President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Sobyanin, we are in constant contact, and the overall situation in Moscow is well known. Nevertheless, considering the importance of Moscow in the life of Russia, in its economy of course, it is always useful to review the results for certain periods, and today we have the opportunity to talk about the results of 2022.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin: Thank you, Mr President. With your support, Moscow has implemented a number of large projects in recent years and has rightfully become one of the world’s leading megacities.
2022 was something of a challenge for us, but even facing the most severe sanctions, Moscow did not allow any obstacles to get in the way of implementing the programmes that we planned. Moreover, I believe that the next years will show excellent, high dynamics and quality of the city’s development, despite the difficulties.
I would like to report using the examples of several projects.
In particular, in the economy, Moscow ranked third in terms of gross domestic product, considering purchasing power parity among world cities. We have doubled the volume of investment in five years; the volume of the manufacturing industry has increased by 40 percent even without considering the Moscow Oil Refinery; and with the new capacities of the Moscow Oil Refinery, the output of manufacturing industries in Moscow will double.
We are implementing a number of interesting projects in the economy, which will become development drivers in the next few years. We have already discussed unmanned aerial vehicles. We have opened a large site at the industrial complex in Rudnevo, and today it covers 120,000 square metres of industrial space; in the coming years this will be tripled. And the core of this industrial complex will be unmanned aerial vehicles, which we recently saw at Moscow State University, at the Vorobyovy Gory STIC. In addition, a number of federal enterprises are involved, such as Almaz-Antei, which carry out strategic tasks.
The development of pharmaceuticals is another sphere of importance for the country and the city. We are creating a large cluster that will produce medicines in Zelenograd, above all, vital medicines for various diseases, from viral to oncological ones, two thirds of which have never been produced in Russia before. We will increase the cluster’s volume by two thirds in the next few years, but it already houses major Russian companies. We are providing all-round assistance to and signing long-term contracts with them, which is why they feel confident and are launching the production of novel medicines.
One more area for us has to do with the economy. You have approved the establishment of an electric vehicle (EV) cluster in Moscow.
Despite the attempts to stop automobile manufacturing in Moscow, we have resumed the production of Moskvich cars at the former Renault plant and plan to create a Russian EV platform and to roll out our Russian-made electric vehicles with the majority of components made in Russia.
Another crucial area for a city like Moscow, which will determine its economic progress and urban comforts for the people, is the development of transport. Over the past few years, we have implemented a number of surface and underground metro and road projects, with your assistance.
In particular, a year ago you launched the Big Circle Line of the metro, two thirds of which was completed by that time. We have completed the project, and, if possible, we would like to invite you to open the entire Big Circle Line in the next few days. It will be a major boost for the further development of the metro and for easing the burden on other lines and surface transport. It is the largest metro circle line in the world.
One more project that you have helped us implement is the Moscow Central Diameter, also called surface metro, which has interconnected all kinds of suburban transport systems. We have already launched two diameters, and two more, Line D3 and Line D4, will be completed and opened this year.
Vladimir Putin: It is working well.
Sergei Sobyanin: Yes, it is working wonderfully and is very popular. In fact, it is a huge infrastructure project. Work on a similar project has been underway in London for about 20 years, and it is considered the largest such project in Europe. We have implemented two such projects, and two more – Lines D3 and D4 – will open to the public in the autumn. One of them will be connected to the St Petersburg high-speed railway line and will run from Zelenograd across the city and via all railway stations in the direction of Kazan. Line D4 will also run via all but one railway stations. It is a complicated project as well and very important for the city.
One more area is the construction of the largest trunk roads. Last year, we launched the Moscow High-Speed Diameter, its first stage, with you. This year, we will complete the construction of its second stage and the South Chord – another big, 40-km project. We will connect the Moscow High-Speed Diameter with a road to Kazan that our federal colleagues are now building. This is a federal road, and we will connect it with the diameter, too. Thus, there will be a road from Kazan to St Petersburg and a high-speed motorway. And we will have the fourth transport ring with chord connections. It will be a foundation for Moscow’s street and road network, a new foundation.
