At the beginning of the meeting, the President noted that, for many years, the Belgorod Region was ahead of others in many areas, but suggested starting with high-priority problems that need to be resolved.
Mr Gladkov began his report with the COVID-19 situation. The incidence rate is 8.78, which is the lowest in the Central Federal District. In all, 1,700 hospital beds have been set up, including 1,400 with oxygen supply and 271 with lung ventilators. There are plans to complete the vaccination campaign by September 1. The healthcare system’s equipment is being upgraded.
The Acting Governor reported on measures to regulate prices for staple foods, including locally produced foods, such as pork, butter, sugar and others, as well as targeted assistance to people in difficult situations.
Mr Gladkov asked the President to help resolve several issues, including construction of an emergency hospital, provision of water supply, wastewater disposal and the creation of a special economic zone. The latter request is linked with plans to double the gross regional product by 2030. However, it is impossible to accomplish this task without large-scale investment projects.
At the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, the region signed letters of intent with two major companies: Metallinvest and Novolipetsk Steel. There are plans to invest 250 billion rubles during the first stage, plus an additional 150 billion during the second stage, starting with expanded ore output and then in stages, enrichment, production of pellets, hot briquetted iron and iron sheets, using environmentally friendly technologies. This will make it possible to reduce the carbon footprint and to obtain goods that are in high demand in Russia and abroad.
Vladimir Putin noted that after being appointed Acting Governor of the Belgorod Region in November 2020, Mr Gladkov quickly assessed the local situation. As for the free economic zone, it needs to be analysed, although it is very important to create favourable conditions for continued investment processes in the region. All the main regional indicators are positive, including the GRP, and the unemployment rate is low compared to other regions, the President said.
The President advised the Acting Governor to take note of the declining permanent population, the fact that there are fewer doctors compared to other areas, measures to support medical personnel, including by providing housing, and promised to make sure the region has the required additional support. He recommended that the Acting Governor contact the Presidential Executive Office and members of the Government in order to resolve all matters that had been raised.
The Belgorod Region ranks among territories that have scarce water resources, and this fundamental problem is impossible to resolve without federal support, Vladimir Putin noted. The President promised to work together on this matter, as well as other issues raised by Mr Gladkov.