Vladimir Putin suggested starting the meeting by assessing the situation at major enterprises in the Nizhny Novgorod Region.
Mr Nikitin said that the load on the defence complex increased by about 18 percent overall and by orders of magnitude at individual enterprises. The state defence order is being executed as scheduled with regard to key critical positions in terms of meeting the special military operation’s needs.
The region ran into problems with replacing components and making changes in cooperation arrangements, but the issues are being resolved. The issue of human resources tops them all. Civil sector employees are being reshuffled. A regional recruitment agency has been created, but the issue remains unresolved. According to Nikitin, senior executives from defence industry enterprises believe that continued expansion of the secondary vocational education system is the way to overcome it. The Nizhny Novgorod region is widely involved in the Professionalitet programme and is among the top three regions in that regard.
The Governor also noted that the region is home to the machine-building complex, and the manufacturing industry accounts for 90 percent of its industrial capacity.
Mr Nikitin thanked the President for giving Nizhny Novgorod the status City of Labour Merit, because the city is considered the “arsenal of Victory” in the 1941–1945 Great Patriotic War. The Governor said the city would continue to carry this banner of the “Arsenal of Victory,” the “Factory,” and the “Smith Shop of Victory” with honour.
Nikitin also spoke about the efforts to support the participants of the special military operation, the mobilised personnel and their families, which receive regular payment benefits rather than one-time payments. The military personnel and mobilised personnel are provided with all the supplies they may need before they are sent for training or to the area of hostilities.
Help is also provided to the sponsored region named Bolshoy Khartsyzsk, which is an agglomeration in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Emphasis was made on water and heat distribution, preparations for the autumn-winter season and getting education institutions ready for the school year. The sponsors believed it was important to beautify the grounds the way it was done in Nizhny Novgorod ahead of its 800th anniversary. They built a nice-looking boulevard and a central square in Khartsyzsk.
Regarding industrial sectors, the Governor said that about 40 percent of local industries have shown growth, including metallurgy, oil refining, paper production, the garment industry, computer and electronic device manufacturing. The auto industry is in decline, primarily projects related to domestic assembly. However, the biggest manufacturer, GAZ, has investment projects coming up, and the decline is expected to be reversed.
The agriculture industry is on the rise with 112 percent and the construction industry, 132 percent. The construction of residential buildings has increased by more than 30 percent. Five years ago, the region was ranked 70th in investment among Russian regions while last year it ranked fifth.
Gleb Nikitin spoke about several investment projects. A series of special economic regimes were developed, including a territory for priority socioeconomic development, an innovative science and technology centre and the Kulibin special economic zone that recently expanded its area ten times over thanks to the Prime Minister’s support. Residents [of the special economic zones and technology centres] produce goods for the special military operation, among other things. There are investment plans for an unmanned aerial vehicle design and testing centre. It is important to invest in the chemical industry in Dzerzhinsk and in the special economic zone to address the multiple tasks of both civilian and defence industries.
According to Mr Nikitin, the number of breakthrough projects is growing. In particular, construction of an ice palace with 12,500 seats has begun with the President’s support. A large upgrade project for electric public transit and the tram system is underway with the Prime Minister’s support. As agreed with the Belarussian partners, the rolling stock – 170 street vehicles will be manufactured in the Nizhny Novgorod Region. Construction of a world-class campus will begin soon to overcome the shortage of IT talent. Many Russian companies are interested in moving their branches to Nizhny Novgorod, a leading region for IT projects, so more human resources are necessary.
Gleb Nikitin mentioned that his five-year term as governor would expire in September and said that he would be ready to continue, should Nizhny Novgorod residents support his candidacy.
Vladimir Putin said that the outcome depended primarily on public opinion and noted that the results of the governor’s administration were obviously positive. A solid system has been built for consistent progress. The President expressed hope that the public would support Gleb Nikitin.