Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President,
As per your decisions on Arctic development, including the State Policy and the Development Strategy for the Arctic, the Government has been working on implementing the state policy in the Arctic zone.
It is a very important sphere of our work because the Arctic has a vital resource potential for the country. New ports and new energy facilities are being built there. Of course, we are also creating a comfortable space for living, because very many people are working in the Arctic. We are also dealing with a great deal of other issues.
It so happened that there is no designated Government body for coordinating these activities. Of course, we have a government commission, which was set up in accordance with my decision, but it does not meet on a regular basis.
To make this work in the Government systematic, I suggest that we expand the powers of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East to include Arctic issues. If we do this, we will not need to create a new management body, while the ministry will be charged with supervising our efforts in the Arctic zone of the Far East. In fact, these are interrelated issues, because the development of Yakutia or Chukotka is connected with Arctic development.
Therefore, if you approve our proposal, I would suggest that the expansion of the Ministry’s powers should be complemented with changing its name to Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic Zone (or the Arctic).
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: In other words, you do not think it would be expedient to create a separate federal body, although such proposals have also been made?
Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, I would say that we need to use our managerial and, of course, economic resources prudently. But the main thing is that the Ministry for the Development of the Far East is concerned with related issues because the Far East includes a considerable part of the Arctic. If we expand its powers, we will be able to deal with these issues directly at the Government.
Vladimir Putin: We need to focus our attention on these issues in light of this region’s importance.
Dmitry Medvedev: Exactly. I would also suggest that we create the post of First Deputy Minister who will be directly responsible for the Arctic.
Vladimir Putin: I agree. Thank you.