Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev holds a meeting with Kamchatka Territory Governor Vladimir Ilyukhin in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky


The prime minister believes that “it is necessary to search for new development and growth points, which will eventually determine the potential of Kamchatka, the Far East and Eastern Siberia for the next 30-50 years”

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Dmitry Medvedev: Good morning! Now, as my visit in the Kamchatka Territory comes to an end, I would like to say that you and I have, of course, taken up a very important issue, that of increasing the earthquake resistance of buildings. This issue is both complicated and expensive. Unfortunately, as I noted yesterday, that this issue has not been pursued very aggressively lately. At the same time, I would like to note that, with your arrival, this work can continue more actively. We must do everything possible to spend the various related allocations which have been stipulated for seismic safety projects, according the established procedure and deadlines. I hope that you will pursue this more aggressively than your predecessors. But, of course, life is more than safety and security measures, although this is important for the territory. You and I met in March, and we discussed many projects and programmes. Can you say a few words about these projects please?

Vladimir Ilyukhin: Thank you for this assessment, Mr Medvedev. Indeed, much has been accomplished in the Kamchatka Territory over the past few years in terms of increasing the earthquake resistance of buildings. This is an important and crucial issue for Kamchatka. Yesterday, you signed off on a new programme, and you extended it until 2018. We consider this to be very significant. Certainly, we will do our best to maximise the cost-effective spending of these allocations, which have become available with great difficulty. Even despite the remarks made yesterday by people from the new residential area … All the more so since nothing has been built or commissioned for 20 years, and then all of a sudden… of course, there are some remarks, and they will inevitably be voiced.

Dmitry Medvedev: I can say, for objectivity’s sake, that of all your accomplishments, this is the best achievement and it looks far better than the other construction that was being carried out here.

Vladimir Ilyukhin: Thank you. That’s why we will keep on working at the same rate and we'll use the money that's being brought here very effectively. First of all, we have a district that has been restored, and second, this is what you said about low-storey residential development. It is very important for us now, and, of course, we will be working in that direction, and fairly effectively at that.

As for the situation in our Territory, it remains stable without crisis events. We   have quite successfully passed through the 2011-12 heating season. By the way, the heating season in one of the districts ended on June 25. 

Dmitry Medvedev: It is about to start again.

Vladimir Ilyukhin: Yes, starting on September 1, practically. That’s why in the other municipal districts, the work began according to schedule, and so far there have been no complaints in this respect: the entire volume of work for preparing utilities and housing maintenance, the networks has been completed. We started deliveries to the north early this year because we have regions that have a limited period for deliveries where rivers quickly become shallow, and the first fuel was delivered there in early June. That’s why we have no doubts here that we will manage the task. 

As for the development of the Territory in general, we are growing – not much but we are growing, and this is a sort of stability. Although the factors that impede development have long been known – they are systemic problems, they are connected with power generation and the transport component. These are the two things that affect and make up a large share of the cost of production. But this must be a tribute to our geography. 

At the same time, let me reiterate, the Territory is developing. The salmon fishing season is going on – we have caught about 8,500 tonnes out of the quota of 111,000 tonnes for the season. Some enterprises, like those of the Ust-Kamchatsky District, have asked for a larger quota, and the Federal Fisheries Agency approves such things virtually within two days. So as of today we have no complaints about the federal ministries and agencies. The dialogue has been established, the working dialogue which helps the Territory on the whole.  

Dmitry Medvedev: You know, I am satisfied that for the past several days the federal government ministers have been working in the Far East and in the Kamchatka Territory and not in the "two to three hours, fly in/fly out" format, but specifically for several days in a row, because they must understand for themselves how difficult life is here, and on the other hand, to see the prospects of the Territory. To conclude this on-camera talk, I would like to say something that I believe has systemic value for both the Kamchatka Territory and a number of other regions. You talk about objective problems, about the geographical situation, about the high costs of infrastructure maintenance – that is all true, but we have to search for new growth points that will ultimately shape the face of Kamchatka, the Far East and East Siberia in the next 30-50 years. And we will speak about what those growth points are.

Vladimir Ilyukhin: First of all, I see the first growth point in solving our power generation problem. The hotchpotch in power generation that currently exists in Kamchatka, unfortunately, yields no positive results, and we have to state that with the arrival of natural gas to Kamchatka we have not solved the problems that we should have. This is related to the natural gas prices, which might change in the future. It is connected to the fact that we have large resources for developing hydro power in Kamchatka. And it is highly desirable that in this part we voice our proposals when forming the programme “The Development of the Far East and Trans Baikal Territory” for one of our projects on constructing the Zhupanovskaya hydro power station to be included in the programme. This will allow us to settle the situation in the Central power network, to identify the paths for development for this decade, because Kamchatka has major resources for the development of hydro power here, in the Territory. We would certainly like to explore that resource so as to move away from the hotchpotch that I mentioned earlier.  

Dmitry Medvedev: This not only a growth point, it is a problem, let’s say it in this way. And we still need to think about the growth point. Don’t forget about tourism, which is being developed too slowly in your region, taking into account Kamchatka’s opportunities. We’ll talk about that.  

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