At the beginning of the meeting, the President noted the growth of the region’s GDP and industrial production, good investment projects, strong agricultural development, and higher personal income than the country’s average. At the same time, the construction sector is underperforming, and the level of unemployment is quite high.
Sergei Nosov began his report with other issues. He said that people in the region were closely monitoring the accession of the four new regions to Russia and were actively involved in the related processes despite the large distance separating the region from them. He also reported on assistance to Donbass, where the region repaired 29 facilities in Zhdanovka, including substations, boiler rooms, schools and kindergartens, provided public amenities and organised summer holidays for children. The Governor also gave an update on the partial mobilisation in the Magadan Region.
Speaking about the situation in the region, Sergei Nosov said that the share of the non-resource sector had increased in the volume of investments into fixed capital and exceeded that of gold producers. This is being done in the framework of economic diversification in the region, which largely depends on gold production. As a result, the region rose from 52nd to 14th place in the 2019 investment ranking.
The number of small businesses has increased to 9,000, the number of jobs has grown, and the number of self-employed people has tripled.
The Governor also reported on the situation in the strategic industries, first and foremost mining. In 2021, the region produced 52 tonnes of gold, the best result in the after-war history of Kolyma. The volume of production was also maintained in 2022 despite the complexities involved. The main task for large gold producers in the first half of 2022 was to sell their produce, primarily gold, on foreign markets. The result of their efforts will be revenue for the budget and the region’s economy. In addition, two more gold concentration plants are to open by the end of the year.
Mr Nosov spoke about diversification efforts. Large companies of federal importance, like the Russian Copper Company and the Urals Mining and Metallurgical Company, are establishing production in the region. They are interested in other raw materials and non-ferrous metals such as zinc and tin. A pool of investors is actively exploring copper fields. The region hopes to start planning the construction of a large copper mining and concentration plant soon.
Fishing is another strategic industry in the region. The Sea of Okhotsk is one of the richest in fish and biological resources in the world, and the area near the Magadan coast is the richest in the Sea of Okhotsk. As many as 800,000 tonnes of marine biological resources are produced there annually.
However, the region’s old fishing port – local companies used to work not only in the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk but also off Africa – is dying. There are many sunken vessels. Work is underway to deep-clean the port and establish approach channels for fishing vessels towards port terminals. The administration of the port was turned over to the region this year, and the management is already discussing the necessary investment with the St Petersburg-based company GT Morstroy and is preparing to launch the implementation of this major project.
Overall, Magadan fishermen have already invested about 30 billion rubles in the construction of new vessels and the development of the processing industry. The recovery of this industry creates certain prospects.
Other topics under discussion included energy issues, housing and utilities, a project on creating a modern waste recycling complex, whereby part of the waste will be processed for producing RDF fuel, implementation of national construction projects and delivery of supplies, mostly by water. The Governor recalled the President’s instruction to update the Kolyma federal road. Much has already been done in this respect. But it is still necessary to design and build a bridge across the Aldan River. It will provide the region with year-round automobile links with Yakutia, which is now connected by a railway.
The performance of industries had a positive effect on consolidated budget revenues. They increased by 50 percent or 20 billion rubles from 2018 to 2021. The authorities of the region received an opportunity to invest in its development, provide substantial social support for its residents and develop social programmes.
The Governor reported spending 11 billion rubles on national projects in the past three years. The authorities have built a school, a kindergarten, three fitness centres and outdoor sports grounds. They are about to complete the construction of another two schools and are building a ski stadium and an all-season springboard as Magadan children are part of the national team.
Sergei Nosov also told the President about resolving public healthcare problems. The healthcare system received a large amount of experience during the pandemic. Its weak points were revealed as well. The designing of an infectious diseases centre is drawing to a close. It will resolve many problems for Magadan. The Governor asked the President to support the proposal on building a regional centre for infectious diseases in Magadan.
At the end of the meeting, the Governor invited the President to visit Kolyma. He said the region has many interesting things to show. It can report on many projects and take pride in its many accomplishments.
Vladimir Putin described the report as thorough and said that the Governor’s proposals and requests will be reviewed and a relevant instruction issued to the Government.
The President noted that the housing and utilities infrastructure has developed objective problems over the past few decades. The same is true of the infrastructure in general, considering such vast spaces. The high industrial load on nature and the environment had also developed for decades.
The President paid special attention to one point: high consumption of alcohol. He said this is not because the people who live in the Magadan Region are drunkards. It is certainly due to the poor development of the social infrastructure, and not only as regards education and medicine. It is necessary to pay more attention to cultural, sports and fitness facilities. People should have things to do. Vladimir Putin expressed confidence that the main idea is not to ban something but to create opportunities for people to focus on self-development, something interesting to do, and to develop hobbies. This is world practice. Russia has used it for the past few years and seen good results overall. So, this problem can be resolved.
The President wished Mr Nosov success in all areas and advised him to primarily support investment projects because they are the future of the economy and industry, and pay special attention to social issues as well.