President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Tkachev, you are well aware of the subject of our discussion today. We have already talked about this matter previously.
You know the tasks before us in terms of developing the agriculture sector, one of the most crucial sectors of our economy. I hope very much that the Presidential Executive Office and the Government will work in close contact with the regions to address the major challenges in this sector, especially given the need to settle the import replacement issue.
We need our own products, need to fill our market with our own producers’ goods, and we must do this fast, so as to relieve the pressure on the food market, bring down prices and so on.
There is no need to tell you just how much work we have to do here, and I therefore want to propose that you, as someone with experience and the Governor of what is probably our country’s primary agricultural region, take charge of the Agriculture Ministry. The current minister, Mr Fedorov, will join the Presidential Executive Office and will work together with you, in tandem, to resolve the tasks facing the sector.
It so happens that you and I looked a little while back at who could potentially head what is one of the country’s major regions. You suggested Mr Kondratyev, who has been your deputy for a long time – for eight years. I therefore ask Mr Kondratyev to take the post of Acting Governor of Krasnodar Territory until elections are held in September this year.
AlexanderTkachev: Mr President, thank you very much for your trust. We have certainly accomplished a great deal in Krasnodar Territory under your leadership, especially over these last years. The Olympic Games have changed the region and changed our people, as have the other big projects that we have carried out together in the region.
Thank you for your trust. I will do everything possible to live up to your expectations. As Agriculture Minister, I will work under your leadership to do everything I can to develop the sector, whether in promoting import replacement, increasing production, bringing down food prices, or creating a good environment for agribusiness companies and entrepreneurs.
I do have experience in this area, as Krasnodar Territory is an agricultural region that produces 12 million tonnes of cereals – more than 10 percent of Russia’s total grain production. I think that under your leadership and together with the Agriculture Ministry team and the Government, we will reach our objectives.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Kondratyev, you worked in the region for a long time and only recently came to work in Moscow. Currently, you are deputy head of the Presidential Administrative Directorate. But Krasnodar Territory was your home for a long time, you lived and worked there, and you know the situation there first hand. The Governor has described you as a competent specialist who knows people and understands the agriculture sector, the region’s main sector, and at the same time, you are also a good, professionally trained legal specialist. I think that all of this will be of help to you in your new job.
Veniamin Kondratyev: Thank you very much for your trust, Mr President. As a lawyer, my primary task of course is to ensure swift and systematic implementation of your executive orders and the tasks that you set in your Address [to the Federal Assembly].
In terms of continuing to develop the region and its economy, the potential is certainly there for improving the people’s social situation and financial and material circumstances.
There is no question that this task will require us to concentrate on agriculture as the region’s main economic sector. I think the primary task here is to put in place the right financial and economic conditions for all, from ordinary farmers to big agribusiness holdings, give them the environment they need to grow, produce and sell their goods.
The resort and sanatorium business is another very important sector for the region. I think the Black Sea coast’s potential is high in terms of non-peak season holiday opportunities. There is room to grow and we can set our sights higher. The Azov Sea coast also offers good potential. It is currently still in the process of development, but I see excellent prospects here too.
In terms of investment attractiveness, the Kuban region and the entire Krasnodar Territory are undoubtedly of interest to investors in terms of their geographical location. The important thing is to take investors with an interest in the region from potential models to full packages, strike a balance between the region’s and the investor’s interests and make sure that investors receive the full set of documents they need as soon as they sign contracts for particular projects without having to go from one office to another. The faster we get projects settled and approved, the sooner we start getting tax revenue and the quicker investors can set up their business and make money.
I think that the Cossacks are another very important facet of the region. It is important to support them, because the Cossacks today are not part of folklore, but form a united group of people who have preserved their unique identity, their ancestors’ principles, faith in God, and boundless love for their land and country.
Vladimir Putin: Good. I wish you good luck.
Mr Tkachev, I also want to thank you for everything you have done for the region. The region has developed greatly under your leadership. It has been successful in its development and you have carried out many projects and, aside from anything else, you also made a big and valuable contribution to organising the Sochi Olympics. I want to wish you success in your new and broader work.