Developing southern Russia
We intend to develop our southern regions not just for the Olympic Games. Hosting the Olympic Games would be a good incentive for development, but, as we have already said on many occasions, even if we are not selected as the host venue we will develop the south in general and the area around Sochi in particular.
The vote will take place soon and we have a good chance of being chosen to host the Olympics. And if we are not chosen, does that mean we will not go ahead with our development programme? Of course not, we will go ahead with it whatever the outcome.
We have already programmed the financing — $12 billion in total. Half of this money will be in the form of private investment in facilities that will generate revenue, facilities that will later have a real return on the market.
Energy sector development
I would like to say a few words on alternative energy, also a very important matter. As you know, I have on numerous occasions pointed out the enormous profits our energy companies are making. Through the system that we have put in place, including with your help, a considerable part of these excess profits are going towards state needs and contributing to the state budget. This is a good thing. But we also need encourage the big private energy companies that are benefiting from the current favourable situation to invest at least a part of this money in the energy sector’s future. We need to think about ways to encourage this process. Almost all the companies in the oil sector are private enterprises. We need to create incentives for them to make use of the current favourable situation on world markets and invest in research and development and in really advancing our interests in this area that is extremely important for the energy sector’s future. We have to make sure that we do not end up in the situation some countries found themselves in when coal, for example, was no longer of interest as a product in the energy sector and the coal industry went into decline, putting thousands of people out of a job and leaving the state not knowing what to do with them all. But if companies had taken timely action to invest in the future some of the money they earned when coal mining was still profitable, this whole process would have been less painful and the country would have benefited.
Regarding the three-year budget, I wanted to note the following points. Given that we now have a three-year budget, we will need to considerably temper our ambitions when it comes to distributing budget funds. We have to be aware of this because budget funds for the main programmes are now planned for a three-year period, and allocation of the remaining funds, which will be distributed at the end of each coming year, is something that will require very careful consideration because this is money that should go to the areas that really are our biggest priorities. There will be revenue to distribute, but it will not be such a large amount because budget planning will already have been carried out for a three-year period.