Thursday, January 26, 2017

Moscow State University Board of Trustees meeting.

Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Moscow State University (MGU) Board of Trustees.


On the agenda were the interim results of the programme for developing MGU through to 2020 and progress in developing the Vorobyovy Gory science and technology cluster.



Other items on the agenda included developing fundamental science and the higher education system within the National Science and Technology Development Strategy, and measures to improve training of specialists and facilitate their employment in Russian companies.

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Excerpts from transcript of Moscow State University Board of Trustees meeting.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

We are holding this latest meeting of the Moscow State University Board of Trustees on the day of the university’s founding, which, as you know, has become by tradition a date celebrated by Russia’s students as their holiday. Let me therefore congratulate all of Moscow State University students and faculty and actually, all students and faculty around the country. I congratulate you on this occasion and wish you all the very best.

I would like to thank the Board members for their active participation in the university’s life. I suggest that today we discuss some of the decisions that will enable the university to continue playing a determining part in shaping Russia’s intellectual and technological potential.

The university has always been proud of its graduates, and justifiably so. They make unique scientific discoveries, achieve success in business and civil service, carry out important social, cultural and educational projects and bring glory to the country and to their alma mater.

If we judge the university by the results and achievements of its graduates, Moscow State University counts deservedly among the world leaders. This raises MGU’s prestige and influence both at home and abroad.

Our universities, including MGU, have made significant advances in different ratings in a number of areas. At the same time, we have said before that piecemeal success is not enough. We need to set more ambitious goals and join the ranks of the world leaders, above all in training top-class specialists and in contributing to the development of new breakthroughs and of science in general.

It is also our responsibility before the young generation to reach this ambitious and absolutely vital objective. We have many talented young people who seek a high-quality and competitive education and want to take part in promising research, projects and developments of the highest level, right from their student days.

Ever since the days of Mikhail Lomonosov, Moscow State University has always attracted the most talented and driven young people from all around Russia. Last year, 371 winners and runners-up of national Olympiads and 9 winners and runners-up of international Olympiads were accepted to MGU. Young people who have shown particular talent in technical and humanitarian fields study at the university and have received special grants of 20,000 rubles a month. We will continue to support talented children from throughout the country.

[Rector of MGU] Mr. Sadovnichy said that the university school has started work and its students have already gone to the Sirius Centre in Sochi, where they attended lectures by scientists, business representatives and other prominent and interesting people who have achieved exceptional results in their fields of activity.

I draw to the Board members’ attention that we must ensure the required conditions not only for study but also for subsequent employment of these gifted young people in the state agencies and in Russian companies. They should have an interest in working here for the benefit of our economy and our country’s development.

I ask you too to reflect on further measures we can take to support student teams already working on promising new developments in the sectors of greatest priority for the country. This could include measures to integrate their projects with the activities of the world-class laboratories that have also been established at MGU through the so-called mega-grants programme.

Let me note in particular that many of these laboratories are headed by compatriots who had been working abroad. More of them are coming home now and working here, and this includes Moscow State University graduates.

Colleagues,

We adopted the National Science and Technology Development Strategy at the end of last year. Its implementation will enable us to make our country more globally competitive and respond to the serious ‘big challenges’ that practically all countries face today.

In this respect, I think that we should review once again the development programmes for our leading universities, including Moscow State University. The idea here is to establish and develop so-called technological valleys. You know that Moscow State University is examining just such a project. I want to ask Mr Viktor Sadovnichy to tell us how this work is going and update us on Moscow State University’s development plans in general.

Let’s begin our work. Please, you have the floor.

Rector of Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichy:

Mr. President, thank you for these congratulations and for these warm words about the university.

Colleagues,

Yes, today is our birthday, Moscow State University’s biggest holiday, the day marking its founding. Your executive order in 2005 gave this date official status as Russian Students’ Day. We are deeply grateful to you for the constant attention you give to developing science and education in Russia, to MGU’s life, and to the decision to hold a meeting of the Board of Trustees at the university today.

We will look today at Moscow State University’s development. I would like to speak in brief about what we have accomplished since the last Board of Trustees meeting took place just over a year ago, and tell you about our plans for the future.

Since 2010, we have been working on implementing the development plan that you, Mr President, approved. Budget funding for the development programme from 2010 through to 2019 comes to around 11 billion rubles. MGU’s contribution through various means to this programme comes to around 50 billion rubles. The programme continues with success and I will now brief the Board of Trustees on the results.

