Vladislav Khovalyg began his report with the coronavirus situation. So far, the incidence is high, but the measures taken are yielding results. Sufficient supplies of PPE and medicines are available. On the other hand, there is a shortage of medical oxygen, which is not produced in Tuva. More than 1,700 hospital beds were urgently made available; also, a temporary hospital was set up at a sports centre and two schools. Vaccine rollout is underway.
Vladislav Khovalyg has been in touch with a number of government agencies on several promising development initiatives in Tuva, including with the Healthcare Ministry, the Ministry of Transport, the Economic Development Ministry, the Ministry of Construction, and the Energy Ministry, as well as Gazprom and other major companies. He has also been negotiating budget difficulties with the Ministry of Finance. As a result, funds have been allocated to complete the construction of a bridge across the Yenisei in a remote district of Tuva. The Ministry of Transport supported the need to allocate funds for the modernisation of Kyzyl airport for international transportation and to subsidise passenger services. The Russian Government has decided to reduce electricity bills for legal entities. The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service supported the region’s position with regard to lowering the price of coal; they are negotiating with the mining company to reach a final decision. Thanks to the support of the Construction Ministry and the DOM.RF State Corporation, more housing is being built in the region.
According to Vladislav Khovalyg, the Year of People's Initiatives is now underway in Tuva. As part of the project, many small but useful initiatives have been implemented not only at the regional government’s expense, but also through people's support or with sponsors’ money.
At the same time, some complicated system-wide problems in Tuva do require the support of the President and the federal government. A regional development programme approved by the Government of Russia in April 2020 currently determines the federal support mechanism for Tuva’s development. As a whole, the programme is working, with projects for the production of building materials, woodworking, and the processing of wild herbs underway; and Tuva’s participation in the tourism national project is under consideration.
The problems mentioned by Vladislav Khovalyg include the delayed construction of the Kyzyl-Kuragino railway as well as the untapped agricultural potential of Tuva. Tuva is traditionally an agricultural region with 46 percent of the population living in rural areas – almost twice Russia’s average. The region has developed a programme to speed up the development of agriculture in 2022–2026, which in particular envisages an increase in processing capacity. The calculations show that the industry has huge potential; local agriculture can produce 18 billion rubles worth of produce against today's 6 billion. The draft programme is pending approval by the Russian Ministry of Agriculture. Vladislav Khovalyg asked the President to give an instruction to the Government to provide federal funds for the project.
Mr Khovalyg also asked for another instruction from the President, one regarding government financial support for the construction of a new 220 kV electricity transmission line to do away with the energy shortage in Tuva.
The Acting Head also complained about the unfavourable environmental situation in Tuva during the winter. The problem can be overcome by connecting more of the local households to gas grids. The only realistic option for the development of this infrastructure is to use liquefied natural gas as part of a social gas supply project. Vladislav Khovalyg asked the President to instruct Gazprom to implement a pilot project that enables local consumers to convert to LNG, as well as to include the region in its social gas supply project.
Mr Khovalyg also brought up the topic of modernisation of local medical facilities, as well as cancer care, as Tuva lags behind the national average in this respect.
Vladislav Khovalyg said official letters have been sent to the President on all the matters discussed.
Vladimir Putin said he had already reviewed the letters and agreed they contained really sensitive issues that should be carefully considered.
At the same time, the President noted, there are several more problems that should not be forgotten, such as the demolition of dilapidated housing, overloaded schools, and tuberculosis, which is a rather acute problem in the healthcare sector, in addition to cancer treatment. This problem needs to be approached in the most careful manner, especially since there are opportunities for solving it.
The President also noted some positive changes – good progress in the construction sector, and an increase in the resident population. Vladimir Putin insisted on implementing investment projects as a way to raise the local people's incomes. One of them, mentioned by Vladislav Khovalyg, is the planned railway heading to the well-known coal deposit, but there are opportunities besides this one, the President said.
Vladimir Putin proposed estimating these opportunities and discussing them again later and said he would ask his colleagues in the Presidential Executive Office and the Government to discuss them directly with the Acting Head of the Republic of Tuva.