The discussion focused on the socioeconomic issues and the sanitary and epidemiological situation in the region.
According to Mr Sitnikov, the region has been on high alert since March 17 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus infection. In all, since the start of the epidemic, 691 people have been infected, 365 people recovered and 99 patients are undergoing medical treatment, including three patients on ventilators. Regrettably, 10 people with grave secondary diseases have died. In the region, the disease rate per 100,000 people is more than two and a half times smaller than the national average. Medical facilities have an adequate supply of the necessary medications and protective gear.
The Governor briefed the President on the support measures for medical workers and other residents, including families with children.
As for the operation of the real economy during the spread of the infection, the region did not suspended the activity of companies implementing investment projects and didn’t stop the construction of kindergartens, schools, medical centres and social facilities under national projects. Timber processing, agriculture and construction companies continue working, as well as enterprises implementing the state defence order and exporting companies. A total of 226 companies out of those whose activities was suspended have resumed their operation. In all, over 97 percent of people involved in the economy are working now.
The Governor said that the industrial production in the Kostroma Region increased by almost nine percent in 2019. The region’s own consolidated budget grew by 11 percent, while average salaries went up by over 10 percent. In the past three years, the region’s fiscal revenue grew by one-third.
In the past eight years, total investment exceeded 190 billion rubles, and new investment projects are underway. Segezha Group, an anchor resident of the Galich priority development area, has already launched a major project to build a plywood plant with investment exceeding 10 billion rubles. A SWISS CRONO project to build an oriented strand board plant in the city of Sharya is in the signing stage. The investment exceeds 21 billion rubles, and it will be Russia’s biggest production line.
Sergei Sitnikov asked the President to support one of the region’s backbone industries – jewellery. Almost 1,500 jewellery enterprises and individual entrepreneurs work in the Kostroma Region. The industry employs more than 15,000 people. Kostroma enterprises produce more than 50 percent of jewellery made in Russia.
In the current conditions, jewellery production has fallen by over 50 percent. The Governor asked the President to instruct the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Finance to consider including the jewellery industry in the list of economic sectors most affected by the spread of the infection and extend federal support to the jewellery industry. This will help preserve the unique workforce, maintain positions in the foreign markets and protect the Russian jewellery market.
The Governor also asked the President to instruct the Ministry of Transport to expedite decision-making in order to resolve a very pressing and painful problem for Kostroma related to the construction of a bypass road around the city, which is crossed by three federal motorways. The only bridge across the Volga River connects them all in the centre of Kostroma.
Vladimir Putin noted that this is indeed a problem. Kostroma is ahead of the Russian average in terms of traffic, but unfortunately not in terms of road quality. Almost 80 percent of regional and inter-municipal roads do not meet regulatory requirements. The President promised to instruct the Government to look into this issue as quickly as possible.
The President promised to discuss support for the jewellery industry with the Prime Minister.
Vladimir Putin discussed with the Governor the lack of medical personnel and construction, in particular, housing construction, and also noted shortcomings in the agricultural sector, but generally described the situation in the region as stable.
During the meeting, Mr Sitnikov raised another issue. In September, his term of office expires. He said there are a number of very important projects and tasks in the Kostroma Region that are already in the process of implementation or will be implemented in the coming years, such as the construction of a new bypass around Kostroma with a bridge and the launch of new, large investment projects. As the governor of the region and a native of Kostroma, Mr Sitnikov said he would like to see their implementation through. In this regard, he asked the President to support his intention to participate in the upcoming gubernatorial election in the Kostroma Region.
Vladimir Putin confirmed that since the Governor’s work is generally positive, he will be glad to support him. The President emphasised that the most important thing is that the people should support him and give their assessment of his work during the upcoming election. To do this, it is necessary to present the region’s development programme and show what has been done in Kostroma in recent years in a way that is convincing for voters.