President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: The new year has begun. Of course it has been a difficult one for our country in both the economic and social spheres. And we are all dealing with these issues at the federal level, at the level of the republic and the regional level. Of course this is work that has to be done.
But at the same time I would like you as the leader of a republic to pay even more attention to general issues of security and to pay particular attention to the issue of combating crime.
Not long ago I was in Ingushetia. I raised this issue there as well. There the situation is difficult. You are in a better situation. Nevertheless, there are topics that we must not lose sight of under any circumstances, especially now that we have these difficulties in the economic sphere. For this reason I would like you to give all necessary orders and to pay these issues – the fight against crime and combating corruption – the most serious attention, because this sort of problem usually tends to exacerbate economic problems, and we must do everything possible to minimise the impact of these extremely complex factors. Of course we cannot get distracted from our overall business objectives, our work in the social sphere and general work on maintaining our basic indicators. These are more or less identical for all the republics: I mean the standard of living, the construction of new housing, levels of disposable income, opportunities related to indexation – in short everything that comes under the jurisdiction of the regional authorities and everything that you are doing in conjunction with the federal authorities. That's what I would like to talk to you about.
President of The Republic of Dagestan Mukhu Aliev: Thank you. I would like to inform you very briefly, Dmitry Anatolyevich, how we emerged from last year. In general terms we came out of it quite well: the index related to the delivery of goods and services concerning the basic types of economic activity was 21.3 percent. The growth of industrial output amounted to 18.9 percent and fixed investment grew by 29.2 per cent.
[At this point Mukhu Aliev reported to the President on development indicators in the social sphere, major investment projects, as well as on the possibilities for the development of tourism in Dagestan, something that will create about 20 thousand new jobs.]
As you know, Dagestan has a labour surplus. This has always been the case: even in Soviet times there was a labour surplus. More than 200 thousand people annually left Dagestan and went to find work somewhere else in the country. This is due to the fact that our population growth rate is so high. Now the rate of population growth in Dagestan is 30–35 thousand people per year.
Dmitry Medvedev: But these are encouraging figures.
Of course it is important that our people find work, because this is a real problem in the Caucasus. And we need to create jobs.
All the things that you have described are undoubtedly positive signs. And all of these major investment projects must continue despite the fact that today, given the current state of financial resources, this is becoming increasingly difficult. But we have already set aside money for such investments.
We need to see this through to the end while not getting distracted from the topic with which I started our conversation, because security issues, the fight against crime and efforts to prevent corruption, are still perhaps the most important issues in our lives today. Therefore, we have to deal with all these things on a daily basis and I would like you to reorient your efforts in this regard.
Mukhu Aliev: In relation to what you’re suggesting and our population growth, as long ago as 2006 we adopted a programme of employment for the population of Dagestan for the period 2006–2010. I want to say that over the last two years for the first time both registered unemployment and total unemployment in the region have begun to decline: from 24 percent in 2005 to 17 percent, and 4.6 percent to 3.7 respectively.
Dmitry Medvedev: We will have to keep up those numbers because in light of the not very optimistic figures we have concerning the rise in unemployment in the country, we must of course keep careful track of what's happening with you in Dagestan. It really has traditionally been a region with a labour surplus and we need these processes to stabilise today.