View settings

Font size:
Site colours:


Official website of the President of Russia

Документ   /

Meeting with Head of Kalmykia Batu Khasikov

May 21, 2024, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Head of the Republic of Kalmykia Batu Khasikov. The discussion focused on the region’s economic indicators and tools to promote growth in industry and agriculture, as well as on healthcare issues.

At the beginning of the meeting, the President highlighted that Kalmykia is a fascinating and beautiful republic, often referred to as the “land of tulips.” It is home to the largest Buddha statue in Europe and is notable for being the first region in Russia to include chess in the compulsory school curriculum.

Starting his report, Head of the region Batu Khasikov noted that Kalmykia’s greatest asset is its hardworking, talented, hospitable and courageous people. United in their belief in the victory of our country, they are ready to make significant sacrifices, including risking their lives, for its sake.

He said that there is currently significant interest in the republic, with Kalmykia ranking in the top 10 for growth in tourist influx. Visitors often remark on Kalmykia’s captivating energy of the steppe and vibrant colours. Batu Khasikov attributed this appeal to Kalmykia being the only Buddhist region in the European part of Russia and the westernmost in the world. In the context of growing domestic tourism, this unique characteristic serves as a major attraction.

In this context, the regional leader thanked Vladimir Putin for establishing the Foundation for the Promotion of Buddhist Education and Research in 2022. He noted that Kalmykia, along with other Buddhist regions, actively participates in this work. In 2025 Kalmykia will become a gathering place for Buddhists from around the world when it will host the 3rd International Buddhist Forum.

Batu Khasikov underscored that Russia is a vast home where all the diverse peoples of our nation live together. He highlighted Kalmykia’s recognised leadership in fostering harmonious interfaith relations based on the achievements of the past year. The republic prioritises engagement with all diasporas, with the Council of Nationalities functioning effectively. Additionally, construction is underway for the Orthodox Cathedral of Cyril and Methodius, revered as patrons of Kalmykia.

As highlighted by Batu Khasikov, for over 400 years, the sons of Kalmykia have remained Russia’s steadfast warriors. In 2022, we marked the 300th anniversary of the encounter between Peter the Great and Ayuka Khan. During that historic meeting, Peter the Great presented Ayuka Khan with a state standard adorned with double-headed eagles and gifted a sabre embellished with precious stones. In response, Ayuka Khan pledged that every arrow, every sabre and every Kalmyk warrior would forever serve Russia.

During the Russia International Exhibition and Forum at VDNKh, Kalmykia’s stand hosted commemorative events in honour of the Second Kalmyk Regiment, led by Lieutenant Colonel Serebdzhab Tyumen, which fought alongside the Russian army in 1812. It is crucial for young people to know this historical fact, along with the fact that 24 residents of Kalmykia were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War.

Kalmykia honours its heroes and is proud of them. Earlier, the President signed Executive Order conferring the title of Hero of Russia on Guards Captain Mingiyan Lidzhiyev. The Head of Kalmykia presented the Star of the Hero of Russia to his mother at a school where Mingiyan Lidzhiyev had studied.

Batu Khasikov noted that young men from Kalmykia were fighting for the future of our Motherland together with representatives of all Russian ethnicities. A branch of the Defenders of the Fatherland State Foundation cares for the families of the participants in the special military operation.

The Head of the region noted that he considered the foundation’s work to be highly effective, and that a responsible team was in charge of this work. Ochir Khalgayev, a combat veteran, heads the foundation. Consequently, he devotes substantial attention to families. All support measures are available, all government authorities interact with one another, and no one is neglected.

Vladimir Putin and Batu Khasikov also discussed the region’s economic performance. The President noted that Kalmykia’s gross regional product was growing, agricultural and industrial production had rebounded and started growing, and the overall trend was quite positive.

Batu Khasikov noted that everything is being done with the President’s support. The Republic’s GRP has soared by 38 percent over the past five years, and the industry has grown three-fold. The regional leadership wants Kalmykia, now an agrarian region, to become an agro-industrial region with the President’s support. This was the practice, the experience in Soviet times – there were many industrial enterprises, including the Caspian Engineering Plant. It is necessary to gradually restore all this.

Additionally, various tools, including the Industrial Development Fund and the Development Fund of the Republic of Kalmykia, expand funding and co-funding, and there are plans to double the processing industry’s capacity over the next five years.

According to Batu Khasikov, the unity and positive attitude of his fellow Kalmyks provide proper foundation for sustainable socioeconomic development. The consolidation of the republic’s residents and their determination to win can be seen in their enthusiasm as they go to help the residents of the Antratsitovsky District in the Lugansk People’s Republic that maintains twin-region relations with Kalmykia.

The republic’s volunteer movement has expanded 11-fold, and young people are becoming involved in this work. In his Address to the Federal Assembly, the President said that an era dominated by a new elite was emerging. The Head of Kalmykia believes it is a critically important remark. True leaders asserted themselves during the first days of the special military operation, and they already hold a number of executive positions in Kalmykia.