Our main task is to teach. As you know, Moscow State University works according to its own independently set educational standards. These are unique standards that exist only in our university. We have set a six-year study programme or so-called integrated Masters course, for a number of disciplines. In other words, the course involves four years at the undergraduate degree level and then a two-year Masters programme in the same field, mathematics, physics or biology say, thus making a six-year programme overall. Such was our choice.

We had 10,000 graduates in 2015, and more than 7,000 in 2016. As was said, they are good specialists in their fields. We have taken responsibility for the six-year study programme experiment and have added to student living allowances from our own funds to cover the sixth year of study, and we are sure that study programmes of this length are what are needed to develop a modern knowledge economy in a modern country.

Good students become good specialists, and good school pupils become good students. The university’s affiliated boarding school, the Kolmogorov Boarding School, has been running for more than 50 years now. Its graduates count 8,000 doctorate holders – one in four graduates has a doctorate. The school also counts more than 800 holders of post-doctoral degrees, five academicians, and prominent members of the business community among the ranks of its graduates.

Mr. President, as we discussed earlier, we opened another school on a new site here on September 1. The school has 6 buildings and unique infrastructure, and talented children from around the country are studying there now. We held several selection stages. During the final stage, they went through a preparatory course at the Sirius Educational Centre. We are sure that this new university-affiliated school will soon become the school of the future.

The high level of our graduates has received recognition here and abroad. According to the Russian Education federal website, MGU is in first place in terms of the number of its graduates on the boards of Russia’s biggest companies. We are in first place too among universities as the ‘forge of oligarchs’. We are not a university specialised in the technical fields, but even so, we are in second place in terms of demand for technical specialists trained by us. A recently published global rating that ranked universities in terms of their graduates’ employment put us in third place, after Stanford and Oxford, in terms of graduates’ success around the world.

And a couple of words about ratings. This is a sensitive issue for Moscow State University and for other Russian universities, as you know. The well-known international ratings are shaped to the Anglo-Saxon model and give our universities rankings that, in our opinion, do not reflect the reality. You gave the instruction to develop an objective, international rating system that would reflect universities’ work objectively. Moscow State University is heading this work. We have created the Moscow international rating Three Missions of the University, and it is now at work and collecting information. We held talks with universities in China, India, Iran, Turkey and Japan, and they have given their support. We will publish the rating’s first results this September, Mr President, acting on your instruction.

As the country’s leading university, Moscow State University also has an important international mission to perform. I will say a few words about this. We have already opened five branches in the CIS capitals (Astana, Baku, Tashkent, Dushanbe and Yerevan, where 3,000 students are studying. These universities were opened at the request of these countries’ governments). In just a few days, we will add a branch in Slovenia, a NATO member country. I know that the Slovenian President’s visit is on the programme, and he will put this question of opening a branch of MGU in Slovenia.

Russian is the language of teaching at these branches. This is another step forward in the educational space. We want to spread our culture and language.

MGU and Beijing Polytechnic recently established a joint university. It has already received a licence to conduct educational activity. The main building’s cornerstone has been laid. They want to build a copy of the Moscow State University building and have already begun construction. They plan to complete construction by 2018, and the university will then take 5,000 students a year. This is a joint university, but, starting this September, we plan to begin classes for several groups in a temporary building. We have an interesting letter that the Russian Consulate in Guangzhou has received, speaking of the growing interest among various sections of the population in China in eventually studying at this joint university.

Finally, Moscow State University has 10 Lomonosov centres in different countries. These centres are engaged in spreading Russian language and culture. The branches and the centres are all part of this work. We see this as the kind of ‘soft power’ that works to bolster our country’s image.

I must mention too our excellent branch in Sevastopol. It was established in 1999. Back then, I indicated from on board the Moskva cruiser a part of the branch that had just opened, Mr. President. There were difficulties in branch’s work in the past, but now it is one of the best universities in southern Russia with a very good infrastructure. They currently have 700 students from Crimea, Sevastopol and other Russian regions. One of the teachers has the highest h-index [Hirsch index ranking for citation of publications] in Crimea and Sevastopol. In other words, they have good teachers there.

The recent meeting of the Presidential Council for Science and Education noted that our priority should be to ensure leadership in chosen fields and not take an approach that depends on importing technology. We try to direct our research at Moscow State University in these priority directions.

I will start with information technology, a very important field today, as it determines a country’s level of development and influence. A supercomputer race is underway in the world and we cannot stand on the sidelines. Our Lomonosov supercomputer is the most powerful in Russia and has a good place in the world in general. It has a speed of three petaflops today, and we plan to bring its power up to five petaflops over the next few months. Supercomputing is becoming essential now for all high-tech tasks. Work with Big Data is becoming ever more important.

