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President Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting on flood relief

October 18, 2001, Lensk, Yakutia

Spokesmen of the Yakut republican administration, the Russian Emergencies Relief Ministry and construction companies attended the meeting.

Mr Putin said the federal Government had successfully completed its work to restore the flood-devastated Lensk. He stressed that a huge job had been done well and at an unprecedented pace. This was no occasion to celebrate victory, he said, the state had merely done its duty to its citizens. Cold winter and the next spring flood would put the new facilities to their principal test.

Mr Putin thanked Russian regional governors and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma for aid to Yakutia.

When journalists asked him about financial trespasses during restoration works, Mr Putin said that large projects were never immune to such trespasses by officials and the population alike. The Auditing Chamber and the Prosecutor General’s office were looking into such instances, he said.

As for the reason why he had come to the city, Mr Putin said he had promised the people of Lensk to visit them, and he was eager to see the results of reconstruction works. The Lensk programme was a kind of pilot project with leading-edge technologies implemented to gain experience Russia would later need.

October 18, 2001, Lensk, Yakutia