While in Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan, the President met with students and teachers of the Ufa State Technical Oil University. Mr Putin asked them about the specifics of the university and work at teacher refresher courses. In replying to their questions, President Putin stressed that one of the main tasks was to prevent the brain drain and capital flight from Russia. According to him, it is impossible to solve the problem by administrative methods, therefore the country’s leadership will take additional measures to protect intellectual property and offer social and financial support to qualified personnel. The President said, among other things, that the Government was planning to raise teachers’ and researchers’ wages by 100%. Besides, candidates and doctors of science will be awarded a 200% wage increase from January 1, 2003.
Many questions concerned the housing problem. The President admitted that this was a most pressing issue and that the Cabinet was working out a special mortgage programme for this purpose. The programme will give an opportunity to teachers and professors of institutes and universities to get a long-term (up to 15 years) loan for the purchase of an apartment.
After his visit to the Ufa State Technical Oil University, the President went to the new mosque Lyalya-Tyulpan. The Ufa mosque was founded in 1989 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the spread of Islam among the Volga Bulgars and the 200th anniversary of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Russia. Its construction was suspended because of a lack of funds and was completed only four and a half years ago. Mr Putin examined the mosque and then talked with Talgat Tadzhuddin, Chief Mufti of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Russia and top Muslim religious leaders of Bashkortostan.
At the end of his trip to Ufa, the President walked around the Gostiny Dvor mall and talked with city residents.