On August 29, the leadership of the United Russia party submitted to the President three candidacies for the post of St Petersburg Governor, including that of Georgy Poltavchenko, the Acting Governor and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Central Federal District.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Poltavchenko, I have decided to submit your candidacy for the post of St Petersburg Governor. There are several reasons for my choice. First, St Petersburg is city you know well: you grew up and studied there, dealt with a variety of issues, you have worked in St Petersburg and you are familiar with the needs of our country’s second metropolis, a very large centre with European history and a complicated destiny. Second, you have been the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Central Federal District for over ten years and have coordinated state policies in different Russian regions, so you also know the Central Federal District, including Moscow and other dynamically developing regions.
“Many problems remain in St Petersburg, including with housing and utilities. The whole city is a museum, a historical monument, and there is a large number of buildings that need major repairs or careful maintenance. I hope that you will create a team that will be able to address these and many other tasks.”
That is why I have submitted your candidacy and I hope that you will successfully cope with the huge responsibilities the job entails. The head of the second largest city in our country, our second capital, as people say, is a highly responsible position and I am sure you will perform your duties with honour.
I assume that St Petersburg is a city you know intimately and will quickly familiarise yourself with the work. Bear in mind what has been achieved in recent years by Valentina Matviyenko. I must admit that the city has been transformed, it has become more elegant, there are many new social facilities and businesses, residential neighbourhoods are being improved, and transport infrastructure is growing, both in and around St Petersburg. In general, the city has seen great many changes.
But this does not mean that there is nothing left to improve; many problems remain, including with housing and utilities. The whole city is a museum, a historical monument, and there is a large number of buildings that need major repairs or careful maintenance. Improving residential neighbourhoods, an initiative you were closely involved with, is also a major challenge. There is also continued development of transport infrastructure and various winter preparation issues that have arisen in the past. All of these matters are top priorities but not the only ones that must be tackled.
I hope that you will create a team that will be able to address these and many other tasks. I wish you every success in this endeavour.
Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy To Central Federal District GEORGY POLTAVCHENKO: Mr President, thank you very much for your trust in me. Indeed, for me as a person who grew up in St Petersburg and loves the city, this is great honour and a great responsibility. I assure you that I will use all my knowledge and experience, including that gained in my work in the Central Federal District, to justify your trust. I am doubly pleased that for both of us St Petersburg is our hometown, and the opportunity to make the city a better place to live in is a great challenge, and most importantly a task that it will be a great pleasure to tackle.
I realise that there are many problems, but much has been done in recent years. Over the past eight years, the team led by Valentina Matviyenko has done a great deal for the city. I have seen some things for myself over the past week. I visited some neighbourhoods that I remember from my childhood as being in extremely bad state, and the difference is enormous. It is clear that there are problems with utilities and with preparations for winter season, and there is a huge problem with dilapidated housing, the notorious communal flats. But a lot has been done and there are some excellent plans for the future. I think that, first of all, these plans must be realised and we should take advantage of all the positive experiences gained in the past and move forward. I am confident that we will meet with success. Most importantly, we have your trust and the support of St Petersburg residents, so I am confident that we will be successful.
Dmitry Medvedev: Good. I very much hope so. Good luck.
Georgy Poltavchenko: Thank you very much.