Let me give two examples. First, information technology is essential for ensuring computer security and protecting data transfer. This uses what are called hash functions, the electronic equivalent to fingerprints, and you need to check how reliable this protection is. Our young teachers and students, using the Lomonosov supercomputer, recently set a world record for compromising the most complicated hash function. They have all stayed here and will work in Russia.

The second example. The recently approved National Science and Technology Development Strategy focuses on overcoming global challenges. Use of information technology and development of the digital economy are among these challenges. At MGU, we are establishing a national digital economy competence centre for research and training. A good foundation has already been laid by joint work with the Russian Academy of Sciences’ IT and Management Federal Research Centre, under Academician Igor Sokolov, other research organisations in the real sector of the economy, and the state agencies.

We plan to use our supercomputer to go a step further and set up an experimental segment using Russian-made Baikal processors, in order to have our defence and civilian industries move to using Russian supercomputer technology and software, and most importantly, train specialists. Leading Russian company T Platforms is developing the components base, and a number of ministries are already using these developments. Our proposals in this area have received the President’s support. We received the instruction to start this work with the Industry and Trade Ministry, and we have done so.

In the field of space research, we are probably the only university in Russia and in the world to launch so many satellites. Over the 60 years of space exploration, we have placed instruments on 400 satellites designed by scientists and postgraduates at Moscow State University. We have six satellites – a whole fleet – to our name. I spoke about our preparations to launch the Lomonosov heavy satellite, made by Moscow State University, at the last meeting. Our Lomonosov satellite was the first satellite launched from the Vostochny Space Launch Centre in April 2016. We remember this launch, Mr President, and your decision at the site to have the satellite launched the following morning. Of course, we want to thank you for that decision.

This satellite carries what is an ambitious scientific programme for the university. We have registered powerful ultraviolet flashes, discovered more than 10 space gamma-ray bursts, and register potentially dangerous natural and manmade objects. In general, the information obtained (it is still coming in from orbit) makes this satellite the most successful recent space project.

Another of our successes in the space field. Gravitational waves were recently recorded for the first time in what was a very important scientific breakthrough in the world. They were generated by the merger of two black holes with a mass of 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun. This happened 1.3 billion light years away, but the signal has reached us now. Physicists from Moscow State University, the Braginsky group, played a big part in this. MGU’s robotic telescope is carrying out the most extensive and rapid search for the source of these two black holes’ merger.

We proposed a new space project: Create a satellite group to monitor in real time the radiation situation, and potentially dangerous natural and manmade objects, space junk, asteroids, meteorites and so on in the near space. Mr President, you gave the instruction to carry out this project together with Roscosmos, and this is what we are doing.

Moscow State University decided recently to open its 43rd faculty, the faculty of space studies. It will train specialists in important fields related to outer space, such as space medicine, biology, training cosmonauts for spaceflight and their behaviour in weightlessness, study of various not yet explained phenomena in space, information technology, and development of new instruments, of course. This faculty’s scientific director will be twice Hero of Russia, pilot and cosmonaut Vladimir Solovyev. Classes at this new space studies faculty will begin this year.

Of course, one of the top priorities for every country is the science of life. This field is developing intensively at the university, in particular, at the Faculty of Fundamental Medicine at the Medical Research and Education Centre. And we want to report that our medical centre is operating well: in under a year, 1,030 patients underwent treatment there and over 500 complex surgeries were carried out. Recently, the Institute of Regenerative Medicine opened at the medical centre. This is a unique institute in Russia. At 400 square metres, it is the largest laboratory in Russia and Europe, meeting the highest standards of cleanliness. Cellular therapies and pharmaceuticals will be studied here. The Healthcare Ministry recognised both the faculty and the centre as the flagship for training staff in the field of regenerative medicine.

In this regard, I would like to report that we will create a national anti-doping lab, under the President’s instruction. This provides us with new opportunities, including with respect to scientific research. This lab will become an organic part of our medical centre and faculty, and will be involved not only in analysis but also in research. We are ready and are implementing this presidential instruction and have already established this anti-doping lab. But we propose to house it at Moscow State University. Here we have a very good building and have already developed a project to renovate it. But we would like to ask you to include us in the federal targeted investment programme, so that we will be able to renovate this building as soon as possible and get the lab fully running according to the agreement with WADA.

Of course, this project is very prestigious and it will meet world standards, according to which anti-doping labs are located at independent institutions, like the Moscow State University. We would just like to include our project in the investment programme to renovate the building more quickly.

