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Meeting with Amur Region Governor Vasily Orlov

September 13, 2023, Blagoveshchensk

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Governor of the Amur Region Vasily Orlov. He reported on the socioeconomic development of the region to the President.

Vasily Orlov said that economic indicators in the region are stable. This year gross regional product is expected to come in at 618 billion rubles. It has been growing every year: in 2018, GRP was 334 billion, and next year it is expected to be 670 billion. This is due to the implementation of large projects in the gas processing cluster. This year there will be record investments in fixed assets totaling 485 billion rubles. There has been record low unemployment for two years now: less than one percent, and good dynamics in terms of incomes and the consolidated budget. The region’s own income has been growing steadily over the past five years: in 2018, it was 51 billion rubles, and in 2023, 89 billion, which is 1.7 times more.

As for agricultural complex, according to the Governor, last year there was a record harvest for soybeans, the main crop of the region: 1.6 million tonnes, and this year an increase of 10 percent is expected (up to 1.7 million tonnes). Soybean processing is an important task. Building of a new processing plant with a capacity of one million tonnes began in late August. This is the largest enterprise beyond the Urals. And it is important that it can process not only soybeans, but also crops that are not yet grown today due to the lack of demand, such as rapeseed. The Sodruzhestvo group of companies is the Russian investor, and investments in the plant will amount to more than 20 billion rubles. It is planned to build a residential area for 1,500 people near this plant, together with DOM.RF. Gazprom is also building a sports and recreation complex there as part of its charity programne.

There is news in cattle breeding as well. At the beginning of September, the largest dairy complex with 1,570 cows was launched. There are plans to build four other complexes in the near future, in addition to the three complexes built over the past two years. In this way, the plan to reach 90 percent self-sufficiency in milk production will be fulfilled in 2027.

The Governor also reported on the implementation of the President’s instructions, in particular, the development of transport infrastructure. The construction of a motorway bridge across the Zeya River is proceeding one year ahead of schedule, the construction of an overpass bridge over the Trans-Siberian Railway is underway, and the renovation of the 135-kilometre Blagoveshchensk-Svobodny motorway has begun. Construction of a second landing strip will be completed this year, while construction of a new terminal for 1.5 million passengers a year has begun with private investment. The airport is developing actively. Last year, its throughput capacity doubled to 860,000 people compared to 2018.

In this connection, Vasily Orlov asked the President to instruct the Government to modernise the motorway between Blagoveshchensk and the airport in 2024–2025, in time for the opening of the new terminal.

Other topics of discussion included the stabilisation of riverbanks to protect people from flooding, which happened four times over the past five years, the construction of a cableway and two hotel complexes, as well as improvements to the central square in Blagoveshchensk, where a museum of Russian-Chinese friendship and a dinosaur museum will be located. Another major facility is a conference and exhibition centre, which will be built as a private initiative.

The Governor pointed out major events held jointly with China’s Heilongjiang Province, including children’s ice hockey games on the Amur River, auto rallies, and a culture and arts fair. This year, the Russian-Chinese Economic Forum was held for the first time simultaneously in Blagoveshchensk and Heihe as part of the Eastern Economic Forum.

The Governor and the President also discussed preparations for the 50th anniversary of the Baikal-Amur Mainline, including the resettlement of people from dilapidated housing located around the BAM. Vladimir Putin noted that these people must not be allowed to feel neglected.

The Governor raised an issue connected with the special military operation, namely a three-year agreement with the Donetsk People’s Republic to help it renovate social facilities, first of all schools, roads and lighting, and to organise camps for children from the republic. Vasily Orlov also spoke about supporting the families of participants in the special military operation. He said that he regularly visits the zone of the special military operation, maintains direct contact with unit commanders from the region to ask them what assistance they needed, and personally monitors all these issues.

Vladimir Putin said that regional heads should give personal attention to these issues as a top priority.

The President also pointed out the overall progress in the Amur Region, in particular, in healthcare, and the almost zero unemployment rate, and asked if the region needed assistance with any challenges.

September 13, 2023, Blagoveshchensk