Chimid Dzhangayev is one of them. He is a combat veteran who took part in the special military operation. He served as a volunteer with the BARS-4 unit and received the Medal for Valour. Today, he heads a subsidiary of the Voin (Soldier) centre and is a deputy of the Parliament of Kalmykia. Moreover, he serves as Ataman (Chief) of the republic’s Cossacks. The regional leadership decided to consolidate all this because he is devoted to his Motherland, responsible and very energetic. He is a knowledgeable person and a quick learner. The President noted that it was a correct approach, and that it was necessary to promote such people.

Furthermore, the Head of the region noted that dozens of young people had applied for the Time of Heroes project. Batu Khasikov thanked the President for this initiative. According to the President, not all applications will be accepted, but this is only the first step, and the number of people who will take part in this joint work will continue to grow.

Batu Khasikov proceeded with an update on the region’s economic performance. He shared the feedback from the business community which indicated that the republic had a favourable investment climate – robust, fair, transparent, and open. The region’s own revenue has doubled, and the number of small and medium-sized businesses has surged from 9,000 to more than 20,000.

The unemployment rate fell from 9 to 6 percent, showcasing positive trends. Similarly, strides were made in reducing the poverty rate from 23.5 to 18 percent, while retail trade turnover went from 22 billion to nearly 33 billion. Although these figures may not appear significant in absolute terms, they hold great importance for the team of the region’s head and the residents of Kalmykia, underscoring the positive momentum.

As Vladimir Putin noted, the significant – by 2.3 times – growth in the number of small and medium-sized businesses could potentially make a difference for the unemployment rates. Batu Khasikov expressed gratitude to his fellow countrymen for their active engagement, highlighting their resilience in the face of challenges as they participate in the creative process. Many of these achievements are attributed to the individual programme for the socioeconomic development of the republic. Batu Khasikov thanked Vladimir Putin for extending the programme for another six years: Kalmykia, alongside other regions, would continue to take part in it.

In the current five-year plan, 60 percent of total funding is allocated towards creating economic tools, and this made it possible to support 150 projects and create over 2,000 new jobs, with two rubles of extra-budgetary funds attracted per ruble of invested budgetary funds. Additionally, construction is underway for essential social infrastructure, including a hospital for war veterans and a social service and support centre. Furthermore, the sewerage system in the capital of Kalmykia, Elista, is being upgraded.

The topic of environment, in particular, desertification was also discussed. The President noted that it was too serious a challenge for the republic to deal with it alone. Batu Khasikov highlighted that Kalmykia is regarded as the epicentre of desertification and shared that a programme has been developed together with a federal institute. On behalf of the community engaged in addressing this problem, the regional leader asked the President to support the decision to launch all experimental works, the basic ones at least, in Kalmykia. The practices developed and the experience gained will then be spread to other regions facing similar challenges.

Next, the President inquired about the most pressing health concern according to Batu Khasikov. The Head of the region cited demographics as a key issue. While the republic has seen an uptick in the number of large families, there remains a need to bolster the overall birth rate.

At the President’s instructions, a new children’s outpatient clinic was built in the city. There has been a significant expansion of the ambulance fleet, with a focus on acquiring off-road vehicles. People have taken note of these improvements and express gratitude.

The republic is actively engaged in 13 national projects. The aim is to ensure comprehensive coverage across all 13 regions of the republic, plus the capital of Kalmykia.

Further, Batu Khasikov reported on efforts to counter infectious diseases, including TB. He noted that tuberculosis is not a very severe issue in Kalmykia. At one time, there was a sanatorium there: pine trees, dry steppe and air created a microclimate that helped people recover. There are not very many patients now, and the situation is not urgent but they would still like to improve the infrastructure. In this context, work is underway with the Government of the Russian Federation, in part, with the Healthcare Ministry. Mikhail Murashko is aware of this and supports these efforts.

The Head of Kalmykia reported that in the past five years, investment in fixed assets amounted to 101.5 billion rubles, which is 50 percent more than in the previous period. As for construction, the housing commissioning has grown by 40 percent. The problem of defrauded homebuyers has been fully resolved. The current plan provides for the construction of a large residential neighbourhood called Youth in Elista with 120,000 square metres of housing.

The President noted that it was important not to neglect dilapidated housing in this context. As Batu Khasikov said, under the previous programme, the republic was among top ten regions that completed it ahead of schedule. However, this does not mean at all that the problem had been resolved because the number of housing identified as dilapidated is growing. A request for a new programme is already being considered.

Thereafter the President and Mr Khasikov talked about preschool education and construction of schools. The republic managed to bring practically 30 percent of its schools up to standard. Kalmykia has become one of top ten regions that scored the best results in this respect. Batu Khasikov thanked the Ministry of Education, Sergei Kravtsov and Andrei Turchak for their assistance as they supervise this process.

There are no waiting lists in kindergartens anymore. Residents of Kalmykia are happy to see that the programme for upgrading schools and kindergartens is expanding and it will be possible to create modern, comfortable conditions.

Vladimir Putin wished Mr Khasikov success at the next election, noting that the overall trends are positive.

May 21, 2024, The Kremlin, Moscow