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Meeting on developing Far Eastern cities

September 5, 2023, Sochi

The President held a videoconference meeting on the implementation of a programme to develop Far Eastern cities (Anadyr, Magadan and Yakutsk).

The meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Deputy Prime Minister – Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev, deputy prime ministers Alexander Novak and Marat Khusnullin, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Alexander Kozlov, Minister of Healthcare Mikhail Murashko, Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov, Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov, Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic Alexei Chekunkov, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media Maksut Shadayev, as well as heads of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Magadan Region, the Chukotka Autonomous Area, heads of Yakutsk, Magadan and Anadyr, CEO of DOM.RF Vitaly Mutko and Chairman of the State Development Corporation VEB.RF Igor Shuvalov.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon,

Today we will continue our discussion of master plans for the development of Far Eastern cities.

Let me remind you that the decision to launch this large-scale and complex programme, which is aimed at improving the quality of life in Russia’s Far Eastern regions, was made two years ago. And I must say that a lot of work has been done since then and we can see certain results.

For example, the first master plan was approved in September 2022 for Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Improvement is now underway in the city centre, and I hope the residents can see positive changes. I should also note that thanks to the coordinated and concerted efforts of businesses, the federal government and regional authorities, significant progress has been made in building a large offshore liquefied natural gas transhipment complex. This project will help boost Russian LNG exports and contribute to gas infrastructure development in the Kamchatka Territory, promoting its overall economic growth and creating new jobs. In turn, the region will be able to redirect budget funding freed up as a result of switching from fuel oil to gas to implementing the master plan.

In March we also examined master plans of five more cities, including Ulan-Ude, Chita, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and two BAM cities: Severobaikalsk and Tynda. Long-term comprehensive measures have also been taken and active work has begun. I hope that in the near future people will also be able to see its first results.

Today’s agenda includes master plans for three urban agglomerations: Anadyr, Yakutsk and Magadan.

When discussing them, I suggest sticking to the previous order of work: first, we identify the most pressing, topical issues of concern, highlight the key factors that hinder the development of these cities, and then outline systemic steps.

By the way, we have already begun discussing certain aspects of the master plan for Yakutsk with representatives of the republic in late May, at the exhibition on developing the creative economy in Russia. Back then, we decided to build a full-cycle studio in Yakutsk. It will be possible to film even in the harsh local winter conditions, without stopping the process for the duration of this difficult climatic period. I am asking you to inform me what has already been done on this facility.

In general, each of the cities under consideration has many similar problems. First of all, of course, the harsh climate and difficult transport accessibility.

It is clear that when preparing master plans for Magadan, Yakutsk and Anadyr agglomerations, the key focus should be placed on how to create up-to-date transport infrastructure and develop reliable road, air and water links, both with other settlements of the Far East and with all of Russia, so that people could quickly and at a reasonable price get to the place they need, without unnecessary transfers.

The most important task in this area is to form an effective transport hub in the northeast of Russia. In order to do this, we need to build a bridge across the Lena River near Yakutsk, as we have been saying for a long time. The reconstruction of the Kolyma federal highway is also planned. Another bridge in Yakutia must be built across the Aldan River. It will ensure year-round traffic on the Kolyma highway. Let us talk about this in more detail today.

I repeat: all three cities on our agenda have harsh weather conditions, and this places its own restrictions on construction, affects the way of life in these cities. And our task is to create decent living conditions and a comfortable urban environment using up-to-date building materials and technology, advanced urban planning solutions, so that people want to live there, work, raise children, so that young specialists come to these areas and regions.

Among other priorities is providing affordable food products. Due to the geographical location, isolation from large supply centres and rather high transport costs, food in these cities is more expensive than the average for Russia – naturally, everything is brought by plane. This is especially true of Anadyr and Magadan.

It is necessary to increase support for local producers and provide them with comprehensive assistance. For example, the construction of greenhouses will be profitable in Anadyr and Magadan, taking into account the available electricity. They will help reduce prices for vegetables and berries for local residents, in any case, stabilise the situation there.

Further. The most important priority is to increase the availability and quality of social services and, above all, medical care.

It is necessary to use existing advanced technology which allows for online consultations with qualified specialists living in other cities. And here I propose to make more active use of Moscow's successful experience, including expanding cooperation with the Moscow Centre for Diagnostics and Telemedicine. I know that such work has already begun in Anadyr.

It is clear that this will not completely solve the problem of medical personnel. It is also obvious that additional solutions are needed to support relocation of doctors, junior and middle medical staff to these cities, including the improvement of the system of financial incentives.

Of course, skilled professionals are also needed in other sectors. They are needed to implement investment projects, to unlock the rich potential of Yakutsk, Anadyr and Magadan.

We need to think about how to strengthen the system of vocational education in these regions and adjust it in response to current issues faced by key employers.

