18 december 2008

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with Lipetsk Region Governor Oleg Korolev


Transcript of the start of the meeting: 

Vladimir Putin: How are things going, Mr Korolev?

Oleg Korolev: Mr Putin, the federal government and President have done a good job since 2001, so there are improvements in every aspect of public and private life. My region is developing on pace in every field.

Though the financial crisis is raging worldwide, it has hit Russia only obliquely. The agro-industrial complex, engineering, small business, and all other economic branches have retained dynamism, though the iron-and-steel industry is in dire straits not only in the Lipetsk Region, but all over Russia and the world.

Vladimir Putin: What was the previous output of the Lipetsk Steel Combine?

Oleg Korolev: Nine million tonnes of steel.

Vladimir Putin: What budget revenues did it bring in?

Oleg Korolev: It used to contribute 40% of all fiscal revenues.

Vladimir Putin: Impressive! What cut do you expect now?

Oleg Korolev: It will be about 60%. But then, other taxpayers have made good progress. In recent years the region created 8,000-10,000 new jobs a year, on average. We now expect compensations from those companies that have a chance for further development. They will not merely stay afloat, but carry on progress.

Vladimir Putin: I have looked up information about the region's small and medium-sized enterprises. They are making good progress, indeed. You have smooth arrangements for their promotion. I have made inquiries on micro-lending and grants, and the prospects look excellent. What will you do about social issues and programmes?

Oleg Korolev: We recently rehashed the regional budget with an emphasis on its social orientation to increase personnel training and retraining allocations, target social assistance, and student grants, and to preserve the Lipetsk system of aid on housing rents and utility bills. We are paying ever greater attention to people's needs.

True, we have to drop the pace of subsidising road construction and some other projects for some time, but we may resume it later if things take a good turn. Regardless, we will not cut investment in special economic zones and the agro-industrial complex.

We are launching Russia's largest project to protect small villages next year. It is based on the experience of Finland and the Netherlands, where even small private farms possess 60-70 heads of livestock. The project will be sponsored by our generous investor Igor Babayev, the head of the Cherkizovsky meat-packing holding. We intend to invest up to a billion Euros in supporting small farms next year. The money will come from the regional budget, our co-financers, and national projects that promise tremendous benefit.

We have gotten our large-scale agro-industrial production going firmly, and it is now small farms' turn. The new effort is sure to revive the countryside.

Vladimir Putin: One Galina Khrustaleva from your region addressed me during my question-and-answer session. She complained that she has many children but has not yet received the government award she deserves.

I promised to do something about it. I know you and your colleagues have tackled her problem. What can you do for her? I mean, she deserves gratitude from the community for bringing up five children.

Oleg Korolev: In fact, she has eight children. They are grown-up now. Their mother raised them to be responsible citizens, and they have fine prospects ahead. She really deserves a reward, and will receive the regional Mother's Badge of Honour quite soon.

Vladimir Putin: Will anything more tangible go together with the award?

Oleg Korolev: Sure, what with a regional programme of aid to large families. Two couples recently had triplets. On such occasions, we urgently assign new flats, but Ms Khrustaleva's children are adult now, so we will give her what she prefers.
Vladimir Putin: Does a cash bonus go together with the badge?

Oleg Korolev: The badge statute envisages money and other material aid. That's necessary-I see it better than anyone else, with my many siblings.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.