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Meeting with Head of Talent and Success foundation Yelena Shmeleva

March 15, 2021, The Kremlin, Moscow

The meeting with Head of the Talent and Success foundation Yelena Shmeleva focused on the development of the Sirius Educational Centre in the status of Russia’s first federal territory.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Shmeleva,

Sirius is developing actively thanks to you and the efforts of the team you have created and consolidated. It is indeed becoming a centre for training talented children and retraining teachers. It is actively working in the regions, boosting the development of the spheres that were identified as priority areas at the first stage, and it is also expanding its operations. Very good, world-class laboratories have been established within the framework of Sirius. You are also establishing higher education institutions and plan to create a technopark and, as far as I know, a boarding school for talented children from the regions, for whom it is difficult to come to Sirius on a regular basis and who we will need in the future.

And now we have established a new administrative territory with the same name, Sirius. How will this fit into your general development plans?

Head of the Talent and Success foundation Yelena Shmeleva: Mr President, thank you for giving us an opportunity to tell you more about our plans. Many decisions were taken at the latest meeting of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. I would like to tell you that Sirius will continue developing in accordance with the model you assigned to it, through consolidation and work in the interests of each of its graduates and every region, but from now on as a federal territory. I hope that we will be able to report in the near future on the development of our sports, science, education and cultural projects in the federal territory.

First of all, I would like to say that this year we started paying Presidential grants to students in master’s programmes. Competition is very tough. And we see our students’ achievements not only at subject Olympiads, which are held at a very high level and even internationally, but also at contests for scientific grants. Our students’ projects have been published in highly rated research journals, and their intellectual property is being protected. This means that our national projects and the Sirius Federal Territory have a deeply engaged pool of high-potential students, who are driven by a desire to attain the goals set for the territory.

In two years from now, a concert hall will open at Sirius. We are currently making sure that it will have the best-quality acoustics. As you are aware, Mr Yasuhisa Toyota is in charge of this, at your request. We have already started discussing a development programme for the concert hall with prominent people of art, musicians and ballet companies. We plan to help the most energetic and talented musicians, performers and aspiring companies from every region realise their potential by performing on this stage.

It should be noted that the Krasnodar Territory is doing its best for southern Russia to acquire a new international music venue. The region is developing the Sochi Symphony Orchestra and, naturally, preparing to open a concert hall.

Vladimir Putin: How many seats?

Yelena Shmeleva: The main auditorium will have1,200 seats and the smaller hall, 300 seats. There will also be an art and literature area as well as an art gallery. It is located at the main entrance to the federal territory. The federal territory begins with a concert hall and the arts cluster in general. Perhaps this is symbolic.

As for sports, following your instructions, we worked with major sports federations and prominent coaches as well as the Ministry of Sport and regional governors that are adopting the Sirius model at home, to develop a concept for a sports cluster.

The concept is based on the most efficient use of the Olympic infrastructure. Programmes developed by Russian coaches and sports schools will be used as the basis for mass programmes for children’s sports, non-professional, student and youth sports. We will be able to invite national teams and train highly qualified coaches as well as conduct research in sports science and rehabilitation.

As per your instructions, we worked with leading Russian medical organisations and experts to build a model for a university medical cluster. It will benefit from everything that Sirius has to offer, namely leading expert organisations that are developing new technology and can employ them on the basis of the university for the benefit of any resident or any Sirius visitor. Essentially, in the future, we will be able to offer professional medical training at Sirius University and develop breakthrough scientific research.

The majority of the projects I am presenting today will be implemented as public-private partnerships. This mechanism has been stipulated in the law you have signed, the law on the establishment of the Sirius Federal Territory, and its main distinguishing feature will be the use of a special legal framework.

We hope that the concerted efforts that have led to the approval of this law, the efforts of the Presidential Executive Office and the Government, the Federation Council and the leading industry experts from the Krasnodar Territory and Sochi, have also created the foundations for the priority development of the Sirius territory.

We have started discussing our master plan with the people. I have come to show you the projects that are ready for discussion with the leading experts and people, so that all and any constructive proposals we receive can be taken into account in this important job. The master plan for the territory’s development must be ready by September.

Vladimir Putin: This one?

