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Meeting with members of the public in Sevastopol

March 14, 2018, Sevastopol

Vladimir Putin met with members of the public to discuss Sevastopol’s topical matters.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Hello. I hope you are not all freezing.

Remark: Not at all! We are worried whether you are cold?

Governor of Sevastopol Dmitry Ovsyannikov: Mr President, allow me to introduce to you Yevgeny Generalov, honorary citizen of Sevastopol who served as the city’s head until 1989.

Vladimir Putin: A pleasure to meet you.

Everyone is in a festive mood today, aren’t they?

Anna Tsysar: Yes, exactly, we were waiting for you.

Mr President, as we approach the anniversary of the referendum and the elections, on behalf of the thousand-strong organisation, Sevastopol’s Children of War, which I am the head of, I would like to tell you that our dreams, wishes, your wisdom and your willpower enabled us to return to our Motherland without spilling a single drop of blood, even though the war was just a stone’s throw away.

Vladimir Putin: The threat was very serious.

Anna Tsysar: You know, there are problems, but there was no infrastructure investment for so many decades. We will do it, and I know that everything will be fine.

Vladimir Putin: We will do it. We are already doing it, as you know.

Anna Tsysar: I am a mother as well as a grandmother. The sign on the monument to Alexander Kazarsky says An example for future generations, and I am happy that our legacy for our grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren will be the Russian Spring and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Sevastopol for Russia is a priceless diamond, where every stone is covered in blood. Throughout its history, it served as a southern outpost, standing guard day and night. We reunited with Russia victoriously, and we must defend this victory, and pay our Motherland back, protect it from all the woes so that the legacy of the Russian Spring lives on forever.

Thank you very much, Mr President!

Vladimir Putin: Thank you. Those were beautiful words.

Anna Tsysar: God save you! May your guardian angel always be with you. Thank you!

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.

Anton Novikov: Mr President, Sevastopol has transformed over the past years. However, I have a request for you. New roads are being built and the old ones are being repaired. We finally got new municipal transport vehicles, including buses and trolleybuses, for the first time in 20 years. Yet the transport problem has not been resolved in full. I have lived and worked here for 33 years.

Vladimir Putin: Deliveries will continue.

Anton Novikov: The problem is the congestion we will have during the summer months, when many people will come to take their holidays here.

Vladimir Putin: We know about this, and your Governor knows about this as well. Last year, we allocated additional funds for building roads. We even offered more.

Dmitry Ovsyannikov: I turned the offer down.

Vladimir Putin: He told me frankly that there were not enough capacities, or construction companies that could carry out this job. In principle, we were ready to double the allocations, but the construction capacity of Sevastopol and Crimea is not sufficient for dealing with this sort of funding. We did not want to contract any external companies, because we want local people to do the job. Therefore, we will continue this project.

As for the pool of municipal transport vehicles, it will be replenished. I believe 10 billion rubles will be allocated to Sevastopol for this purpose. Overall allocations to Sevastopol alone in 2018–2020 are estimated at over 100 billion rubles.

Anton Novikov: Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: We will also build kindergartens and renovate outpatient clinics as well as schools.

Anton Novikov: This is very important.

Vladimir Putin: How many schools are we talking about here?

Dmitry Ovsyannikov: There are plans for 20 kindergartens and 11 schools. 11 of the 30 facilities are under construction. Mr President, when I see how much attention you are paying to this and the decisions you take on our citizens’ requests, I become aware of our huge responsibility for implementing these projects.

Vladimir Putin: For implementing them efficiently.

Dmitry Ovsyannikov: Thank you very much.

Yevgeny Generalov: Mr President, the young people have come. I am certain, as an experienced worker and head of the city, that young people are our future. I have faith in them now, so I am not going to speak of what needs to be done. There is a lot. There is something else I am certain of: that Russia will always find an opportunity, take action and help. We need more people.

We have a problem on the northern side. There is an organisation in Russia. They bought the plant I had built.

Vladimir Putin: Here in Sevastopol?

