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Visit to Uralvagonzavod Corporation

March 6, 2018, Nizhny Tagil

Vladimir Putin visited Research and Production Corporation Uralvagonzavod, where he was shown around a rolling stock production line and talked with the plant’s personnel.

Research and Production Corporation Uralvagonzavod is Russia’s only producer of tanks and one of the largest producers of rolling stock. It comprises research institutes, design bureaus and production facilities.

One of the company’s top priorities is advanced training of its personnel. Last year alone, over 18,000 people attended advanced training courses in their trades.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,

What beautiful equipment you are making here: trams, tank-cars, and train cars. Everything looks modern and beautiful. I wonder, could this cistern be used to both carry sunflower oil and LNG?

Remark: It is an all-purpose tank.

Vladimir Putin: Great.

Remark: In 2012, all of Uralvagonzavod supported you.

Vladimir Putin: I am aware of that.

Remark: Do you see how much we have changed over the past six years? We now have steady jobs and wages.

Alexander Golovin: We have always supported you and will continue to do so.

Remark: It is about the future of our children.

Alexander Golovin: Mr President, we can see that we have made the right choice.

Vladimir Putin: I did my best not to let you down.

Konstantin Zakharov: Mr President, may I use this opportunity to commend you on behalf of all mentors for the decision to establish the badge For Mentoring. We, at Uralvagonzavod, have rich traditions of working with staff, primarily youth.

We do a lot of career guidance. Recently, we have run into a challenge. Since federal universities are being merged, the network of branch campuses has shrunk dramatically as well, and last year 80 percent of our school graduates were forced to leave for regional centres in order to pursue their studies.

Firstly, it is expensive to pay for education there. Secondly, after four to five years spent in a regional centre, the young people are unlikely to come back. So, this is becoming an issue for us.

We would like to ask you to keep the branch system in place for industrial centres, because we believe that education will be more affordable for our young specialists in that case.

Vladimir Putin: You see, the problem is that in the period from 1991 to approximately 2010, the number of universities and branches in our country has doubled. A significant portion of them, I have to admit, have become diploma stamping factories rather than higher education institutions. This is particularly true of so-called paid education options, when they began to stamp diplomas in exchange for money.

What we need is professionals rather than diplomas. That is why this decision was taken. Branches were a real problem, the branch network was way too extensive.

The number of higher schools decreased by 30 percent (32, I think, to be exact), and the number of branches was cut by over 60 percent. We did it because we had to shut down the operations that turned out nothing but papers.

As far as I know, branches still remain in Tagil. I believe there are five operational university branches. This is my first point.

Second, when a decision is made to close a branch, this decision is made by the university itself. The regional authorities are also involved. Since the governor is here, I will talk with him and make sure things were done properly.

Perhaps, in places like Tagil, which needs properly trained staff, especially engineers, we should improve training quality rather than close branches.

Third, of course, you say that graduates are not returning. But if the conditions are good, they will come back, including to your enterprise. Wages should increase, housing issues should be resolved, and so on.

And, finally, it can be done purposefully in partnership with other major enterprises and reputable universities. If something has closed, it can be recreated and restored. We will look into it. Good. I understand, no one wants to let their child leave the nest.

Maria Romazanova: Mr President, I am an employee of the healthcare unit, Maria Romazanova. In your remarks, you rightly spoke about the bad environmental situation. Water quality is also an urgent problem. Regrettably, we have to buy water because the water in our flats is unfit for human consumption. The city cannot cope with this problem. Can you help us?

Vladimir Putin: I have just talked to the Governor. First, this year we will launch a water project with foreign partners. I asked, “When exactly do you want to start it?” and the reply was “We will start it this year”. I am not sure but I think the total funding is 23 billion. Therefore, work on this problem will start this year.

As for the environment, a good step forward had been made in this respect. Evrazholding put into service one of the latest models of furnaces worth $200 million. They built it in a little over a year. It will reduce emissions The same will be done at other facilities. We will remain focused on this by all means. This will have to be done because of the law that will enter in force for 300 enterprises on January 1, 2019. They will have to transition to the so-called most affordable technologies that will reduce all sorts of emissions. In 18 to 24 months all enterprises in the country will have to shift to this technology.

You know, I have already spoken about this. We faced many delays due to different economic difficulties. Entrepreneurs complained that it was difficult, as it was, and if they had to introduce new technology, they would have to cut jobs. We will not delay this anymore, everyone knows this. This process will be launched and it seems to me – no, I am certain – the desired outcome will be achieved.

Maria Romazanova: Thank you. We will stay hopeful.

Oleg Belousov: Mr President, let me ask you one more question, athlete to athlete.

Vladimir Putin: I can see you are an athlete.

Oleg Belousov: Thank you.

Mr President, after your visit last time and with your help…

Vladimir Putin: Have you built it?

Oleg Belousov: Yes, we have built a fitness complex. This is a big deal for our city and our children. Our region is very athletic. We have many sports facilities and a lot of the burden on them was redistributed. Our children do not have to wake up now at 7 am for hockey practice. People here are fond of hockey. Now they go to the fitness centre.

In the Dzerzhinsky District of Nizhny Tagil we have a very strong track and field school. Many coaches and guys who do track and field. But since we do not have a special facility, an indoor track and field arena, both our children and we, adult athletes have to train there only in summer, when it is warm. We have a request…

Vladimir Putin: You need an indoor track and field arena.

Oleg Belousov: A track and field arena for our children to do sports. They like sport and want to practice, although our parents are very busy. We are all young parents.

Vladimir Putin: Agreed.

Oleg Belousov: We hope so. Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: I will talk to the Governor, your bosses and the region.

Oleg Belousov: I think there are opportunities for this.

Vladimir Putin: We will do this.

Oleg Belousov: Thank you very much.

Nikolai Bogdanov: We would like to wish you success and an excellent showing in the election on behalf of thousands of our employees and say that Uralvagonzavod is always with you and for you, and we are ready to support you. Thank you very much for your support.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

March 6, 2018, Nizhny Tagil