President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Sokolov, good afternoon.
Alexander Sokolov: Good afternoon, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Sokolov, you had such a noble start to your career, as an after-school teacher.
Alexander Sokolov: Yes indeed, it was a page in my career.
Vladimir Putin: After that, as I see, you showed vigorous growth, and eventually earned a MGIMO degree. It was MGIMO, wasn’t it?
Alexander Sokolov: Yes, I have a master’s from MGIMO.
I started out as a history teacher. I have teacher’s diploma. After doing my practicum, I was offered a position in one of the schools in my home town in the Kostroma Region. I was a fifth-year student, and tried it. I think that helped me in the future, because communication with people, communication with children is very important.
Vladimir Putin: Yes.
Mr Sokolov, what were your duties as first deputy governor of the Kostroma Region?
Alexander Sokolov: I was a deputy in charge of domestic policy. In addition, I oversaw culture, cultural heritage and youth affairs. Domestic policy also involves interaction with all municipalities, political parties and public organisations.
Vladimir Putin: I see.
The Kirov Region also has major industrial facilities, with good prospects, as well as resources. Have you looked at this? Have you got an idea of the main areas of work?
Alexander Sokolov: Yes. My duties now include interaction with regional authorities, so of course, I am studying the regions, and I have looked at the Kirov Region.
I cannot say that I know of every problem the region is facing, but as I understand, it has a developed timber industry, industrial enterprises and heavy industry. There is good experience in agriculture and construction.
I think that together with the people who work there, together with entrepreneurs, together with the heads of municipalities, we will be able to resolve many issues.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, you just mentioned the right things: together with the people who work there.
And Mr Sokolov, you will need to know by heart both the region’s problems and its promising areas for development, of course. I very much hope you will cooperate with your colleagues who work there, and with the relevant government agencies here in Moscow – this should be the easy part for you, with your experience in the Executive Office – you will need to study every aspect properly, and then, in cooperation with the Government and with your colleagues on the ground, in the Kirov Region, to outline the region’s development goals.
Alexander Sokolov: Of course, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: And ways to achieve these goals, of course.
Alexander Sokolov: Yes. You are so right about relying on the local people. Local initiative coming from the people is important, and in the Kirov Region, the people are both enterprising and, what is also very important, extremely patriotic – both in relation to Russia and to their native region. I see this as an important resource for development.
Vladimir Putin: This is true.
All right, Mr Sokolov. We will talk more and get back to these matters.
Thank you and good luck.
Alexander Sokolov: Thank you.