Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon.
I met recently with Governor Nikolai Merkushkin, and he briefed me on Samara Region’s problems and spoke about the steps the region plans to take. It was his proposal that we meet here in this broader format so as to hear the views of those working directly in the region, people involved in concrete business here, so as to get the attention not just of colleagues at the regional level, the regional authorities, but also the attention of the Government and the Presidential Executive Office in order to not simply analyse what is happening but also reach agreement on the immediate steps needed to take the situation to a new quality level and develop new jobs and improve infrastructure and the business climate. This is something we are working on all around the country, but I think that Samara should be one of the leaders here because it is among the top ten Russian regions in terms of industrial development level.
Mr Merkushkin and I were trying to recall earlier today what year the song Samara-Gorodok [Little town Samara] dates from. Samara already long since ceased to be a little town and is big city and industrial centre nowadays. The entire Samara region stands out for its developed industry and its amount of high value-added production. It is very pleasing to see how the cluster approach is being taken in developing the economy. This is reflected in the particular focus on promising sectors such as the aerospace and aircraft manufacturing sectors, the automotive industry, chemicals and petrochemicals. These are all sectors with a high degree of value-added production and processing.
Of course, the environment in which businesses in these sectors operate is very important when dealing with this kind of industrial production. Let’s discuss all of this today and try to formulate the needed conclusions.
In other regions, we and our Government colleagues have been doing this kind of work on a regular basis and in general have produced good results. This is because these meetings give us the chance to talk, discuss the issues with the people directly involved in production, and then make the needed adjustments at the regional and federal levels in order to help you in your specific work.