27 december 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with the leader of the Republic of Mordovia Nikolai Merkushkin

The two officials discussed the results of Mordovia’s socio-economic development in 2011, primarily in agriculture, which, according to the prime minister, made a "very significant leap forward" despite the drought, and in housing construction and public services.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon Mr Merkushkin. So how are you, with the New Year just around the corner?

Nikolai Merkushkin: Feeling good.

Vladimir Putin: Everything all right?

Nikolai Merkushkin: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: I have looked through the republic’s results: overall it seems positive, especially in agriculture, of course. The grain harvest is up 260% compared to last year. Even with last year’s results affected by the drought, this is a  very significant leap forward.

Nikolai Merkushkin: We’ll have 15% growth in  livestock farming too –  despite the drought and the resulting shortage of fodder during the winter.

Vladimir Putin: But I saw that housing construction has shrunk a little.  This is an important…

Nikolai Merkushkin: We’ll see growth of around 3% when all the results are taken into account.

Vladimir Putin: Growth? Over the year?

Nikolai Merkushkin: Yes, growth from last year.

Vladimir Putin: Do you mean by end-of-year results?

Nikolai Merkushkin: Yes, we’ll see a year-on-year growth of 3% by year end.  A large volume of housing was built for war veterans, more than 5,000 apartments have been built for them. This is a large programme. Whole new neighbourhoods have been developed, very modern residential areas.

Young families received 1,800 apartments as part of the federal programme (we are implementing the party programme as you know); and overall 7,000 apartments were built for young families,  under other programmes. Mortgage lending is growing, too – about 40% of housing in Mordovia has been paid for with mortgages. People are taking out loans  to build new homes.

The general mood is good. Voters  turned out for the elections in numbers – in fact in some places we had a 100% turnout and 100% support, people were lining up outside the polling stations. There were 74 such stations. People organised their communities, in rural areas, especially.

In the last five years we have taken out the biggest per capita amount of loans in Russia – 39 billion roubles to farmers.

Vladimir Putin: For production, right?

Nikolai Merkushkin: For new projects. Yes, I am talking about business loans, not about housing or other social programmes. Thirty nine billion roubles is a large sum, both in per hectare and per capita terms (per  person involved in local agriculture). This has a positive influence on the public mood.

Modern jobs are being created, with higher productivity and better working conditions.

Vladimir Putin: I know that Mordovian people know how to work . I have often visited this region and have seen how they get down to it .

Nikolai Merkushkin: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: All right. Let’s now get down to the problems that you wanted to discuss.

Nikolai Merkushkin: OK. Last year we built several kindergartens…

(showing materials)

Vladimir Putin: And you had some good ones even before that. Only, some things were getting a little – remember I told you – the floor covering was slippery… The new ones  have been built using new materials and new technology…

Nikolai Merkushkin: So we built eight  kindergartens in a year, in rural areas. Then, an opera and ballet theatre…

Vladimir Putin: I saw the theatre, it’s simply amazing.

Nikolai Merkushkin: It was built in 18 months.

Vladimir Putin: I know.

Nikolai Merkushkin: As I said, we spent 1.2 billion, that's how much it cost

Vladimir Putin: Very well.

Nikolai Merkushkin: It seats nearly 800 spectators. And the interior is of a very high quality.

Vladimir Putin: What about the company?

Nikolai Merkushkin: We have a performing company and now we are hiring more people. We have invited a new choreographer. We’ll have a stronger company. Now this here is the water sports centre.

Vladimir Putin: Is that a skating-rink?

Nikolai Merkushkin: We have a skating rink in the city…

Vladimir Putin: What about the joint project with Finland in Saransk from way back?

Nikolai Merkushkin: A technology park. Building one, building two… and a fourth-generation computer centre, the first of its kind in Russia. Fourth generation. It has all  modern data protection capabilities.

These are the four plants we built in 2011. This one is a cable plant;  that one is a cheese plant. You instructed us to… It is considered one of the best in Europe, a cutting-edge facility. This is an innovative cement plant, also using cutting-edge technology. Very high capacity. This plant makes fibre optic and fibre optic cables, a new direction. This plant is a joint project with Spain to produce wires. It manufactures innovative wires for overhead power transmission, which do not accumulate ice and the sag is far less, which is especially important.

These are agricultural facilities, entirely built using new technology. They  are environmentally friendly and provide comfortable working conditions.

This last picture is a view of Saransk.

Vladimir Putin: This city has changed over the past eight to nine years. A totally new look, a different skyline.

Nikolai Merkushkin: Some people can’t recognize it.

Vladimir Putin: I am one of them. It has changed dramatically since the last time I was there.