Alexander Uss began his report with the efforts against the pandemic. He said the situation was stabilising, with 100–120 new cases identified every day. The restrictions are minimal, he said. The coronavirus challenge has led to a noticeable build-up of the regional healthcare system. Some 1.3 million people will be vaccinated by the autumn. Over 100 vaccination centres are open in the territory.
As for the economy, the Governor said that consumer-oriented sectors were hit the hardest. Some experts expected a 25 percent decrease in budget revenue, but the region closed the year with a small surplus, in particular thanks to the assistance of the Finance Ministry, most of which was invested in countering the pandemic, and thanks to a restrained spending policy.
Alexander Uss noted a major increase in investment last year. A comprehensive investment project, Yenisei Siberia, is gathering momentum, and several more projects have been launched in the region, including gold mill #5 of the Polyus gold producer and the Syradasay coal deposit on Taimyr in the Arctic. The construction of the Vysokogorsky bridge towards rich deposits on the right bank of the Yenisei began a year ahead of schedule. There are grounds to believe that this strategically important bridge will be commissioned in 2023. Rosneft’s Vostok Oil project to develop the world’s largest oil and gas province will create the basis for the head-on growth of the region’s economy, because it will also involve other enterprises in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. The project provides for cooperation in such areas as services, mechanical engineering and education. This can turn Krasnoyarsk into a major investment hub.
The Governor mentioned three vital sectors for the region.
The first sector is agriculture. Last year, local farms gathered in the largest ever grain harvest in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Grain export increased to 178 percent, a new grain processing factory will be built to produce gluten and biodegradable plastic for export.
The second sector is forestry. The region has set the path towards decriminalisation of the forestry sector, including by increasing the number of inspectors. Despite the pandemic restrictions, nearly all felling sites have been inspected. The area of wild fires has decreased fivefold. Alexander Uss thanked the President for supporting the idea of creating the northern forest fire centre. A total of 5 billion rubles has been allocated for the centre, which has received 120 pieces of equipment and six helicopters. There was a 30 percent increase in forest recreation. The local authorities want to create a reforestation nursery not only for the Krasnoyarsk Territory, but also for entire Siberia. Timber cutting has decreased slightly, by 1–1.5 percent, which does not exceed the margin of sampling error. But timber production – sawn timber, plywood and frame house construction – increased by 6–12 percent during that difficult year.
Transport is the third sector. In a highly significant event, the two largest passenger liners that can accommodate 240 people each have been laid down for the Yenisei River at the Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard. They are precisely for passengers, rather than purely for tourists. The Governor expressed hope that the President would be able to sail the Yenisei River aboard such a ship in 2023. Regarding aviation, a new airport taxiway is 90 percent complete, and light/signalling equipment remains to be installed. The new taxiway will boost the number of aircraft that can take off and land by 100 percent. This is essential as Aeroflot, in the context of the Presidential instruction, views Krasnoyarsk as its second hub. Moreover, Volga-Dnepr, the largest cargo airline, also works out of Krasnoyarsk. The company has already expanded freight traffic volumes 2.5-fold and has created a so-called sterile airport as a certain cargo delivery pre-condition. There are plans to complete the creation of a regional airline. Kras Avia has purchased two modern ATR-42 aircraft and is setting up a consortium together with NordStar Co. In all, seven modern aircraft will be available. The metro is a separate subject. The project that has received an additional one billion rubles, with the President’s support, is now complete, and experts are analysing its first stage.
The Governor voiced two requests concerning the airport and the metro. He said that, considering the high status of these projects which exceed the Krasnoyarsk Territory’s scale, Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin should assess their prospects in great detail. After that, it will become possible to discuss their funding.
Vladimir Putin noted that the expansion of the aviation hub was absolutely natural, all the more so since Krasnoyarsk is the central element of intersecting routes. Of course, the subject of the metro also has to be discussed.
The President also drew attention to the problems with sunken wood that can damage new passenger ships on the Yenisei River between the Krasnoyarsk and Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power plants. Mr Uss explained that this was a short, 350-kilometre navigation sector, the so-called Krasnoyarsk Sea. Although they are cleaning it up regularly, sunken wood remains a serious problem. Consequently ships with special protective systems sail there. The new motor ships, mentioned by the Governor, will sail downstream from Krasnoyarsk. This year, despite the pandemic, Vodokhod Co. has taken its chances and upgraded MS Maxim Gorky, with the support of the regional administration. The cruise liner has sailed due north towards the Arctic Ocean 13 times for the first time in 20 years. The new ships will sail precisely in this direction.