The meeting was attended by Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Aide to the President Maxim Oreshkin, Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, Minister of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief Yevgeny Zinichev, Minister of Transport Yevgeny Ditrikh, Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov, Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov, Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov, Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities Vladimir Yakushev, Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Siberian Federal District Sergei Menyailo, Governor of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina and Acting Governor of Irkutsk Region Igor Kobzev.
President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Today we will discuss the progress made in eliminating the aftermath of a major flood that hit Irkutsk Region last year.
We agreed to keep the situation under constant control and this is exactly what we have been doing. Today we will check how the decisions made have been implemented locally. We will hear reports from representatives of different authorities and review several sites that were scheduled for construction and overhaul.
The funds from the federal budget – specifically, more than 27 billion rubles – were allocated promptly.
However, there was a serious delay in the recovery efforts at the very beginning, which we discussed repeatedly, including during visits to Irkutsk Region. Currently, this delay is being reduced. Obviously, it is difficult to fix the previous mistakes in six months but the current governor has a strong team. I am convinced that the relief measures will be implemented in full.
I received reports that a whole number of sites are finished. In Tulun, a school for 1,275 students opened on September 1; the city’s main street was landscaped and modernised and a new infectious disease unit opened in the city’s hospital, as requested by local residents during my visit to Tulun. In Nizhneudinsky, the district hospital underwent major renovation. We will certainly review these facilities today.
I want to stress that these projects are absolutely necessary for people to live normal lives. I would like to ask the officials in charge to make sure that all the social facilities start operating strictly as scheduled.
Another very important and sensitive issue is providing new housing to the residents affected by the flood. We returned to this issue multiple times. A decision was made that the people who lost their homes would receive housing certificates and keys to new flats, including in a new residential complex in the Ugolshchikov district (I think there were about 66 flats available). The affected families with two and more children were supposed to be housed on a priority basis. I would like to hear a detailed report on the progress in this area today.
In addition to this, I would like to hear about progress with major renovation of the residential buildings affected by the flood – considering that it has been over a year. Are the completion deadlines observed? Are the people satisfied with the quality of work? Are there any persisting problems?
And, of course, I would like to hear whether all the designated payouts have been made. What support measures are available to the affected agricultural producers, small and medium-sized businesses? People also addressed me with these questions several times.
Let us get to work.
Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I would like to thank everybody who participated in this meeting. The work is proceeding and indeed, a lot has been achieved.
Summarising the results of today’s discussion, I would like to note that ensuring the security of Irkutsk Region residents, primarily, reducing the risk of flooding during the flood season is, certainly, an extremely important task.
We have discussed this matter with you on several occasions. I will not go into more detail right now but, as planned, this requires a dam and other protective structures to be built in full and on schedule. As far as I remember, 11 protective structures are needed in total. More than 5 billion rubles must be allocated for this purpose, about 1.1 billion from the regional budget and 4 billion from the federal budget. The Finance Minister is with us today. Mr Siluanov, please take this extremely seriously and make sure that the necessary funds are allocated in a timely manner.
In general, I would like to ask the Government to arrange co-funding of the construction projects required to protect the territories in Irkutsk Region from flooding. Mr Siluanov, did you want to say something in relation to this?
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov: Mr President, we will make provisions for these necessary funds when drafting the new budget. The funding will be provided in full.
Vladimir Putin: Good.
Next. In 2019 and 2020, Tulun entrepreneurs received support from the state budget. I am talking about subsidies of up to 1.5 million rubles that were provided to affected companies so they could resume their operations. In 2019, the Government supplied the region with 500 million rubles from the reserve fund. This money has already been allocated.
I believe now it is necessary to provide targeted support to small and medium-sized businesses in Tulun through loans. I heard what was said earlier and we will discuss it but lending is another option. We could help the companies that have recovered and want to develop further, by allocating an additional 100 million rubles in loans to small businesses. I would like to ask the Government to deal with this matter promptly.
I would also like the authorities at every single level to understand that it is important to speed up their work. Wherever there was a delay due to COVID-19, the schedules must be adjusted accordingly to make sure that the entire infrastructure in the affected areas (social, transport and energy facilities) is restored as soon as possible.
The entire scope of flood response measures will remain under our constant control.
I would like to draw your attention to the issue the regional head regularly speaks about: the need to strictly comply with environmental requirements when implementing large investment projects. I reiterate, disrespect for nature, especially the unique Baikal ecosystem is absolutely unacceptable. Many mistakes have been made in the past years and decades. Today it is important that Igor Kobzev has almost completely implemented all of my July instructions. But we saw today that there is still much to do. The signed action plan and the memorandum – we just spoke with the head of Russian Railways about the expansion of the Baikal-Amur Mainline and the Trans-Siberian Railway – this memorandum must be complied with. I want you to take that into account.
Of course, we need permanent, systemic work on the preservation and protection of forests. We also spoke about it today. First of all, I mean the prevention of wildfires, restoration of forests and eradicating illegal logging. This is a nationwide problem, and it is especially crucial for Irkutsk.
As for declaring one of the upcoming years the Year of Baikal at the federal level, I think this issue should be worked out with the Government. The idea is good, though.
Finally, the creation of a Suvorov military school in the region. The Defence Ministry has never failed to meet deadlines; it does everything thoroughly and on time. There is no doubt that the military school in Irkutsk Region will open on September 1, 2021.
I again want to thank all participants in today’s meeting and ask you to make sure that everything that remains to be done is done well.
Another thing I want to mention in conclusion: this morning I spoke with Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev, who reported on the developments in the Far East. I am now addressing my Government colleagues. We are working on the situation in Irkutsk Region, Tulun, but there are also many current problems. First of all, we need to turn to the areas that have suffered the most: these are Khabarovsk and Primorye territories, Jewish Autonomous Region, Amur Region and some others. We need to comprehensively analyse the situation there and focus on assisting the people who suffered from these unfortunate events. I am certain that there it is also about the restoration of housing, infrastructure, roads, bridges and so on. I will speak more on this later. Please prepare relevant reports.
All the best to you. Goodbye.