President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Pecheny. Let us begin with something you are certain to have heard. At the Russian Popular Front meeting, we were discussing healthcare and I heard something I found strange. One of the Forum participants suddenly said your region practically lacks any kind of emergency healthcare or ambulances, because one cannot apply this term to the standard vehicles without any special fixtures that transport patients some 200 kilometres along dirt roads in freezing weather and there is no other transport. This is strange. What do you personally think of this? What is going on there?
Magadan Region Governor Vladimir Pecheny: Mr President, it is true that we have a vast territory with great distances. We buy special medical transport every year.
As for specialised vehicles for hard-of-access areas, there is certainly a shortage. This year we bought ten all-wheel drive UAZ vehicles that we upgraded ourselves at our automobile service station, making them warmer. Therefore, I would like to ask you for support – we need warm off-road vehicles built on the KamAZ platform so we can upgrade them.
We get new ambulances every year, and this year has not been an exception. We acquired 10 vehicles, including an off-road one, and distributed them to all the facilities. But this is definitely not enough. It is a problem.
Unfortunately, vehicles that would be suitable for the north practically do not exist. We have bought several KamAZ vehicles for our remote areas that do not have any roads to speak of, and they are performing well.
Vladimir Putin: If this is not enough, you should give it greater attention. You are an experienced administrator and you know how such matters are resolved. This is about prioritising. This is crucial for people’s lives and health, and you should give it greater attention.
Vladimir Pecheny: I will.
Vladimir Putin: You and I both know that any matter is easier to resolve through federal funding.
Vladimir Pecheny: Of course. This is definitely our priority. As for buying equipment, we will continue to do so. This year we have already sent an off-road vehicle to Severodvinsk district, and we will buy more.
Vladimir Putin: Talk to your colleagues on location to see if they need any help from the Healthcare Ministry or any other ministry or agency, and I will in turn speak to them so they are ready to help you. And then I would like you to brief me on your progress.
Vladimir Pecheny: I will.
Vladimir Putin: Now what did you have to report?
Vladimir Pecheny: This year has generally been stable. I would like to begin by saying that we have commissioned a new facility, which starts the active development of the Yano-Kolymskaya goldmining province.
Incidentally, this project was presented at the Eastern Economic Forum. The facility is already producing its first gold. We expect an extra two tonnes this year. Given the investment plans, we expect a significant growth in gold production next year.
In addition, it is very important to note that we are completing the construction of a new power line, without which it is impossible to develop this area. This is also part of an investment project that was on the whole approved by the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East. It includes new facilities, new mills for rock fragmentation and the extraction of gold ore. There is quite a lot there. Given that Polyus Gold is hopefully to shortly finish the construction of the largest facility on another field – Natalkinskoye – all this will definitely lead to a significant breakthrough for the regional economy.