21 january 2012

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Minister of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief Sergei Shoigu

The meeting focused on proposals for the development of the Far East and Eastern Siberia, which had been drafted on the prime minister’s instructions. In Vladimir Putin’s opinion, they must include the establishment of a development institute and the attraction of modern and efficient managers in order “to address the acute problems” in the region.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Shoigu, we have repeatedly discussed the development of the Far East and Eastern Siberia. Your current responsibilies involve these issues to some extent. I have asked you to prepare proposals on establishing a new agency that would specifically focus on the entire region. At present, there is the Government Commission on the Social and Economic Development of the Far East, the Republic of Buryatiya, the Trans-Baikal Territory and the Irkutsk Region, but this is a purely administrative body that is bureaucratic and not efficient enough. What I had in mind was the establishment of an agency that would concentrate specifically on development projects in this vitally important region.

Sergei Shoigu: Mr Putin, per your instructions we promptly brought together the experts in this field from the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as those who live and work in the region. We took your advice and attracted some of the people (I won’t call them ‘veterans’) who built the economy of Siberia and the Far East in the Soviet times. Their experience is invaluable and we are happy to be able to use it.

We have analysed various options and produced a set of documents, or proposals, which come down to the following. First, we propose to establish the Corporation for the Development of Eastern Siberia and the Far East from the western borders of the Krasnoyarsk Territory to Kamchatka, including the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin. Here we have prepared the necessary calculations and legislative acts for the creation of such a corporation.

We realise that it will be very difficult to open the “treasure chest” with the resources that Siberia and the Far East abound in without a good transport layout, a transport system capable of increasing the volume of the Trans-Siberian Railway, the Baikal-Amur Mainline and the Baikal-Amur Mainline-2 up to 60-80 or even 100 million tonnes. The  calculations have been made, and this programme will create over 5 million new jobs, attracting highly skilled professionals in construction, development, new technology, science, transport construction, bridges, tunnels, railways, mines and pits, as well as companies with added value. I mean major enterprises.

Vladimir Putin: I think we should talk about the establishment of a development institute and the attraction of a managing company, as well as efficient, modern managers in order to develop the region and address the acute problems it faces. Let’s discuss every point of your proposals in detail.