Visits within Russia

14 january, 2010 18:30

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Leningrad Governor Valery Serdyukov

"I call you and the other governors of constituent entities of the Federation to do everything within their powers to minimise those problems people face due to the crisis, from which we are just now only beginning to emerge. "
Vladimir Putin
At a meets with Leningrad Governor Valery Serdyukov

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has met with Leningrad Governor Valery Serdyukov.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Serdyukov, how did last year go?

Valery Serdyukov: Mr Putin, let me start by thanking you for coming to the Leningrad Region. We have discussed some essential matters today.

You have seen a stockbreeding farm. We are trying to keep these agricultural programmes going. Poultry breeding is very important to us. We still have eighteen poultry farms.

Vladimir Putin: The Leningrad Region is a leading area for meat production in Russia.

Valery Serdyukov: We have eight poultry farms specialising in egg production, and another four in meat. We now produce 166,000 tonnes of poultry meat, compared with 18,000 tonnes in 1990.

Another two farms are under construction, which by the end of 2011 will produce another 120,000 tonnes of meat. So what you have said is essential, Mr Putin.

Vladimir Putin: Since Soviet times egg production has increased significantly.

Valery Serdyukov: I won't try to quantify the rate of increase, as we now produce 2.45 billion eggs a year.

Vladimir Putin: And in Soviet times that figure was 100,000, if I am not mistaken.

Valery Serdyukov: Up to 100,000 yes.

Vladimir Putin: So from that it has now increased to 2.5 billion, right?

Valery Serdyukov: Yes, in any case it is a reasonably profitable business, and we will maintain this financial position.

Mr Putin, over the New Year and Christmas holidays, I have travelled a great deal through the region, and noticed several things.

First, senior citizens are hugely grateful for the increase in pensions. At the end of last year our average monthly pension was 6,400 roubles. Now, as of January 1, it is 7,600 roubles.

Vladimir Putin: A sizable increase.

Valery Serdyukov: Pensioners are grateful to you and to the President for this consistent social policy. Its consistency is what matters most.

Then there is the matter of the WWII veterans. The decision was taken to offer new housing to all war veterans who joined the waiting list before March 1, 2005. Of course this places a great strain on the regional budget. The number on the waiting list has almost doubled in the region. But I think we will resolve this issue.

Vladimir Putin: You just need to establish, in good time, the number of people claiming they have the right to accommodation.

Valery Serdyukov: Exactly. The list is being checked very thoroughly. There are some applicants who have already received accommodation.

Vladimir Putin: That should be completed as quickly as possible so that the construction industry can meet the demand.

Valery Serdyukov: I think we will conclude this work in January. Third, I would like to thank you for establishing the Housing and Public Utilities Reform Fund. We pulled down more than a hundred dilapidated houses last year, and more than 2,500 tenants have moved to new flats.

You know some people come to us with their children who say that they have never had a proper bathroom before.

Vladimir Putin: I see.

Valery Serdyukov: They virtually used to live in barracks.

Vladimir Putin: And how much money will you allocate to this? In total we have set aside 80 billion roubles for this purpose.

Valery Serdyukov: We are ahead of schedule. We have spent two billion roubles but were only allocated 1.4 billion for three years. But today we are working with the Fund, and the paperwork necessary to increase our allocations has been drawn up. Some regions are not tapping into these resources.

The region's industrial production grew 2.8-fold last year, though it still lagged behind the figures for 2008 by about 3%.

Vladimir Putin: What about agriculture?

Valery Serdyukov: The same steady and stable growth, which is set to continue.

Vladimir Putin: Your gross regional product also grew a bit last year, if I am not mistaken.

Valery Serdyukov: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: Good. That's a good indicator. What about the region's problem areas?

Valery Serdyukov: Mr Putin, there are several problem areas. We have several single-industry towns, like Slantsy, which are struggling... Mr Putin, thank you for what you did for Pikalyovo. It had very severe problems, including perhaps some of our...

Vladimir Putin: It's all settled down now, I think.

Valery Serdyukov: It has settled down. We did not find a way of working with major companies like that in time. They sort of kept themselves at arms length from all those problems, and continued work as usual.

And now Pikalyovo only has one problem. If PhosAgro's waste is shipped as normal then all these issues will resolve themselves.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Serdyukov, we will help you to resolve these problems relating to the production cycle and relations between the various businesses. I would ask you, please, to pay greater attention to social welfare in the cities. These are the questions that people put to me during my live phone-in. This is topical not only in the case of Pikalyovo but also of other single-industry towns. You have just mentioned another one.

Other parts of Russia have analogous problems. I call you and the other governors of constituent entities of the Federation to do everything within their powers to minimise those problems people face due to the crisis, from which we are just now only beginning to emerge.

*  *  *

After the conference and his meeting with the Governor in the village of Snegiryovka, Mr Putin talked with villagers who lined the streets waiting for him. They told the Prime Minister about their day to day problems and thanked him for attention to their concerns.