Meeting with Pskov Region Governor Mikhail Vedernikov 2020-11-23 13:40:00 The Kremlin, Moscow Vladimir Putin had a working meeting, via videoconference, with the Governor of the Pskov Region. Mikhail Vedernikov began his report with the epidemiological situation in the region, where the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is growing, just as in other Russian regions. At this moment, the regional authorities maintain a balance in two spheres, he said: the preservation of health and lives, and a comprehensive functioning of the regional economy. This is being done largely thanks to the support of the President. In particular, 484 million rubles were allocated last year for new medical equipment, and used to purchase the highest quality equipment. In addition, medical teams sent to the Pskov Region in accordance with the Presidential instructions have helped to adjust the operation of the regional COVID centre based on Moscow’s best practices. At the same time, considerable amounts of medication and PPE have been dispatched to the region. The Governor pointed out that the region needs to buy ophthalmology, urology, otolaryngology and neurology equipment worth aggregately 500 million rubles. He asked the President to support the region’s request to the Government for the allocation of these funds in 2021. Mikhail Vedernikov noted that everything necessary had been done in the region to preserve the economy and prevent a major decrease in revenues. The whole of the emergency fund created at the request of the Government has been used to support doctors, social workers, people in need, those who lost their jobs and businesses. For the ten months of 2020, both tax and non-tax revenues overall reached 107.8 percent compared to the same period last year. But at the same time, the budget deficit had to be increased by almost 2 billion rubles to finance the COVID response effort, and the region is not in a position to take out new loans. The region will not be able to close this fiscal year without additional assistance. The Governor asked the President to instruct the Government to provide additional funding to cover the shortfall in the Pskov Region. Mikhail Vedernikov further reported on the implementation of the Presidential instruction to carry out a comprehensive upgrade of the social infrastructure in the border areas (the region borders on Estonia and Latvia). This should include an overhaul and renovation of schools and regional hospitals. In particular, the Governor pointed out the Pechora linguistic gymnasium, the only institution that accepts Seto children (an ethnic minority in the Pskov Region). The list of facilities in need of modernisation has been compiled and submitted to the Government of the Russian Federation. The Governor asked the President to instruct the Government to shift the allocation of funds for the modernisation of social infrastructure facilities to 2021–2023 from 2020–2022 as was originally planned. In turn, the region guarantees the completion of all construction projects on schedule. Answering the President's question about the investment situation, Mikhail Vedernikov said the Pskov Region is one of ten regions with individual socioeconomic development programmes with an emphasis on the development of industrial enterprises, including in the special economic zone. The region is working with an anchor investor; the total amount invested in the project is comparable with the region’s annual budget. It is also expected to create 1,300 additional jobs within two to three years. The President stressed that he knows what is happening in the Pskov Region and how, and of course, the problems listed by the Governor have to be solved; he promised to provide help and support in doing so. The President noted that all those issues need to be considered by the Government of the Russian Federation at a professional and business-like level, while the specific figures need to be coordinated with the relevant government agencies.