Vasily Orlov reported on the region’s economic performance: in 2022, positive results were achieved in terms of key indicators; the gross regional product has been growing steadily year in and year out over the past five years. In 2022, the GRP stood at 588 billion rubles, which is 80 percent higher than in 2018. Investment is growing every year with last year showing a record high of 464 billion rubles. In a matter of five years, the volume of investment amounted to 1.8 trillion rubles, of which large gas projects accounted for 1.2 trillion rubles. The industrial production index grew by 102 percent in 2022. Unemployment fell to 1.1 percent, which is an all-time low for the region. As of this report, unemployment is under 1 percent. Last year, records were set in power generation, agriculture, housing and road construction. The volume of agricultural output will double over the next five years. A balanced state policy, renewal of the machine and tractor fleet, wider use of fertiliser together and efforts to improve the quality of the seeds have yielded results. The Governor stressed that these results were achieved without the use of labour from other countries.
The discussion also touched upon housing construction, relocation from dilapidated housing and road construction. The opening of the Blagoveshchensk-Heihe international highway bridge across the Amur River came as an important event in 2022. On the instruction of the President, the construction of another motor bridge across the Zeya River in Blagoveshchensk will be completed this year, and two overbridges are being built to pass through the Trans-Siberian Railway in Novobureisky and Seryshevo. There is an acute need for two more overpasses in Zavitinsk and Vozzhayevka. The Governor asked the President to instruct the Ministry of Transport to allocate funding for this construction in 2024–2026. The Russian-Chinese Dzhalinda-Mohe railway bridge across the Amur River is another important international state project to be used primarily for transporting coal from Yakutia’s southern deposits. The Governor asked the President to instruct the Government to make this project part of the plan for developing key areas of Russian-Chinese economic cooperation to 2030.
Russian-Chinese trade and economic relations are developing dynamically. In conjunction with China, the region has been hosting AmurExpoForum for 20 years now. The next one will take place on May 25–27 as a platform for the Eastern Economic Forum. According to the Governor, there is a plan to build an Expocentre in Blagoveshchensk under the Far Eastern concession for a permanent display of goods made by Russian and Chinese manufacturers.
Vasily Orlov also reported on the construction of a second runway at Blagoveshchensk Airport, designed to receive any type of aircraft, and of a passenger terminal slated to open in 2025. The region has partnered with Russian Railways to prepare for the 50th anniversary of the Baikal-Amur Mainline, which will be marked in July 2024.
Also discussed were issues pertaining to gasification and social partnership with Gazprom: in particular, 30 sporting facilities were built or upgraded under the Gazprom For Children programme. Implementation of 12 national projects, which include 120 events worth a total of 11.6 billion rubles, was also discussed.
The Governor talked about the assistance the region is rendering to the Amvrosiyevsky district in the Donetsk People’s Republic, an area under their patronage, including the signing of a three-year agreement. Repair of social facilities, roads, housing and utilities infrastructure facilities is underway; assistance is provided to local teachers in terms of arranging advanced training for them; a childhood development centre has been opened.
Vasily Orlov also touched on the issue of the special military operation, saying that men from the Amur Region have been fulfilling the tasks given to them with honour and dignity. The regional authorities are maintaining direct communication with unit commanders and are providing assistance to army units. Special attention is being given to the families of the mobilised. In all, 30 measures of support are being provided at the regional level.
The Governor emphasised the important role that the Rokossovsky Far Eastern Higher Military Command School is playing in training the mobilised personnel. Since 1940, the school has prepared 28,000 officers, of which 52 were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union or Hero of the Russian Federation. During the special military operation alone, 11 graduates of the Rokossovsky Far Eastern Higher School received this highest decoration. This military school trains officers from 40 countries and is one of the best of its kind in Russia, a point of pride and a symbol of the Amur Region and the city of Blagoveshchensk. Mr Orlov asked the President to grant the school the honorary Guards designation.
Also, the Governor noted that, according to the Defence Ministry, the region ranks third in the country in terms of patriotic education. Over 500 divisions of patriotic education clubs and young army cadet squads are working in the region, with 17 percent of young people being involved in their activities. In early May, the Avangard Youth Centre opened in Blagoveshchensk. A stadium, a drill ground and obstacle courses are up and running. There are plans to build a teaching block and a dormitory.
Vasily Orlov also asked the President for support in creating in the region a comprehensive system of social and medical assistance for the fighters returning from the special military operation. A rehabilitation centre has to be created for this purpose.
Vladimir Putin suggested discussing a number of other issues, in part, those related to large investment projects and priority development territory. He recalled that the Amur Region is implementing three federal projects directly linked with the President’s decisions, including the expansion of the Baikal-Amur Mainline and the Trans-Siberian Railway – the Eastern Operating Domain, the gas cluster – Gazprom’s gas processing plant and the SIBUR petrochemical complex, plus the Vostochny Cosmodrome. The Governor reported that the biggest projects are being carried out on schedule. There are some difficulties due to the sanctions but no big deviations from the plans set forth by the President five years ago.
The President and the Governor also discussed the risks of floods and wildfires that are typical for the region. Vasily Orlov confirmed that there were eight floods in ten years, three of which were quite large. The Governor expressed confidence that the region would be prepared for the flood period as it has been in past years. As for fires, the region has already passed the peak of the dangerous spring period. The main achievement in the past few years was preventing fires from reaching residential areas. There were no casualties.
Vladimir Putin promised that all the documents submitted by the Governor would be reviewed.
Vasily Orlov asked the President to support his nomination for governor in the upcoming autumn election as his five-year term expires soon. Mr Orlov said he has a good, effective team that knows how the region should develop.
The President noted that the region has done much, and he hopes that it will do even more in the future. He advised the Governor to share the results of his work with the region’s residents and tell the public what is planned for the near future. He said he believes the people will support Vasily Orlov and wished him success.