President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Kadyrov, we have traditional issues pertaining to life in the Chechen Republic: how is the situation, how do things stand, how is the economy developing and how are social issues being resolved?
Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov: Mr President, indeed, we have a stable situation in our republic and a very good dynamic of economic growth. This year, agricultural production was 10 percent higher than last year. We also implemented 19 investment projects in agriculture, energy and manufacturing.
Vladimir Putin: What did you do in manufacturing?
Ramzan Kadyrov: We have built a hydroelectric power plant, started work on a central heating power plant and are gradually developing machine-building. Our manufacturing includes a dairy plant and a meat plant.
Vladimir Putin: Processing?
Ramzan Kadyrov: Yes, processing. We plan to build a cement plant – we have already started. There are some interesting projects that we are doing today for our region worth 203 billion rubles.
If you recall, on April 7, 2014 we had 18 percent unemployment, but today, it is down to 13.9 percent. This is also a good result in the current situation.
Concerning your May Executive Orders, we have nearly resolved the issue and the situation is under control. But as always, we need your support and help.
Vladimir Putin: One of the most pressing issues has always been the level of unemployment, especially among young people. Have you been able to bring it down it?
Ramzan Kadyrov: We have lowered it to 13.9 percent since April 7, 2014; I think this is an important result. When you appointed me to my position, we had 76 percent unemployment. And today, thanks to you and your support, Chechnya is becoming more attractive for foreign investments, as well as domestic ones.
We are also working with Rosseti and Gazprom; they are also building powerful 4.7 megawatt heating and power plants, with investments of 20–23 billion rubles in the republic. They will provide heat and light to the city of Grozny.
We are also very closely working on developing small and midsize businesses. Abu Dhabi is also cooperating with us extensively on this, thanks to your help. Starting next year, they will make investments and their experts will participate and work in Chechnya.
Vladimir Putin: I saw for myself how Grozny is developing. It certainly serves as a role model for many. I recall the situation when it was in such a state that we were considering whether the capital of Chechnya should remain there at all. The first President of Chechnya, Akhmad Kadyrov, said, “No, although I myself am from Gudermes, but the capital of Chechnya should nevertheless remain in Grozny.” And you were able to rebuild the city, so that now it is in excellent shape. I ask you to continue to give this matter your attention, because it is important for the republic and for all of the North Caucasus as a good example of development.
Ramzan Kadyrov: Thank you very much. Akhmad Kadyrov began in Gudermes, and after you came to Grozny and said that the city looks terrible from a helicopter, everything in Chechnya started to change for the better. Today, everyone says that it looks beautiful from helicopters and planes. Thank you very much for this!
Vladimir Putin: Thank you, you are the one who made it happen. I also thank the residents of Chechnya; everything was done by their hands, care and labour. I am very happy that you were able to implement what you planned. But we need to keep moving forward. Let’s discuss that now.