The discussion focused on the socioeconomic situation in the region and its development priorities.
Mr Kobzev told the President about the negative consequences of the pandemic and the drop in oil prices, which led to a 10 percent decrease in the Irkutsk Region’s revenue, and the effort with the Finance Ministry on receiving government subsidies to adjust for these losses. In addition, Mr Kobzev said the region needs financial support for hosting the Bandy World Championship between men’s national teams on October 5–11. The President said that such support would be provided and instructed to prepare the relevant written requests.
The discussion also touched upon the opening of a Suvorov Military Academy in Irkutsk on the basis of the Irkutsk Higher Military Aviation Engineering Academy facilities that were closed 11 years ago. Mr Kobzev recalled the glorious traditions of the officer corps in Irkutsk and said that this year the city of Irkutsk was awarded, by Presidential Executive Order, the honorary title of City of Labour Valour for its substantial contribution to Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945. The President promised Mr Kobzev that he would instruct the Defence Ministry to study this issue.
In addition, Mr Kobzev raised the question of creating in the region of a gas chemical complex – the Sayano-Irkutsk backbone development territory, in particular, for producing LNG and supplying it to neighbouring regions, as well as to Mongolia and China. The construction of this facility depends on Gazprom’s decision to build the Kovykta-Sayansk-Irkutsk gas pipeline under its own investment programme with a view to providing the region with up to 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas from the Kovykta gas condensate field located on the territory of the Irkutsk Region.
The President noted it was the right question to ask, albeit a difficult one, stressing that the most important thing is not even about exporting this gas, but supplying it to domestic consumers, both industrial consumers and households. This is a good project, but everything needs to be calculated with Gazprom, Vladimir Putin said and promised to give a corresponding instruction to Gazprom.
Igor Kobzev thanked the President and the Government for the tremendous assistance provided to the region in connection with the 2019 summer flood relief efforts. Repairs continue according to plan, and 780 residential structures will be built by the end of this year, more than 41,000 square metres. He also said that the emergency dams built in Nizhneudinsk, Tulun and Alygdzher have kept the water from flooding the same area again this year. Plans call for engineering as many as 12 protective structures as part of a comprehensive programme; contracts for seven of them have already been signed and these protective dams are going to be built in the next two years.
At the same time, Igor Kobzev mentioned another problem that was not taken into account in 2019. He believes the surveys of the affected housing presented to the government commission then were carried out in a substandard and perfunctory manner. So after the winter, more than 1,000 buildings had to be moved from the ‘in need of major repair’ category to the ‘unfit for living’ category. The Acting Governor asked the President to specifically reconsider this issue and to continue providing accommodations for the flood victims.
The President supported this proposal, stressing that the region needs to present a strong case for the allocation of more money, and within the legal procedure.
In conclusion, Vladimir Putin instructed Igor Kobzev to prepare reports on all the topics raised during the meeting, and also agreed to visit Tulun, at the residents’ request, to see how the town is changing.