President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Zhdanova, we will of course review all matters related to the socioeconomic situation. However, I would like to start by forwarding to you a list of issues that were pointed out by people during the Direct Line. We will discuss this in more detail, since I would like to highlight some of the issues that cannot be left unnoticed.
We have done a great deal to ensure adequate capacity of kindergartens. In our public statements, we say that this issue has been resolved 90 percent, almost 100 percent. However, people complain that no new kindergartens are being built in Chita, and it is very hard to get a child admitted into a kindergarten. Does this issue still exist?
Trans-Baikal Territory Governor Natalya Zhdanova: Mr President, unfortunately this problem does exist. Unfortunately, the region failed to fulfil the Presidential Executive Order within the designated period, and was unable to resolve the issue with waiting lists for children between three and seven years old, even though 2.5 billion rubles were allocated to this effect, which is a substantial amount. That said, it has to be mentioned that admissions were increased by almost 8,000 as part of this programme. However, this turned out to be insufficient. Some 1,700 people are still on the waiting lists.
Mr President, I would like to report that during this period of eighteen months, we were able to increase kindergarten admissions by 1,500, including in Chita and other areas. About a dozen or even more areas within Trans-Baikal Territory still lack the needed kindergarten capacity.
We intend to continue working on this issue in 2017–2018 and further increase the kindergartens capacity by 1,200, which will resolve the issue of waiting lists for children from three to seven years old.
Vladimir Putin: Do you have any agreements with the Government on this?
Natalya Zhdanova: We have many kindergartens where construction is unfinished, but they are about to be completed. This problem is linked with loans among other things. Therefore, in this case we are building or completing the projects that we already have, and are launching new ones. We are taking some buildings back, converting them back to kindergartens.
Vladimir Putin: Have you received the funds that were due to you from the Federation?
Natalya Zhdanova: Yes, we have received the funds allocated to Trans-Baikal Territory under the federal programme.
Vladimir Putin: Does this mean that you have simply not fully paid your obligations, right?
Natalya Zhdanova: Indeed, we have not fully paid our part. Today the underfunded sum is about 200 million.
Vladimir Putin: Do you have the money?
Natalya Zhdanova: Not quite.
Vladimir Putin: Why not? Didn’t you make co-financing commitments?
Natalya Zhdanova: We have not fulfilled them, Mr President. These commitments have not been met.
Vladimir Putin: Please write a separate letter to me on this, will you?
Natalya Zhdanova: All right.
Vladimir Putin: Now I would like to talk about some issues related to jobs. There are several appeals from Krasnokamensk. Is there a threat that the plant will be shut down?
Natalya Zhdanova: The situation is as follows: there is indeed a need to open an additional, so-called sixth uranium mine because two new uranium deposits have been discovered. The plant is operating, but the uranium resources are being depleted and it is necessary to open a new mine to preserve the city of Krasnokamensk. This is the second largest city in Trans-Baikal Territory after Chita. I was going to talk about this in detail in my report. Now the mine has received investment project status, but it has not been funded for 2017.
Vladimir Putin: You should work closely with Rosatom. You can describe the issue in detail if necessary.
Natalya Zhdanova: Rosatom has already invested about one billion rubles in all kinds of survey work under this project. But now, Mr President, we are working to have the Federal Government share of the co-financing confirmed as well.
Vladimir Putin: Please also write a letter about this.
Natalya Zhdanova: I will.
Vladimir Putin: There are also other issues related to dilapidated housing and roads. This is a common set of problems. That said, it may be common statistically, but it is very important for the people. I am transferring all this to you. I will expect your report – information on what has been done. All right?
Natalya Zhdanova: Yes, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: Now please tell me about your issue.
Natalya Zhdanova: Mr President, this is about an issue that was raised during the Direct Line. Your instructions have been fulfilled. At the end of August this woman will move to a flat.
Vladimir Putin: Fine.
Natalya Zhdanova: Mr President, please allow me to report on the current situation.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, please.
Natalya Zhdanova: Although the current situation in our territory remains rather complicated, it is still fairly resistant to external challenges and has relatively stable major macroeconomic indicators.
In industry, there has been small but real growth in the extraction of minerals. Today extraction is 2.4 percent higher than last year. This is due to an increase in the share of extraction of zinc concentrate and copper and the development of polymetallic deposits in the southeast of Trans-Baikal Territory.
A number of large investment projects, serious projects are nearing completion and some are ready to for commissioning. This year the Norilsky Nikel Bystrinsky Mining and Processing Plant is expected to be put into operation. This is a large project, a breakthrough for our territory. It will create 2,000 jobs in core professions and 1,200 additional jobs in related professions. About 75 billion rubles have already been spent on this project. This is a really serious project that we have high hopes and plans for in terms of the development of the Trans-Baikal Territory
In addition, there is a number of other projects in the mining and other industries. These are core projects of the plan that we are compiling on your instructions. In all, we have 29 projects in the territory with a total investment of about 800 billion rubles. Some 200 billion have already been spent.
Moreover, these are major economic and industrial projects with a very clear and direct social component. We have signed about 28 to 30 socioeconomic partnership agreements with directors of state corporations and other business representatives. Under these agreements, we are implementing various social measures that are vital for our people. For example, in cooperation with the railway we are planning to launch the construction of a kindergarten and a school for a hundred children.
Vladimir Putin: Where?
Natalya Zhdanova: Along the railway. This is for the town of Mogocha and the village of Mozgon. We have many other projects, for instance, “Successful School” and “Sports for Everyone”, to name a few.