These projects are complicated, huge because we have to carry them out mostly in flyovers and along railways. Sometimes they require demolition of unattended and other buildings and pass through utilities networks and industrial zones. That said, these projects are nearing completion. We will finish all of them this year.
Vladimir Putin: This is Moscow’s powerful development, really powerful.
Sergei Sobyanin: Housing construction is one more project that you monitor. In 2022, we put into service a bit less housing than in the previous year: 7.8 million square metres in 2021 and 6.8 million square metres in 2022. But any construction, including housing construction, goes in cycles. If we take a five-year cycle, previously we built in Moscow a bit over 3 million square metres, whereas now the figure is between 5 and 7 – 6.8 on average. So, in terms of a five-year cycle, we have actually doubled the scale of housing construction. Importantly, now the housing standards have changed.
Naturally, we are working not only with commercial housing. You approved a housing relocation project at one time. We have already resettled 100,000 people – a whole city. But this is only the beginning of this large programme. In the next three years, we will move another 200,000 people. Ultimately, our goal is to resettle about a million people. But the programme is gaining momentum. In fact, we are doubling its scale, and we are not stopping but trying to accelerate construction.
The next project under your attention is the development of outpatient primary medical care.
The situation in Moscow seems good, but this is relative because many outpatient clinics were built in the 1950s and 1960s or even in the 1940s. They are obsolete. Therefore, we are going to rebuild these dilapidated outpatient facilities. In fact, we will only keep the frame. Everything else will be new. We will build new outpatient clinics there.
We will upgrade half of Moscow's outpatient clinics this year, and 200 buildings will be practically new construction, and equipped with the latest technology, which will unquestionably raise the standard of outpatient care.
Vladimir Putin: There were 77 in 2022, and will be 124 in 2023.
Sergei Sobyanin: Yes, we renovated 77 in 2022 and will add another 124 in 2023.
Vladimir Putin: On top of those 77?
Sergei Sobyanin: Correct. There will be 201 in all. Moscow has about 400 outpatient clinics, so 201 is half the total number.
We are bringing other buildings up to standard as well and outfitting them with good high-quality equipment. This is a lot of work because the buildings are decrepit, and we are removing almost all of the bricks leaving only the frame. We are building almost everything anew, including roofs, floor plans, utility lines and facades. It is a dauntingly complex programme, and we have been working on it for quite a while.
Vladimir Putin: This is essentially a major reconstruction rather than a renovation.
Sergei Sobyanin: Yes, in fact it is a major refurbishment that includes innovative standards and approaches and a new system of patient-doctor relationship with a comfortable environment for both. Integrated government services centres will be made part of the patient reception system, and new equipment will be brought in. In a word, it is a solid and beautiful project.
With regard to public health, in addition to outpatient clinics, this year we are about to complete a number of major projects, including Kommunarka, which you are familiar with, and a number of other sites, including the Loginov Clinic which is a major cancer treatment-related project, the Infectious Diseases Clinical Hospital No. 1, a sprawling children's complex and six flagship emergency centres, each of which is a former clinic core facility, and taken together they double the clinic’s productivity.
An artificial intelligence system is being introduced concurrently, primarily, for medical purposes. You are well aware of this matter, since you recently convened a large forum on it. Artificial intelligence uses big data. A database with systematised and structured data for 2 billion units has been built in Moscow. This is one of the world’s largest databases that can be used to train artificial intelligence in decision making.
So far, 8 million diagnoses have been made using computer vision in various fields, ranging from cancer to vascular and lung diseases. The accuracy is fairly high and is constantly improving.
We have put in place a system of medical prompts for primary care physicians; 9 million diagnoses have been made using artificial intelligence. Obviously, doctors are the ones to ultimately make the diagnosis, but artificial intelligence helps them properly structure lab appointments, process the results, make an accurate diagnosis and write a prescription. This helps doctors a lot. This system is unique to Moscow and is unparalleled in the world.
Vladimir Putin: It must be replicated. We mentioned this project at the Sberbank event.
Sergei Sobyanin: We are building a system of outpatient solutions jointly with Sberbank. It is a highly effective system relying on electronic medical records and a properly structured, systematised and indexed database, which makes it easy for artificial intelligence to process data and make accurate diagnoses.
