Meeting with Belgorod Region Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov

V. Putin: Vyacheslav Vladimirovich, I know that you wanted to talk about the results of your recent work, for a year, and, of course, to discuss security issues. Let’s start with the first part.

V. Gladkov: Vladimir Vladimirovich, I am reporting on the work that has been done over the past year and a half.

At the end of 2021, the gross regional product amounted to one trillion 232 billion rubles. Compared to the same period last year, that is, in 2020, it exceeded by almost 250 billion.

Last year, when we were deciding on the development strategy for the region, we set, it seems to me, a rather ambitious goal: by 2030, to increase the GRP to two trillion rubles. It seems to me that the Belgorod region has every opportunity for this. And despite the current problems in the economy, in certain sectors, even this year we plan that GRP will increase by another 50 billion by the end of 2022.

At the end of 2021, there is one indicator where we have not grown, and this is the volume of investments, investments, that is, there was an eight percent decrease compared to 2020. First of all, this happened due to the fact that large investment projects were completed in 2020. We saw this, therefore, during 2021 and today we are trying to pay enough attention to this in the work of the regional government.

What do we have today? Now, about 19 major projects with a total volume of 145 billion rubles are already at various stages of implementation, which means 4,000 new jobs.

For example, recently, on Metallurgist’s Day, a major project was opened as part of Metalloinvest’s activities; a new ore delivery technology was launched at Lebedinsky GOK – this is a cyclic-flow technology that allows not only to obtain an economic effect of cost reduction, but also an environmental one, which is very important for the Starooskolsko-Gubkinskaya agglomeration, these are CO emissions2, dust emissions. The volume of investments there is 14 billion rubles.

We are currently preparing nine more projects for the Ministry of Economic Development, primarily import substitution. Enough, as it seems to me, bright, strong projects. Companies have already invested a certain part of their resources, but we want to get support from the Ministry of Economic Development. Met with the Minister – promises.

There are many different projects, ranging from seeding complexes and cutting tools for the aviation industry, which is in great demand now. A plant for the construction of unmanned aerial vehicles: there is the EFKO company, which already has quite good results in this area and is ready to enter serial production. Sweet proteins are products from a thousand to three thousand times sweeter than sugar, but they can solve problems with obesity and other diseases. Therefore, it is quite promising, I think they are very strong and allow us to create about a thousand more new jobs. There are also major projects in metallurgy – if you don’t mind, I will dwell on them separately at the end.

Agriculture. Last year – 345 billion in the GRP structure. This year we have already threshed one million tons, we are harvesting cereals and legumes. The yield averaged 55 centners per hectare, compared with last year – it was 43 [центнера]. Of course, the weather is now – there is a lot of rain, but, on the other hand, farmers are right when they say: there is never enough rain. So let’s do it. We hope that this year we will receive at least 3.5 million tons. Last year, that figure was 3.3 million.

The Belgorod Region, you know, ranks first in the Russian Federation in terms of agricultural production per capita or per hectare of arable land, and third in terms of agricultural output in the Russian Federation. We hope that we will continue to hold these positions.

I am very grateful to you for your help, because in the spring, when the logistics chains for the supply of seeds, feed additives, vitamins began to break – we had many problems at the beginning, and there were problems with lending to agricultural enterprises – the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation helped a lot: 3 We received 3 billion rubles very quickly, and this allowed us to carry out all spring field work as planned. Autumn field work – we see that we will not have any problems.

By 2023, we see that there are certain risks. Together with the Agricultural University of the Belgorod Region, we developed a risk map. There are certain problems in selection, and in genetics, and with the supply of software, and with vitamins for animals. We will, of course, draw technological maps for each risk, and we will turn to the Ministry of Agriculture if our resources are not enough. The task facing the Belgorod region is still more than 20 percent of pork meat, 14 percent of poultry meat, 15 percent of feed in the Russian Federation, eight percent of sugar – we understand the role the region plays in the food security of the Russian Federation. Therefore, we pay great attention to this.

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Of course, we must also pay tribute to the large agricultural holdings, which have a large margin of stability, and they feel quite confident now.

We paid a lot of attention, it seems to me, to small and medium-sized businesses. We understand that it is not very easy for them now. I can’t say “guessed”, because if in 2020 we allocated the total amount of federal and regional money somewhere around 200 million rubles, then this year we planned and increased it even more in the first quarter, that is, the amount of support amounted to 1, 7 billion. For the Belgorod region, this has never stood out.

Why are we doing this? Because the region’s economy consists of two parts: the main part is metallurgy, mining, and agriculture. I would like, of course, a third “pillar” – for small and medium-sized businesses to become a stable platform that would allow them to have greater stability in various fluctuations.

Although at a fairly good level – almost 900 billion – last year’s turnover, they also saw opportunities. Met with the business, asked what they needed, and [оказали
поддержку] in various areas: from microfinance, which helped a lot, especially in the spring, to get cheap money, and ending with support for export-oriented products – product promotion, product certification.

To be honest, we succeeded, we went on an experiment: we want to grow a business, few people succeed, but we held a competition for new opportunities and even surprised ourselves with the results. We said: who wants, who has ideas, come to us, we will teach. And we began to select ideas, we began to teach people with ideas how to build their own business. And how did the two-month epic end? 400 new businesses have been registered.

I think it’s cool, to be honest. I understand that registration is still far from successful, but the very fact that yesterday it didn’t happen, but today it does… We want to repeat this in the fall, in the second half of the year. That is, there is such a movement. I hope that by the end of this year we will also reach one trillion in turnover.

V. Putin: You have stable growth in almost all indicators.

By the way, what kind of chocolates do you have?

V. Gladkov: This is a gift to you from the Belgorod region.

V. Putin: Thanks a lot. There is Alyonka, and you have Alyoshka.

V. Gladkov: We have a boy, when a special military operation began – the boy lives in Veseloy Lopan – he ran out onto the road and accompanied all the military columns. When they walked, he got up [у дороги] and gave honor. Someone took it down [на видео]and posted it on the Internet. And surprisingly, such a simple, sincere desire of a child, and the movement swept across the country.

When I drove around the area with which we concluded an agreement on assistance, and when I saw when the columns were moving, and there were stencils with our Alexei on them – I don’t know, Vladimir Vladimirovich, it was right to tears … And we do not promote, we are not there at all. This is purely folk history. And the servicemen came to him, and gave the boy a helmet, and invited him to the Patriot Park. And he is a first grader, so naive, very good parents.

Parents swore [на журналистов]: do not spoil the boy for us, he does it sincerely! Journalists were chased away. Confectioners are ours, Stary Oskol confectioners – when they learned [про эту историю]then they made these chocolates.

V. Putin: Good.

Thank you very much for the gift.

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