President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon,
You are now President of Daghestan and I congratulate you on your new position which of course is also a heavy burden, so I wish you success.
The scope of problems, difficulties, unresolved issues in Daghestan currently surpasses all possible norms. You yourself know very well about the problems there, but in addition to acknowledging these problems we need to prepare a kind of road map in order to solve them. I hope that as the new president and modern man, you will be able to come up with such a road map.
The Republic is plagued by high unemployment, major programmes are not being implemented, there is corruption and a number of other hardships that have accumulated in past years. This does not mean that these problems are not solvable, but it does mean that you need to deal with them regularly, every day, by bringing together your subordinates, giving instructions, and personally checking what is being done at various facilities. This is what I expect from you.
I would like you to tell me what priorities you have fixed and what major projects you would like to implement at the outset of your term.
President of Dagestan Magomedsalam Magomedov: First of all I want to thank you for the great trust you have invested in me and to assure you that I will do everything possible to make Daghestan one of the most successful and prosperous Russian regions.
You are absolutely right, there are many complications and contradictions in the Republic today and Daghestan is currently one of the most heavily subsidized and depressed regions of Russia. We are lagging behind in many aspects of socio-economic development as compared to national average. For example, our per capita gross regional product is 2.8 times less than the Russian average while our average wage is not even a half of that of the country in general; these are serious weaknesses.
In past years the main sources of development in the region were federal subsidies. Even though over the last ten years the Republic has demonstrated economic development indicators that are not bad, unfortunately this was not enough to ensure adequate development and create its own sources of growth.
We need to introduce new elements into the regional governance system. We want to completely change our economic model so that it is primarily focused on its competitive advantages and best ways to use the Republic’s potential. To this end, we have identified development priorities for our region and determined which sectors are the most promising and best adapted to our conditions. We are currently drafting a development programme for the Republic that is closely coordinated with that of the North Caucasus Federal District.
In our view, the best prospects for development are offered by the fuel, energy and specifically agro-industrial sectors as almost 60 percent of the Republic’s population lives in rural areas. Of course, we also have good tourism and recreational potential. In addition, there are good opportunities for the development of a transport and logistics hub: the Republic’s propitious location constitutes an advantage in this regard. We have great opportunities and raw materials for the development of construction materials production.
These priorities are all organically and successfully matching the development priorities of the [North Caucasus Federal] District as a whole; we can envision the possibilities of better integration within the District and with other Russian regions which will produce a qualitative leap in our advancement. The most essential thing is that we want to ensure favourable conditions for attracting domestic and foreign investment. The approach of a welfare recipient, based on incessantly asking for money from the federal centre, is not efficient and will not work. We want to create a good legislative environment, and we have attractive and interesting projects.
It is obvious that in order to realize all this we need to ensure the stability of the socio-political situation in the Republic. As you are aware, we have problems in this regard and there is a continuing threat to our security, the threat of extremism and terrorism. If we can neutralize this threat and develop favourable conditions to attract investors, I think we can solve the problems we face and the tasks that you have given us.
Dmitry Medvedev: You know, the approaches that you just outlined regarding how you want to solve economic problems, all that you just described, is in my opinion absolutely correct. The most important thing is to promote qualitative changes in the development of the Republic’s economy. The question is not merely one of numbers, but how people perceive the changes and how investors see them – you rightly mentioned both domestic and foreign investors. Without investment no territory can develop: neither our national capital, Moscow, nor Daghestan. This is the key to the success of any economic programme.
Investment requires that the government, the Republic’s leadership have clear priorities, so that money does not disappear into a black hole, but rather is overseen by you personally and by respective federal agencies. On the other hand, it is also true that the rule of law and stability is necessary. This second problem is being addressed not only in Daghestan, a Republic within our country, but also by the federal authorities.
In this regard, of course together with you, we will monitor most closely everything that happens, and suppress hotbeds of radicalism and terrorism which still exist in the Republic. This task is not being taken off the agenda, but the force should not be the main engine for accomplishing it. Rather, it is necessary to offer an adequate economic programme and to pursue it on a daily regular basis, systemically, just like a clockwork. That is what I expect of you.