President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. Sergei Borisovich, you were in Irkutsk?
First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov: Yes, Vladimir Vladimirovich.
Vladimir Putin: Tell us, please, about the results of your trip.
Sergei Ivanov: I made a working visit last week to Irkutsk Region and southern Yakutia. In Irkutsk I was working on transport infrastructure.
Construction of the first section of the bridge across the Angara River is practically complete now. This was one of those projects that had been dragging on for years. It was not a Soviet-era project. Work began on the bridge in 1999. Now this three-lane bridge is very near completion. There are just a few small problems still to be sorted out with the approach roads and resettling residents so that the bridge can function properly, ensure a free flow of traffic across the Angara and reduce the traffic jams that have become a big headache for the city of Irkutsk.
I also visited the Irkut Aircraft Manufacturing Plant. This is the only aircraft manufacturing enterprise that was in private hands before being incorporated into the United Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation. The plant’s integration into the corporation is now complete. The decision has been reached now that the plant will work chiefly on developing the promising new MS-21 medium-haul aircraft, which will replace the TU-154 fleet and partly even the TU-204 in terms of range. The plant will specialise mostly in civilian aircraft.
We also examined the issue of the old airport’s modernisation and construction of a new airport.
Vladimir Putin: I was just going to ask you about that.
Sergei Ivanov: A site has already been chosen for the new airport. It will serve three nearby cities at once: Angarsk, Shelekhov, and Irkutsk itself. The runway will be 4,100–4,200 metres long, that is, long enough to handle all types of aircraft. Design work is being completed now and construction is beginning. Of course, it will take more than just one or two years to build a new airport. Reconstruction of the old airport also has to go ahead, and reconstruction work has already begun at the airport currently operating in Irkutsk.
I also visited the Angara Chemicals Plant, where we opened the International Uranium Enrichment Centre. The centre has already begun operation. It is functioning as a joint venture established together with Kazakhstan. This is the first centre of this kind in the world and other countries are showing a lot of interest in becoming involved: our Armenian and Ukrainian partners, and perhaps even our Australian partners, after your recent visit to Australia. The centre can enrich uranium ore and has the world’s biggest cascade for producing low-enriched uranium.
Overall, Russia possesses 40 percent of the world’s current uranium enrichment capacity. We plan to not just only maintain but also develop our entire enrichment cycle. My visit to southern Yakutia was partially linked to this work. A comprehensive plan for developing the southern Yakutia basin has been drawn up. Very large coal deposits have been found in this region and private Russian companies are interested in developing these deposits. The region also has large uranium and gold deposits that will be developed together using private capital, though the activities will be separate, with gold going in one direction and uranium in another. Uranium concentrate produced from these deposits will be sent to the Angara Chemicals Plant to be enriched for the energy sector’s needs.
This plan for southern Yakutia’s development is very ambitious. It has already been thoroughly examined by the Investment Fund and an agreement in this respect was signed in St Petersburg. Now, with the Investment Fund being transferred from the Economic Development and Trade Ministry to the Regional Development Ministry, it is important to complete the formal procedures and issue the corresponding government regulation as soon as possible. The plan calls for a total of 422 billion roubles, but only 122 billion roubles of this money will come from the state budget. In other words, for every one rouble of state money, there will be around five roubles of private capital. This is a very good project because it will enable us to integrate the currently autonomously operating energy systems in Yakutia with the main energy systems in the west and in the Far East, thus creating an interlinked energy system extending across the entire country for the first time.
That is as far the results of the trip are concerned.
Tomorrow I am going to Dubna, one of the scientific research towns. Your presidential decree of 2001 gave Dubna its status of scientific research town. Dubna is mostly specialised in experimental and theoretical research in the areas of aviation, outer space, energy, machine-building, nuclear physics and ecology. I will be visiting the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. This institute is well known around the world and maintains relations with some 60 different countries and their scientific establishments. Furthermore, we are in the process of setting up a technology incubation special economic zone in Dubna. We have two such zones in the country. The first is in Tomsk. I have already visited that zone, and now I want to visit Dubna. Active work is underway on developing energy and water supply systems using budget funding. Total expenditure comes to around 7.5 billion roubles, of which 70 percent comes from the federal budget and the rest comes approximately half-and-half from the Moscow Region authorities and the Dubna municipality.
