President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Tsydenov, how is the work going? How are you getting accustomed to your new position and role?
Acting Head of the Republic of Buryatia Alexei Tsydenov: Mr President, six months have passed since you entrusted me with the region, the republic. Some of the issues have been resolved since then.
Ulan-Ude was included in the project on safe and quality roads that you initiated. We got in in the nick of time: the project was approved in 2016, we were included in it in 2017 and have already begun repairing roads in Ulan-Ude and neighbouring districts; residents appreciate that.
We also managed to receive compensation for last year’s draught to support our agricultural producers. We also established a regional airline that connects the northern regions with the republic’s capital.
One of the key issues is the cost of electricity, which we have lowered. You instructed us to do so a year ago; a government resolution was adopted in July to include Buryatia in a special pricing zone. We have cut the cost of electricity by almost a quarter for small and medium-sized enterprises. This was of significant help, too.
Of course, there is a whole range of other issues that need to be addressed. I currently am touring districts; I have been in almost all of them. I meet with the locals, ask about priority issues and then begin working on them.
Vladimir Putin: You had a specific question regarding Selenginsk. What is going on there?
Alexei Tsydenov: Yes. Selenginsk is a single-industry city. It has been designated a priority development area with a special tax regime. This allows us to attract more investors.
There were several investment projects pending as part of the Single-Industry City programme. Unfortunately, the anchor investor went bankrupt and the schedule had to be moved back. But we continue working on these projects and agreed with the Government on adjusting the deadlines. I am certain the work will continue and we will find other investors. There have been several offers.
Besides Selenginsk, Gusinoozersk and several other localities are dedicated to a single industry.
So, we are trying to use the programmes available at the federal level in order to solve our socioeconomic issues.
Vladimir Putin: I brought a folder of questions the public asked during Direct Line. I know you have not had time to address all of these issues but it needs to be done.
These are the main pressure points. We have discussed them before. You are aware of them but the local residents reported them directly to me. So please make sure to take them seriously.
For example, some complained about the insufficient performance of the Emergencies Ministry local services during the fires (I will speak to the Emergencies Minister separately). I am also concerned about the unresolved issues of foreign nationals involved in economic and commercial activity. I also noted a shortage of capacity in schools and kindergartens.
In general, the latter does not seem to be a problem in the country anymore. However, it is here.
Alexei Tsydenov: True. We need space for 1,900 more children.
Vladimir Putin: So, it is necessary to see these measures through to provide enough capacity in both kindergartens and schools, especially in the areas where there are no schools now. Schools must be accessible. You should look into the development of the road system.
This folder contains everything. Please consider it carefully.