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Meeting with Government members

October 11, 2018, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin held a regular meeting with members of the Government.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues.

Today we will talk about issues related to the mainline infrastructure. But we will begin with the most current matters, such as preparations for the heating season in the utilities system and in the fuel and energy sector.

Let us begin with utilities. (To the Minister of Construction and Housing and Utilities Vladimir Yakushev.) Mr Yakushev, how is it going?

Minister of Construction and Housing and Utilities Vladimir Yakushev: Mr President, colleagues,

The Ministry of Construction and Housing and Utilities continuously monitors preparations for the heating season. We maintain a constant dialogue with the regions of the Russian Federation. On August 16, Deputy Prime Minister Valery Mutko conducted a national teleconference on the preparations of utility and energy facilities for the autumn and winter seasons. It was attended by representatives of all Russian regions, the Ministry of Construction and Housing and Utilities, the Energy Ministry, the Defence Ministry, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service and Rostekhnadzor [Federal Service for Environmental, Technological, and Nuclear Supervision]. The national conference on preparations for the autumn and winter period where all problems were discussed was held on October 5 in cooperation with the Energy Ministry as part of Russian Energy Week.

A hotline that people can call if they have any problems was established for the cold season for permanent monitoring and prompt control over the removal of breakdowns or restrictions in heat supplies to residential buildings or socially important facilities.

As of October 11, the heating season is already on in 70 regions of the Russian Federation. In the North Caucasus Federal District and the Southern Federal District, it will start after October 15.

According to the current data submitted by the regions on October 10, 189 billion rubles have been allocated for preparations for winter. In the country as a whole, the housing fund, boilers, heating, water supply and electricity systems are 98 percent ready for the cold season.

(The Minister went on to talk about repairs on the heating and water supply systems, creating fuel reserves, and the debt of the regions to resource-supplying organisations.)

I would also like to make another point. Fuel oil prices shot up today, over 30 percent in some regions. Coal prices were up as well.

The regions of the Russian Federation forwarded data on the shortfall in revenue. An interdepartmental group comprising representatives of the Ministry of Construction, the Federal Antimonopoly Service, the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade is reconciling the amounts of the shortfall in various regions of the Russian Federation. Once the group finalizes the data, the numbers will be submitted to the Government for further decision.

Vladimir Putin: Do you have a ballpark figure?

Vladimir Yakushev: Tentatively, 23 billion.

Therefore, today, the level of preparedness is fairly high, with the exception of certain snags, which we are aware of, and will work to overcome in each region to make sure the heating season goes smoothly.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Well, 23 billion is a lot of money, but we all realise that, regardless of the costs, we cannot leave people without heating. Therefore, we need to find a solution promptly with regard to these funds.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov: Mr President,

We are now reconciling the amounts the Russian regions may additionally need. We will sit down with the regions and see whether the budget can help them. After the budget is adjusted – we are now amending the law on this year’s budget – we will also use the Government’s reserve funds to help the regions.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

Mr Novak, how are things in your area?

Energy Minister Alexander Novak: Mister President,

With regard to the electric power plants, the winterisation process is in full swing and is, in fact, nearing completion. The Ministry of Energy is tracking more than 1,000 facilities, including thermal power plants, nuclear power stations and hydroelectric power plants, the power grid complex and operational-dispatching offices.

Electricity consumption is forecast to go up by about 2.2 percent during this autumn and winter. Additional capacities of 38 GW, or 15 percent of the determined capacity, have been reserved.

Over 10,000 kilometers of powerlines, about 2,500 MVA of transformer capacity and 3,200 MW of generator capacity have been introduced during the preparations for the winter.

Repairs are carried out as scheduled. They have almost been completed (98 percent), and the financing has been increased by four percent compared with last year.

Now to fuel. The reserves of coal and fuel oil are 150 percent of the norm, namely, 19.4 million tonnes of coal and 2.6 million tonnes of fuel oil.

We monitor the situation daily and hold conference calls with Russian Railways and coal companies to ensure a reserve. We provide enhanced oversight of three thermal power plants in the problem regions: the Baikalsk thermal power plant in Irkutsk Region; the plant in the city of Yurga, Kemerovo Region, and the plant in the village of Deputatsky, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). We also oversee preparations for the autumn and winter season in Crimea, Sevastopol and Kaliningrad Region and provide support. In Crimea, two of the first starter units are in trial mode at the thermal power plant under construction, and generate 470 MW. This will also provide additional reserves for the winter considering the power bridge. We are also repairing the electrical supply network, with nine billion rubles allocated for this for the next two years.

I would also like to note that this year the Government has approved the rules for electricity systems’ technological operation in order to increase system stability and lower the risk of breakdowns in the power grid. The rules envisage firm requirements for the equipment, which are the same for everyone, and all companies must comply with them.

Large-scale drills on how to restore power supply in case of emergency are being held in 18 regions. These are some of the additional measures taken this year to get through the winter season safely.

In general, everything is operating normally. The deadline to receive readiness permits for all energy facilities is November 15.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Fine. Thank you.

Mrs Skvortsova, we have had a fairly warm autumn so far, but the cold will inevitably follow as will again, apparently, the problem with influenza. I know that vaccination is already under way. At what stage of this work are we now?

Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova: Mr President, we launched preparations for the upcoming epidemiological season in March after receiving the strains recommended by the World Health Organisation. These are three strains: two А (H1N1) Michigan viruses that have a structure similar to the 2009 swine flu, A (H3N2) Singapore and B Colorado. We used all three strains to develop a vaccine. It took us five months to prepare and it was ready by the middle of August. This year, we are using domestic, high-tech and safe vaccines with full-cycle production handled by our companies. Four vaccines: two for children aged between six months and 18 years and for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, and two for adults.

This year, we purchased seven percent more vaccine than last year, which will enable us to vaccinate 3,300,000 more people, in all, more than 62 million at public expense. In addition, around 6,000,000 will be vaccinated at their workplace at the expense of employers under an agreement between the Ministry of Health and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE). We will vaccinate around 70 million people in fact, around half of the country's population. It is important to note that vaccination will cover more than 75 percent of people in the risk groups.

Supplies of the vaccines began in August. In the first place, vaccines were supplied in full to the regions that are the ports of entry for infection on our territory. These are all Far Eastern regions, southern Siberia, part of the north-western regions and Rostov Region. As of September, all the remaining regions are receiving the vaccine according to plan.

So far, 70 percent of vaccines have been supplied, and the process will be completed by November 15. To date, 32 million people have been vaccinated. That is nearly half of the planned number. These include 8.5 million children and more than 94,000 pregnant women. It should be added that, so far, the influenza rate is 15 percent below the baseline or 10 percent below the weekly epidemiological threshold. We have the situation under control.

I will add that in cooperation with Roszdravnadzor [Federal Service for Surveillance in Healthcare] we checked the preparedness of the regions for the current epidemiological season. All regions have a two-week minimum supply of flu medicines and individual protective gear. Over 100,000 infection beds have been deployed and bed capacity has been prepared.

All resuscitation units at infectious hospitals were checked separately. They are fully equipped, based on the standards. Since 2016, we have doubled the number of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation devices for the treatment of the worst pneumonia viruses. In general, everything is ready now and we will monitor the situation in cooperation with the regions.

Vladimir Putin: Have we become so active since 2011?

Veronika Skvortsova: Yes, Mr President, since 2011 we have almost doubled the coverage (from 26 percent to 46.6 percent in 2017), which has allowed us to reduce the incidence of the flu six times during these five years and, most importantly, to sharply decrease – by more than 20 times – the fatality rate and flu complications.

Vladimir Putin: It is necessary to complete this and do all of it this year.

(Addressing Pavel Kolobkov.) Mr Kolobkov, yesterday we discussed, in part, preparations for the Universiade. Can you please say a few words about it?

Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov: Mr President, preparations for the Universiade have entered the final stage. In effect, there are five months to go before the Universiade in Krasnoyarsk. We are to open 34 facilities, including 21 sports facilities.

Mr President, in February you held a meeting at which a number of problems were revealed along with positive points (the Sopka sports cluster and Yemelyanovo International Airport were opened at that time). I am referring to a new helipad, and opening the multi-purpose centre at Siberian University, where the Universiade’s cafeteria will be located, and a city clinical hospital.

In addition, we discussed issues linked with additional funding for upgrading the urban environment. We have taken measures and removed these problems. All lags have been removed. The helipad has been put into service. We have signed a new contract for the construction of the multi-purpose centre, which is on schedule. The same applies to the city clinical hospital.

All of this work is under special supervision; we are monitoring it all the time. An additional 2.5 billion have been allocated for the upgrading of Krasnoyarsk and a decision was made to earmark another 2.5 billion for the region. This is why 17 of 34 facilities have already opened, and we will put the remaining 17 facilities into operation before the end of 2018.

We have tested four facilities already. We are testing the level of preparedness of all services involved in the Universiade as well. We will conduct seven more tests in the run-up to the Universiade in 2018 and in early 2019.

We are now screening the Games’ volunteers whom you met with in Ulyanovsk yesterday. We will pick 5,000 volunteers, of whom about 20 percent come from Russia’s regions and from other countries. We have volunteers from China, the United States, Canada and other countries. We received 30,000 applications from people willing to participate in this programme.

Vladimir Putin: Have any major events or major competitions been held at these sites?

Pavel Kolobkov: Yes, we are running tests. A student hockey tournament has just ended. Our team won the final match with the Czech team.

As part of the Universiade legacy and upon your instruction, we decided to turn the Sopka sport cluster into a federal training centre for our national teams. It will be open year-round for five sports. We will transfer the Raduga cluster to Siberian Federal University. This is a mass sport facility, which will also be used as a fitness centre for local residents.

In conjunction with a number of federations, we are exploring the possibility of using all sport facilities for major tournaments. In fact, these facilities can accommodate any kind of sporting event at any level, including the Universiade and the World Cup. We are now discussing the holding of a world field hockey championship in 2023. We are building an indoor sport complex there.

In addition, we need to get several problems out of the way by late 2018; for example, we will need to complete improvement projects in the city, put all sport facilities into operation, and, of course, carry out the remaining tests and check our readiness.

Vladimir Putin: Fine. Make sure things are on schedule. You have caught up with the schedule now. Keep tabs on it to avoid backsliding again. Thank you.

Now, let us get to the main issue. Mr Ditrikh [Transport Minister], you have the floor.


October 11, 2018, The Kremlin, Moscow