Meeting with Head of Kabardino-Balkaria Kazbek Kokov 2022-07-13 14:20:00 The Kremlin, Moscow Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Head of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic Kazbek Kokov. The discussion focused on the socioeconomic situation in the Republic, including in the labour market, in industry, agriculture, construction and tourism. At the beginning of the meeting, the President noted that the Republic has developed very good construction rates with a growth over the last year of more than 18 percent. The figure for investment was also quite good, but there were some persisting problems in the labour market. Kazbek Kokov confirmed that the labour market poses challenges. Another problem is that the Republic failed to reach the desired level of remuneration for employees. He said they plan to increase salaries in the public sector by 10 percent, starting August 1. In addition, the Republic is working to legalise employment and bring it out of the shadows because salaries are not always recorded in full. The Head of the Republic reported to the President about the financial situation. In 2021, its GRP amounted to 205 billion rubles. Investment was 51.1 billion, which is an increase of almost 150 percent on 2018. The trend continues into the current year. The living standards have gone up by 9.3 percent. In the past, some 24.2 percent of the population lived in poverty, whereas now this figure has decreased to 18 percent. Kazbek Kokov said that the decisions made by the President had a particular effect in the Caucasus republics, especially support for families with children. Mr Kokov noted the growth in agriculture and a two-fold increase in the tourist flow since the past year. In the first six months of this year, 550,000 tourists visited the Republic, up 6 percent on the past year when the Republic hosted a record million tourists for the first time. The Republic is developing infrastructure in the Elbrus Region in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Development. The construction of ski slopes and lifts is underway. Overall, investment will reach 14.5 billion rubles by 2025. Regarding industry, Kazbek Kokov noted that the development of light industry and the textile industry was an area of growth. He also noted the resumption of production of tungsten and molybdenum ores at the Tyrnyauz deposit as a significant project for Kabardino-Balkaria. The agricultural sector has been growing by about 10 percent annually over the past few years, Mr Kokov said. Its gross output totalled 68.8 billion rubles in 2021. The Head of the Republic believes that this trend will persist because farmers are planting more perennials. The Republic is implementing a major agricultural project, with 18 billion rubles worth of investment, to grow crops under cover. The discussion also covered road construction projects and repairs that involve 150 to 170 kilometres of roads annually. In 2022–2023, there are plans to broaden the section of the Caucasus Highway that runs through the Republic to four lanes. Mr Kokov also noted that in 2019–2021, under national projects, the Republic had received 20 billion rubles for implementing such social projects as the construction of schools and preschool facilities. Vladimir Putin noted that there are plans to build over 900 schools nationwide in the next two years and asked how many of them the Republic would build. Mr Kokov said that six schools had been completed, 10 schools were under construction in 2022, and eight more schools would be built in 2023. Consequently, 24 new schools will be ready by 2024, accounting for 10 percent of the Republic’s total. The Republic is actively involved in the renovation and overhauls programme because over 20,000 children studied at schools that do not meet official requirements. The Head of Kabardino-Balkaria expressed confidence that the secondary education system would be completely fitted out by 2024.