We work with the Moscow Electronic School as well, which also boasts a fairly large amount of data; about 2 million content units have been uploaded to this school. It is a highly systematic and in-depth project that helps improve the quality of education. Today, this content is used about 4.5 million times per day.
You issued an instruction to try to spread this experience to other regions. We have partnered with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Digital Development to create a project where the Moscow Electronic School would act as the basis for the Russian electronic school called My School. In order to avoid reinventing the wheel, since we have been working on it for many years, we will adapt it to the Ministry of Education’s needs.
Vladimir Putin: Does this have anything to do with online education, or is it about helping schools?
Sergei Sobyanin: This is mainly related to education, an aid for teachers. During a class, teachers can upload content that has everything, including teaching aids, labs, video labs, and test papers. The teachers can use the same platform to upload assignments to schoolchildren with the corresponding test materials, and so on. This entire machine operates as a single organism.
I said earlier that Moscow Library (an e-library) has about 2 million pieces of content uploaded to it, which cover all areas of knowledge. It is important, however, to not only put together an enormous amount of unstructured data, but to systematise it for the needs of each class, each topic and each standard as defined by the Ministry of Education. This is a critically important, major, and complex effort. We have been dealing with this in conjunction with the Ministry of Education for many years now, and have ended up with a decent product.
We spoke earlier about the need to use digital technology in designing buildings and structures around the country. Many foreign platforms have left the country, which caused the digital design process to collapse. We moved quickly to create replacement digital platforms. Moreover, a digital twin of Moscow was created, which includes surface planning with up-to-the-minute perspectives all the way down to building facades and three-dimensional design. In addition to surface planning, we have built a twin network of the underground utility lines, which makes it possible for us to see everything on the surface and underground. It is more than an image, but a tool for designing and creating new housing and industrial complexes. This platform and digital programme helped us create 3,000 buildings, including the most recent Lomonosov cluster.
If you remember, at one time we had a big problem with managing the housing stock, the buildings, because it was practically impossible to hold a meeting and make a decision in a residential building. This means that a managing company could do whatever it wanted.
To resolve this problem and to get people involved in running their block of flats, to give them a real opportunity for this, we created an e-block system that allows residents to make all the necessary decisions from their smart phone, telephone or PC. Nobody needs to come in person and vote by hand. This voting is authentic because it is buttressed by digital passports. It is possible to make all decisions using this system.
Vladimir Putin: Digital democracy.
Sergei Sobyanin: Yes, digital democracy, but it is real and provides many services, making people feel they are the true owners of their block of flats.
Vladimir Putin: They are involved in decision-making.
Sergei Sobyanin: Yes, there are, indeed.
You know, there were many skeptical remarks about video surveillance in the city, all kinds of insinuations that this was a bad idea and that people would be watched. Meanwhile, the cameras primarily promote security in the city. At present, 7,713 people were detained in the metro and other places in the city. They were on the federal wanted list. These real criminals could not be located before. It takes this system several seconds to identify a person and notify the police if need be.
Consequently, burglary has gone down several times over in Moscow. Criminals understand that the system will recognise them when they enter a building, even if they wear a mask. Even if they cover their face completely. The system of video cameras will track them down and reveal a crime. It is the system that matters in this respect.
Mr President, I would like to assure you that we will continue all these programmes. I mentioned just a few of them. We must develop the city comprehensively and dynamically and meet the highest standards.
Vladimir Putin: You have done a lot in all of these areas and each of them is very important. I remember there were big doubts several years ago about Moscow’s ability to ensure normal traffic, in both the city and its squares. Such population strength and density make this a difficult task, but overall Moscow is handling it better than other metropolitan areas.
The healthcare and education systems are making steady headway, like the urban environment in general. So, I would like to thank your team for these achievements. I hope you will continue this work with the same speed and quality in the near future.
Sergei Sobyanin: Thank you, Mr President. We are tackling these tasks with your support.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you. The main point is that practically everything we agree on here becomes reality.
Sergei Sobyanin: Yes, we are moving ahead without stopping, regardless of any difficulties. Moreover, we will work with the same intensity.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.