28 march, 2012 21:56  

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Voronezh Governor Alexei Gordeyev


The meeting focused on the defence sector. In the prime minister's opinion, instead of modernising outdated defence enterprises, it is advisable in certain instances to build new ones in the Russian regions as long as the working staff of operating defence plants are retained. The meeting also addressed the issues of pay for teachers and healthcare modernisation.

The transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Gordeyev, we have already started to discuss the situation in the Voronezh Region. I see that industrial production in your region has grown by over 30% in the first two months. What is behind this surge?

Alexei Gordeyev: Basically, it is due to vigorous growth in the processing industry. At the end of last year, we also put a nuclear power unit into operation after repairs. It, too, contributed to the substantial rise in the economy as a whole.

Mr Putin, we have prepared the following slides for presentation (shows them). In principle, they speak for themselves sufficiently, and we can also see the figures for last year. In general, all of our figures are above Russia’s average.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, I see.

Alexei Gordeyev: We have also recorded massive growth in farming. These are figures for the economy and investments... We are among the dynamically developing regions. Incidentally, thank you for the bonus that we received. The government has granted bonuses for the year’s results to the regions that developed dynamically, and we received our 270 million roubles, which we also invested.

If we consider the regional budget, it, too, grows fairly intensively. This means new possibilities for the region, if we look at our consolidated budget. This, of course, allows us to contribute more to social programmes. Now the jobs market... Today, our unemployment level is below the pre-crisis figure. You see, it was 1.8% …

Vladimir Putin: 1.6% now?

Alexei Gordeyev: Now regional unemployment stands at 1.6%, which is also below Russia’s average.

In terms of wage growth, we are again ahead of Russia’s average data, although, of course, the pay in general is rather low – 17,500 roubles per month in round figures. But we are setting ourselves this objective, and your directive to jack up wages, above all for teachers, is being vigorously implemented. This year, we expect to reach the average level for the economy, as I reported to you. Here we are just giving our statistics for teaching personnel. You see, the pay was 10,940 roubles per month two years ago, and now the figure stands at 17,334 roubles.

Vladimir Putin: Will you reach the average level this year?

Alexei Gordeyev: Yes, we will. It will reach the average for sure.

Now healthcare... Just recently, you have heard reports from all of the regions. Fairly large funds are allocated for healthcare modernisation. Last year, we spent 3.1 billion roubles and this year there will be another 3 billion.

There is also another important subject. We look rather poor in terms of oncology diseases compared to the rest of Russia. We have drafted a separate request, which I will report to you. This subject was thrashed out with the Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development …

Vladimir Putin: There has even been some growth in your case.

Alexei Gordeyev: Yes, unfortunately, our oncology centre is the oldest and most lagging of all healthcare centres.

Vladimir Putin: Sadly, Russia’s figures are also growing.

Alexei Gordeyev (showing a slide): These data are for two months, as you have noticed. Industry has recorded a substantive increase. Our farming has also continued to grow. I have already told you that we look optimistically to a further rise this year as last year. 

Vladimir Putin: What problems do you see in your region, Mr Gordeyev?

Alexei Gordeyev: As far as the current situation is concerned, which we have examined today in detail, it is spring field work. As never before, there are almost no problems in terms of farming, save for smaller ones on individual farms. We will tackle them ourselves. In industry, our plans are to commission three new plants this year. Just now, we have to put into operation a Siemens factory – the first plant for manufacturing industrial transformers, a very large enterprise.

The basic trouble, which I could formulate as a problem and a growing one, is large defence sector enterprises, which, unfortunately, use old fixed assets. They are mainly located in the city centre. We have already discussed with Dmitry Rogozin how to make these sites collateral, considering that they are government property, with a view to future modernisation. We have a special industrial area where we could set up modern defence sector capacities in absolutely new formats. We are now jointly engaged in this work. I will report on this to you. 

Vladimir Putin: Perhaps the main thing in the modernisation of the defence industry sector is that the funds we allocate for this purpose – and these funds are not small, totalling almost 3 trillion roubles – should be used wisely: a) efficiently, and b) offering a strategic perspective. Perhaps, you are right that some projects built from scratch will ultimately be much more efficient than existing plants after their renovation, if we bear in mind that all the people who currently work at these enterprises will be offered jobs at new facilities. We must not lose them, no one of them, and raise their wages in the long run.

Alexei Gordeyev: Thank you.