Yelena Shmeleva: It also includes a sports cluster. I will tell you about it in more detail.

Vladimir Putin: Where is the plan?

Yelena Shmeleva: Here it is. I am also deeply grateful to you for your trust, the attention you are giving to Sirius and for creating the necessary conditions for the development of this territory within the framework of the objectives set for science, education, culture and sports. Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: When will the theatre be ready?

Yelena Shmeleva: In the fourth quarter of 2022.

Vladimir Putin: In late 2022, that is, you have two years.

Yelena Shmeleva: Yes, we have two years.

Vladimir Putin: Have you started building it?

Yelena Shmeleva: Yes, we are already finishing the sixth floor. We have recently established an Arts Expert Council. I would like to ask you to support it. It includes the originators of this project plus Valery Gergiev, Sergei Roldugin and Svetlana Zakharova, the founders of the foundation. We have also included in the council the Sirius graduates who take part in and win prizes at the Constellation contest so as to comply with the programme and the novel techniques we can use when building concert halls.

Vladimir Putin: This is great, very good. What about the university?

Yelena Shmeleva: As for the university, there is a variety of possibilities we can make use of because we have more plots of land for developing the campus. We have built a wonderful school with a courtyard and lecture halls located along the perimeter. We would like to use the same layout for the campus as well, which can span a rather large area.

Vladimir Putin: Where will it be situated?

Yelena Shmeleva: Right across from the Media Centre.

Vladimir Putin: Is the plot vacant?

Yelena Shmeleva: Yes, it is.

We are now developing a Centre of Life Sciences at the Media Centre. The Centre’s laboratories will cover an area of almost 9,000 square metres. The campus is designed to accommodate 6,000 students and 1,000 educators (this is the permanent group), and 1,000 more people will study at short-term one-month courses. In effect, 7,000 people are supposed to be able to live on the campus that we have planned. This will be a low-rise construction project with new technologies.

Vladimir Putin: 7,000 people? This is rather impressive.

Yelena Shmeleva: Yes, this is quite serious. On the whole, we expect about 40,000 people will live here, as the University and the Innovative Centre develop, according to the current plans. This is a project that, I believe, all of us will discuss. I would like this to be an open and convenient infrastructure, and I would like to see another secondary school built there. You see, the [Krasnodar] Territory is now completing a school for 1,100 pupils. Thank you for the decision to transfer the school. One more school will be built, with due consideration for these plans.

Speaking of the campus, due to spread out far and wide here, it is possible to build an unconventional school for 2,500 children. Consequently, schools and kindergartens will be established within walking distance and under a model that we are now developing here in every segment of the federal territory.

Vladimir Putin: Will the school that the Territory is building or has already built provide permanent residence for children or not? Will it be a boarding school?

Yelena Shmeleva: Yes, as per your instruction, we want to allot two buildings, located side by side, for a boarding school with 260 pupils. Children from the Krasnodar Territory and from southern Russia as a whole, as well as children whose candidacies have been approved by the Expert Council, will board there.

Vladimir Putin: On a permanent basis?

Yelena Shmeleva: Yes.

We are now launching it as a high school with our profiles. Our children studying at four specialised classes in Sochi are posting very good results. These specialised classes deal with chemistry and biology, physics and mathematics. Children win Olympiads and enrol at leading Russian education institutions and post impressive results and motivation. Actually, the very same efficient educators now working at our Sirius Lyceum will develop this entire education cluster in the field of general, additional and secondary professional (vocational) education.

This year, we are set to open an IT college for 55 students, and we have even received an estimate as to how many IT students are going to enrol. Residents who have opened their offices here are extremely interested in this opportunity, and they have already formulated their curricula requirements. And we will show how in-demand specialists will train here together with teenagers from Sochi.

Vladimir Putin: But is the University already up and running?

Yelena Shmeleva: Yes, the University is getting down to work. We are launching masters and postgraduate programmes in all three fields here this year. As you know, an international mathematics centre is functioning here. Together with our colleagues we have compiled a major agenda to be included in the plan of the Year of Science and Technology starting in 2021.

Vladimir Putin: Good, thank you.


March 15, 2021, The Kremlin, Moscow