President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Go ahead, Mr Zimin.
Head of the Republic of Khakassia Viktor Zimin: Mr President, allow me to report on the region’s social development in 2016 and prospects for 2017 and beyond.
The republic has maintained the development dynamic despite the difficulties. The industrial production index reached 111.4% over 2016, which is the seventh result in the country. Our main industries are mineral production, power generation and gas production. The region’s GDP has been growing all these years.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Zimin, how are you dealing with the housing issue following the tragic events in the region?
Vladimir Zimin: Mr President, we will definitely touch on this issue. Safety and security are highly important to us. You are personally aware of our problems.
Vladimir Putin: Have you resolved these problems?
Viktor Zimin: Yes, all resolved as of today. As concerns wildfire, we have not quit anything. There are no major problems but only some minor issues in residential maintenance and utilities. But we made sure there are no low quality prefabricated buildings. All new housing is solid and long-term, as you instructed.
Vladimir Putin: I saw it myself.
Viktor Zimin: We provide all the necessary support, especially to senior citizens and people living in rural areas. We did not abandon anyone. Some very minor issues remain. We are returning there soon with assistance. Support groups have been set up.
Vladimir Putin: Sorry for interrupting you, but let’s get back to your economic indicators.
Viktor Zimin: Certainly, Mr President. Regarding safety, you remember that we had problems at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power plant, as well as floods, wildfires and an earthquake. We keep these issues in the focus of our attention. Here are the relevant figures in this diagram. You can see that personal safety is the topmost concern for the people polled in the streets and in public places in the Siberian Federal District.
Another issue of major importance is public satisfaction with the executive authorities’ efforts to improve safety. These figures show that the region is among the leaders in this respect.
We also hold top place in the Siberian Federal District for public satisfaction with the work of law enforcement agencies. Another major issue is public satisfaction with their protection from crime. This parameter is crucial for the investment climate.
Vladimir Putin: Tell me about the people’s incomes and salaries.
Viktor Zimin: The inflation rate in the region is very low, one percent lower than the average for Russia. And real incomes are higher than the country’s average. At the same time, our prices for basic products, in particular meat and fish are the lowest in the Siberian Federal District. We are proud that we are feeding ourselves. The average salary in the region is 32,310 rubles.
Since Khakassia is an industrial republic – we have aluminium, energy and coal companies – I would like to report our achievement in terms of comprehensive development plans: we have 37 billion rubles in private investments. I will not speak about attracting federal funds today. The only request I have in this respect is that you issue an instruction to the Government on coordinating our activities under large energy and railway infrastructure projects. Otherwise, we will see a collapse on the Trans-Siberian Railway in a year and a half.
Vladimir Putin: All right, let us do this.
Viktor Zimin: This diagram shows our actual revenues. At the same time, our unemployment rate has been the lowest for the past two years. Our unemployment rate is decreasing.
Vladimir Putin: What do you mean? That your unemployment rate is the lowest for the country’s eastern regions?
Viktor Zimin: No, I was referring to the Siberian Federal District. Khakassia is also the country’s youngest region in terms of the average population age. We have found a way to keep young people in the republic. Nearly 53 percent of our workforce are young people. We plan to create over 7,000 new jobs in two years within the framework of this project. In two years, we will discuss our achievements at the Krasnoyarsk forum.
Here are some social indicators you have asked about. We have doubled housing construction for orphans in 2016, and increased allocations for supporting families with many children. We also increased funding for children’s recreation and health improvement.
We are also diligent in promoting the Khakass language, which is the language of the titular ethnic group of our region. There is steady progress is this area as well, and I believe this to be an important indicator.
The share of people who regularly practice sports doubled compared to 2009. Major projects were implemented as part of efforts to create and build new sports facilities. In fact, 177 new sports facilities were opened. Almost 35 percent of the population exercises regularly.
According to data from law enforcement agencies, our region has the lowest crime rate, and we are a top-ten region in the country in terms of stability.
Vladimir Putin: What is the financial situation?
Viktor Zimin: Mr President, let me start by reporting to you about another project before moving on to financial matters. The facilities you have approved for our region were built with your support. I am talking about a perinatal centre with 150 beds, and a new surgery building (the old one was damaged in the earthquake). It now has five floors, and is equipped with state-of-the-art surgical equipment.
We now have the largest culture and history centre to the east of the Urals, and a ski complex where the Russian national team holds training sessions.
Vladimir Putin: The museum is very good.
Viktor Zimin: It is a cultural centre. We built it as per your instruction. Jose Carreras came to Khakassia to lay the first stone.
Over the last eighteen months, we registered a 33 percent increase in tourism. Our region has unique ancient rock paintings. All who come to Khakassia, both from abroad and Russians, are surprised to find such attractions. More and more tourists are coming here.
Vladimir Putin: Very good.