Mt Putin and Mr Trutnev also discussed the establishment of priority development areas in the Far East, the creation of a free port in Vladivostok and measures to attract people to relocate to the Far Eastern Federal District.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: How are you, Mr Trutnev? I know that all the Far Eastern regions are taking stock of their year-end data, and you are receiving it in a condensed form. How does it look?
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND PRESIDENTIAL PLENIPOTENTIARY ENVOY TO THE FAR EASTERN FEDERAL DISTRICT YURY TRUTNEV: Mr President, I want to report that the initial results by the Russian federal constituent entities in the Far East have been confirmed. Industrial production in the first 11 months of 2014 grew by 5.9%. The consolidated budgets of the Russian federal constituent entities grew by 14.6 percent. Growth in agriculture was 29 percent. Mainly, this was due to agriculture support.
Vladimir Putin: After the floods?
Yury Trutnev: Yes, after the floods.
The foreign trade volume grew by 5 percent.
Moreover, the law on priority development areas was prepared and signed by the President of the Russian Federation. We have already begun the project selection process. I am confident that later this year, in 2015, we will report to you on the creation of the first priority development areas in the Far East.
We are working on implementing the Presidential Address [to the Federal Assembly]. Next month we plan to submit proposals on creating a free port in Vladivostok. We will also prepare a model for replenishing the Far East development fund through additional tax revenues from new projects.
Vladimir Putin: Has everything been coordinated with the Finance Ministry?
Yury Trutnev: I am sure we will find common ground. The Presidential Address applies to all ministries.
Vladimir Putin: Naturally, but nevertheless, there are many technical issues.
Yury Trutnev: We will resolve them, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: Good.
Yury Trutnev: Next, we have prepared a development concept for Bolshoi Ussuriysky Island. We showed it to our colleagues in China, because it is a shared island; they generally agree with it and are prepared to give their own suggestions on ways to upgrade our concept.
Work is underway on creating a priority development area on Russky Island. It will be different from the others, focused on science and education.
It is entirely clear – and we realise this – that the positive results we have achieved this year may be just the beginning of a trend. We have increased our natural population growth by 1,100 people and outflow has decreased nearly 1.5-fold, from 27,000 to 20,000. Still, this is just the beginning of a trend. So we want to propose a measure for your consideration which, in our view, would help to boost this trend in attracting people to the Far East, because naturally, what’s most important is people; without people, we cannot develop the economy. The government currently owns 614 million hectares of land there.
Vladimir Putin: This is defence and security land?
Yury Trutnev: No, this is land from entirely different categories. 99.5% of the land is under government ownership.
We propose creating a mechanism for providing a free hectare of land to each resident of the Far East and each individual who would like to move to the Far East, which can be used for agriculture, creating a business, a forestry enterprise or hunting farm. There are complications in this because this land cannot be provided in territories surrounding large cities, which is a competitive environment with highly developed infrastructure, to ensure there is no corruption and abuse. We will carry out this part with a Government executive order, but the remainder…
Vladimir Putin: We can see where this land is, its quality, and whether one hectare is enough in the Far East. Certain conditions will have to be in place, requiring that the land be used. After all, you could take the land and not use it for decades. This involves many issues requiring additional analysis.
Yury Trutnev: Of course, Mr President. We propose that the land is leased for five years, and if it is used, the ownership rights can be registered; otherwise, if it is not used, it will be taken away.
Vladimir Putin: In and of itself, the idea is good, and has already been implemented in Siberia in the past. But modern conditions for conducting business, the modern economy is somewhat different, so we need to look into all of this carefully; we must think through all the details.
Yury Trutnev: We will prepare all the proposals. We will probably restrict resale to foreign legal entities or individuals. We will try. But I think that this can ultimately be an effective measure.
Vladimir Putin: Yes. Very well. Thank you.