At the beginning of the meeting, the President noted that the Primorye Territory was showing very good or satisfactory results with regard to the main socioeconomic indicators. He suggested discussing those problems that required special attention from both the Governor and the federal centre.
Oleg Kozhemyako said he was ready to report on the Primorye Territory’s development results in 2022 and prospects for 2023 and subsequent years, and to discuss a number of issues that require decisions at the presidential level. However, first he told the President about the efforts to support the residents of the region who are taking part in the special military operation and their family members. Mr Kozhemyako mentioned the deliveries of equipment and uniforms the region sent to the front line and made several proposals to make them more effective.
Then the Governor proceeded to the economic issues the resolution of which requires the President’s support.
First, he mentioned a series of typhoons that destroyed roads, bridges and power lines, and damaged agricultural crops and housing last summer. A federal-level emergency was declared. In cooperation with the Emergencies Ministry, the Primorye Territory conducted emergency and recovery work and stabilised the situation. The region spent 2.7 billion rubles from its budget for these purposes. It will have to complete large-scale recovery efforts – repair roads and build bridges – in the coming summer. In this context, the Governor asked the President to instruct the Russian Federation Government to allocate money from the Reserve Fund to compensate for the region’s spending on the full recovery of the destroyed infrastructure.
Then the Governor proceeded to speak about the results of the region’s economic development. He reported that the GRP had reached 1.5 trillion rubles and agriculture was showing good trends. For the first time, the region produced 1.1 million tonnes of grain and soya despite the emergencies. Rusagro completed the construction of livestock breeding facilities and fully provided the region with pork. GreenAgro is carrying out dairy farming projects, and Mikhailovsky Broiler is producing poultry. The region has good results in transport and logistics – 133 percent; housing – 117 percent; domestic tourism – 111 percent; and investment – 146 percent. It continues building crab-fishing boats under investment quotas – 19 crab boats worth 41 billion. A new crab quota auction is scheduled for this year, and Oleg Kozhemyako asked the President to keep in place the preferential arrangements for Far Eastern shipyards to build these boats and give relevant instructions to the Government and the Agency for Fishery.
The Governor said this year the region’s foreign trade had grown by 18 percent to reach US$10 billion.
Asked by the President about the Zvezda
Shipyard, Oleg Kozhemyako said that the construction of four LNG carriers, two Aframax vessels and a number of icebreaker ships is in full swing. To attract specialists, the region builds rental housing and hands it over to public sector workers and employees of major defence industry plants and major enterprises in general, with 740 flats transferred to the Zvezda Shipyard alone. As per the President’s instruction, the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic has subsidised the construction of rental housing for the Progress plant specialists in the city of Arsenyev. The plant has stepped up production under the state defence order, signed a contract with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and received funds for the manufacture of equipment needed by the Ministry of Defence and the country as a whole. The Governor also called for pay rises at the plant as a means of attracting highly skilled specialists. The region, for its part, will build housing for them and develop the city.
Last year, the region saw a major pivot to the East. Businesses demonstrated high adaptability and even increased investment. The construction of new ports is in full swing. A transport and logistics centre for one million containers, or a so-called dry port, is being built. This means an additional 100 million tonnes of freight and one million containers. All told, 250 million tonnes of freight and three million containers will be added to the existing freight turnover. In September, the new modern port of Sukhodol for 20 million tonnes of freight will open. Oleg Kozhemyako invited the President to its opening.
He also focused on bottlenecks in the rail and road infrastructure, specifically the Vladivostok-Nakhodka-Port Vostochny motorway, a basic connecting facility linking the Primorye-1 and Primorye-2 international transport corridors with the Chinese border and all ports in southeastern and southern Primorye boasting huge freight turnover. A mineral fertiliser plant is being built in Nakhodka. The Governor asked the President to instruct the Government of the Russian Federation to continue the construction of this crucial motor road.
Oleg Kozhemyako believes that it is necessary to review the approaches to the Russian Far East. Much is being done and everyone is aware of the advantages of developing the Russian Far East, but there are no breakthrough solutions. He stressed that it was only due to the President’s instructions and the efforts of his plenipotentiary envoy that the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic managed to solve certain problems, but there was no systemic approach.
Responding to the President’s objection that a number of benefits had been envisaged in the Russian Far East, the Governor said that economy-benefitting investment could be made in many more localities there, including the Khasan district with its fine ports, southern Primorye, the border with North Korea, and the border with China. Road and rail infrastructure there is weak, and so is the power infrastructure. Additional budget investment in infrastructure and preferential loans are needed. The entire infrastructure network was largely built in the Soviet period and requires an overhaul.
In the larger scheme of things, the Governor believes, an impetus is needed like the one the President generated during preparations for the APEC Summit in Vladivostok. As a result, the territory, the Far East has become transformed, acquiring a totally new international identity. We see, Oleg Kozhemyako said, our neighbours developing dynamically and therefore Primorye, too, needs to get a second wind.