I would also like to point out that the effectiveness of science today is evaluated on the basis of publications, but we do not always agree that this alone determines a scientist’s standing. We believe that our Russian journals should be included in the lists that are cited by other databases. However, in the present situation, Moscow [State] University has very high citation indices. Moscow State University’s citation indices are double the Russian and international levels in terms of the share of frequently cited articles. We are double the world level. This means that we do not conduct routine research but are on the cutting edge of science and working on breakthrough subjects.

Finally, I would like to bring up a very important matter (Mr. President has already raised it). We continue to develop new territory. This refers to our scientific-technological valley. We have already built about 1 million square metres of new space in the new territory and during these 10–12 years we have doubled our campus [area]. Previously, 1 million [square metres] were built. We have doubled that. Members of the supervisory board have corresponding materials, photos of training facilities, labs and buildings. We have done a lot of work on the concept of our further territorial development. Seven main areas or clusters were identified. They correspond to scientific development clusters in Russia. This concept was approved by the academic council. It calls for the development of the country’s priority areas in science and technology. New-generation training and research facilities, labs, dormitories, sports facilities and other infrastructure will be built. The project has been finalised.

I would like to cite Nobel Laureate Michael Spence. He said: We will drastically change the situation if we invest in infrastructure, in making the education system more effective. We are in sync with the expert’s remarks.

The territorial development plan was supported at a public hearing by district residents, city residents and the Moscow city government. Interdisciplinary scientific-technological groups can work on this territory, a system of effective commercialisation of research and development projects will be created, and Moscow State University’s extrabudgetary financing sources will be expanded and diversified. Generally, the project’s implementation will strengthen Moscow State University’s positions and it will, without a doubt, be one of the world’s leading universities with powerful infrastructure. Incidentally, this is the only development opportunity for the university in the foreseeable future. There is no other opportunity.

We talked about our scientific technological valley project in detail at our previous meeting. Now is the time to start working on it. I have presented Moscow State University’s proposals, Mr President, and we are ready to carry it out. I hope that we will report the first results of our efforts to develop the territory and implement the project in the near future.

I consider it important to express our gratitude to all those who have provided and continue to provide substantial support and assistance to Moscow University.

Trusteeship is the university’s historical tradition. When the university was founded, Prokopy, Grigory and Nikita Demidov donated 21,000 [rubles], which was more than the student support budget provided at the time by the monarch. And then they also donated a mineralogy laboratory to the university. Generally, the charity tradition has never stopped, and members of the Board of Trustees continue this tradition. On behalf of the university’s entire staff, I would like to express our gratitude to all those who provide substantial aid and support.

I cannot name them all – there is simply no time for that, but I thank all those who have taken the initiative to establish corporate departments at Moscow University to train personnel for their corporations: Mikhail Gutseriyev, Vladimir Yevtushenkov and Oleg Deripaska. I would particularly like to thank Igor Sechin for his constant assistance, as well as Nikolai Tokarev, Sergei Chemezov, Grigory Berezkin, Oleg Grigor and of course, Sergei Sobyanin. I am certainly grateful to all the Board of Trustees members for supporting the university’s development.

A few words about another gift. Nearby is a gallery of Russian landscapes: 300 original paintings by Levitan, Vasnetsov and Shishkin. At the previous meeting I already thanked supervisory board member Sergei Bednov for handing over these paintings. However, recently, Vladislav Malkevich, former president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and prior to that a deputy to Nikolai Patolichev [USSR foreign trade minister] and general director of Expocentre, who assembled the collection, presented another 30 original paintings. Now I believe this collection has no equals in the world. It is on display here, on the seventh floor.

In 2006, another historical treasure was transferred to Moscow University: the personal archive (100,000 sheets) and library (630 publications) of Ivan Ilyin, a well-known philosopher and Moscow University alumnus. For over 40 years that library had been stored at Michigan State University, USA. Recently, it was given to Moscow University following the discovery of the philosopher’s last will and testament. We accepted the gift. Ivan Ilyin left his motherland in 1922. He became a prominent philosopher and remained a patriot of Russia and Moscow University.

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Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53770


PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin at the Moscow State University Board of Trustees meeting.
Vladimir Putin at the Moscow State University Board of Trustees meeting.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

President's meeting with business representatives.

Vladimir Putin met with Qatar Investment Authority CEO Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, Glencore International AG CEO Ivan Glasenberg and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA CEO Carlo Messina. The meeting was attended by Rosneft CEO and Chairman of the Management Board Igor Sechin.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Friends, colleagues, allow me to cordially welcome you to Moscow.

I would like to congratulate you on the closure of the deal to acquire a 19.5 percent stake in our leading oil company Rosneft. I would like to thank you for your trust, for your decision. And I would like to express my confidence that your business in Russia will develop and that it will develop successfully. After the deal was closed, Rosneft’s market value increased 18 percent, so you have already made a profit.

