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Meeting on socioeconomic development of Russia’s new regions

January 31, 2024, The Kremlin, Moscow

The President held a meeting on socioeconomic development of the new Russian Federation entities – regions of Donbass and Novorossiya.

During the meeting, Vladimir Putin took part, via video link, in the ceremony for opening social facilities in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.

The following facilities were put into operation: The Donetsk Republican Prosthetic and Orthopaedic Centre, the Multifunctional Medical Centre of the Federal Medical-Biological Agency in Mariupol, multi-unit residential building in Lugansk, and a dormitory of the Melitopol Multidisciplinary College.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,

Today, we will discuss key issues related to the socioeconomic development and, in essence, restoration, frankly speaking, of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.

I would like to emphasise to my colleagues that there are no trifles in this big, complicated and important job. Everything matters – everything that surrounds people – the conditions in which they live, study, work and bring up their children. In this context, I would like to start with a topic that was recently raised at my meeting with the participants and winners of national family contests. It is an everyday, entirely civilian matter but judging by everything, important to people.

The head of a family from the Lugansk People’s Republic spoke about the importance of support for music schools and other regional and local cultural institutions. These projects are sponsored by the Presidential Fund for Cultural Initiatives. I would like to note that in addition to relevant federal projects, the Fund purchases musical instruments and other equipment for houses of culture, including in rural areas, and for children’s creative schools in Donbass and Novorossiya.

I would like to mention straight away the active involvement of the businesses in this effort. They supported these initiatives and provided the Fund with 2.5 million rubles in financial support.

Most important is that people are sincerely grateful for such projects. I would like to repeat that these projects are in demand. People need them, people of all generations, families and youth of Donbass and Novorossiya. These projects help preserve and develop the culture of these regions. Therefore, I would like you to continue implementing the programmes of the Fund for Cultural Initiatives.

This brings us to another important issue, an active integration of Donbass and Novorossiya into the national legal space and the development of governance systems at the level of constituent entities of the Federation and local administrations.

This also has to do with cultural facilities, including in municipalities and rural areas. Skilled professionals, who are respected, trusted and valued by the people, are working there. They have an educational and formative mission of huge significance; they are working with children and young people.

I would like to point out that despite administrative restructuring – I understand that this is an issue and that it has been discussed – despite all this, we must not allow personnel, jobs and wages to be cut at rural cultural and sports facilities. I know that you have your requirements; we are aware of that. But the number of personnel must not be reduced from ten to two overnight. This should not be done, and I urge you not to do so. I am addressing this issue to both regional and federal authorities, especially since the issue involves modest funding.

As I said, I understand that you have your regulations and norms, and we will gradually work towards them. But we must approach this calmly, taking into consideration employment opportunities for these people, ensuring not only that they have jobs but that these jobs meet their qualifications. This must not be done overnight, at the drop of a hat. We must prepare for this and proceed quietly and calmly. As I said, we are talking about the staff of cultural centres, children’s coaches and the similar positions.

In general, I am asking you to act with utmost care and responsibility when it comes to the social system of these regions.


I would like to remind you of our fundamental and overarching objective. By 2030, Donbass and Novorossiya must achieve the national level standards in the key areas that determine the quality of our people’s lives.

With this aim in view, we have launched a comprehensive development programme for our historical regions. It comprises nearly 300 events related to concrete targets in absolutely all areas, including the economy and infrastructure, healthcare and education, culture and sports. Last year, we allocated 1.077 trillion rubles for this purpose, but we ended up spending slightly more, 1.083 trillion, which is a substantial amount. Annual allocations have been approved at approximately the same level for the next few years. The necessary calculations have been made, the funds are available, and they must not be squandered.

The socioeconomic development and integration of the reunited regions are progressing, which is primarily attributable to the effective and coordinated efforts by the Government, federal ministries and agencies, and of course our colleagues in the regions.

Pensions and benefits are paid on a regular basis and other social support measures are being implemented as well, already reaching over 2 million people. By next year, about 3 million citizens will receive these payments.

We see the economy steadily recovering, including industry. More than 150 enterprises in the machine building, metals, mining and other essential manufacturing segments have resumed operations in these regions. We have provided support to our agricultural producers. Banks and shops are open. Regarding the banks, I would like to draw the attention of our colleagues to this matter – and they will probably heed this call: there is nothing to be afraid of. Sanctions used to frighten them, but they became a reality, so what is holding them back? They, including our major financial institutions, must be more proactive in gaining a foothold in these territories and working there.

Donbass and Novorossiya have become a free economic zone, much like Crimea and Sevastopol, and since then 75 companies have registered there. They have presented projects that are expected to preserve or create over 42,000 jobs.

It took the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions less than two years to renovate and upgrade 2,000 km of roads, about 6,500 residential buildings and social facilities, even if many of them had to be rebuilt from the ground up.

I would like to note that other Russian regions have lent their helping hand by taking cities and villages in Donbass and Novorossiya under their patronage. We must also praise volunteers, NGOs and political parties for their efforts.

I would like to emphasise that in terms of economic development and social affairs, it is essential that we not only restore the existing enterprises, infrastructure, schools and hospitals in our historical regions, but also create new manufacturing sites, build new social infrastructure, create jobs and encourage lasting steady development across all sectors in these regions. This is a key priority for us. Once again, colleagues, this is the mission I want you to undertake with a clear sense of responsibility and commitment to achieving results.

I suggest that we discuss all these topics. I know that we need to make decisions on some of the items on our agenda, so we will do so whenever necessary.


January 31, 2024, The Kremlin, Moscow