This is proof in itself that the Dubna municipality is performing well financially. The zone has already registered 15 residents, which are funding all of the infrastructure construction within the zone and have already begun producing science-intensive innovative products.
Vladimir Putin: Good.
Sergei Yevgenyevich, you were in Prague, weren’t you?
Deputy Prime Minister and Government Chief of Staff Sergei Naryshkin: Vladimir Vladimirovich, I held a meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation in Prague. Trade between Russia and the Czech Republic has been developing rapidly over these last years. Last year, it came to around $7.2 billion, and we are expecting growth of around 20 percent this year.
The portfolio of joint projects includes a whole list of good projects related to modernising or building enterprises in the Russian Federation in sectors such as machine building, including a billion-dollar contract for the modernisation of Uralvagonzavod and contracts in the construction materials, agribusiness, chemicals and several other sectors.
Russian companies have acquired important assets in the Czech Republic over the last three years and have already invested a total of more than $600 million so far in sectors such as machine-tool building, nuclear energy machine-building, telecommunications and metals production.
I also had a meeting with Prime Minister Topolanek. Among other things, we discussed banking sector cooperation and the old issue of according a license to the first Russian-Czech bank, and also Russian companies’ interest in privatisation in the Czech Republic, including the transport sector. The Czech national carrier, Czech Airlines, and the airport in Prague are due to be privatised over the coming 18 months, and Russian companies are showing a lot of interest.
Vladimir Putin: Good. I have received the law on the Sochi 2014 Olympics, on establishing a corporation. How is the work on setting up this corporation going in practice, Alexander Dmitryevich?
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov: Without waiting for the law, we have already gone ahead with all the necessary work, including as concerns the corporation’s budget provisions. Once the law has been signed it will not take long at all for the corporation to be established as a legal entity and the work on the sites that has already been underway since last summer, and in some cases even since last spring, will be handed over in full to the corporation, which will take over all the legal rights and obligations for all of these sites. We are also modernising the federal targeted programme, which had already been approved. With the corporation now beginning work, it will also be handling the financing for all of the sites and will accordingly also bear the responsibility for construction of all of the Olympic facilities.
I think that the corporation’s staff will be in place and ready to begin practical work by the end of the year.
Vladimir Putin: Have the city authorities in Sochi been involved in the work on the laws?
Regional Development Minister Dmitry Kozak: They have been involved in drafting the laws and took part in all of the working groups right from the start. Currently we are setting up the corporation’s management bodies and we plan for the Sochi city authorities and the Krasnodar Region authorities to participate directly in the supervisory board and take part in drawing up all procedures concerning construction and land requisition. So, there are no disagreements in this area, Vladimir Vladimirovich.
Alexander Zhukov: I just want to add that in accordance with the law on the Olympics, procedures for land requisition for Olympics facilities have been set out and give the leading role to the regional and city authorities.
Vladimir Putin: Good.
Amendments have been made to the budget. Viktor Alexeyevich, what particular points would you like to note?
Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov: On Thursday, we examined amendments to the 2007 budget, additional tax revenue and a number of revenue items that have gone unused. We have decided to use these funds for social programmes.
First of all, we have allocated 47 billion roubles for costly medicines for people with serious illnesses. We have also allocated 1.25 billion roubles for the rehabilitation of wheelchair users. This is an area in which there are many problems and there is thus great need for this money. We have taken a new step in allocating 5.2 billion roubles for programmes to help so-called ‘problem’ children. This is for the first time. We think it is the right decision. This amendment has also been passed. Amendments to the 2008 budget will also use additional tax revenue or unused expenditure items to boost financing for social programmes, primarily.