President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Miklushevsky, I am sure that the Eastern Economic Forum will be a success, despite the bad weather.
Right now though, rather than work with foreign investors, we will discuss the tasks before you as head of this region. We will look at the tasks before Primorye Territory in general today, what you are doing to address them, and what you see as the priorities for the upcoming period.
As you know, we plan to examine the shipbuilding sector tomorrow and the shipbuilding cluster currently under development here in the region. We will discuss the prospects for developing the Zvezda shipyard.
But you and the region have many other issues to address too. Let’s focus on these matters now at today’s meeting.
Governor of Primorye Territory Vladimir Miklushevsky: Thank you, Mr President.
First of all, we have already started implementing what I would call the revolutionary (in the positive sense) laws passed recently by the Duma on the priority development areas, the Vladivostok Free Port and the free hectare of Far East land. We are already seeing the first results.
As far as the priority development areas go, we have established three, one of which is in the agriculture sector. The second, Nadezhdinskaya, which is focused on logistics, is located close to Vladivostok, and the third, which you just mentioned, is the Zvezda shipyard. This is one of the region’s biggest projects and has great importance for the country as a whole, all the more so given the objectives you have set to produce all types of vessels here at Russian shipyards, and the orders starting to come in from Russian shipping companies. We think this is very important because it creates new jobs and, most importantly, it develops technology in the shipbuilding sector.
The Vladivostok Free Port already has 96 residents. We have made the barrier as low as possible because residents will in any case qualify for breaks only when they actually build something and open new facilities. We have 96 residents now, but we think that the figure will exceed 100 by the end of the year.
These are all real projects. We examine them with Yury Trutnev [Deputy Prime Minister and Plenipotentiary Presidential Envoy to the Far East Federal District] at a special council meeting where each investor briefs us on their project.
The economy is certainly very important of course. These priority development areas will create not just new jobs, but, most essentially, high-tech new jobs. At the Zvezda shipyard, for example, which we will visit tomorrow, the average wage is expected to be 80,000 rubles [a month], while the national average at the moment is 33,000 rubles. People are going to want to get jobs there of course. But these will be skilled jobs. If you take a welder who will be working on a ship’s hull, say, school-level vocational education won’t suffice. What we need are people with higher vocational qualifications, people with skills much beyond what ordinary workers can offer.
But even this is still not enough, Mr President, because I think that the efforts undertaken under your guidance, things like the APEC summit and the region’s subsequent development, cannot fully succeed unless we develop culture too. There is no question that Vladivostok is, or should become, the Pacific Ocean capital.
But to be worthy of this claim to capital status, we need to offer good education (we are meeting right now at the Far East Federal University, which continues to develop). We need to offer high-quality medicine. In this respect, in accordance with your instruction, we are planning to open here on Russky Island, together with Rusnano and Rosatom, a nuclear medicine centre that will develop as a public-private partnership. The oncology situation is not ideal, after all, and so this centre is very much needed. Then there is culture. This is essential. Together with everyone here in the region, I am very grateful to you for taking the decision on opening a branch of the famous Mariinsky Theatre here. This will straight away take culture to a new level here.
Vladimir Putin: You need to thank Mr Gergiev [Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre].
Vladimir Miklushevsky: Of course we thank him too. We worked very closely with Valery Gergiev.
Vladimir Putin: I met with him in Moscow just after the concerts in Vladivostok.
Vladimir Miklushevsky: He has really put a lot of effort into this project, which is not an easy undertaking given the distances involved, but I think it gives him inspiration and it really is proving a success.
Mr President, we have set the goal now of establishing a branch of the Vaganova Ballet Academy here. We had consultations with Nikolai Tsiskaridze [Rector of the Vaganova Ballet Academy] and Valery Gergiev, who, of course, also supports these plans.
(Mr Miklushevsky then described the concrete steps being taken to organise the branch of the Vaganova Ballet Academy)
Mr President, we have also drawn up plans for opening a branch of the Hermitage Museum here. I briefed you on this at our last meeting. We have chosen one of Vladivostok’s finest buildings, on Svetlanskaya street, in the heart of the city.
As I told you earlier, we drew up the plans and approved them with Mikhail Piotrovsky [Director of the State Hermitage Museum], because this is a complicated project in technical terms and the building will need to undergo restoration work. We plan to start the work this autumn.
Also, acting on your instruction, we have been looking at possible venues for the State Russian Museum.
Vladimir Putin: For a branch.
Vladimir Miklushevsky: Yes, for a branch, of course. We have several proposals, but we are waiting now for the Russian Museum’s representatives and will show them what we propose. These buildings are all in federal ownership, and so if they prove suitable for use as a museum, perhaps we would then turn to you with a request to transfer them to the region’s ownership. We are ready to do the work needed to get them ready for use as museums ourselves, because people are eager to see these projects go ahead.
Vladimir Putin: Make your request and I will look at it with my colleagues in the Government.
You are right though in that if we want to ensure normal conditions, nothing extraordinary, but just good, decent conditions for life, raising one’s children, and a comfortable environment in general, we do need to make cultural life a priority too. And of course we need to continue the efforts to create new jobs and address the other issues facing the region, things like maintaining wage levels in the economy in general and in the public sector too. What is happening in this area?
Vladimir Miklushevsky: Mr President, in terms of our work to implement your May 2012 executive orders, we are carrying them out in full, in keeping with the framework our colleagues at the federal level have set. You can rest assured that we will reach all the targets.
Vladimir Putin: Good.