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Meeting with Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region Alexander Tsybulsky

December 11, 2023, Arkhangelsk

At the end of his working trip to the North-Western Federal District, Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region Alexander Tsybulsky.

Alexander Tsybulsky began with a topic of highest priority, protecting the families of the personnel serving in the special military operation. A foundation, called Defenders of the Fatherland, was launched. A regional centre, Together We Are Stronger, continues to provide support.

The governor reported that the Defenders of the Fatherland foundation had embarked on several projects, including Doctors for the Military. This project develops individual support programmes for those returning from the special military operation, in cooperation with the Arkhangelsk Region Medical Association. Business people, involved in physical fitness and sports, offer free access to their gyms and sports facilities to veterans of the special military operation. A project called Iron Coach helps those who returned with injuries.

This year, the region started cooperating with the Zaporozhye Region. Cooperation agreements were signed with Zaporozhye and Melitopol. As many as 267 children from Melitopol went on holiday to Crimea. The Arkhangelsk Region helped with preparing the local fuel and energy infrastructure for winter and renovating social facilities.

As concerns the region’s socioeconomic development, 2022 was a difficult year due to sanctions imposed on certain n industries. However, the governor noted that in 2023, the region entered a steady trajectory of recovery and growth. GRP increased by almost 1 percent and it is expected that in 2024–2025, GRP will grow by another 2–4 percent per annum.

Industrial production is recovering. Investment is on the rise. All investors have resumed their investment programmes and they are also launching new production facilities. Housing construction is ahead of schedule. Real wages recovered, increasing by almost 6 percent. The unemployment rate stands at 1 percent. Life expectancy is growing after the decline in 2021. It is estimated that as of 2023, life expectancy will reach 72 years.

The agenda also included efforts to develop the Northern Sea Route and the Arkhangelsk Transport Hub. The Governor asked the President to issue instructions to work on this matter. In particular, there is a need for deep-water ports and a detailed project has already been drafted to this effect. This would enable Arkhangelsk to handle an additional 20 million tonnes in shipments. To do that, the port must be able to serve ships with a draft of up to 14.5 metres. This way, it will be able to accommodate 75,000 TDW panamax ships carrying 3,000 containers. The Arkhangelsk port mostly deals with container shipments.

The Governor went on to report that in 2023 a ship sailed from Arkhangelsk to Shanghai, using the Northern Sea Route for the first time in 10 years, and carrying 500 containers. It took the ship 22 days to get to its destination using the Northern Sea Route, while container ships sailing from St Petersburg spend between 32 and 34 days at sea. The Suez Canal provides for a longer route, taking between 50 to 53 days. There is already an agreement with our Chinese partners on six to eight ships arriving at the Arkhangelsk port every month in 2024.

There is also the need to upgrade the corresponding port infrastructure, primarily transport infrastructure, as well as to expand the railway’s carrying capacity. In addition to this, we need to build up the Arctic-class fleet. Over the past 20 years, 580 ships were decommissioned, while only 224 entered service. Experts have been unanimous, the Governor said, that we need to build at least one more shipyard for large-tonnage ships.

During the meeting, the President and the Governor also discussed timber processing, wooden house construction, relocating people from sub-standard housing, and road construction as part of the Safe and High Quality Roads national project.

The Governor talked about building ice-class ships at the Arkhangelsk shipyards, upgrading the runway at the local airport so that it can now serve almost any aircraft and therefore offer more destinations. They also mentioned the efforts to renovate schools.

On a separate note, Alexander Tsybulsky talked about the Arkhangelsk Region’s skiing team and the national skiing team. The region benefited from working with socially responsible businesses to bring together the best athletes from around the country. It has been developing Malinovka skiing centre as one of the best cross-country skiing venues in Russia.

The Governor also talked about developing the Solovetsky Islands and carrying out the Presidential Executive Order to mark 600 years of monastic presence there in 2029. Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko are proactive in overseeing this effort.

December 11, 2023, Arkhangelsk