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Meeting with big business leaders

August 16, 2010, Sochi

Dmitry Medvedev proposed that the business community take part in rebuilding villages damaged by the wildfires.

The President also said that money has already been earmarked for compensating people for lost property, rebuilding homes, and paying compensations to victims’ families, and the state authorities will pay these sums in full.

AFK Sistema’s Board of Directors Chairman Vladimir Yevtushenkov assured the President that the business community is already taking measures to help people hit by the fires. In particular, Mr Yevtushenkov said that his company has developed several dozen certificates giving people who lost their homes in the fires the right to receive free housing, and plans to spend between $10 million and $20 million on this work.

President of Interros Holding Company Vladimir Potanin said that his company has taken on responsibility for one of the districts in the Tver Region, where peat bogs are located.

Basic Element CEO Oleg Deripaska said that the RusAl company will help residents of a village in the Nizhny Novgorod Region, and will have 50 houses built by mid-November.

NOVATEK’s Management Board Chairman Leonid Mikhelson said that the company shareholders decided to donate money and build at their own expense 25 houses in the Nizhny Novgorod Region and 25 houses in Mordovia.

Following the meeting with the business people, Mr Medvedev instructed the Presidential Executive Office to work with the governors of the fire-hit regions to organise the provision of land for private garden plots to replace the private plots of those whose houses were destroyed.

Taking part in the meeting were Evraz Invest President Alexander Abramov, Surgutneftegaz CEO Vladimir Bogdanov, Basic Element CEO Oleg Deripaska, Chairman of the Board of Directors of AFK Sistema Vladimir Yevtushenkov, Chairman of the Management Board of NOVATEK Leonid Mikhelson, Severstal CEO and board member of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexei Mordashov, Interros Holding Company President Vladimir Potanin, and First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Vladislav Surkov. 

* * *

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Colleagues,

I have invited you here today to discuss with you a serious problem facing our country, namely, the consequences of the heat wave and the fires that have taken place. 

You know, of course, the Government and I have taken decisions on compensating our citizens for their lost property. Money has been earmarked for rebuilding houses, and these funds will be paid out to the last ruble. We have also decided on compensation for the families of fire victims, and have taken a number of other decisions.

But taking into account the reaction to this problem in our society and the scale of the disaster, I thought we should meet with our business leaders to discuss how the business community can contribute to the disaster relief effort. I am not talking about setting up funds of whatever sort, because they already exist and accounts have been opened, where all who wish to do so can send money. And I know that members of the business community are already doing this. 

I am talking rather about the settlements, mostly villages, that have been hit so hard by this disaster and now need to be rebuilt, but on a better basis than what existed before, because, to be honest, even before the fires life was not so easy there. These were villages in a difficult situation, and were mostly composed of wooden buildings without modern conveniences.

I think that we should consult with each other now on what we can do to make life in these places more attractive after all that has happened, all the more so as the reconstruction work is already underway and many people are taking direct part in it.

I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped in the fire-fighting effort. Alongside the professional fire fighters from the Emergency Situations Ministry and other agencies, this also includes a huge number of volunteers, a huge number of people who have selflessly risked their own lives to help put out the fires and protect their fellow citizens.

This kind of public initiative is extremely important, I think. It has brought us all together to face the situation that this summer has brought us. Let’s exchange views on how we can help the affected villages and on how you see the business community’s role in this work.


August 16, 2010, Sochi