2 march 2012

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a meeting with Minister of Regional Development Viktor Basargin

The participants of the meeting discussed ways of using the 16.5 billion roubles saved by the Ministry of Regional Development. Vladimir Putin suggested spending half of the amount on providing housing to Chernobyl survivors. The remaining amount, according to the prime minister, should go partly towards assisting internally displaced persons and partly towards young scientists.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Basargin, go ahead please.

Viktor Basargin: Mr Putin, I would like to inform you that this year the Ministry of Regional Development has saved about 16.5 billion roubles during the implementation of a number of programmes.

Vladimir Putin: The year has just started, and you have already managed to save something?

Viktor Basargin: We have been working with the regions, supervising their activities, and verifying the amounts required to implement some of the tasks that you have assigned. That’s how we managed to save.   

Vladimir Putin: Are you certain that you will still have these savings by the end of the year?

Viktor Basargin: Yes, but we have also made some reserves. Therefore, if any problems arise, we will be able to deal with them using the reserves that are available to the Ministry of Regional Development. But the savings are already apparent.  

Vladimir Putin: How much are you expecting to save?

Viktor Basargin: About 16.5 billion roubles, which is a substantial amount. We wanted to receive instructions from you as to how we should use these funds. Should we transfer them back to the budget or put them towards other purposes? 

Vladimir Putin: We will have to take decisions based on the year-end results. At this stage, it is still too early to determine what we might need. But we have about 200 billion roubles in reserves, which the parliament has allowed us to use in case of emergencies. I believe that should be sufficient for the most part. Therefore, we should spend these 16.5 billion roubles on social projects, and specifically on providing all Chernobyl survivors with housing, thereby solving that problem for good. We are all greatly indebted to these people. How long will it take if we continue providing them with housing at the current rate? 

Viktor Basargin: We have been allocating about 500 to 700 certificates each year. Considering there are over 10,000 Chernobyl survivors on the wait list, it will take about 16 years to provide them with housing. The regions have been complaining a lot about this issue.  

Vladimir Putin: Let’s do the following: let's spend about half of the amount on solving the housing problem for Chernobyl survivors. This will allow us to close the issue fully within two years, in 2012-2013, and provide all survivors of the Chernobyl disaster with new homes.  

Viktor Basargin: We will make all the necessary calculations, but I believe if we allocate about 8.5 billion roubles, the problem will be solved in all regions by 2013.

Vladimir Putin: Let’s do so then. That's the first issue. The second burning problem is that of internally displaced persons. These are our citizens, who require the assistance of the Russian state. We must help them. Young scientists make up the third group that requires assistance. These people are in high demand, but they need help at the early stages of their career and their life. In general, this is a very important group. We have discussed this issue on numerous occasions with our colleagues from the Academy of Sciences. Let’s allocate a certain amount of funding to this group as well. Could you provide more specific figures in terms of the funds required for these purposes?     

Viktor Basargin: Internally displaced persons make up the largest group, numbering over 15,000 families. This problem is especially urgent in 15 regions, including Orenburg, Perm, Kurgan, Samara, and some other regions. In Voronezh and Borisoglebsk people live in shanties… We will go over the numbers again, but preliminarily, we need about 5 billion roubles to resolve this issue.    

Vladimir Putin: What about the young scientists?

Viktor Basargin: With regard to young scientists, the Academy of Sciences estimated the number of those requiring assistance at 9,000 people. Last year, we provided assistance to 1,000 people. There are different categories of young scientists who require assistance, including corporate housing. If you recall, we provide them with plots of land for this purpose through the Russian Housing Development Foundation. As for housing certificates, we have received about 2,000 applications from young scientists – 1900, to be more precise. If we allocate 2 billion roubles, we will fully accommodate these applicants.      

Vladimir Putin: Good. Then let’s do so.