19 september 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Boris Titov, Chairman of the public organisation Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia)

Putin and Titov discussed the modernisation of Russia’s economy, especially the creation of new, high-tech jobs. Titov presented a list of projects which Delovaya Rossiya believes may become growth points for a new Russian economy and effective economic leadership.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Titov, we have discussed many issues with your colleagues, business representatives, at a Delovaya Rossiya forum. The most important of these issues, both for the business community and for the country, is the preservation of existing jobs and the creation of new jobs. What is currently being done towards this end?

Boris Titov: As you know, macroeconomic indicators are currently very stable. Russia is emerging from the crisis. Understandably, the situation is most stable in the raw materials sector, while in the manufacturing sector it is not so good, unfortunately. At the forum, we talked about how very important it is to set targets for the new industrialisation of Russia.

During the forum, you supported the idea of creating new, highly productive jobs in Russia and formulated the task of creating 25 million of these jobs. This mission is entirely feasible. The figure is being widely discussed; some do not believe it to be possible, but we are sure that we can do it and we know how to go about doing so. Our confidence stems from the global situation, which is such that there is a sufficient amount of liquidity, of free money on the part of investors. Many are investing in the US dollar, although the US economy, which is going through one of the most difficult periods in its history, appears uncertain. Furthermore, Europe is also highly unstable, and China is short on energy resources because its economy is overheated. In other words, they have their problems too. Labour costs are rising in China, along with other expenses.

Russia looks very promising. We have the necessary resources, and should be able to create highly productive jobs because we have a skilled workforce. So we believe this mission to be possible. As for how to accomplish it, we would like to propose a roadmap today. Our view on the matter differs from those proposed by macroeconomic experts; ours is the view of the business community.

We are implementing business projects, each with their own projects, some of which are more successful than others. But mostly, these projects are successful. We know how to plan them and we believe that new jobs will be created as concrete projects go into effect. Today we need to choose those concrete projects that will become the driving force and the growth points of a new economy, as it is more difficult to change the whole country than it is to accomplish such breakthrough projects in specific areas. Delovaya Rossiya has drafted a list of such projects. They mostly take the form of clusters, of territorial production complexes similar to those that existed in the Soviet Union. There is a reason that many of them are planned for implementation at these particular sites and in these particular sectors, because we recognise that there is also promise in the projects that were drafted in the Soviet era. We would like to propose a list of these backbone projects (shows documents) that could possibly become the core of a new economic development.

Vladimir Putin: You’re right, creating 25 million new and, as you say, highly technological jobs is no simple task. There are some milestones that are difficult to reach, but we must try. If not, even more modest milestones will not be within our reach. These are truly interesting projects.

Boris Titov: Well, these projects will not account for the creation of 25 million jobs. But the 25 million we are talking about include not only completely new jobs but also old jobs with enhanced productivity.

Vladimir Putin: In effect, this represents a change in their quality.

Boris Titov: Yes, certainly. These projects… We believe that there should be 10 to 15 such projects, but we propose 28. We have been working closely with the regional governments, our regional branches and development corporations, asking them to draft these projects. We received over 200 projects and chose 28 of them, but we think that the shortlist for the initial stage should consist of 10-15 projects. These will be the most important projects, and they will create up to one million new, highly productive jobs. This will prove to be the first step, which will then expand in order to be applied across the country.

Vladimir Putin: I see that you also have social projects here, such as combined residence and healthcare centres for older people, as well as private childcare centres. Actually, we discussed a number of these projects in the government and within the framework of the Popular Front. These include a textile cluster, international roadways, industry parks, an innovative nuclear centre in Dimitrovgrad, a project for building small hydro-electric power stations, tourism clusters, and a number of other projects. In fact, your proposals largely coincide with the topics we are discussing in the government.

Boris Titov: The main thing is to ensure proper governance. We believe that we need new governance principles. A new, more effective form of governance could be developed in these clusters. We believe that leadership in development is fundamentally different from everyday economic leadership, from the management of everyday problems that our economy is facing. This is why we believe that this business experience that is available to us could be crucial.

There are many business leaders in Delovaya Rossiya who have implemented effective projects. We know how to do this, and this is what we would like to propose to you – Delovaya Rossiya could become an asset management company responsible for the implementation of these projects.

Vladimir Putin: Good.