,600 roubles a month to 16,000.

Vladimir Putin: We did more than just visit the plant.

Alexander Volkov: Yes, we also held two meetings.

Vladimir Putin: There were more than two. Recently, we took up this issue again, and we agreed that we have found solutions to the plant's financial problems. We have agreed that the dividends, which the state company Russian Technologies receives from its enterprises operating abroad, should be invested in IzhAvto.

Alexander Volkov: Yes, and eventually IzhAvto will have AvtoVAZ as its owner and will serve as its second facility. To his credit, Mr Komarov (AvtoVAZ president Igor Komarov) is already making efforts and has visited the plant. I am monitoring the situation myself. By the end of the year, we expect the plant to produce 100,000 cars.

Vladimir Putin: We have determined the source of financing, and this was confirmed by the Finance Ministry once again today.

Alexander Volkov: Thank you very much. This is certainly a great relief for us. Hiring an additional 2,500 people will alleviate the serious situation with Izhmash.

Vladimir Putin: You are hiring additional workers at IzhAvto now, aren't you?

Alexander Volkov: Yes, we have already hired 500 people this year, but they have to be trained. Everything is going as planned, and we hold monthly meetings, so...

Vladimir Putin: This is only the beginning. It will be necessary later to modernise production and launch new products.

Alexander Volkov: The business project involves modernisation and developing new models, with up to 300,000 cars expected to be produced by 2015.

Vladimir Putin: Modernisation is necessary because the classic models are being produced as part of the car scrappage programme, but this will end sooner or later. Plus, people want to buy new, modern cars.

Alexander Volkov: This programme has been a great help.

Vladimir Putin: I know.

Alexander Volkov: And if it were to be extended, it would provide support...

Vladimir Putin: We will consider it, Mr Volkov. How did you fare in the first quarter overall?

Alexander Volkov: Industry was up 120% at the end of the year. In January- February, it was up 5.1% year on year, so in general the situation is quite stable. We have two problematic enterprises. I have a letter of support for one of them. We are working with the Ministry of Industry to find a strategic partner.

We have some problems at Sarapul Radio Works. The plant is located at the city of Sarapul with a population of 100,000 people. Some 2,500 people are employed at the enterprise. The situation is complicated, but we have it under control. We are cooperating with the Defence Ministry on this issue, since this is purely a defence enterprise. 

Mr Putin, the media has been covering your visits to perinatal centres recently. From 2006 to 2009, we built a perinatal centre ourselves – not as part of the federal programme, but on our own. Last year 3,000 women gave birth there. We have invested 616 million roubles in it. Though it has been working for only one year, the mortality rates among infants and mothers have dropped… 98% of pathologies are being treated.

Vladimir Putin: At the centre?

Alexander Volkov: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: What is the demographic situation in general?

Alexander Volkov: This is a source of great pride for us, the result of our social programmes. The birth rate was in the red from 1990 to 1995, and so naturally the population was in decline. The population has now grown for two years in a row. The birth rate in January-February was higher than in the same period last year. So the demographic situation, thanks to the implementation of those social programmes, which…

Vladimir Putin: We’ve been working on these programmes since 2006…

Alexander Volkov: The rates started going up in 2006.

Vladimir Putin: And the mortality rate has been falling….

Alexander Volkov: The programmes, the national projects… We weren’t included in the programme for the perinatal centres. Instead we were included in the programmes for cardiovascular diseases and cancer. We created a trauma centre with federal support, and this had an immediate, positive impact.  

Vladimir Putin: That’s good.