The President noted that the decelerating rate of housing construction was one of the most pressing challenges for Arkhangelsk Region. In response, Alexander Tsybulsky pointed to the coronavirus as one of the objective factors behind this trend. However, he promised to deliver on all the commitments to relocate people from dilapidated and sub-standard housing as part of the national project. Construction by private developers is another issue. To address this matter, the region has been allocating land plots and undertaking comprehensive development projects that include all the necessary social infrastructure.
Mr Tsybulsky, who was appointed Acting Governor in April 2020, highlighted another urgent housing issue that has not been dealt with before: more and more old wooden residential buildings in the region are sliding off their pile foundations and become unfit for living. When this happens, people have to be moved to temporary accommodation units that are already full. A surprise inspection of wooden housing showed that 121 buildings were at risk and could become unfit at any moment. Up to 10 apartment buildings would have to be built in order to resolve this problem, on top of the project to relocate people from dilapidated and sub-standard housing. This requires federal support, and the President promised to issue the relevant instructions.
Mr Tsybulsky went on to highlight the state of roads in Arkhangelsk Region. As much as 83.1 percent of regional roads and 96 percent of municipal roads currently fail to comply with the existing norms. The region received 1.5 billion rubles in additional funding this year for road repairs and upgrades. The corresponding contracts have been executed, and will be carried out by the end of September.
The Acting Governor singled out one sub-standard road that provides access to Onega, a priority socioeconomic development territory. The state of the road deters the investors who are otherwise ready to develop tourist and recreational infrastructure, as well as added-value timber processing. This road could also link Arkhangelsk Region to neighbouring regions and even to Finland. Mr Tsybulsky asked the President to instruct the Transport Ministry to allocate the necessary funding, since modernising this road would substantially improve the economic appeal of Arkhangelsk Region’s northwestern part. Vladimir Putin said that he would issue this instruction, leaving it to the region to work out all the details with the ministry.
Vladimir Putin and Alexander Tsibulsky also touched upon one more issue that is important for Arkhangelsk Region: assistance to the Artistic Culture of the Russian North State Museum Association. This museum holds almost 40,000 items in storage, many of them unique, including paintings by Ilya Repin, Alexei Venetsianov, Valentin Serov and Karl Bryullov, works of the Northern school of icon painting from the 14th century, and pieces of 16th century Arkhangelsk woodcarving. A modern storage facility needs to be built for these pieces of art, which are now scattered throughout the city, many in unsuitable premises. A lot of work has already been done with the Culture Ministry of Russia. A land plot has been allocated, design estimates have been prepared, and Glavgosekspertiza experts have given their resolution – 509 million rubles are needed for the project. Alexander Tsybulsky considers it necessary to include this project in the federal targeted investment programme. The President underscored the importance of this issue and promised his support.
Vladimir Putin pointed out another issue that needs to be addressed: investment in fixed assets has been on the decline in the region. This affects the labour market, and the unemployment rate in Arkhangelsk has risen slightly above the national average, the President stressed and asked the Acting Governor to take care of the people who are temporarily out of work and need support, until additional jobs are created.
The President noted that the region certainly has all the prerequisites to be able to effectively resolve its problems, because the GRP of Arkhangelsk Region is growing at a faster pace than the average in Russia, and industrial production and agriculture are growing. In general, the situation looks good in terms of finance, so the foundation to rely on is fairly good, but it should be used effectively. The President also promised that all the issues raised by the Acting Governor would be considered by the Government.