I know that you plan to expand cooperation with the company, including in Russia, and we will honour all these agreements in good faith because they are also in the interest of all participants in this process.

Our Qatari friends will engage in hydrocarbon production on Russian territory. Glencore will have a long-term contract. I know that you are already working on a long-term contract on deliveries of our oil to international markets. In this sense, Rosneft is interested in such long-term cooperation in both these dimensions.

I hope very much that Intesa will also expand its operations on the Russian market. I believe you also have an office.


Intesa Sanpaolo SpA CEO Carlo Messina:

Yes.

Vladimir Putin:

Is it an office or a subsidiary that is already up and running?

Carlo Messina:

It’s a bank. It’s a fully licensed bank, and we want to expand our presence, because we want to increase our presence in the country.

Vladimir Putin:

As far as I know, today is exactly 10 years since Intesa teamed up with your partners. So I congratulate you on this date.

Carlo Messina:

Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin:

How do you evaluate the deal and its development prospects?

Glencore international AG CEO Ivan Glasenberg:

The deal is very important to us as Glencore, as you know – we’ve had a long relationship with Rosneft and we’ve been taking oil and oil products from Rosneft and trading and marketing around the world. And I think this new deal gives us further tonnages. And we’ve indeed been talking to Rosneft about how we can swap tonnages, we can deal with different countries around the world – where we have our strength and they have their strength – into India, into other parts of Asia, into China, where we can utilise our tonnages and their tonnages. So there are a lot of opportunities for us to work together around this transaction, for the benefit of both companies.

Vladimir Putin:

Previously, you were involved with coal?

Ivan Glasenberg:

Yeah, we’ve been dealing in Russia for many years. We started getting very active since 1991–1992. We deal a lot with the various coal companies. We export coal from Russia. We’ve been dealing with that for many years. So we deal with all of them. We deal a lot in aluminium. We have investment, as you know, with Rusal. We have an off-take agreement with Rusal, so we take a lot of aluminium. We deal in copper-zinc, so we have an active relationship in getting commodities out of Russia.

Vladimir Putin:

I hope that our Qatari friends are also satisfied with the work at this stage.

Qatar Investment Authority CEO H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani:

First of all, I would like to thank you for the meeting. I would like to convey the regards of His Highness the Emir to Mr President.
Last year, we started to invest in Russia. And after the visit of His Highness, in January, we stepped up our investment, for instance with RDIF, with VTB Bank, and St Petersburg Airport, and now with Rosneft. And we will continue working together for more relations and more investment together.

Vladimir Putin:

I hope that your work with the Russian Direct Investment Fund will also expand in other areas.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani:

We did almost over 500 million in almost a year, and last night we closed another contract that we will continue for another two billion for the coming investment together.

Vladimir Putin:

Convey my very best wishes to His Highness the Emir of Qatar.

I would like once again to congratulate you on this deal. It is the world’s largest deal in the oil and gas sector last year.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani:

Thank you.


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Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53774


VIDEO:


PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin. business representatives
Vladimir Putin. Meeting with business representatives.
Vladimir Putin, Igor Sechin, business representatives.
President's meeting with business representatives.

Vladimir Putin meeting with business
Vladimir Putin and Igor Sechin meeting with business representatives.

Vladimir Putin, Igor Sechin, business representatives
Meeting with business representatives. With Rosneft CEO and Chairman of the Management Board Igor Sechin (left).

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin at the meeting with business representatives.
qatar investement, glencore, intesa CEO
Qatar Investment Authority CEO H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, Glencore International AG CEO Ivan Glasenberg, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA CEO Carlo Messina (left to right) at a meeting with business representatives.

Meeting with participants in the Forum of Student and Youth Organization Leaders.

Vladimir Putin met with participants in the Forum of Student and Youth Organization Leaders on Russian Students’ Day.


The forum, organised by the Moscow State University Students’ Union, the Russian Union of Student Organisations, and international youth organization Eurasian Community, has been taking place at Moscow State University since 2006. This year, the forum has brought together more than 120 representatives of student and youth organizations from 28 Russian universities.

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President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon. I want to greet you all and offer my warmest congratulations on Russian Students’ Day, congratulating all Russian students through you, and all postgraduates and faculty at your universities, especially at Moscow State University, of course, which is hosting our today’s meeting.

I hope very much that your student years will be a happy and successful time, that you will complete your study programmes and will work with interest and pleasure for the good of our country, for Russia’s benefit. Happy holiday! I wish you all the very best.


