President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
Mr Sobyanin, your inauguration took place not so long ago, but you were working hard even before it. You and I have toured transport infrastructure sites on several occasions. Let us start with that.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin: This year was extremely good for Moscow, and we set a number of new records. Many years of preparatory work have led us to the new sites being open now.
We broke every record there was in our time, or Soviet times, for that matter, and opened 32 kilometres of new metro lines, 15 stations and two train depots, which are, in fact, two huge plants for operating metro carriages and metro trains. Ten stations are nearly ready. They will open either at the end of this year or early next year.
So, the projects involving the construction of the Moscow metro that I reported on, and you supported, are being implemented. These are major projects, involving much more than just one station, which will double the Moscow metro’s service area. We have started work at all sections of the future outer ring metro line, which will be the world’s longest ring metro line. Beijing has the longest one now at about 57 kilometres. Ours will be about 70 kilometres. This is a major project. We are running ahead of schedule, and the first start-up complex will be launched as soon as this year.
The same goes for the roads. We have opened an unprecedented 127 kilometres of paved roads to traffic. On the face of it, it does not look much like a record. However, most of these roads are complex engineering structures, involving bridges, overpasses and tunnels. We were working in highly developed areas. We relocated a vast number of utility lines. We opened to traffic several sections of significant projects such as the North-East Expressway, the North-West Expressway, the Kaluga Highway, the Kaluga and Kiev highways’ junction, that is, all major projects. We have more to do. It is not that we did something specifically before the election and will stop there. No. We will keep up the pace of construction in order to resolve Moscow’s most acute problem, which is traffic.
The Moscow Central Circle project, which you know very well, you launched it, continues to develop. We are now connecting it with several major railways; this year, we connected it with three. At the intersections of railways and the MCC, we open transit hubs that increase the passenger flow and allow for more convenient changes from trains to the MCC. We have already integrated three railways, and will have two more integrated by the end of the year. This is another project that is currently developing. So all of these three large-scale projects are now in progress and coming along well.
As per your instruction, together with Russian Railways, we continue working on the Moscow Central Diameters project. We recently reported about that to you during a meeting; it is a large-scale project, in fact, it is one of the largest in Europe. Today, almost two million people use commuter trains every day. Once this project is completed, this number will grow by one more million. There simply is no transport hub of this scale in Europe.
All these projects cannot be implemented by the city alone – it needs the support of the Russian Government, Russian Railways, and, of course, your approval and support, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: This is very good. We all know that transport infrastructure development directly affects the economy. How is Moscow’s economy doing?
Sergei Sobyanin: Thanks to intensive investment in the infrastructure, Moscow’s businesses respond with mutual investments. For every ruble invested in infrastructure we get about three rubles of private investment in the city’s economy. In the past several years, investment in real terms grew by over 70 percent. This year, we predict about 5 percent investment growth in real terms.
Production of manufactured goods saw 15 percent growth. This is another good indicator for Moscow. We have a whole range of production facilities that used to be in construction or reconstruction, but are now starting their operation. Real wages will grow by about 8 percent. All these indicators give us the sustainability that is needed for implementing large-scale urban development projects.
Vladimir Putin: How is your housing stock renovation programme going?
Sergei Sobyanin: It is, of course, one extremely complex project – from the standpoint of technical implementation, financing and scale. Nevertheless, we made serious progress in the course of one year. This year, we will allocate about 1 million square metres of housing to the housing stock renovation programme. Next year, we will have a total of about 4 million square metres under construction at the same time.
This project is fully budget-funded. The first stage is budgetary; then we will, of course, try to attract extra-budgetary funding. But in order to start the ball rolling, full budgetary funding is needed.
We have a very important task for the next year: to draw up urban construction documents and discuss them with Muscovites. We are beginning to reclaim the renovation sites. For this, we need comprehensive urban construction projects that envisage public facilities, kindergartens, schools, clinics and transport infrastructure. In order to do this, we must work out more than a hundred of such comprehensive projects and discuss them with people living in Moscow. We plan to do the bulk of this work next year.
Vladimir Putin: Good.
I know that traditionally you help Sevastopol. How is this cooperation going today?
Sergei Sobyanin: Mr President, Moscow and Sevastopol have always been sister cities, even when Sevastopol was not part of Russia; we always helped.
Vladimir Putin: Legally it has always been part of Russia.
Sergei Sobyanin: Yes, it has. We have regarded it as a sister city.
Today the situation is easier, so we are starting to work with Sevastopol more systematically. We have outlined an entire range of programmes to assist Sevastopol in improving parks, public gardens, courtyards and streets as well as in repairing and upgrading social and cultural facilities, schools, clinics and hospitals. These projects are slated to begin next year.
The projects are relatively small, but I believe they are important for Sevastopol and the people living there. It is also important to take a systematic approach, so that these measures would not be a one-off but would follow a plan for several years to improve Sevastopol’s infrastructure each year.
I know that many large projects are being implemented under the federal targeted programmes you approved. I think our task is to improve the city’s infrastructure and public spaces.
Vladimir Putin: Very well. I said that legally Sevastopol has always been part of Russia. It was a city of central subordination, even when Crimea was transferred – illegally – from the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR. It is illegal because the decision was made by the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the RSFSR, Ukraine and then approved by the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR, while it should have been approved by the republics’ supreme councils and the USSR Supreme Council. But even during this process, which was essentially illegal, everybody just forgot about Sevastopol, and it was not transferred from the USSR to Ukraine. So technically and legally it has always been part of Russia.
Sergei Sobyanin: We could feel this.
Vladimir Putin: It is very good that you help the city and plan to continue this in the future. Thank you very much.
Sergei Sobyanin: Thank you, we will do so.