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Meeting with Acting Head of Mordovia Artyom Zdunov

August 18, 2021, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The President had a working meeting with Acting Head of the Republic of Mordovia Artyom Zdunov, via videoconference.

Artyom Zdunov began his report by assessing the COVID-19 situation as rather worrisome, but under control. In terms of the vaccination rate Mordovia is among the top ten regions in Russia.

As for the current socioeconomic situation, the main problems the region is struggling with are low wages and developments on the labour market. To improve the situation, the region is implementing 17 major investment projects. They have to do with medical goods, deep processing of meat, and lighting devices. Furthermore, Mordovia plans to double its flower output to account for 15 percent of the national market with 100,000 roses. The regional government is cooperating with Gazprom to connect local consumers to the gas grid.

Local agriculture holds leading positions in the Volga Federal District. The food industry has shown 21 percent growth. Mordovia fully meets the regional demand for meat, milk, eggs, and vegetables, and exports agricultural produce.

Artyom Zdunov mentioned such new projects as a competence center with the federal Treasury, which will serve the taxation and customs services of the neighbouring regions. He also mentioned a new area, eSports. Local game testing companies export 99 percent of their services, eSports championships will be held in Mordovia.

Mr Zdunov said he had a clear vision of what needs to be done, and what bottlenecks needed to be addressed. The region has an investment strategy, and an individual development programme until 2026 now in the works with the Ministry of Economic Development. The aim of it is to boost the region’s revenue and to create new jobs. It could be adopted at the level of the Government of the Russian Federation, to support the region’s development in the coming years. The official asked the President to support this initiative.

Artyom Zdunov also asked for support in developing the Ruzayevka priority development area, which is a large industrial region. The three-year period when it could receive insurance premium benefits has expired. Meanwhile, there are major investors in Mordovia itself who are willing to invest in meat processing and in the production of antibiotics and tanks for transporting hydrogen. But there must be a resolution to extend the benefits. This issue is now being worked through with the Ministry of Economic Development.

The issue of debt needs to be addressed as well. Thanks to the presidential instructions, the republic will significantly reduce its commercial debt, but the total debt will still exceed its own revenue, which cuts it off from almost all programmes and initiatives related to investors’ capital investments. Mr Zdunov asked the President to support his request to postpone the maturity of the outstanding debt so that the republic could move forward in the years ahead.

Vladimir Putin noted that the problem of large debt had been inherited by the acting head of the region from the previous leaders of the republic and, of course, assistance would be provided. The Government is aware of this and is working on it. The President called the proposals made by Mr Zdunov absolutely clear, and the only thing that needs to be determined is the amount of support. All requests will be considered without fail.

At the same time, Vladimir Putin drew attention to positive aspects, which must be relied on and which in no case should be overlooked, such as not too high a level of structurally unsafe housing and good social infrastructure, in particular, in school education and public health. The number of doctors per 100,000 population is greater than the national average. The unemployment rate is lower than the average for Russia. These positive aspects must remain in constant focus.

The President wished Mr Zdunov success and promised that his requests would be reviewed and corresponding instructions issued.

August 18, 2021, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region