The President started the meeting by noting that the Altai Territory has laid good groundwork when it comes to developing tourism, and there are substantial prospects and good investment projects in the pipeline.
Viktor Tomenko confirmed that tourism is one of the priority economic sectors for the region even though the Altai Territory largely focuses on the agricultural industry. The performance of the tourist industry was seriously affected by the two pandemic years but in 2022, tourist traffic returned to the pre-Covid level and even surpassed it, exceeding 2 million people, which is 19 percent higher than in 2021. There are many investment projects in progress such as the Belokurikha Gornaya cluster that has already welcomed its first residents and some of them have finished building their facilities. The cluster will create 2,000 jobs and will be able to host about 210,000 tourists. The Biryuzovaya Katun special economic zone for tourism and recreation is located at the border with the Republic of Altai and the two regions are developing it together. There are about 30 residents today who have attracted around 30 billion rubles in investment. The first facilities have opened.
The governor reported in depth on the work with families of the military personnel serving in the special military operation. The regional officials maintain contact with the Defence Ministry. Families, especially families with children, are provided with social, domestic, medical and psychological help. There is a hospital for veterans in the region, as well as a centre for social rehabilitation of people with disabilities and combat veterans, and crisis centres.
As concerns the socioeconomic situation in the region, the governor reported that it was stable and the overall results were positive. The region was able to slightly increase its GRP, by 1 percent compared to 2021. The years 2021 and 2022 produced a record amount of grain and oil crops. The Altai Territory produced two-thirds of the country’s buckwheat harvest and accounted for the second largest share of the rapeseed harvest. It also boasts the largest flax harvest and the fourth largest seed harvest among Russian regions.
The Altai Territory is one of the largest food producers in Russia, according to Viktor Tomenko. The region accounts for the highest output of flour and cereals of all kinds, the second largest output of butter and cheese and the fourth largest output of pasta. The Altai Territory exports 80–85 percent of its produce, mainly to other Russian regions but also partly abroad.
The Governor reported that the regional officials are eagerly exploring the initiatives concerning cooperation with China, proposed at the highest level, in particular, a project for a new ground-based grain corridor.
Industrial facilities have also shown positive results, increasing their output by 1.9 percent. The defence industry has increased its production by 27 percent compared with 2021. Production in strategic industries is on the rise, including by 30 percent in transport machine engineering, by 60 percent in the textile industry and by 13 percent in drug manufacturing. Many companies are refocusing on substitutes for products that used to be imported from unfriendly countries. Technology parks are being created, including, for example, the Yug Altaya (Southern Altai) technology park for agricultural machinery manufacturers, as well as new technology parks in Biysk and Barnaul.
Some 146 billion rubles were invested in the region in 2022, against 124 billion in 2021. Between 2018 and 2022, the region attracted a total of 613 billion rubles in investment.
The President and the Governor also discussed construction, wages and supporting the social sphere.
The Governor also raised several issues that require the President’s support, including road construction and renovation, in particular, the road connecting Barnaul and the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and upgrading the airport in Barnaul, where a new terminal is being built that will be able to accept one million passengers a year. Assistance is required with developing social infrastructure in Barnaul, building an outpatient clinic with an inpatient department for the regional ophthalmology hospital that is currently based in temporary facilities.
Vladimir Putin pointed out several issues to the Governor of the Altai Territory, specifically, the high rate of socially significant diseases in the region and public healthcare challenges in general. At the same time, the President noted that, while the national scope of industrial production was slightly in decline, the Altai Territory had shown growth of almost 2 percent, which indicated a good performance by both local workers and Viktor Tomenko’s administrative team. The President wished him success and told him that all the documents prepared by the Governor would be reviewed by the Government.