The President started the conversation by pointing out that Orel was recognised as Russia’s literary capital in 2021, and asked the Governor to report on dedicated events.
Andrei Klychkov agreed that few regions could boast as many prominent Russian classics as the Orel Region, including Ivan Bunin, Afanasy Fet, Ivan Turgenev, Nikolai Leskov, Leonid Andreyev, Alexei Apukhtin, and many other writers and poets. This is why literature is central to the ongoing effort to shape the Orel Region’s identity and branding. In particular, it held major celebrations to mark Ivan Turgenev’s 200th birthday.
The Governor went on to deliver a performance report. Over the past five years, the region has increased its gross regional product by 60 percent, while regional budget revenue grew by 80 percent. Investment increased by 40 percent, defying expectations that Covid and the economic sanctions would make investors wary. Manufacturing was up by 80 percent, and agricultural production rose by 140 percent, while the region’s per capita agricultural yields exceeded the national average 3.5-fold. The Orel Region grows about 6 metric tonnes of grain per resident.
In the budget sphere, the region has managed to retain stability, reducing its government debt by 32 percent. In 2020–2021, 12.1 percent of its people lived below the poverty line, down from 13.9 in 2017. Average salaries increased by 60 percent, and reported unemployment decreased 52 percent over a five-year term. As of today, the number of unemployed is less than 2,000 people, while there are 11,000 job openings in the region. The region’s SMEs have restored their pre-pandemic employment levels.
Andrei Klychkov went on to say that this would have been impossible without creating new jobs, facilitating business activity, proactive supervision and oversight, as well as efforts to cut red tape. The region reduced the so-called investment journey by 171 days.
The Governor emphasised that it was impossible to resolve many sensitive issues without the national projects. This applies to the figures on road construction – over 1,200 kilometres of roads have been built in five years, and housing construction – 1.7 million square metres of housing were built in five years.
To cope with local challenges, among which Mr Klychkov mentioned demography, the region built six new kindergartens, upgraded 172 rural schools, and purchased 141 units of medical equipment. The region is building new medical and obstetrics centres and modernising its outpatient clinics. It is doing much to resettle people from dilapidated housing on a large scale. This year, it spent 1.2 billion rubles from the federal budget and 650 million rubles from the regional budget for this purpose.
Andrei Klychkov also described the region’s current projects. This year, the Orel Region is completing the construction of its biggest school – for 1,225 schoolchildren. It is also finishing the reconstruction of the Krasny (Red) Bridge, Orel’s key transport corridor. A children’s technology park – Quantorium – will be created on the grounds of the former entertainment club that was purchased from private owners.
Replying to the President’s question about the construction of a football arena, Mr Klychkov said that roofed sports fields had been built in every district to develop football. In the winter, they will be used as ice rinks and in the summer as football fields. Having created the basics for developing public sports, the region has turned to professional sports. Importantly, all players will be from the Orel Region. There will be no legionnaires. The region has set a goal to win the tournament in its league in the Central Federal District and move up to the next league.
Mr Klychkov recalled that in the beginning of his gubernatorial activity in 2018, the President determined certain areas of work for him, for instance, the development of education. Orel is a city of students, which number around 50,000. Owing to the President’s instructions and the Prime Minister’s support, a project for an education campus has been drafted. It is now in the design stage. A contractor has been chosen and the groundbreaking ceremony is planned for August.
The President spoke by telephone with Acting Governor of the Kherson Region Vladimir Saldo to discuss the situation in the region after the collapse of the sabotaged Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power plant.
Following the conversation, Vladimir Putin instructed the Emergencies Ministry to provide all necessary assistance to households affected by the flood, in full compliance with the standards of the Russian Federation. The President also instructed officials to identify the entire scope of additional needs that may arise in the region in the aftermath of this act of sabotage and the flooding it caused.