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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Slyunyayev, the Prime Minister recommended you for the post of Regional Development Minister. We have known each other for a long time now, but I nevertheless wanted to meet with you to discuss this new appointment. What do you see as the Ministry’s main tasks today?
This is not a new area of work for you, given that you were governor of one of the Central Federal District’s regions for a long time, and so you have hands-on experience of work in the regions, but running a ministry is nonetheless a responsibility of a different level and involves tasks of a bigger scale.
I propose that we go over the whole range of issues.
Regional Development Minister Igor Slyunyayev: Thank you, Mr President.
First, I think the main task at this stage is to analyse your instructions to the Regional Development Ministry and address in comprehensive fashion the problems in the housing sector, urban development, and housing and utilities.
The second priority is related to the budget’s passage through the State Duma, given that the federal targeted programmes and federal special investment programmes are instruments that can have a big impact on the situation in the regions.
The third task is analysing the construction market – industrial, civil, housing, and transport construction – and finding mechanisms for bringing down project, design and construction costs.
Another priority is to establish constructive dialogue with the regions. I firmly believe that the country’s strength lies in its regions, and we need to make this a two-way street: the federal government sets standards and provides assistance, and the regions give feedback and provide support for the federal initiatives.
Vladimir Putin: The Ministry has many tasks before it, but there is one issue I want you not to forget under circumstances. You must give it your particular attention. This is the issue of relocating people from the housing that is old and no longer fit for residence. We have a programme in this area and have earmarked the funds for it, and it is important that every ruble be spent effectively and that time not be wasted in resolving the problems that have built up in this area over decades. Most important of all is to adopt the regulations and rules that will ensure that practical work is organised in such fashion as to steadily reduce the share of this kind of old and unfit housing in the housing stock, and under no circumstances let it increase. This is a task that requires particular determination, inventiveness, and good management skills.
I hope that you will ensure this is the case, and I ask you to give this issue your particular attention.
Igor Slyunyayev: Thank you, Mr President.
I want to say thank you for the Housing and Utilities Reform Facilitation Fund, which is a very effective instrument that has helped us to tackle this housing problem over the last few years.
One more task that will be on the agenda right from the start is ensuring that the heating season goes smoothly throughout the whole country.
Vladimir Putin: That is without question.