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Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53772

PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin with Moscow State University Rector Viktor Sadovnichy.
Vladimir Putin with Moscow State University Rector Viktor Sadovnichy.
Vladimir Putin, students
President's meeting with participants in the Forum of Student and Youth Organization Leaders.
Vladimir Putin, Viktor Sadovnichy
Vladimir Putin and Viktor Sadovnichy, Forum of Student and Youth Organization Leaders.

Vladimir Putin and Viktor Sadovnichy, Student Organization Leaders.
Vladimir Putin and Viktor Sadovnichy, Student Organization Leaders.
Russian President, Rector Moscow State University, students
Russian President and MSU Rector answering the students questions.

Vladimir Putin, Viktor Sadovnichy.
Vladimir Putin and Viktor Sadovnichy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Meeting with Sverdlovsk Region Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev.

Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Sverdlovsk Region Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev to discuss road construction and the socioeconomic situation in the region.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon,

Before we go over the entire range of issues, I would like to ask you to report on the overall indicators. Let us start with road construction.

Sverdlovsk Region Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev:

Mr. President,

Road construction has become a priority for the government. The regional road fund has accumulated 11 billion rubles. These resources were assigned by the road fund as per the regional programmes. Of course, the bulk of these regional allocations goes towards municipal roads.

You have recently instructed us to redesign and improve the [Nizhny Tagil – Serebryanka] road, which until 2013 had not undergone any renovations for 30 years. Starting last year, we began allocating funds for this road, and let me assure you that the instructions you have issued following the news conference will be fully implemented in a timely manner. By June 1, we will make sure that this road is operational. However, we do need some more time to pave this 50-kilometre road. This road will be usable by June 1, just as you have instructed us.

As for the key priorities in road construction, in 2013 we created a link between two regions that used to be isolated from one another. The so-called Northern Road now connects Sverdlovsk Region and Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area, saving vehicles moving from the European part of the country to the northern part of Tyumen Region almost 800 kilometres. This resulted in higher cargo turnover in the northern areas.

We are currently building the southern section of the Yekaterinburg Ring Road. In 2016, we launched the first section, and are now working on the second one that will be completed in 2018. Of course, we are eager to launch construction of the third section, which will complete the Yekaterinburg Ring Road. This is an essential route.

In many cases, regional roads take on the role of federal routes. We are aware of that, and therefore invest in diverting road traffic from major cities.

In keeping with your decisions on the implementation of priority projects, we will focus our attention on urban projects, including development and road construction in municipalities. Over 6 billion rubles have been allocated to our municipalities for road improvement in keeping with construction rules and standards.

Road construction is a major issue that implies the flow of investment to all cities, including single-industry cities. We are implementing one such project in Krasnoturyinsk, which has the status of a priority development area. We know that investors will not take their money where there are no good roads. Therefore, the bulk of the development budget will be spent on roads.

Vladimir Putin:

What is the overall figure for the region’s economic development in 2016?

Yevgeny Kuyvashev:

Mr. President, I have to say that growth has been reported in the leading sectors in 2016 and there is potential for further growth.

I want to share some figures with you. The 2016 industrial production index (IPI) – we are still to finalise the figures but they will not change dramatically – has gone up by nearly 11.5 percent.

As for gross regional product, we will maintain it at around the 2015 level, but the IPI accounts for 11 percent of GRP. These are impressive figures.

Vladimir Putin:

Which sectors are responsible for this growth?


Yevgeny Kuyvashev:

The steel, mechanical engineering and defence sectors. We are making great strides in the development of our pharmaceutical and IT sectors.

Yekaterinburg and Sverdlovsk Region comprise an education centre, which includes the Ural Federal University, but we are not focusing our efforts only on higher education. We are working to implement the comprehensive Urals Engineering School programme, which you approved in 2014. Allocations under this programme amounted to some 1 billion rubles in 2016, with 300 million rubles allocated from the federal budget and nearly 600 billion from the regional budget. Our organisations and companies are investing in this programme and are involved in its implementation.

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Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53767

Putin.BLOG - PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin meeting with Sverdlovsk Region Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev.
Vladimir Putin meeting with Sverdlovsk Region Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev.
Putin with Sverdlovsk Region Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev.
Putin with Sverdlovsk Region Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev.

The meeting with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev.

Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev updated the President on the launch of a new system of subsidised loans for agricultural producers and the situation in agriculture.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon.

Mr. Tkachev, in the recent period we have discussed our farmers’ performance often and with pleasure. There is reason to congratulate them on their performance: although the year-end results are not available yet, we know that growth in the industry exceeded 4 percent in January through November.

Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev:

Yes, the growth rate was over 4 percent. Thank you for taking note of this, just as you did throughout the year. We appreciate this, considering the unprecedented scale of government assistance. We waited for this for a long time, and now there are incentives in nearly all segments. The results include a 4 percent growth and the largest harvest in Soviet and Russian history – 119 million tonnes. It is a big achievement.

Other achievements include farmers’ revenues, which result in new projects, higher standards of living, new technologies, production growth, and the like. Once again, thank you for this.

Vladimir Putin:

We also wanted to talk about lending.

Alexander Tkachev:

That is right. As per your instruction, we have launched an unprecedented system of subsidised loans this year. The interest rate for investment and short-term loans must not exceed 5 percent. It can be lower, like 1 or 2 percent, but 5 percent is the maximum. This will definitely boost construction projects in agricultural industry and the processing sector, like new dairy and pig farms. This will radically transform the situation in national agriculture.

Vladimir Putin:

What is the amount?

Alexander Tkachev:

Around 23 billion rubles. I would like to report that Rosselkhozbank has already started issuing loans as it was the first to prepare. Of course, we are counting on other banks to take an active part.

We have never seen such cheap and accessible loans with such long terms. We are eliminating all red tape. This will give a serious boost to construction, investment and new projects.

Vladimir Putin:

What is the selection process?

Alexander Tkachev:

Selection is the banks’ responsibility. The Agriculture Ministry prioritises the industries that require support. Projects with secured funding and projects with repayable funds that are interesting, competitive and technology-intensive will be supported on a top-priority basis.

Vladimir Putin:

It is always necessary to assess the economic feasibility but we need to minimise bureaucracy.

Alexander Tkachev:

Trust me, Mr. President, I come from a rural area myself and I know what is involved, so we are minimising indeed. The key point is that we are saving regional funds. There is no need to subsidise the loans from the regional budget. Previously, the regions provided quite sizeable amounts to subsidise loans issued by banks. Now there are only federal subsidies, which means the regions can use the budget funds for other purposes, including farming.

Vladimir Putin:

Good.

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Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53766

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Putin at the meeting with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev.
Putin at the meeting with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev.
Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev.
Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev.
Vladimir Putin with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev.
Vladimir Putin with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev.


Meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Rogozin discussed matters concerning the organisation of the Aviation Board’s work.


The Aviation Board was established by a Government resolution of December 21, 2016, to enhance coordination of activities between the federal and regional executive authorities and aviation industry and air transport organisations in developing, producing, operating, and marketing Russian-made civil aviation equipment.

* * *


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Rogozin, it was essentially at your initiative that the Aviation Board was established, using the Maritime Board as an example. Let us discuss the organisation of its work.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin:

Mr. President, you gave the Government instructions and we have acted on them. On December 21, the Government issued an official resolution on establishing the Aviation Board. As I briefed you earlier, we needed to synchronise and harmonise supply and demand, which is production of aviation equipment, as well as its operation and purchasing, primarily on the domestic market. It is very clear that unless we win back the domestic market, we cannot even start working on our export goals in this sector.

We are currently finalising the Board’s membership. It will include representatives of all the leading design bureaus working in civil aircraft manufacturing, research organisations, the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute, of course, and state customers – the potential buyers of these products, and commercial companies. Later, those involved in post-sale servicing of our civil aviation equipment will also be represented. This has always been our weak point. We can sell goods, but we are not so good at maintaining them afterwards.

Our new mainline aircraft, the MS-21, will take to the skies this spring. I already briefed you on this. The work is proceeding fully according to plan. I visited the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute at the end of December and saw how the aircraft’s stress tests were coming along. In Irkutsk, they are also preparing for the maiden flight.

By this time, we will have drafted a plan for synchronising the production of the new craft: the MS-21, the Il-114, a short-haul passenger plane seating 64 passengers, and the Il-96–400, an extended long-haul aircraft. We will synchronise their production with plans to take out of operation old and foreign aircraft.

We will offer various incentives to companies buying Russian aircraft, including advantageous routes and special economic incentives, including leasing possibilities. We are on schedule and we think we will be ready to brief you on the first results in early spring.

Vladimir Putin:

The plan concerning routes is a good idea, a good bonus.

Dmitry Rogozin:

Of course, all the more so as now we have come up against the most complicated problem – that of long-haul aircraft. Airbus and Boeing aircraft account for close to 80 percent of our market today. Some of the liberals here say that if it is a good plane, people will buy it everywhere, but this is not the case. Try selling an Airbus on the American market, or a Boeing somewhere in Europe. In other words, there are always overt and tacit protectionist measures in place.