And the truly harsh climate of Yakutsk, Anadyr and Magadan requires special approaches to the development of these territories. At the same time, the unique nature of these places attracts tourists, this is obvious. In this sense, these territories have huge opportunities.

Of course, in order to increase tourist numbers, it is necessary to improve the hospitality industry, build hotels, improve the quality of services, and, in general, beautify the area.

It is known that a lot of effort is being made to clean up household and industrial waste that has accumulated in towns and ports over the past decades. For example, in Magadan, as you know, a project is being implemented to raise sunken ships and improve the embankment, which has already become a popular place for walking and recreation. This work must certainly be continued, including the efficient disposal of scrap metal.

There are many problems in all these areas, which we are going to talk about now. Let's move on to the discussion.


Vladimir Putin: I would like to thank you all for the constructive and substantive proposals; of course, we will have to incorporate as much of what we have discussed as possible.

There is a lot of work ahead of us as regards comprehensive development of Far Eastern cities, especially those we have discussed today – Anadyr, Yakutsk and Magadan, creation of comfortable urban environment, promotion of the economy and social sphere. And, of course, we have to get down to work as soon as possible.

By the end of this year we should develop and approve plans for the comprehensive socioeconomic development of the Magadan, Yakutsk and Anadyr agglomerations to 2030, determine the sources of funding, as we have just said. We have to consider all aspects of this task and begin work starting in 2024.

In addition to this, I am asking for the following priorities to be incorporated in the list of instructions.

First, the plan for the socioeconomic development of the Yakutsk agglomeration should include measures to complete the construction of a bridge across the Lena River, we have been discussing this a lot lately; we need to set a deadline for the completion of works, because we cannot drag it out indefinitely. We know all about long-delayed construction projects and we know how price parameters change with them.

It is also necessary to bring the road surface of the Kolyma federal highway into normal conditions: it is impossible to continue economic activity there based on the pictures we have been shown today and what drivers say about the roads. It is necessary to speed up the construction of a bridge across the Aldan River in Yakutia, which has just been mentioned, and to set specific deadlines.

I would like to repeat that these infrastructure projects will, of course, enhance the transport and logistics capabilities of the Magadan Region and Yakutia and provide year-round transport links in these territories.

Second, in order to saturate the food market of Anadyr and Magadan, I would like to ask the Government to provide additional support for projects to create and upgrade vegetable storage and greenhouse complexes – this is not a private task but a serious one, a huge one for the region as a whole – in order to double the volume of vegetables and berries growing in protected soil in the Magadan Region and the Chukotka Autonomous Area by 2026 as compared with 2022.

Third, in order to improve the availability and quality of medical care, I am asking the cities of Magadan and Anadyr to adopt timetables for staffing local hospitals and polyclinics with additional medical professionals, as well as provide for mechanisms of financial encouragement for their work: the Minister has just said that he considers this possible. Please do not leave this all up in the air. Implementation of these measures must begin next year.

Fourth. We talked, the Governor of the Magadan Region spoke about the revival of the fishing port in Magadan and maintaining the volume of coastal fishing. Of course, as regards this fishing port project, we need to determine the funding sources for the construction of waterworks and engineering infrastructure, to avoid a decrease in the volume of coastal fishing, including by small and medium-sized companies.

Fifth. Both Magadan and Yakutsk still have a large share of dilapidated housing; we just talked about this. I would like you to replicate the decisions made on Chita and Ulan-Ude and complete, by 2030, the relocation of residents from dilapidated housing that is recognized as in emergency condition as of September 1, 2023.

Sixth, the Zhatai shipyard. I ask my colleagues from the Government, together with the leadership of Yakutia, to take measures to complete the first stage of modernising this facility. If necessary, we will consider the possibility of transferring the federal holding of shares in this enterprise to regional ownership. I have just discussed this with the Deputy Prime Minister and the head of the region. If everyone agrees, we should do it, but we need to agree on how we will do it. Needless to say that if such decision is made, the republic should be made responsible for completing the upgrade of the shipyard.

And in conclusion, I ask the Government to take under review the ongoing construction of new buildings for the Higher School of Music in Yakutia, so that talented children can study in modern and comfortable classrooms. I propose setting a deadline to complete it by 2026. Indeed, I remember visiting this Higher School; it makes an incredible impression when you see how it all happens in the severe weather conditions in which this school operates.

I believe that the decisions made today will have a positive impact on the economy and the social support in these three cities and will promote their development.

I would like you to draw up a list of instructions, based on the draft list of measures for the development of Anadyr, Yakutsk and Magadan, which was distributed before the meeting, and finalise it, taking into account today's discussion.

Colleagues, I thank you all once again for your participation today. We will discuss master plans for a number of other cities in the Far East at the Eastern Economic Forum.

Thank you very much. Have a good day.

September 5, 2023, Sochi