Yevgeny Generalov: Here, on the northern side. There were 7,500 workers. 400 when I came there. Eight years later, when I left, there were 7,500. We were making nuclear submarines… But this is not the point, what is more important is that this gentleman who owns it now should be told that he must work on that.

Vladimir Putin: What is it? Some kind of enterprise?

Yevgeny Generalov: The Parus plant.

Anna Tsysar: It was the largest in the Soviet Union.

Dmitry Ovsyannikov: It ceased its operation in the early 1990s.

Vladimir Putin: The early 1990s? Is it possible to save anything there?

Yevgeny Generalov: They made theOmnibus [military information and control system] for nuclear submarines there.

Vladimir Putin: I see, but if it has not been working since the 1990s, for so many years, can we do anything?

Yevgeny Generalov: He does not want it to work. The owner has bought it and does not want to sell it or give it away.

Vladimir Putin: So the question is, should there be some kind of activity there?

Yevgeny Generalov: It was simply destroyed. It needs work. It brings tears to my eyes, do you see?

Vladimir Putin: There is probably nothing left after so many years.

Yevgeny Generalov: Everything is there; the building is there, and it all still works a bit.

Vladimir Putin: And what would you like to do there?

Dmitry Ovsyannikov: We will make an industrial park site. We are building one, but not on the northern side. Mr Generalov emphasises that it is located where 50,000 people live, and there is a lack of jobs. This year we are going to open the Almaz – Antei Engineering Centre in the city.

Vladimir Putin: Make your proposals and we will contact the owners and talk with them.

Dmitry Ovsyannikov: If I may, I will make a proposal to the company’s supervisor: a state corporation that works nearby and can take on leadership.

Vladimir Putin: Please, give concrete proposals.

Dmitry Ovsyannikov: Because we are opening a large platform, the Almaz – Antei, in the central part of the city.

Vladimir Putin: Good.

Yelena Laikunas: Mr President, I am a native of Sevastopol, I was born here and have lived here all my life. I am very happy to see how the city is flourishing and being renewed. Thank you very much. Sevastopol residents love you. We are looking forward to the forthcoming reconstruction of the Lunacharsky Theatre and the Kroshitsky Museum.

Vladimir Putin: Is it a drama theatre?

Yelena Laikunas: Yes, it is a drama theatre. This is to be followed by the construction of a new building for the Youth Theatre, the Dance Theatre, while last year, the Constantine ravelin opened for the public.

Mr President, you once spoke about an initiative involving setting up multipurpose cultural centres that could be venues for concerts, exhibitions and theatre shows. Will there be such a centre here in Sevastopol?

Vladimir Putin: Yes, there will. The idea was exactly that. Cities such as Vladivostok, Kaliningrad, Sevastopol are among the priority cities and we also have to select a couple of good places in Siberia that do not have large centres. The idea is to build venues for music theatres and exhibition centres for our leading museums, such as the Hermitage, the Russian Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery, so they can arrange permanent exhibits, and rotating, temporary exhibits, too. As for the theatre, it is a proper theatre, with training facilities for musicians and ballet dancers, combined with a residential compound for the faculty and actors. They appear to be fairly large compounds. But we are certainly going to plan and do this in Sevastopol.

Yelena Laikunas: Thank you ever so much.

Sevastopol is reemerging as a cultural centre, an intellectual centre of our great country and is reviving, and we are very happy, of course.

Vladimir Putin: It a big city. It is slightly bigger than Sochi in the number of residents, this is what I was surprised to discover, and regarding its territory it is just immense.

D. Ovsyannikov: Equal to the earlier area of Moscow, at 1,000 square kilometres.

Vladimir Putin: We will do it.

Remarks: Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: Work should have already started.

D. Ovsyannikov: Yes, you set a task to select a plot of land.

Vladimir Putin: The place should be properly chosen so that it becomes a new centerpiece.

D. Ovsyannikov: I will show you now, if there is a chance as we move on, a beautiful place

Vladimir Putin: All right.

A. Tsysar: Mr President, we have come back to Russia with our the dream, made a mission out of it, we did what we should have done. And we wish you success We love you! We just adore you!

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

March 14, 2018, Sevastopol