President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Poltavchenko,
I would like to begin with you as you are St Petersburg Governor. You have been working in this post for seven years, during which the city has changed, and changed for the better. It is developing. You have been working for the prosperity of the people who live in St Petersburg.
The city is large, there are many problems, and it is always the top official that is responsible for everything. Of course, there are still many issues to be resolved, but many things have changed over these years, and I would like to thank you for that.
I would like to offer you a job at a national level. You know what attention we are paying to the development of shipbuilding today, and in this sense I would like to note that St Petersburg has originally and historically been a centre of Russian shipbuilding. I would like to ask you to become chairman of the board of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC).
Georgy Poltavchenko: Mr President, thank you for this high level of trust. Thank you for praising my modest efforts.
It is true that I did my utmost to serve the city faithfully for seven years. We succeeded in some areas and perhaps not so much in other. But I always tried to do my best and I think your praise means that I have met your expectations and those of the people who live in St Petersburg, our townsmen.
Of course, the proposal you have made is a very high-level task for me. The main thing is, as you know, that I have great desire to serve, because St Petersburg is a naval city in all respects.
Our shipbuilding industry was born here, and this is where the leading Russian shipbuilding companies work today. In my line of work I have met with their representatives and know the situation at the enterprises.
I will not let you down, Mr President. Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Poltavchenko, there are many questions. We are speaking, of course, not only about the development of the shipbuilding cluster in St Petersburg but the development of shipbuilding as an industry.
This corporation does not include all the enterprises of the national shipbuilding industry, but it is definitely one of the leaders in the sector.
We have to further boost shipbuilding in Kaliningrad, the Volga region, and also the Far East. We have many spheres of activity, and one of the key tasks is switching from government defence orders to building civil ships of different classes, not only luxury liners, although this is what we specialise in; we have to have a broader perspective. I very much count on your experience, knowledge as well as your executive talent that you have demonstrated here, in this extensive field of work, the national shipbuilding industry.
Yet, the job of increasing the defence capacity is still there, and we are not going to cancel it anytime soon, so that involves many issues.
Georgy Poltavchenko: Mr President, I will make every effort to work on this.
The only thing I would like to ask here is that you support us as this is a really massive sector; honestly, there are problems that I had to think through, and I think that they are hard to solve without your help and that of the country’s leadership. I am ready to work 24/7.
Vladimir Putin: There are thousands of people working in the industry, including top class specialists, and of course, we have to constantly pay attention to social matters and wage levels, as well as other social problems that have accumulated in the sector.
There are so many problems you will have to work with. I am always at your disposal, I want you and your colleagues to know this.
We have known each other for a long time now, for many years, and we must use this to solve federal matters.
Georgy Poltavchenko: Thank you very much, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Mr Beglov, your whole life is tied to Leningrad, St Petersburg. Am I right in thinking you have been here since 1979? You are a builder and started your career in St Petersburg as a builder. You worked as an installer, am I correct?
Alexander Beglov: High rigger.
Vladimir Putin: High rigger, yes. Here, in St Petersburg, you moved up the ranks and made a career in a good sense of the word. In 2003, you even served as the Acting Governor of St Petersburg in accordance with a presidential executive order. Then, you left office following the election of a new governor, went to Moscow and worked in various positions in the Presidential Executive Office, served as head of the Control Directorate and Presidential aide, then headed an envoy’s office in the Central Federal District, and are now heading the envoy’s office here, in the Northwestern Federal District.
I want you to pay special attention to the key territory not only in the northwest, but throughout Russia, focus on St Petersburg. I would like to appoint you Acting Governor of St Petersburg until September 2019. By September, we will see how the work is going and based on this you will decide what to do next.
Alexander Beglov: Mr President, thank you so much for your faith in me. The city of Leningrad, St Petersburg, is my hometown. Indeed, this is where I started my career as a high rigger and moved up through the ranks in the construction industry. Then, I started working at the Leningrad Municipal Executive Committee, and then you entrusted me with the post of the governor. I think I met your expectations then, and everything that had to be done was done in order to get the city ready for the winter, which was a tall order back then.
So, thank you, I will definitely do my very best to be up to the job. For my part, I would also like to not only live up to your expectations, but, of course, to earn respect and trust of the Leningrad, or St Petersburg, residents. This is important for me, because this is my home, the home of my family as well as my friends, my children are growing up here, and all my friends are here. This is my hometown.
Vladimir Putin: Of course, you are aware of the situation in St Petersburg as head of the envoy’s office in the Northwestern Federal District. However, St Petersburg is a special administrative unit. It is more than just an administrative unit – it is a megapolis with five million residents with all its advantages and complexities. Of course, being an envoy, you may have not had the chance to get into all the details, but you are on good terms with Mr Poltavchenko. I hope he will take time to get you up to speed and share with you, as the highest St Petersburg official, the points that need special attention. I hope the transition will be smooth and nothing will be left out.
I am counting on your knowledge and your expertise and wish you good luck.
Alexander Beglov: Thank you very much, Mr President. I am aware that you love our city, and I have witnessed this during all these years when you helped it build the ring road, start new construction projects, build protective structures, and many other things.
The people of Leningrad, the residents of St Petersburg have a lot of respect for you, and the fact that you offered this position to me is also a credit of trust on behalf of St Petersburg residents. I will do my best not to let you or the people down.
Vladimir Putin: Once again, I wish you every success in serving our hometown and the people of St Petersburg.
Alexander Beglov: Thank you.