President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
I am happy to be here with you, celebrating an important date in the history of our homeland, the 300th anniversary of Kuzbass.
I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate you on the anniversary of this famous coalmining region, the many generations of workers who have won true global fame for Kuzbass and, of course, those who are living and working here now and who are furthering the achievements of their glorious predecessors, who made an invaluable contribution to the development of Siberia, its natural wealth, and entire industries and territories of Russia.
Three hundred years ago, Mikhailo Volkov, a famous dowser, as such people were called then, discovered the first coal deposit on the Tom River, thereby opening the first page of the glorious history of one of the world’s largest coal basins. Its subsequent exploration and development led to a rapid rise in the country’s industries, turning Kuzbass into a leader in its breakthrough industrial progress. Coal and ore mining and metal production in Kemerovo, Novokuznetsk, Prokopyevsk, Anzhero-Sudzhensk, Mezhdurechensk and other cities and towns provided the basis for their development and for increasing the industrial potential of the country as a whole.
The power of Kuzbass increased several-fold during the Great Patriotic War. In those harsh years of horrible tribulation, the people of Kuzbass did the unthinkable. As we are aware, the Nazis had at their disposal the industrial potential of nearly the whole of Europe, which they conquered, and it was thanks, in part, to Kuzbass that we won that challenging economic battle against them. Enterprises were evacuated and new ones were built very quickly here. The country received a reliable supply of coal, metals and other vital products.
Local residents demonstrated their Siberian, Kuzbass mettle in full measure. Volunteers and soldiers from Siberian divisions fought courageously on the battlefront, while the people in the rear, including women and young people, many of whom were mere teenagers, worked in mines and factories selflessly and without complaining, like the Soviet people as a whole, bringing triumph closer and ultimately attaining the Great Victory.
The tasks that the modern Kuzbass is solving are aimed at its further broad and – I want to emphasise this – balanced, effective development.
It is necessary to actively upgrade enterprises, create new jobs, not only in the traditional industries for the region, such as coal mining, metallurgy and the chemical sector, but also in light industry, agriculture, the transport sector and tourism.
I will name a specific figure. In the next five years, at least 40,000 new modern jobs should appear in the non-coal sectors of the Kemerovo Region’s economy. A special role here belongs to infrastructure projects that ”sew together“ the expanse of our country, making the ties between the areas stronger.
So, it is extremely important for Kuzbass, for other regions of Siberia and the Far East of Russia to upgrade the Baikal-Amur Mainline and the Trans-Siberian Railway. We have already increased the pace of work here and will strictly monitor progress with the project.
It is necessary to achieve tangible results in solving very sensitive problems that are significant for people, for their health and related to the environmental well-being of Kuzbass.
Of course, we know that Novokuznetsk, for example, is one of the twelve industrial centres of Russia, where emissions should decrease by at least 20 percent by 2024. Gradually, but we will definitely solve similar problems in relation to other cities in the region, where the issues of the environment and clean air are just as acute.
Enhancing the quality of life in the cities and rural areas of Kuzbass and their improvement is our absolute priority. We need to create places in kindergartens and nurseries and renovate and open new schools – the governor has just reported to me that such work is being carried out and is underway. It is necessary to raise the level of professional education in colleges and universities and improve the work of polyclinics and hospitals.
I have just toured the construction site of a cultural and educational centre. It will become one of the four major cultural clusters in Russia. They are being built now in Sevastopol, Vladivostok, Kaliningrad, and, frankly speaking, we planned to create three such centres. But at the initiative of Kuzbass Governor Sergei Tsivilev, the decision was made to create one more such powerful cluster here in Kemerovo. And I think that Kuzbass, which has done so much to develop the country's strength, deserves such a gift from it.
The people of Kuzbass and everyone in the vast territory of Siberia will have an opportunity to see the best masterpieces of musical, theatrical and fine arts and visit exhibitions from the country’s leading museums – the Hermitage, the Russian Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. Children’s arts schools and affiliates of Russia’s best cultural institutions will be here for you, for your children and your grandchildren.
The new Kuzbass Ice Palace, where we are meeting and where the festive concert will take place, has also become a symbol of positive change in the life of the region. It will host top-level sports competitions and training sessions for professional teams. Young people will take their first steps in sports and, most importantly, the residents of the city and region will be able to take advantage of physical education here.
Last March, the Government of Russia in cooperation with the Governor and his team and the regional leaders adopted a programme for the socioeconomic development of Kuzbass to 2024. It includes specific initiatives and projects that will bring tangible benefits to the residents of the region.
In addition to the areas that were mentioned, the programme will focus on the construction and repair of roads, including the Kemerovo bypass, upgrading public transport and utility systems, and the expansion of the Sheregesh tourist resort. I am confident that you will carry out this programme in full.
The Kemerovo Region – Kuzbass has tremendous potential for development as a powerful industrial complex and a centre of the new economy in western Siberia and all of Russia. This potential will be fully realised to let all those who live in this glorious miners’ land, see these changes for the better.
This is what I would like to add. These changes will only be possible with your help. I know you can overcome the difficulties, move forward and achieve success. The people of Kuzbass highly value the miner’s character building and courage, straightforwardness and a striving for record results.
I believe that together we will achieve these goals – for today and for the future, and for the sake of our children and our Russia.
Happy anniversary, Kuzbass!