Excerpts from transcript of meeting on resolving social problems in single-industry towns
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Today, we will address once again one of the serious problems affecting our economy, one of the big social sector issues too, namely, the problem of the single-industry towns. Towns where life depends on one or two companies were particularly hard-hit by the recent crisis. I remind you that we were quite effective in our response then and created 190,000 temporary jobs and 60,000 permanent jobs. Overall, however, although unemployment is now at a record low of around 5.1 percent in total, and around 1.3 percent – around a million people – if we count only the registered unemployed, the situation in the single-industry towns is still worrying.
”We need to work with each and every city individually, seeking out options for resolving problems and never forgetting that every dismissal from work affects the fate of individuals.“
I will not name the figures now, but the relevant government commission and the Economic Development Minister [Andrei Belousov], who have been working on this problem for quite some time now, along with all of our colleagues involved in this issue, know that the problems are still a long way from being completely resolved. We have around 300 of these single-industry towns and the problems are still quite serious.
Vnesheconombank, which we have got involved in working on these problems right from the start, during the crisis period, has developed around 40 job creation projects in these towns with total financing of 400 billion roubles. These programmes must be launched as soon as possible.
I want our colleagues from the regions to hear from our Government colleagues on how the work on this very important economic and social issue is going, and I would like to hear myself what they have to report.
”We set the goal to create 25 million new high-tech jobs. We have been able to at least partially accomplish this goal during the crisis period. We always strived to ensure that these new jobs would be qualitatively different. I would want you to continue working in the same fashion.“
The Government Commission and the Government itself are constantly working on this issue, and as I see, they are keeping it under control. At the same time, I want to draw attention to the fact that the situation in the global economy remains tense and uncertain. We know and understand where this unsettlement in the global economy can lead, how it reflects on national economies, including ours. So I would like to draw your attention to a few points.
We need to continue keeping these issues under a constant control. And regardless of how much we are criticised for being too “hands-on,” this is the case when we need to work with each and every city individually, seeking out options for resolving problems and never forgetting that every dismissal from work affects the fate of individuals, the state of Russian families, children, and the material well-being of our citizens.
We set the goal to create 25 million new high-tech jobs. And overall, we have been able to at least partially accomplish this goal during the crisis period. When we were creating new jobs, we always strived to ensure that these new jobs would be qualitatively different. I would want you to continue working in the same fashion.