The President visited the production floor of the locomotive plant, viewed the pre-commissioning units and talked with the company’s staff. Vladimir Putin congratulated workers on the launch of Lastochka train production.
The company is engaged in designing, producing, selling and servicing traction rolling stock, specialising in the production of Sinara and Granit electric freight locomotives and Lastochka electric passenger trains.
Conversation with workers at Ural Locomotives plant.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I congratulate you on the start of this work.
Replies: Thank you.
Valdimir Putin: Congratulations. Your managers have told me that the staff here will continue to grow. Right now, you have about 3,000 employees, don’t you?
Sinara Group CEO Dmitry Pumpyansky: 3,300.
Vladimir Putin: And their number will increase to 4,500?
Dmitry Pumpyansky: That’s right, to 4,500. Currently, we have 300 people working here, at this location, including 159 who were trained in Germany. The staff here will increase to 1,500.
Vladimir Putin: I hope this is interesting for you.
Remarks: Yes, of course.
We are developing very dynamically, thanks to orders for the future. We have made a major step forward and the management is doing everything possible for us to become stronger. We have enormous potential – these are people who can work even more and better for the good of our homeland.
Vladimir Putin: I do not doubt it. I must say, this is impressive, this scale and quality, and the number of workers. You’re paying good salaries that are nearly 30% higher than the region’s average. The salaries here are about 39,000 rubles, and the average for the region is 27,000. So the difference is significant. Of course, it has to do with the workers’ level of training and high technologies. This is one of the region’s high-tech centres.
I am confident that the outlook is good; we will continue to develop rail network in the country. Mr Yakunin knows that despite the general economic problems, infrastructure is nevertheless an area where we will invest money and resources. We have already invested 20 billion rubles, a very significant sum. I wish you success and all the very best.
Question: Mr President, I am a mechanic working in commissioning operations for the Lastochka train. I trained in Germany, which has a very good high-speed train network and a rail pass system. I heard that Moscow wants to implement a similar project soon. I wanted to ask if our company will participate in that project as an electric train supplier?
Vladimir Putin: Are you referring to the Moscow ring road?
Reply: Yes, and our Lastochka.
Vladimir Putin: This is a good question. I can tell they prepared you well. (Laughter.)
Remark: We want stability. After all, this is our future.
Vladimir Putin: All the orders will be placed on a tender basis. But I don’t think you have a lot of competitors – practically none.
Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser (retranslated): You can be proud of such young people.
Vladimir Putin (in German): We are.
Question: Mr President, everyone knows that Lastochka trains will be used to transport passengers during the 2014 Winter Olympics. I would like to ask, will the Lastochka be used at the Football World Cup?
Vladimir Putin: We are currently looking at different ways to transport fans more comfortably and quickly to match locations. Naturally, your Lastochkas will be in demand.
I do not want to say anything too soon, before I’m ready, but it is obvious that this will be included in the general programme for preparing the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It is hard for me to say now what kind of technology will be used and in what areas, but it is absolutely clear, we all realise it, that yours are currently the only Lastochka trains out there.
Remark: This is very important for us.
Vladimir Putin: There’s a very good chance that your participation in the Olympic project will be followed by joining in the preparations for the FIFA World Cup.
Question: My son is going to graduate from high school soon and would like to follow in my footsteps. Would you advise him to go into machine engineering?
Vladimir Putin: You should advise him; you’re the father.
Question: But what is the situation overall? Will there be stability in the future? And what about training? Will machine engineering develop?
Vladimir Putin: Of course. A powerful, large economy such as Russia cannot develop or exist without its own machine engineering. Of course, it will develop. We are cooperating with our German friends. Our economic volume is comparable to German’s economy. Russia is the world’s fifth biggest economy, but we need to achieve the same level of quality. Together, we have every opportunity. They are interested, and it is advantageous for them to work with us. We are reliable partners, we pay on time, and we have large orders. But the opportunities presented by their technologies are advantageous for us as well.
Without machine engineering, Russia’s economy will not develop at all. Everyone realises this. This is a difficult direction, it is not like hydrocarbons and does not bring quick profits, but it is a key direction. As for staff, the companies themselves need to think about it in advance, together with the government. The government alone will not do it, because the government never senses the needs of the labour market. It would also be hard for businesses to do it on their own, so they need support. We are currently working on this together.
Take care. Goodbye.