The meeting covered current issues of the region’s socioeconomic development. In addition, Sergei Tsivilev updated Vladimir Putin on the work done to provide comprehensive assistance to the families of those killed and injured in the fire at the Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall in Kemerovo.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Tsivilev, you happened to take office as acting head of the Kemerovo Region in troubled times, one can say, in a critical situation.
But this must concentrate your mind on working efficiently and, I would say, summon up all your strengths – and you certainly have enough of them, you have revealed them in different positions. I really hope that people will consider all that when you take up this work.
As to the efficiency of the regional team, according to the Russian Government estimates, not the Presidential Executive Office but the Government, it ranks 73rd place among all Russian regions in efficiency.
Not a terribly good rank, it would seem, but there are apparent positive trends – financial self-sufficiency, the reliable and very stable financial policy of the previous authorities and the previous governor. All that constitutes a good foundation for efficiency in the short, medium and long term.
Kemerovo is an acknowledged leader in industrial applications of coal, in iron and steel industry, full cycle.
Recently we have been witnessing – in the past year and early this year (the first two months) – steady growth in industrial production, steady growth in foreign trade. This means there are positive resources that can and should be relied on in your work.
I would like to listen to your initial assessments. How long have you been there?
Acting Governor of the Kemerovo Region Sergei Tsivilev: A little over a month.
Vladimir Putin: You already have an overall picture of what kind of a region it is, how wealthy it is, how good its prospects are. I would like to hear your assessments and your priorities as you begin your work.
Sergei Tsivilev: Kemerovo Region is indeed unique. Firstly, it is a ‘region of six seas’, and our exports are shipped through its terminals.
Last year we extracted 240 million tonnes of coal. Kemerovo Region is a strategic partner of Russian Railways because the region alone accounts for 38 percent of their freight.
The greatest potential of Kemerovo Region certainly lies in its people. We now have to work with each family individually to help everyone who suffered in this tragedy. We are simultaneously taking steps so that such a tragedy never happens again.
We want to make Kemerovo Region prosperous. It is a large venue for fine-tuning modern technologies of coal extraction and preparation, coal fuel chemistry. And the region’s potential is really tremendous. We intended to do everything we can to make Kemerovo Region a leader of the Russian economy.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Tsivilev, the potential is indeed very good. However, apart from industrial production, apart from economic development, solving social issues should certainly be a focus.
One of them – and I know that you are going to raise this issue – is relocating people from hazardous housing. We have been working constantly to address the issue though, unfortunately, not as fast as we would like.
In the past two years, 1.6 billion rubles were allocated to Kemerovo from the federal budget, about 901 families have been relocated; however, the demand is much higher.
This is what should be done. I ask you to focus on that together with the Government. The Government will be given appropriate instructions. This is number one.
The second area that needs to be looked at is healthcare. Unfortunately, we see growing problems in Kemerovo concerning infectious diseases and tuberculosis. I would rather not discuss it but I must, because if we do not, we will not know where work is needed.
What this means is that you and the Government – I will definitely issue corresponding instructions to the Healthcare Ministry – must take up those issues, and as soon as possible. I am talking not only about tuberculosis, but also HIV.
And the road network. It needs work. You have mentioned that large amounts of freight are carried on Kemerovo roads. This is true.
Road density is higher than the national average. Railway density is also twice the average in the Russian Federation. People are working very hard.
But there is one more problem – the income level of the population is, to put it mildly, very modest. This is why everything must be done to urge economic actors and the administration to gradually raise wages both in the social sphere and in the economy.
Nobody will accomplish that in Russia by force of will. It should be done through economic, market methods. The potential for that certainly exists; I mean the successful development of major industries in Kemerovo Region.
And I would also like to draw your attention to one more circumstance, something that you will have to give more time to, well, not really more but as much as needed.
There are more single-industry towns in Kemerovo Region than in other regions of the Russia Federation, which is why the problem of single-industry cities must be addressed. There are multiple interrelated problems, but the key one is economic diversification.
There is progress in some of the cities, for example, the pharmaceutical industry is developing, the chemical industry as well. There are many projects there, some of them are already underway, and they certainly must be supported.