In order to protect our domestic market (the routes could include those crossing our vast country, flights to the Far East, and also tourist routes to Russian citizens’ preferred tourist destinations), we will allocate these routes only to companies that will operate Russian-made aircraft on them.

Vladimir Putin:

Good.

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Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53762

Putin.BLOG - PHOTO:

Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Rogozin meeting at Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Rogozin meeting at Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.
Vladimir Putin meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Vladimir Putin. Meeting with Rosneft Board Chairman Igor Sechin.

Mr. Sechin briefed President Putin on Rosneft’s performance in 2016.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr. Sechin, aside from the deal we all know about, how did the year go? What is the overall situation?

Board Chairman of Rosneft Igor Sechin:

Mr. President, 2016 saw particular volatility on the hydrocarbon markets. We had to work under pressure, but the year set a record in terms of production for Rosneft. Production increased by around 4 percent with total production for the year in liquid equivalent coming to 265 million tonnes. This is a record figure for the company. Of this amount, oil production accounted for 210 million tonnes, and we produced 67 billion cubic metres of gas.

Total investment in 2016 came to 750 billion rubles. Investment went mainly into increasing production drilling in Western Siberia and for new projects. This meant that the Suzunskoye field, the Vostochno-Messoyakhskoye field, which we developed together with Gazpromneft, and growth at Yuganskneftegaz became the main factors contributing to the production growth we achieved this year.

The volume of production drilling increased by 35 percent (to 9.3 million metres) in 2016, and we brought 2,700 new wells into operation. This was also a record figure, up 43 percent on the 2015 result. This was possible because the company created its own oil drilling service, and we increased the total number of well rigs by 20 percent in 2016. We discovered 13 new fields over the course of the year, and 103 new deposits with total reserves of up to 159 million tonnes in oil equivalent. We expect the reserves increment to reach 290 million tonnes. The Russian refineries affiliated to the company processed 87.5 million tonnes, and we processed more than 12 million tonnes at refineries abroad, also affiliated to Rosneft. Total processing thus came to around 100 million tonnes.

In 2017, we intend to bring processing at our facilities up to 120 million tonnes. The share of light petroleum products has grown to 56 percent, and the refinery yield has increased to 71.2 percent, compared to 2015. Primarily the company supplies our consumers in the Russian regions where we have a presence, and, of course, we ship to the export market.

Fuel oil production at Russian refineries decreased by more than 10 percent in 2016, in connection with new facilities coming into operation, and production of diesel fuel and Euro-5 petrol grew to 28.4 million tonnes, surpassing 2015 figures by 42 percent. As far as production was concerned, the year was tense, but positive for the company.

Regarding our tax and budget payments, taking into account the privatisation deal you mentioned, total budget payments came to more than 3 trillion rubles.

Vladimir Putin:

Are you planning to meet with the investors?

Igor Sechin:

Yes, Mr. President. I wanted to ask you to meet with the investors taking part in the privatisation deal – our partners from the Italian bank Intesa, the Qatar Investment Fund, and Glencore – to underscore this deal’s significance and to brief you on the new projects in which they will take part. We plan to increase our active work with these partners. Right from the start, you helped to prepare this deal, followed it, and we would like to give our partners the chance to talk about the prospects ahead.

Vladimir Putin:

Fine.

Igor Sechin:

On international projects, the company continues working with its traditional partners and new ones. These include our Indian partners, ONGC, BP, with whom we are developing work, Exxon, Statoil, and Eni. Work is developing in all areas. We will increase supplies to China to 31 million tonnes this year, and at the same time, we have consolidated our refining capacity in Europe. We are now the third-biggest producer of petroleum products in Germany and we ship 18 million tonnes of oil to our own refineries there. We ship around 71 million tonnes to Europe as a whole, including the 10 million we supply to Belarus. As I said, we will deliver 31 million tonnes to China this year, and will start shipping to India. We will begin with 2 million tonnes this year and will increase this to 20 million tonnes, which corresponds to the refining capacity at the Essar refinery in Vadinar, which will now also become affiliated to Rosneft.

In 2017, we plan an investment programme of 1.1 trillion rubles. Particular focus will be on building up capacity at the new fields: developing the Suzunskoye, Lodochnoye, Russkoye, Kuyumbinskoye, Yurubcheno-Tokhomskoye and Taas-Yuryakh fields. Then there are our gas assets: Rospan, Kharampur, and the Kynsko-Chaselskoye field.

In 2018, we plan an investment programme of 1.3 trillion rubles.

Vladimir Putin:

Good.

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Link: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53761

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Vladimir Putin, Igor Sechin, Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin hold a meeting with Rosneft Board Chairman Igor Sechin.