President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Beglov, when it comes to the Northwestern Federal District or St Petersburg, you probably know everything. St Petersburg can almost be called your hometown.
You know the situation in the region very well, and you have a lot of experience: you worked in St Petersburg, in the Central Federal District, in the Government, and in the Presidential Executive Office.
Nevertheless, I would like to hear your perspective on the current situation in Russia’s Northwest and in one of Russia’s largest cities, St Petersburg. In your opinion, what are the key short-term objectives for the regional authorities and the federal government in order to support the Northwest in general and, specifically, St Petersburg?
Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Northwestern Federal District Alexander Beglov: Mr President, first of all I would like to thank you for the trust you have placed in me. Being appointed to the Northwestern Federal District is a special honour for me.
It is true that have I worked in St Petersburg and in Russia’s Northwest for quite a while as First Deputy Plenipotentiary Envoy, so I am well aware of the situation in the region.
I would like to start by reporting to you that the New Year holidays went smoothly without any major emergencies. There were occasional power outages in Karelia and a number of other regions, but the repair teams were on duty, and were able to restore power supply in due time. That said, there are some challenges in this area. We will work on this issue and I will report to you on the progress we make.
I would like to report that we prepared an inventory regarding the implementation of May 2012 executive orders, meaning the presidential initiatives. Primarily, this has to do with raising salaries for teachers, doctors and dealing with wage arrears in the private sector.
As for government agencies and local government entities, as well as the military, salaries are paid out strictly on time, so there are no violations in this area. There are, however, wage arrears in the private sector. For this reason, at your instructions, and working together with the Prosecutor’s Office, we keep a close eye on this situation. There is some progress in this respect, but we will continue working on it. I will keep you updated.
A second issue concerns the creation of places for our children at kindergartens. Overall, your instructions regarding kindergarten places for children aged three to seven have been implemented in the Northwestern District. There are minor shortcomings, but we are working on them. I think we will resolve this problem within six months.
As for second shifts at schools, I think that we will resolve this problem as well in 2018.
Vladimir Putin: Where is this problem worst?
Alexander Beglov: The problem is really big in Karelia. It also exists in the Arkhangelsk Region and in the Murmansk Region. But efforts are being made to deal with it, and I believe that we have the capability to fully resolve this problem within the agreed timeframe.
The next issue from your instructions which we are working on concerns perinatal centres. We have four perinatal centres in the Northwestern District. We are behind schedule in some places. I am monitoring the implementation of this task as per your request.
Next, we are working to relocate people from dilapidated housing. There is much to do here, Mr President, and there have been some delays as well. We must spur this project on, accelerate its implementation and create conditions for executive and municipal authorities to deal with this problem.
We will be working on this. I will hold a meeting with each governor on the relocation programme soon. This is really a big problem in the Northwestern District.
Overall, we are working to implement the May executive orders. I mean that we have accomplished a great deal.
Vladimir Putin: What we need to do is ensure that all regional teams, as I have said before, work efficiently to resolve the problems you have mentioned. In fact, you have more problems, but I hope very much that you will take a critical look at the situation at the local level and that you will encourage the municipal and regional authorities to resolve these problems.