20 july 2012

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev meets with head of the Republic of Yakutia Yegor Borisov

The prime minister said that the Russian Far East remains a priority of the government. Although the budget has been reviewed in view of the global financial situation, this will not affect the main elements of the Far East projects.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, Mr Borisov. How are you doing?

Yegor Borisov: This is a very important season for us – summer always is for northern regions, and so we have major challenges to address. We need to prepare for winter within a short period of time. We are doing our best to achieve this goal. During the navigation period, goods are shipped to the northern part of the republic according to plan, although there are problems with the northern rivers, which have become shallow due to a drought this year.

Of course, since Yakutia is an agricultural republic (we are breeding more than half of the cattle in the Far East), we also need to store fibrous food, which turned out to be a problem due to the drought. We are also preparing for the coming academic year; in this sphere we are proceeding according to schedule.

In general, the republican economy has stabilised. Our gross regional product (GRP) and investment have been growing over the past few years, and the situation looks quite good.

Dmitry Medvedev: What was GRP growth last year?

Yegor Borisov: It grew by 6.2%, which is a very good figure for the Far East.

Dmitry Medvedev: It is a good figure for any region of the country, better than the national average.

Yegor Borisov: This year we plan to exceed the 500-billion-rouble level. Our gross regional product was estimated at 162 billion roubles five years ago, and this year we hope it will exceed 500 billion. I think we can do it.

Dmitry Medvedev: What about unemployment?

Yegor Borisov: It is going down, but not as fast as we would like. We are creating conditions for supporting people in rural areas. As for industrial enterprises, they have bounced back to pre-crisis volumes, so their situation has stabilised. However, we have unemployment, just as other regions, including the Far East and the Northern region.

Dmitry Medvedev: You need rain.

Yegor Borisov: Of course, I’ve met with Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov.

Dmitry Medvedev: Has he promised you rain?

Yegor Borisov: Yes, he has promised to visit us. I told him: The sooner, the better. He has promised to come in early August. If you could issue an additional directive on his visit?

Dmitry Medvedev: Yes, of course, I’ll tell him.

Yegor Borisov: As for the general situation, especially in view of the latest decisions on the Far East… We are motivated to keep moving forward. We have determined our priorities and the key spheres of operation and approved the economic management system based on programmes and targets. This year we have drafted our first budget based on targeted programmes. It is transparent and has clear targets, which ensures a responsible attitude on the part of regional authorities.

Dmitry Medvedev: Indeed, it is very good that you have adopted a [budget] policy based on targeted programmes, so that it is clear where the money will go. As for the programme for the Far East, yesterday I held a meeting with ministers and deputy prime ministers (we are now holding meetings on the budget for the next year and for a three-year period). I said there that the Far East remains the government’s priority. Although the budget has been reviewed in view of the global financial situation, this will not affect the main elements of the Far Eastern projects. I recalled yesterday how you and I attended the opening ceremony for part of the road. Of course, I believe that it is very important to see all these projects to completion. Thank you.